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Erin Ann McBride
Tuesday, November 06 2012

Elections, Facebook, and the Throne of Thoughtless Stupor

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swing state politics

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Romans 13:1

Election Day is finally here, can I get an amen hallelujah? Finally all of the ads, robo-calls, and biased, vile, angry, Facebook updates by my friends who share my views but take their passions to extreme levels, can stop!

In just a matter of hours it will all be over with. As you read this I will be spending one very long day working at the polls again- this time thankfully inside a nice warm building. At least I hope it is warm. Last year I nearly froze to death 100 feet away from the polling station doors, where on the inside they had free coffee and hot chocolate just outside of my permitted reach. Please, please let it be warm on the inside this year!

But I digress…

I am so tired of all the hate that comes out during a campaign. I love politics, and I can say I probably love them more than most. But the hate gets to me. The extremist views of those who condemn other parties or politicians and blindly believe in their candidate (or worse, news source) both tire me and frustrate me. No one should ever so blindly follow any one person or entity without question or some hesitation. And that goes for people on both my side and the other side of the aisle. To put so much blind faith in anyone is to ask for disappointment, frustration, and even loss of faith later on. Even within our own religion we do not encourage people to blindly follow the prophets. We are taught to seek, ponder, and pray. When we are confused we are not told to blindly follow, but to continue our studies and to continuously pray for understanding. So why anyone would blindly follow a politician is beyond me.

On Facebook today I have seen a large number of friends and acquaintances making religious appeals both for and against the candidates. And more than one person has talked about the end of times, the last days, etc., and/or their undying testimony as to why it has to be one candidate or the other because it is what God wants to have happen. I’ll admit understanding pre-destination, fore-ordination, and free agency has never been my strong suit. In fact, it is one of the most complicated parts of the Gospel, from where I sit. But I have no trouble accepting that some of the most transforming events in the world (earthquakes, elections, wars, etc.) are foreordained.

My favorite Elder Neal A. Maxwell quote has always been, “The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well.”

If the Lord can place me where I need to be at the right time in the millennia, I am sure that He has placed the right person in the position of President of the United States- and all other countries as well. (I am often saddened by how many people think all revelations are strictly about Americans. To do so is an injustice to the majority of God’s children.) In other words, I do not think the election of one candidate or the other will usher the end of times tomorrow. I will have no trouble accepting the results and moving on. I wonder how many of the extremists I have encountered lately will be able to do the same?

Here’s a thought, if the “other” guy wins (and you are prone to thinking this will be the downfall of America and we are all destined to life under a dictator’s thumb), re-read Elder Maxwell’s quote. Maybe you have (and we all have) been placed on this earth at just the right time to be soldiers in the army that will defend and protect freedom? Maybe it won’t be the end of freedom, and instead it will be a call for “all good men to come to the aid of their country?” And these election results were always meant to be?

And if so, and the election results were always meant to be, maybe we can stop and have a little more respect for our fellow man?

We are far from being the first generation of people to live in a divisive age where so much depends upon our choices and actions. This is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of important political and patriotic crossroads. Please forgive me a little personal interjection and interpretation of one of my favorite scriptures-

Alma 60: 7 Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?

And if I may say so, I rather think there is no better description of a “throne of thoughtless stupor” than Facebook and the comments section of most internet forums. Let’s all try our hardest to not waste our time in a state of thoughtless stupor. Social media and social networking tools could and should be very effective means of communication. But the minute users turn into a state of thoughtless stupor (and that includes hate and extremism, in my view), it all becomes a waste of time.

A few more scriptures to contemplate over the next few days as election results come in and our country faces the next four years-

Alma 60: 27-28

27 And I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.

 28 Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss.

If on my deathbed I am allotted the opportunity to share the regrets of my life, I know I will not have to say that I did not take up the sword to defend the cause of my country (or at the very least, I took up my pen, which some say is mightier than the sword!). I am grateful for the opportunities I have taken to take up my sword and share my opinion, exercise free speech, choose which news networks to watch and listen to, volunteer at the polls, and to vote. And I will forever be grateful that while I did take the opportunities to share my opinions and a few facts online, that I never sank so low as to insult or berate others for their opinions (especially the people on my same side).


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