Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Post-Mortem 2012 (by Faith, nothing wavering)

A few days have passed, so it's time to share a few thoughts, and my thoughts alone, about what happened. And as I promised, no gloating. (At least I'll try really, really hard.)

Electoral College Map 2012
And here's another version from the University of Michigan (h/t HF & PB) with the geography contorted to represent population of states:

More representative of relative population
Yet both maps still reflect the "winner-take-all" aspect of the Electoral College. Even the fancy computer maps hanging in the air on CNN sometimes break it down to county by county assessment of which way that  geographic body went. But within each of these red areas are a lot of people who voted blue and in the blue, a lot who voted red. People do not vote by geographical blocks. And even the Supreme Court recognizes that "trees don't vote, people do."

While fairly accurate generalities can be made about geography or groups of certain "types" of voters, none of those carry through in every individual circumstance. Pew Research surprisingly reports that George W Bush in 2004 received a larger percentage of the Mormon vote than Romney just did in 2012.

The most interesting aspect of this election is that so many on the right, even the Republican candidate himself, were apparently surprised and even shocked by the outcome of this election. While no one can accurately predict the future, except maybe a true prophet, the science of statistical aggregation of polling was about as accurate as you can get (e.g. Nate Silver and Sam Wang).

Why were those on the Right so surprised to the point of self-delusion? Epistemic closure? That seems to be the theory of exiled conservative David Frum who maintains they were "lied to" by the right wing media in a snake-oil scam. You can watch part of that on video here. It also features Joe Scarborough who was one of those disparaging the mathematical expertise of Nate Silver just a few days before. 

What troubles me most of all is the apparent thinking of many that God had intended Romney to win under misinterpretation of Mormon belief that never was official doctrine to begin with. (The so-called and discredited "White Horse Prophecy" about the Constitution "hanging by a thread"). This false doctrine has formed the basis of the political belief of many LDS including prominent political and religious leaders (not to mention charlatans on TV - Glenn Beck, I'm talking to you). I even believed this in my past. But it is one of those things I discarded as I grew in maturity and knowledge, both secular and spiritual.

That is the opportunity we all now have whether conservative, moderate, or liberal Mormon or anyone of any faith system whether that believe lies in a Supreme Being, Science, or just making do the best one can (a rather flippant description of atheistic existentialism, I suppose). There is the possibility that one can learn from all these different systems of thought and many others, holding on to what is good and rejecting what is not - (a moralistic Popperian falsification). The point is to keep trying and keep learning. And there is no problem in holding on to Faith. Just remember, that the definition of Faith taught by the Apostle Paul, Alma and Joseph Smith is in things that are true even if not seen. That definition itself seems to require a constant and cautious search. And it seems rather counter-productive to exercise faith in things that are demonstrably not true when ignoring evidence before you of things that are that can be known by actual knowledge that puts faith to rest.

My personal commitment to my Faith requires constant self-awareness, adaption, learning, repentance, and charitable service. Otherwise, my faith is as meaningless as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. We all have a lot more work to do. Let's work better on doing it together as we learn from and respect each other under the wonderful Constitution we have that actually encourages such participatory self-government.


  1. I wish we had one Sunday school lesson each quarter that dealt with debunking popular myths of Mormonism. :-)


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