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Thursday, November 8, 2012

"You never check your religion at the door." Politics edition

Now that the elections are over, everyone has done their rejoicing or mourning, I would like to share what I learned from this election season.  

My mother shared this gem of advice with me.  “The beauty about this country is that everyone has a chance to vote on what is important to them.”  Moral of this: learn about the issues and figure out what is most important to you.  Second moral: it’s GOOD for people to have different issues be most important to them.  If everyone was like me, all our country would be doing would be aiding Palestine.  I’m grateful that there are people that have pet issues like gun control, immigration, education reform, etc.  

My co-worker, Eliza has asked me why I voted for who I voted for.  People ask this all the time when they encounter someone that is voting differently than they are.  The beauty here is that she was asking to understand me and what my opinion is, instead of trying to change my mind.  We have had fantastic political conversations where I have learned to value her opinions on a spectrum of issues and where she has respected mine.  Moral of this: it is GOOD to have strong opinions.  How to apply this: avoiding loaded language and using correct terminology is one way to share ideas and learn about others ideas without hurting the other person.  

My husband, Jesse, is doing an internship where he gathers information about North Africa for a government contracted agency.  He will pull 4 or 5 articles all covering the same event, but with extremely different viewpoints resulting in different take away messages.  He has encouraged me to do my research and learn about what is going on in the world, in our country, in our state, and in our communities.  Moral of this:  information is GOOD.  Take away message:  get your information from more than one source.  Be a critical consumer of your news.  Just because something sounds good to you, doesn’t make it truth.

I would also like to share two stories shared by classmates.  One classmate is an african american, athlete, model and BYU student.  He is a really solid kid and I thoroughly enjoy having class with him.  He said that this election has been horrific for him.  He said that people that he has known his whole life have said terribly unkind and untrue things about Mormons to him, both in person and unthinkingly on facebook.  Other friends have said extremely inappropriate and hateful things about african americans and other minorities, both in person and unthinkingly on facebook.  He said that what has been keeping him from lashing out and hurting them back is what he has on his desktop.  THINK.  Is it True?  Is it Helpful?  Is it Inspiring?  Is it Necessary?  Is it Kind?

My second classmate shared her story about having a pre-existing condition of diabetes.  When the recession hit, she was dropped by her insurance.  Her plan had been to start applying for grad school at Harvard, but she instead had to figure out a way to get her insurance, so she get see a doctor, who could prescribe her insulin, which would keep her alive.  She applied to 240 insurance companies and was denied 240 times.  She lost 50 pounds, but many of her friends that were in her same boat, lost their lives.  She said that what was the most painful thing about this whole experience was listening to people rant about how the Healthcare act was going to take away their agency when she was just struggling to stay alive.  I’m not saying that Obama Care is perfect or not perfect, but it is a matter of life and death to some people,
be thoughtful in what you say. Moral:  It is GOOD to want to help others.  Personal opinion: we have an obligation as human beings to take care of each other.  Whether you think it is the governments job or not to take care of those in need, get out there and help other people.  It doesn’t have to be huge, but you do need to be aware of those around you.

Lastly, I think that President Holland said it best when he said, “You never check your religion at the door.”  Politics is no excuse for name calling, lies, and hurting other people.  

Just to wrap things up, I would like to say that I have been extremely impressed by the moral courage of so many people during this emotional time.  I would also like to sincerely apologize for anything that I may have done or said during any part of my life.  I have definitely made some big mistakes when it comes to respecting others opinions and I have made it a personal motto to focus on respecting others and respecting my own opinions and beliefs.


  1. I love this. Very respectful and thoughtful. I wish more conversations on politics were like this :)

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Leslie. I think you are fantastic and Elder Holland's quote is SO applicable to politics. I hadn't even thought of that, but it is so true. Very thought provoking. Like Allison, I wish that talking about politics would invoke respectful and mature conversation between people--regardless of what you believe or what affiliation you may be.