We’ve Been Here Before

It might feel like America is going down a path with a president for the first time. But we’ve been here before.

Nixon

Trump has given courage to those whose base views had been resigned to the back porch or weekend poker game. The racism and sexism were always there. And then Trump came along called women fat pigs. He called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. He brags about sexually assaulting women he finds attractive. He’s a walking cesspool of every deviant personality trait one man could possess.

Trump is the asshat who claimed Barack Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud. Trump doesn’t believe the rules apply to him, and he’s taken that philosophy with him into the White House and filled the swamp with friends and family who share his despicable views. Watch Jeff Sessions quote the bible as a defense for separating children from their parents at our border to see how far we’ve fallen.

I grew up believing America was the greatest country in the world. That notion was shattered about six months into my mission to Germany. It was there I realized America didn’t have a monopoly on greatness.

Now is a good time to revisit All the President’s Men. Nixon was a miserable man, but he faked it much better than Trump. We didn’t fully understand how racist Nixon was till the Watergate tapes were released. Trump’s tweets are in full view for those who care.

We’ve been here before.

Nixon left a black mark on the presidency and the country. Before Trump is done, he’s going to make Nixon look like Mother Theresa.

We survived Nixon.

We will survive Trump.

The Election

Last Tuesday, I sat on the couch next to my son who is 9-years old. He’s returned home each day from over the past couple of weeks with questions about President Obama and Mitt Romney. I discussed the election process with him as best I could, but returned home a few days to catch him looking up electoral maps from past elections. He was excited to show me the map from the 1980 election between Carter and Reagan that was nearly all red.

We started out watching the election coverage on MSNBC which matches up well with my political views. But I wanted my son to experience other takes on the coverage so we switched between CNN, FOX and the BBC as well. FOX was the most entertaining, and we tuned in just in time to watch Karl Rove dispute FOX’s team of pollsters when they called Ohio for Romney. Rove tried to make sense of a situation that wasn’t making any sense to himself or Team Romney.

My son already knew I had voted for Obama. He described how several of his classmates were rooting for Obama, but most were hoping Romney would pull out a win. A few of his friends who attend our church were incredulous when my son told them he supports Obama instead of the candidate who is a member of his church. This gave me an opportunity to explain the difference in how the President of the United States is selected compared to the prophet of our church.

By the time Romney walked out on state to give his gracious concession speech, my son had crawled into bed and fallen asleep. I considered waking him, but with school the next day decided against it. I watched as a visibly exhausted Romney delivered his remarks. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to deliver a message to not only your supporters but the entire nations after failing to achieve what you’ve worked on for seven year. It was the first time I’d felt any compassion the man who vowed to repeal the affordable health care act.

Obama delivered a passionate acceptance speech, but it wasn’t nearly the spectacle of the one he gave in 2008. It will be difficult to top that night in terms of historical significance and overall excitement. The best part of his speech was watching his wife and two daughter escort him onto the stage.

But a year from now, I probably won’t remember much about the election as it pertains to Obama and Romney. That’s because one man stole the show at the DNC and that man is Bill Clinton.

“We are here to nominate a president…and I’ve got one in mind.”

It’s not just the best political speech I’ve ever heard, it’s the best speech I’ve ever heard, period. It was so powerful that it overshadowed everything in its wake including Obama’s nomination acceptance speech. My aunt quipped that Romney was probably thrilled he wasn’t running against Clinton after watching him.

Clinton said when he was working to solve problem for his foundation that he didn’t know if he was working alongside Democrats, Republicans or Independents because everyone was working towards solving problems. The focus was on getting things done.

I hope that level of cooperation will somehow find a way into the hearts those elected to serve our country at the national and state level.

And in 2016, I hope I’m again sitting next to my son watching the election results roll in. But maybe this time we’ll be watching the election of first woman president. And chances are, she’ll have strong ties to Mr. Clinton.

