Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Self-destruct!

I may have just done something very foolish.

I have been very open here about my political liberalness, because you are my friends and I know you love me, even if I am a godless communist (just kidding). But of course being a Mormon liberal is not a particularly easy thing. The church (mostly) tries to stay very neutral, but we all know that the rank and file tend to run Republican. There is a tacit assumption that we all think the same, politically.

I just got an email, from a woman I go to church with and am fond of, that appeared to have been forwarded to most of my ward/congregation. It was basically an anti-Democrat smear piece, claiming that since all the Senate Democrats voted against an amendment (to the Immigration Reform Act of 2006) that offered up some tough (but ultimately watered-down and mostly symbolic) talk about making English the official language of this country, they therefore are traitors to the military, anti-freedom, etc., etc. The facts don't support the email smear, and because I am incapable of keeping my mouth shut when it's good for me, I decided to respond. This is the kamikaze response I sent out:
Dear Everybody Who got this forwarded to them -

I fail to see how a vote on an amendment to the
Immigration Reform Act (amendment 4064) constitutes an
action that "damages morale and undermine[s] the
military." There are over 30,000 foreign-born
soldiers serving in our military right now, many of
whom do not speak English as their first language.

On the very same day of the vote on amendment 4064,
every Democrat in the Senate voted in support of
amendment 4073, from which i quote:

"The government of the United States shall preserve
and enhance the role of English as the common and
unifying language of America."

So yes, even the loathsome Democrats voted in favor of
this.

Don't believe every bit of hooey that gets forwarded
to you by somebody who shares your political beliefs.
If you'd like a little more information on this
particular strain of anti-Democrat chain email, you
can read this entry on Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/englishvote.asp

This is as good a time as any to come out of the
closet and identify myself as pretty darned liberal.
Not a democrat - i believe our party system serves us
very poorly. If I'm the only liberal in the ward, so
be it. I love you, my ward brothers and sisters, and
I love my country and the ideals it was founded on.
Please, please don't try to paint me and the political
candidates I support as traitors to our country. That
is the worst, lowest, and most specious form of
political dialogue. When we begin to treat those who
simply disagree with us as our enemies, we sow the
seeds of division and hatred.

Now we see what happens, eh?

13 comments:

Rachel said...

Well done. This is something that drives me batty. Forwards are bad but political forwards from you ward family are way worse. I had to talk to an old bishop once about the inappropriateness of using the ward email list to send out political propaganda. I got an earful but it was necessary, and worth it, and kind of fun.

I also find it a challenge to wrangle my sunday school class into not talking about 1.) the war in Iraq and 2.) the upcoming election. It's a sticky wicket. Especially with all the war chapters we're in right now.

And HELLO! First Steph, now you. It's like Old School Chino Week for me. Every so often I like to imagine what color your hair is.

colleeeen said...

oh, rachel! it's so wonderful to (sort of) hear from you! are you still in SoCal? How is Cynde? i think i still have the fantastic recipe card box you guys made for me.

my hair is very boring. i am a mama and crazy hair takes too much upkeep. i can't even keep the sink clean!

courtney said...

When we lived in Texas I would get political emails and voicemails ALL the time! Some were stupid some were offensive but what can you do I finally blocked the ladys number from my phone and NEVER opened her emails. Now I am getting calls from the ward to go door to door to pass out information on this whole gay marriage thing. I always thought that you werent allowed to do that kind of thing. oh well!! hey who cares if you have a clean sink so long as you have on clean underware you never know whats going to happen.

samandholly said...

It's always interesting to tell people that I am a registered Democrat. It disappointed my mother-in-law so very much...

Hooray for Chino!!!

James said...

Colleen, you are so funny! I consider myself Republican, but only because I in general hate Democrat politicians a little more than Republicans. My anti-gun, pro-environment views don't sit too well with most who call themselves Republican, but my anti-abortion, pro-traditional-marriage views of course don't sit well with most Democrats, either. Anyway, it is true that it seems acceptable to be FAR right in the Church, to the extent that a sister in the Los Alisos ward (don't remember her name) once got up in Fast & Testimony Meeting and talked about how God essentially works through wars to change the political landscape for the benefit of the Church. And I'm thinking to myself that God probably didn't have in mind a unilateral invasion of Iraq and the accompanying loss of innocent civilian life due to both failures or mishaps on the part of our military, as well as the lawlessness that occurred because we destabilized the country.

thefoxkids said...

