Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Aftermath

I'll write a little bit about my personal views on the election later. But for now, some cartoons.

In anticipation of the upcoming election, last Saturday I drew six cartoons: one for President Obama winning, one for Mitt Romney winning, one for President Obama losing, one for Romney losing, one for Justice Wiggins being retained, and one for Justice Wiggins not being retained. So The Daily Iowan was prepared.

Of course, only three of those cartoons can be published. But lucky for you blog readers, you can see all six right here!

If Obama wins (and published in The Daily Iowan today)

If Obama loses

If Romney wins

If Romney loses (so I'm guessing this will be in tomorrow's paper)

If Justice Wiggins is retained (so I'm guessing this one will be in Friday's paper). This one still just cracks me up.

If Justice Wiggins is not retained

So, now you have every alternative universe manifested in cartoon form.

Now, I want to say a few words about the election.

It can mostly be summed up by what I said on Facebook yesterday morning:

"Whoever wins today's election, I hope the people who didn't vote for him can still support him and call him your president. Whether the Republicans continue to be 'The Party of No,' or the Democrats assume that role and identity, it will only result in more gridlock, and more bills and laws haphazardly thrown together at the last minute and jammed through. Tomorrow morning, if the guy you voted for isn't president, I hope you can still be optimistic, patriotic, and respectful of the office of president. If you follow the sentiment of Rush Limbaugh four years ago, when he said of President Obama, 'I hope he fails,' then we all fail."
Now that we know President Obama has won, I especially hope those words resonate with people. The Republicans in Congress (and in the country) will either think, "Welp, I guess the people like him, so we might as well work with him and get some things done," or they will dig in their heels even deeper. I really hope they take the first option.

Of course, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and having a lot of friends who are members, it means I have a lot of friends who are conservative and are big Mitt Romney fans. Which is perfectly fine. But what's not fine is to think that reelecting Barack Obama means the country is facing imminent doom. I really don't think this is going to accelerate Armageddon.

As a Mormon, you might be thinking of this scripture from the Book of Mormon:

"And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land."

It might came as a surprise to some of you, but that scripture doesn't apply to the United States and President Obama.

President Obama has a few personal ideas and philosophies that do conflict with Latter-day Saint doctrine. But that doesn't mean he is leading our country to fire and brimstone. No matter who is president, you can still be just as good (or bad) a Mormon as you were before. President Obama would even encourage you to keep being a good Mormon. Electing a liberal or Democratic president per se does not make me worried in the slightest about our country's standing before God. If I were to list all the things that made me worried about our nation's spiritual welfare, having President Obama in the White House would not be on that list. (For instance, legalizing same-sex marriage or legalizing marijuana are way more troublesome to me than a Democratic president. But even with those new laws, I don't think God will send a hurricane to punish us.)

Also, in what also might be a surprise to some of you, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the platform of the Republican Party are not the same thing. (The gospel and the Democratic Party platform aren't the same thing either.) True, the official Republican positions on abortion (but not Todd Akin's or Richard Mourdock's) are probably pretty similar to the Church's position. I'm also pretty sure nowhere in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, or church handbooks does the church extol or condemn health care reform, financial regulations on Wall Street, green energy, climate change, Medicare, or immigration reform. I know a lot of conservatives who treat some political issues as if they are spiritual ones. But they're actually just political. You can be for or against some political ideas, and still be a faithful Latter-day Saint. There is some overlap among a handful of religious beliefs and political beliefs, but not as much as some people have convinced themselves there is.

Even though politics is something I'm really interested in, and one of the reasons I came to law school, the recent surge of confusion between religious conviction and political ideology has made it hard for me to share that interest. Lately I have to keep it to myself. Some of it is me just trying to be polite, and my natural tendency to passively avoid conflict. But it seems like there is way more potential for conflict for me to watch out for than there used to be. I hesitate to bring up politics these days, especially around members of the church, because I worry that people will think I'm stupid, or a bad Mormon, or both. I'm sure most of these church members would be civil and avoid offending me if they were to find out that I might actually disagree with their political beliefs. But a lot of church members carry on as if it has never occurred to them that they might be in the presence of someone who thinks differently than them.

Finally, I just want to say that I choose to be optimistic about our nation's future. I know Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck make a lot of money by scaring people. But I'd rather not be scared. It's just not that fun for me. Fear is not an emotion I particularly enjoy. I'd much rather be positive and wish our country's leaders the best. It makes me a happier person.

Being positive and taking the high road also means I'm following the prophet.

"The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Tuesday:

"We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.

"After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations.

"We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people." (emphasis added)

And, ironically enough, it also means I'm following Mitt Romney.

"I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation. ...

"The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion. ... We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. ...

"[T]he nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

"Thank you, and God bless America."

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