This one’s it.
For all of my friends who exuberantly encouraged me to speak loud and proud as an LDS progressive, I apologize. I am still very much progressive, and still feel the need to vent. However, there are more important things in life. Such as life.
I haven’t been blogging because of my anxiety. This last election left me angry and reeling. I’ve had a lot to process, and a lot on my plate including a move halfway across the nation, and embarking on a grandmothering adventure that I never, ever expected. Yep. It looks like I’ve become a “mother” again. Just the move and becoming a full-time grandparent can be stressful, but adding to my generalized anxiety disorder is my age. In the past couple of years I have suffered bouts of arrhythmia spurred on by age, weight, and anxiety. In an attempt to avoid further health complications, I have been trying to avoid all triggers including Facebook and politics. I haven’t been too successful in avoiding Facebook, but if I am not talking politics, at least I’m avoiding arguments, right?
But I am angry and I can’t let this blog die quietly. I want my readers, friends, and family to know where I stand before I go.
First, let me clarify my anger. At first my anger was directed at voters. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that people whom I would normally consider level-headed and stable would actually vote for a person as personally and morally corrupt as Donald Trump. I never, ever, considered him a solid business leader and I thought it was obvious that the man acheived his “greatness” through bullying and financial manipulation. When you can afford the best of deviant lawyers, you can do anything you want. I do mean anything.
Which leads me to the second reason for my anger. Once I realized that greatness could be bought, I became angry at Trump himself. He has the money to buy his way to the top, and money to keep himself there. Right, wrong, legal, or illegal. It doesn’t matter. He can pay those deviant lawyers, remember?
But Trump’s hot air and money can only go so far. You would think that the overwhelming majority of morally-minded Americans would not be able to stand for it, but as large numbers of protestors show up to exercize their first ammendment right on a recurring basis, the nation becomes more divided. The people who love him have become even more devoted, while those who don’t become even more disgusted. It looks to me as if we are on the brink of a second civil war. And while the nation tears itself apart from within, our commander-in-chief is working to bring down the forces to tear us apart from without.
Come on, people. You really couldn’t see this coming?
And so the third reason for my anger: partisan politics. George Washington warned that a two-party system would be the downfall of our nation:
However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” (Farewell address, paragraph 18, Saturday, September 17, 1796)
At first, I registered as a Republican. That was back in the day when I was easily swayed by popular opinion, and hadn’t really yet formed a political opinion of my own. As my first marriage progressed (regressed?), I began to form opinions–about male subversion, the patriarchal order, and the rightness (unrighteousness) of “war” in the Persian Gulf. When George Bush Sr. declared “victory” following the freeing of oil fields in Kuwait, I realized my loyalties did not lie with Republicans, so I later registered as an independant. But the unravelling of a never fully stable marriage put the seal on my political leanings. I could never, ever support any establishment that claimed male dominance over women. I became fully feminist, knowing that I had the right to be treated with equal respect as a spouse, a parent, a sibling, and as a child of God. I felt that as an independant thinker with progressive ideals, I would be best served by joining the Democratic party. Unknowingly, I had become an expendable pawn in America’s political system, and it didn’t really matter which side I aligned with.
I really had no control over any of it. This did not become fully evident I registered as a Democrat for the sake of voting in the primaries. I had heard that Utah had a reputation for “losing” Democrat registrations, so I registered a few months before the primary election and made sure to attend the local primary to make sure that my registration would be fully in place by the time I cast my vote in November. I was not at all surprised when I arrived at the primary polling place to find that my registration was not in the system. I was sure Utah’s Republican Party was responsible. I reregistered at the primary, and my vote was taken by hand. No box, just a piece of paper with Bernie’s name checked. I didn’t have any other problems until the final DNC election resulted in Hillary’s nomination. What? The overwhelming majority of Democratic voters I knew wanted Bernie!
Then I saw UNCOUNTED: The True Story of the California Primary, a YouTube video describing the chaotic conditions of California’s primary election. What I saw looked exactly like the process I experienced in Utah. It was obvious the DNC primary was stacked against Bernie from the very beginning. It was not Utah Republicans screwing with my vote, but my own chosen party. Now I am not even sure that I will remain registered as a Democrat. I do so now, only because it’s easier for the sake of voting. Under our two-party system, I feel like I really have no choice and no voice.
Finally, church members: Anti-feminism in Relief Society. I’ve moved out of the Utah County frying pan and into the Bible Belt fire. Maybe Kentucky’s culture feeds into it; I dunno. I hadn’t been here for more than a couple of months before one of the women in Relief Society spoke up to blame the ills of the world on feminists. Voices near me and behind me murmured their agreement.
There ya go, the same argument I’ve heard leveled over and over again on liberals in general. I admit that it is so hard for me to want to go to church these days, but I still go. I have learned, though, that when I disagree or find offense in off-handed remarks such as these, to just get up and walk out of the classroom. It’s easier and feels safer to me than leaving the church altogether.
Please don’t give up on me. I haven’t given up. My testimony is firmly rooted in personal revelation following the acute trial of my own personal faith. I can’t leave. I, like Joseph Smith and the apostle Paul, can firmly claim that I have gained that personal witness, it was real, and it is true. A Joseph Smith himself said, ” I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation. (Joseph Smith History, 1:24-25 )” And so it is with me.
The noose around this blog’s neck is the sweet little girl that has become a daily part of my life. My nest is no longer empty, and I simply do not have the time to adequately address the issues that bother me. I now work from home, and don’t have time to spend writing three different blogs. (Yes, I have three, and I still want to write books!) I now have to choose my battles, and unfortunately the only ones worth fighting are the ones that will keep this family financially stable and functional. Just like when I was a young mother, I just don’t have the time and the energy is nearly nonexistent.
I hope this isn’t goodbye forever, and I do hope that someday there may be a resurrection of sorts. For now, the voice that dares to mix politics and religion must find expression in other ways. In the meantime, those of you who kept reading until the bitter end know and understand my struggle. I still know and understand yours. I’ll keep you in my prayers. I’ll keep this nation in my prayers. I’ll keep our new church leadership in my prayers. I hope you’ll remember me in yours.