09 November 2012

Letters to My Children: General Election 2012


Dear Jonas and Miriam,

On Tuesday, Mitt Romney was defeated in his bid for the presidency by sitting president Barack Obama.

When you study the history, people will tell you why Governor Romney lost:
·    He was too aggressive, he wasn’t aggressive enough
·    He was too moderate, he wasn’t moderate enough
·    He was too soft, he wasn’t humane enough
·    His plan was too strong, his plan wasn’t strong enough

They will have forgotten that an election isn’t only about winning. Strategy is not the only factor in becoming president. They will have attached themselves so strongly to a desired (but unrealized) outcome that they believe if Romney would have just done things more perfectly and crunched the numbers a little better, he would be the 45th president of the United States of America.

An election is not about transforming yourself into the perfect candidate. Yes, you want to fight with a fire in your belly and get your message out. You want to win. But changing who you are for the sake of winning? That is the exact lack of integrity we abhor in the political system.

A candidate brings him/herself to the table. The hindsight saved for everything Governor Romney woulda-coulda-shoulda been would have turned Romney into anyone but himself.

An election is about presenting possible solutions to our country’s real problems. Then, the people decide if it is a desirable option in light of the alternatives. It is about agency.

It was not a divisive election or campaign as many have suggested; however, it did show the great divide between the schools of thought in this country. In the moment President Obama’s re-election was confirmed, it became very evident to me that I am much more different than at least 50% of the population--every other person I meet.

Fundamentally, I believe Americans (generally) want the same things. We want clean air and we want to help the needy, we want equal rights and happy lives. We just have different ways of getting there.

The person we choose on the ballot hopefully sets out to achieve those objectives in the same manner that we would. If that person is unsuccessful in securing enough votes, it does not mean they did it wrong. It means more people didn’t like the idea than did.

Governor Romney ran a beautiful campaign. The man was genuine and authentic. He played hardball without sacrificing his dignity. He represented humanity well and, along with his wife Ann Romney, presented a clearly different option to achieve our goals as a nation.

At the end of the night, the American people decided they did not want what he had to offer.
You may learn in your history class what happened in the flurry of social media. On both sides of the election, political leaders were quoted out of context. Scriptures were quoted out of context. General Conference was quoted out of context. There was much talk of the Apocalypse and of the righteous being rewarded, and all of it was presented as Truth.

This is not Truth, when someone takes Bill O’Reilly’s remarks or Jon Stewart’s remarks, filters them with their own blinders and paradigms, and then presents it as Truth. This is not Truth, when someone manipulates a scripture and presents it as the only way.

Truth is that feeling in your soul that tells you, after you have studied to the very best of your ability, that you chose right for you. You can vote for Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Gary Johnson, or Popeye and be in good standing with your God.

Truth reveals itself to you in your stillest moments. It reveals itself to you in your rowdy moments too, but you may not hear it as well. Truth is the feeling of peace that washes over you as you watch the very man you did not vote for remain president of the United States, despite the tears in your eyes and the loss in your heart.

People will talk of the winners and the losers in the campaign. But you are the winner in this campaign if you followed your conscience and listened to your intuition. The person sitting in the Oval Office on January 21 is of very little consequence.

All my love,