20 October 2004

From where I stand

This next bit isn't likely to make me excessively popular, but as this is obviously a time of great political wrestlings, and talk about priorities hangs thickly in the air, I think it's good for me to define my own position, as it is now less than two weeks before our national election. I am and will remain in listening mode up till the time I go to cast my votes, but I'm listening carefully for specific points, and for me, that's immeasurably helpful. It's not my intention to squash or offend anyone.

I had a strange dream a couple nights ago, one that's impressed me with the importance of sharing what little bit I can with confidence say I know, in spite of my lack of impressive intellectual power and my often frail example of living deliberately and well.

There are so many worthy issues to consider, to lose sleep over, and to work hard for. It's tough to know how best to put them in order of importance and complete the puzzle that is responsible and faithful citizenry. I'm convinced that it's impossible to without error comprehend all of the motivations and levels of integrity possessed by present and potential government leadership. It's worth exhaustive efforts to try and keep trying to get that information, but who can ultimately say what is 100% true? The contenders for power begin to look much the same in this often unsavory race. Like so many others, I am more than sorry that there will be no one on this year's ballot who adequately represents me and who will fight for all of my concerns.

I find I am forced to have to choose one issue from among the many which are important to me, so I will have a sound foundation upon which I can gather materials and build effective discernment. I have to reconcile inside myself which point of agreement I absolutely must be able to count on, first and foremost, for further discussion to continue, and for my allegiance to still be willingly offered.

As I've looked for any available secrets to understanding, one analogy has kept coming back and back to my mind. I think of our nation (and on a smaller scale, my own local community) simply as a household, a family. I compare political issues with the equivalent problems a family has to continually face and resolve. To me, there's such great correlation. How do we handle our money? How do we treat our family members? How are basic decisions made, and who makes them? How do we treat our neighbors? How do we provide for our own needs? How do we go about assisting others, or intervening in their problems? What are our standards for keeping our home clean and in order? Who pays the bills? How and what do we contribute to the beauty and safety of our neighborhood? How do we handle disputes? How do we take care of our own physical and mental health? What do we do with our aging grandparents or other disabled family members? What kind of education do we seek, and where, and when? What's the balance of responsibility in our home? Who's allowed to live here, and under what conditions? What is our attitude toward charity? disaster? success? punishment? communication? There are so many more questions that need asking and answering. A thinking person, a responsible family member, eventually gets around to worrying about them all. Which issue lies closest to the heart?

For some, it is the environment. For others, it is health care. For others still, it is foreign relations, personal rights, education, employment, domestic affairs, gender issues, or social programs. For me, it is the preservation of the family itself. I suppose this is that uncomfortable point where some of my friends and family members and I will, with mixed emotions, separate to journey down our different paths, but with respect to their views and without apology for my own, I feel to say that by "family" I only mean the traditional family, the one that grows from the legal and divinely-designed bond of marriage between a man and a woman.

I return to the nation as household in a global neighborhood analogy. What could persuade me the fastest to break with my own household, to sever fundamental relationship ties? If I was married to a man brimful of faults, which of those, if any, would I find 100% intolerable from the first moment I recognized it? On which point would I be willing to yield no compromise? What would inspire me fastest to pack up the children and get out? I have discovered that for me there is indeed an issue upon which all else hinges. That husband, that commander-in-chief, or that local leader, will not receive my loyalty or deference who does not above all other concerns protect the family itself, through clearly defining and committedly defending its integrity. There are so many other points to consider, but not until this one is settled.

That's how it is with me. All else falls in line after this primary consideration. The configuration and safety of the family is the first point of accountability that a candidate needs to own and address when I'm the one asking the questions, and just as all the rest of you are so anxiously doing, I am definitely asking questions at this critical time in our history.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

You are excessively popular with me, my dear. Family preservation comes in first place with me, too...then encouragement of self-reliance and self-government (in fact, I might lean a little Libertarian on the last point). The international popularity contest doen't bother me at all anymore for some reason. The pressing need to defend the family was hit home to me on the last two pages of this month's Ensign. It may just be a coincidence, but I think GBH is trying to tell us something. And seein's how it's the last days and all, I'm trying to HEED! Hey, you should move to Montana where even the Democrats are conservative. I could vote for our democratic gubernatorial candidate just as easily as the republican if I used the above issues (as well as a focus on encouraging small businesses, second amendment rights, personal liberty, etc.)as my yardstick. I think the republican is more experienced, though, and has a better grip on improving education, so I have been workng his campaign since July. But politics are painful for me, I'm finding...I keep using the YW values as a yardstick, too, and most candidates for anything anywhere just can't measure up. The Millenial Reign looks better every year.