I am a new contributor to this wonderful blog. While I am not a current member of the BYU-Idaho Democrats, I am a recent alumnus of BYU-Idaho and Ricks College. I was a Republican for all but one semester at Ricks/BYU-Idaho. It was one class and one professor that converted me to the other side. For this one class and professor, I am eternally in debt. There are few things for which I am more grateful. Thank you.
There is a quote from Elder Oaks which holds a special place in my heart:
“Those who govern their thoughts and actions solely by the principles of liberalism or conservatism or intellectualism cannot be expected to agree with all of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As for me, I find some wisdom in liberalism, some wisdom in conservatism, and much truth in intellectualism—but I find no salvation in any of them.”
This is one thing that always tells me there is wisdom in politics that seeks moderation. And as liberal as I am, that is something incredibly hard for me to admit.
Yes, there are issues which demand a strong stance, a stance in which you cannot meet in the middle. However, there is a need for balanced politics for many issues.
There are few things I enjoy doing more than helping Democrats get elected, especially in Idaho. Idaho is currently dominated by the Republican Party. My disdain for this very thing is not only rooted in my own political ideology, but it is rooted in a fear I have of a party, any party, dominating any politics, whether at a local, state, or national level. Do I want a Democratic majority in Idaho and in the United States? Yes, of course. But this majority must be met with strong Republicans. And, I find a significant difference between a majority and domination.
The reason I want strong Republicans in this country and even in Idaho is for one big reason. As a liberal, it is profoundly important that I constantly re-evaluate where I stand on issues. For over 20 years, I was a Republican and I believe I stood on the wrong side of issues for far too long. I never want to be found on the wrong side again. This isn’t just a want, it is an obsession. Therefore, it is imperative that I spend a lot of time reading up on issues. What are the pros and cons of Affirmative Action, minimum wage, war, “equal rights,” unions, welfare, etc...?
As important as reading is, there is a need for discourse. Democrats need Republicans to keep them balanced. This balance can only be attained through a healthy discourse. Not only do we need Republicans to keep us balanced, we need them to remind us why we are Democrats! Anytime I get frustrated with the Democratic Party, it only takes a few minutes of reading to remind me of why I am a Democrat. I am a Democrat and I am a liberal because I am Mormon, not despite the fact that I am Mormon.
Lastly, Elder Oaks’ quote, the most profoundly moving part, states, “…but I find no salvation in any of them.” As much as I love politics, and if you know me, you know how much I love it, this quote gives me some perspective. When this world has come and gone, when we find ourselves in the after-life, our political affiliations won’t be this divisive cancer that distances us from each other, it won’t even matter. In the end, politics won’t save us, Jesus will save us. It is okay to work in politics, to enjoy it, and to spend time studying it, but never forget that there is one thing that towers above it all, our Lord and Savior.