Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stop Me Before I Get Political

I don't like to get political. There's so much tension in politics, especially right now.

But I have so so much to say. Oh so much.

I think it's better to keep my mouth shut. Because this is what will happen:

Those of you who agree with me will feel grateful. You'll be glad someone else is talking about your feelings on the various subjects I'm dying to talk about.

And those of you who don't agree with me will still not agree with me and will have a knot in your stomach because you think I'm just a little delusional and stupid.

So how about this? How about if all of us agree to read two or three things a week from different sources: conservative, liberal, moderate. Let's come up with a good list for each other of sources that are reasonable and thoughtful. Post article ideas in the comments, and I will read them. Maybe we can all read them and have a rational, educated discussion.

And until then, read this on civility. Beautifully, powerfully stated. I especially loved these paragraphs:
The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies.

Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. As the Church begins to rise in prominence and its members achieve a higher public profile, a diversity of voices and opinions naturally follows. Some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church. However, individual members think and speak for themselves. Only the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles speak for the whole Church.


Amber said...

This is going to sound snarky, and it isn't meant that way because I like your idea, but how do we agree on which opposing source to read if we think it's just junk? Like if I said "Time", "Newsweek"
"BBCAmerica" or "NPR", which would you choose for me to read/listen to, or do you have another suggestion? And you would probably feel the same about my suggestions.
I am being totally sincere. :)

Danielle said...

Having married a man of completely different political beliefs than my own, I know it is possible to keep things respectful and civil. Good discussion helps me clarify my own position.

I think this is a great idea, and I like the idea of reading info instead of listening or watching, because I think the "talking heads" are a big part of the problem.

So, what topic is first?

Kerri said...

Amber, I understand what you mean. I think when I'm reading certain things I understand that the article is way biased (even if it's something I might agree with on the surface), and those aren't the kind I'm interested in. I think we'd all do better with thoughtful articles about important topics.

What should we do first? The differences of ideologies? Role of government? The importance of differing opinions in a democracy? Why people think Obama is the anti-Christ? (Totally kidding on that last one, of course.)

And how should we do it? Should we create a blog where all of us can be participants and post articles we find and then we can all discuss them (civilly, of course) in the comments? What do you think? I kind of like the idea.

Kerri said...

I have a link to share, but it's not working in the comments for some reason. I'm going to try again:

I found many of his points interesting.

Megan B. said...

I haven't read that article yet (waiting until I'm more alert), but I would love to participate in this.

Kerri said...

OK, for those of you who are interested, email me and let me know if you'd participate in a new blog. If there's enough of us with differering opinions (so we need you, Amber, and Lori, if you're reading this), it might be well worth learning from each other.

Debbie and Boys said...

I'm sure you didn't mean to be funny but when I first started reading this post I laughed out loud. Probably because I think (correct me if I'm wrong) you learned some of your skills in approaching these type of topics where not everyone agrees and there needs to be peace if ANYTHING is going to be accomplished type environment from growing up in a large family. Just my thoughts, probably not even coherent.
But here this post. (oh, I just gave a talk on contention...thoroughly dove into it, and really Christians have no room for contending. So I'd agree with Danielle, its possible to keep things respectful and civil and still thorougly engage in educated discussion.)

Amber said...

I have meant to read it and email you, but we are smack dab in the middle of moving. Will you put me on the list anyhow? I did save the article, so when I get my computer plugged back in--next week sometime--I will read it. I am excited for this!