Thursday, October 18, 2007

"I'm afraid it was the Mormons. Yes, the Mormons were the correct answer."

The presidential primaries are now getting into full swing several months before the primaries even begin. The candidates are well on their way to leaving Lady Liberty quite unsatisfied. I've decided it's time I said something about it.

I have little to say about the Democratic side of things. I like Hillary, Barack, and John (Edwards, that is). Any one of them would make a fine candidate and they all have policy positions that I can respect even though we may disagree a bit.

However, the Republican horserace seems to be disproportionately filled with asses. I don't hate all the candidates equally, but I do have a favorite and a most hated. However, the middle candidates (McCain, Huckabee, Brownstreak, I mean Brownback, Paul, etc.) are really too insignificant to make a difference, so screw 'em.

I happen to agree with the polls on who should be the frontrunner for the nomination (from a Republican point of view): Romney. He's smart, charismatic, relatively experienced (historically, governors make better presidents), white and rich. He just has one problem: he's a Mormon.

Mormons have historically been discriminated against by members of other Christian faiths because of their unique beliefs. Countless media have been produced on this subject, so I won't belabor the point here. This discrimination and stigma still exists today. Romney's presidential run has brought over a century's worth of feelings about Mormons to the forefront of public discourse. In both an effort to combat this stigma and seizing a great opportunity to increase dialogue about their faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) is going to release a number of ads aimed at calming others' worries about the religion.

Having a personal stake in how the LDS Church is perceived in the media, I actually look forward to opportunities to change other's negative stereotypes about Mormons. However, this must be done carefully in order to avoid a negative impact on the LDS Church.

The stated position of the LDS Church is one of political neutrality. It does not endorse candidates or parties, and as much as possible tries to stay out of government activities, while encouraging members to participate on an individual basis. In my opinion (look out!), this position is both prudent (to avoid losing tax-exempt status) and doctrinally sound (there is more than one way to promote Christianity and obeying the commandments). My concern is that unless the Church is careful about how and where it strikes at ignorance, it may appear that the LDS Church is endorsing the candidacy of Mitt Romney. If the Church only runs ads in states or areas where Romney needs a little boost, that could be perceived as an endorsement. Or, if he wins the primary and the Church steps up its ad campaign it could also appear that the LDS Church is implicitly endorsing Romney.

I hope that during this election and, [ugh] the possible Romney presidency to follow, the Church can handle its public relations in such a way that it can avoid such negative perceptions. Failure to do so could cause serious damage to the reputation of the Church, and call into question the individuality of its members. Reasonable people can differ about how to apply their beliefs in their own lives, and I don't want other people thinking that I only think what my church tells me to think.

I said that I had both a favorite and a least favorite candidate for the Republican nomination. It's clear that my favorite is Romney (heaven forbid we should live in the days of the Brownback Crusades), but my least favorite is Giuliani.

Do I want to live in Rudy Giuliani's America? I'd rather be raped by an entire herd of buffalo than endure one second of listening to that horse's ass.

5 comments:

Jared said...

Your comments on Rudy reminded me of a funny post at defectiveyeti.com

I've got no idea who to vote for still. I disagree with most of the candidates from either party policy-wise in at least a couple of significant areas, so I just need to decide which disagreements I'm best able to ignore.

My two cents on Romney though: I liked his old views much more than his new views. I often get asked if I'm going to vote for him, since we're both Mormon, and I don't know. Part of me is against voting for him because I worry that I might like him just because he's Mormon. The other part of me thinks I might be over-sensitive in that regard. It's not like I like his views less than the other republican candidates. Either way, I tend to roll my eyes when I see that half of my ward has Mitt '08 stickers on their cars.

Good thing I've got a few months still to make up my mind.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the comment.

Ditto on Romney. I very much preferred the old Romney, and maybe even would have crossed party lines to vote for him based on his more centrist positions. But, since he doing his best to secure the primary by sounding more extreme than ever, I doubt his "morals".

I really hope that Mormons who choose to support Romney do so not just because he's Mormon, but because of his policies, capabilities, and whatever divine inspiration they receive on the topic. Just because a feller's a Mormon, don't make him a good politician (I'm lookin' at you, Orrin Hatch).

Orrin Hatch said...

I'll blow up your computer!

Salt H2O said...

I'm confused how you like both Hillary and Mitt- old Mitt or new Mitt- since their platforms, experience, personalities and goals for this country are polar opposites. Take away all social policies and look at fiscal objectives and you couldn't get more polarized candidates.

Daniel said...

My point is that I don't like Mitt. However, from a Republican perspective, he's not a bad candidate.

If it were a Romney/Clinton race, I would pick Clinton any day.