I’m A Mormon And I Don’t Watch Fox News

I’m less likely to discuss my beliefs about religion today than I was ten or twenty years ago. That sounds odd because, as I’ve written before, I served in Germany as a missionary for two years where I spent twelve hours a day attempting to convert Germans to my religion.

Looking back on those two years, it’s clear that I gained a lot more than I gave to the German people. I learned to speak up for my beliefs and my country. I learned to read a map, enjoy new foods and speak a foreign language that would later help me through college.

It also helped me realize that beliefs are uniquely personal, and I don’t believe I could return and speak to them in that arrogant tone only a 20 year old with two quarters of college could pull off.

This comes at a time when the media is taking a close look at Mitt Romney’s membership in the LDS church as well as a national “I’m a Mormon” campaign that’s made its way onto TV.

What makes me feel uncomfortable and less likely to discuss my beliefs are the words I read on Facebook and Twitter from members whom I’m unable to relate to. Many use Facebook to not only disagree with President Obama but to craft lengthy rants about why he’s the anti-Christ.

My parents taught me to respect the President of the United States even if I didn’t agree with all his polices. I was taught that the office of the President should be respected, and I still believe that today. But when I hear such vitriolic nonsense about President Obama while attending church it makes me step back and rethink my involvement with these people.

I want to be clear that the leaders of my church do not condone this behavior. In fact, around election time, they remind the members that they do no endorse a political party. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll find far more members who consider themselves Republican than Democrat. During the 2008 presidential election, a friend wanted the LDS church to officially back John McCain. I’m sure he wasn’t alone.

So much for the separation of church and state.

I don’t mind that my political beliefs don’t sync up with most of my fellow Mormons. But I’m having a more difficult time listening and reading about how many of them despise our current President and any policy or positions he’s taken. Many spout off their hatred for any socialist program such as health care reform that will result in health coverage for more Americans.

What many of my fellow Mormons forget is that our church has an impressive welfare program to help its members through difficult times. Members also donate “fast offerings” that go to help those in need at the local level. Many of our lessons teach us about the benefits of giving service in our community, and to search out and assist those in need. But these teachings stand in stark contrast to the “everyone man for himself” philosophy portrayed by some of my fellow members.

It’s all beginning to feel like a zero sum game: if we’re right then you’re wrong in not only your religious but also your political affiliations. Is there room for those of us with more moderate political views in a sea full of strong conservative members?

I guess what it comes down to is that I no longer want to be lumped in with these people because we happen to belong to the same church. I don’t share their hate for the President nor do I believe President Obama is evil, or that women need me to make choices for them, or that those on unemployment or welfare are lazy bums feeding off the system.

Not all Mormons will automatically be voting for Romney come November, nor do all of us worship Glenn Beck or base our political views by what we hear on Fox News.

But what I really hope is that all the hate fades away.

President Barack Obama

What a fantastic evening it has been. I listened to the election results on NPR radio on my drive home from work. By the time I arrived home things looked very good for Obama, but I had no idea how good.

Now we know how good.

Americans have voted to take this great country in a new direction. I love this man’s passion and conviction. I remain optimistic that our country can come together to fix the many problems facing us today.

McCain gave a gracious speech tonight. He loves this country. You could see it in his eyes. I hope Obama will keep his word and reach out to Republicans as he begins filling his cabinet positions.

I’ve never stayed up late to watch an election. I’ve never donated to a campaign before. I’ve never shed tears of joy when our new president walked on stage for the first time.

All that changed tonight. Godspeed, President Obama.

Of all the election coverage I’ve read and watched tonight, here is my favorite article and here are some of the highlights of the night.

2008351849

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Obama Buttons

My three Obama buttons arrived by mail today. They couldn’t have come soon enough because a McCain figurine showed up on my desk at work this afternoon. I don’t know who the thoughtful conservative is but he/she is in dire need of an Obama button.

My plan is to sneak them on to the jackets of my most conservative workers without being noticed. I already have all three people in mind.

obamabuttons

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