Colleen
i know i'm a "lurker" from Steph's blog but i just have to comment that i have a very good friend in TX who dreads presidential vote year because she gets so much grief.. she is registered democrat and quite liberal in her thinking but when on earth did it become ok to tell someone it's just because they are young (and she's older than me so take that!) and the'll "grow out of it".. just because they see a candidate's sign in her front yard.. she has been reduced to tears on more than one occassion (and she's not a cryer so it had to be bad!) so why can't we all just get along??? i now can be registered independant because here in NH you can change your party affilation just prior to voting in primary (like in line just before you go into the booth) i LOVE it!!!because i'm finding myself far more middle of the road as of late.. I'm so not for the war and am SICK how we got there, I'm far more liberal in my thinking on allot of social issues.. and Guess what.. shhhh i don't think the Government should have any say in what a woman CHOOSES to do.. oops did that slip out!!!
and guess what I still hold a Temple recommend (and feel GOOD about my answers there!) and i havn't gone appostate yet (i don't think but my polotical views may be why i've only had cub scout callings in the past oh 6 years in 3 different wards.. hmmm)

rock on sister! Rock on..

Stephanie said...

I actually think that the gospel demands that we look into both political parties. I believe that if, through prayer, one person decides to vote for Obama and the other decides to vote for McCain, both of them would be correct. Yes, I actually believe that the omnescience of God incorporates peoples opinions into the mix. Is lightning going to strike me now?

I don't like how some people use the gospel to set them in a corner. Research, prayer and a lot of gut feeling come into play when making a vote.

Hooray for you for being brave enough to stand up for everyone's right to an opinion. I am proud to be your friend.

liannallama said...

Good for you for sticking up for what you believe in!

Rachel said...

Colleen,
first, this is a ridiculous way to communicate, like text messaging. I feel like I'm 15. but whatever. Second, yes, I'm still in SoCal. Upland, actually. I'm working my way through the IE. And Cynde is great. Married, living in Phoenix, doing PR at a food bank. She's actually out here this week for vacation. I'll pass on your blog to her. She'd love to read it.

And I'm pretty sure that recipe box is ledgend. We still bring it up every so often.

Beulahboy1 said...

i do believe that this letter tops any rabble rousing I might have done in my youth. It is, of course, more eloquent and powerful than anything i've ever said or done, but i have never caused problems at a church. you've stepped it one too far sister.

but I'm glad that you spoke out. although, did McCains running mate choice swing you over for this election?

And, you can always shout at me about Biology as I'm taking that class too. We can be internet study buddies. I'll start: What are the feeding characteristics of each of the four divisions of eukarya cells?

and, as an aside, I know Blake, and he is an a-hole.

But seriously, when is your first exam. We should get together for a study bash.

Marque and Sarah said...

I HATE PARTISAN POLITICS!!!

While I typically vote conservative on most issues, I am a registered independent and despise voting "with your party". I can't stand forwarded political emails and even watching political news. Everyone has their angles and agendas and choose to focus on points that support those angles and agendas. Even more upsetting is when they choose to leave out facts simply because they don't support their angles and agendas.

I so appreciate local politics ten times more than the big game with the career politicians.

Good luck when the ward shows up at your house with pitch forks and torches.

Casey said...

I am more impressed with your e-mail that you were clear and consise and factual with your response. Although, I am very conservative, I have learned that politics can get very emotional. (I still have to work on that, sometimes.) I got to play a part in the local government when we lived in AR and I have learned that politics can be discussed with facts and the discussions can be much better with out emotions involved. There were some great people that I met that were major "Yellow Dog Democrats" that actually supported me in my campaign. So I have gained a better appreciation for peoples opinions.

Anyway, like I said, I may not agree with your position but what I do like is that you were kind and thoughtful and got your point across.

Another reason to love blogging. You can write all the political opinions you want and people can read them or not. I know I sure do that sometimes (Although I try to remember that I am posting so people can see my family, not try to sway people to my way of thinking.)

BTW, How do you feel about Sarah Palin? I've heard a lot of wackos call in on some conservative talk shows complaining about her with no real basis for their feelings except that they hate republicans. Just wondering what a reasonable liberal thinks.

colleeeen said...

Wow, thanks everybody. What a response!

Stephen, we haven't even started on how cells feed. We are in the middle of the properties of atoms and how they form various molecules.

Casey, I don't know enough about Palin. I think she's probably a wonderful person, but represents a worrisome gamble for McCain (BTW, I actually voted for McCain in the 2000 primaries). I'm concerned that she is a Creationist (I believe evolution must be God's M.O. and therefore I have no need for wacky creationist "science") and I'm also concerned about her stance on birth control (although i am anti-abortion, i am very pro-contraceptives). Part of me scoffs and says McCain is pandering to the hardcore right, who have never embraced him because he doesn't use their verbal code. She's like a "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" kind of Republican male fantasy. That picture of her with the caribou she shot! And I can predict LDS women falling all over themselves to love her over the 5 kids thing. I am also concerned that all along the GOP has tried to make the case that Obama is not experienced enough, but now puts somebody in the VP slot who has even less experience. This is just my quick take based on the very limited amount of reading I've been able to do on her so far.