Saturday, November 24, 2012

1968 Words from Mormon leader Hugh Brown on political division in the country

Some would have you limit your reading to those whose political alignments, social networks or faith traditions fit the orthodoxy of their tribe. For them I offer a shrug of indifference to their admonitions and maintain a raised eye brow of scrutiny for whatever they have to say on any topic of consequence.

That said, I've discovered and will be reading more about and from Mormon apostle Hugh Brown. His was a cool head in a time of even greater national division than we have today. Check out these words from this Mormon Church leader, apparently offered in May 1968:

"I would like you to be reassured that the leaders of both major political parties in this land are men of integrity and unquestioned patriotism. Beware of those who feel obliged to prove their own patriotism by calling into question the loyalty of others. Be skeptical of those who attempt to demonstrate their love of country by demeaning its institutions. Know that men of both major political parties who bear the nation’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches are men of unquestioned loyalty and we should stand by and support them, and this refers not only to one party but to all. Strive to develop a maturity of mind and emotion and a depth of spirit which enables you to differ with others on matters of politics without calling into question the integrity of those with whom you differ. Allow within the bounds of your definition of religious orthodoxy variation of political belief. Do not have the temerity to dogmatize on issues where the Lord has seen fit to be silent."

Some of those words are hard for me to swallow. But they strike my ear as capturing wisdom for the ages and I choose to consider them carefully.

Here is a blog entry from Mormon Heretic on the topic and another from Latter-Day Common Sense.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Putting racist tweets in context

Hundreds of young people (and some not so young) are learning hard lessons after their ugly cathartic releases following the re-election of President Obama. While some express shock at these comments (many are eye-popping ugly), I am pleased that ugly comments seem to number only in the thousands, and that the truly ugly ones (the ones that get you on federal watch lists or merit Secret Service visits) only number in the hundreds. I am an "N of 1" and yet have received my share of threats and racist taunts over the years. Some have been real doozies. Thus, when I see that nationwide the open racist remarks were in the hundreds, I am relieved. ... Many of those who were spewing venom on election night appear to be intellectually challenged, rather young (or perhaps both). For instance, a 22 year-old expressed surprise following her tweet calling President Obama the N* word and expressing her thought that maybe he'd be assassinated this time. In follow up social media posts she exclaimed that she didn't understand the big deal. Others who were outed were high school students tweeting or posting from accounts that featured family pictures, their sports teams and church affiliations. Their punishments began coming quickly as several in organizations with codes of conduct were kicked off of teams, fired from jobs or otherwise reprimanded. I view all this and see it as part of our ongoing development. I am not the slightest bit surprised at ugly sentiments and I feel that with kids in relationship with one other across lines of difference, things are still getting better and better (although there are millions who choose to live in cocoons and millions who harbor racial [or gendered or xenophobic or homophobic] resentments). So I note all of this, and while I do fear the possibility of an uptick in violence by racists against minorities, I see this as the dying gasps of an ideology that is being forced further and further to the margins.