Dear Sister So & So ...

There's a lady in our church who has been forwarding these right-wing political e-mails to us lately. This annoyed me. The first one I ignored. The second one irked me. The third one got a response. What follows is the complete draft of my response e-mail. In the end I opted for a the first sentence, but here it is in its glory. You can tell me if it was wise to send this to someone who I'm not sure I even know who she is:

Dear Sister So & So,

I hope this doesn't offend you and know that what follows is meant with respect and love, but we would appreciate if you would please stop forwarding these political e-mails to us. Just because we go to the same church does not necessarily mean that we hold the same political opinions. See, I and my wife are Mormon Democrats, one of those mythical creatures you read about in books but never see in reality, like a unicorn or the Loch Ness Monster. There are not many of us, but we do exist.


As to your forwarded e-mail, titled "Wake Up, People", I would like a chance to respond to some of the things I took umbrage with.

Personally, I am glad I live in a country where I and my countrymen are free to say what they will about the President, regardless of the who sits in the Oval Office. And yes, this includes jokes at out leadership's expense, in peacetime or war. This is why my ancestors fled their native lands years and generations ago, to be free to speak their mind without fear of being clapped in irons or beheaded in the public square. I'm glad that I have the freedom to say that our war with Iraq is misguided at best, a complete sham and a waste of life and treasure at worst. I am glad that people are free to protest a war they do not agree with just as I am glad and proud of those men and women who fight on behalf of our country. I only wish we were honoring their sacrifice with a war that was worth dying for. I am glad that someone like Stephen Colbert can roast the President at the White House Correspondents dinner and not have to worry about "being disappeared." Partially because it reminds us that our leaders are human beings, not infallible demigods whose word is as if from Heaven.

Also, because it's funny.

I am glad that newspapers keep watch over our government and expose inhumane treatment of fellow human beings in the custody of our armed forces. As an American and as a Christian, I cannot see any instance where complete degradation, physical torture (I looked "waterboarding" up; it's torture) and gross mistreatment can be construed as proper or necessary. If this is what we have to do to win "the War on Terror," then I don't think I want to win. I don't think we deserve to win.

I am glad that I can worship God as I see fit and am glad that our Constitution affords others the privilege to do so as well. Even Muslims. If the recent polygamy sect coverage in Texas teaches me anything, it's that it's a tricky proposition to lump a small group of fanatics in with a larger religious group. I personally cringe whenever "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" is spoken over the air because I know that being tied, even tangentially, to that sadness on display sets us back as a people. I would imagine that Muslims feel a similar twinge of remorse when their religion is portrayed as a haven of psychopathic zealots hot for Infidel blood.

I am glad that, come November, I can step into a little booth and, after months of thoughtful consideration and prayer, (and I'm serious about this. I've prayed about it. And I feel good about my decision.) vote my conscience as to whom (did I use that word right? Doesn't sound right.) would make the best leader for our country for the next four to eight years. I am confident you will do so as well.

As a member of the church I think one of the most interesting things I have learned is that "united" does not mean "uniform." We can disagree on things like politics, sports, science or American Idol and still be working toward the same goal: happiness in this life and eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whether Republican, Democrat or in-between, I truly believe that the vast majority of the American people are just, reasonable and good people who want to do what's right. We just go about it differently. Because we're different. It's sort of how we were made, right?

I'm not asking you to agree with me, just to respect that I, as a Mormon and a Democrat, feel and think differently on some issues and respectfully ask you to understand that. There is a reason that our political system, which I believe to be divinely inspired, allows for two or more parties. There is more than one way to look at any problem. None are necessarily "more right" than the other. They're different. As I'm sure you know, the truth most often lies somewhere in-between two diametrically opposed poles. Vilifying the opposition or making them out to be a bunch of crazy people is short-sighted and damaging to our country and our cause.

Please know that I love you as a sister in Christ and wish you well.

Your brother,

I sort of have a history of these long-winded political e-mails that never get sent, don't I, Chanel? It's sort of my thing. Michaelangelo painted ceilings, Perseus beheaded Medusas, I write rambling political e-mails that I never send.


Patti said...

I am applauding.

I have also sent emails asking people not to forward political propaganda, although I am equally careful how I phrase my objection.

It bothers me that people assume they know where I stand on political issues just because I go to church with them.

I learned a really long time ago this was a delicate proposition, this political business. Ever since that time I told my Dad I didn't believe in inherited wealth and I thought Marx was onto something. Seriously, I told him that.

Now I'm a registered Republican, but a liberal one. And I prefer the label Independent because I grew up in Massachusetts where they voted straight down party lines . . . sort of like the opposite of Utah.

P.S. That lady hates you now.

Dylan said...

Patti, thanks. I'm a registered Democrat, but a moderate one. Obviously on "moral" issues, ("The Big Two") I skew right, but otherwise, yeah, I'm fairly a fairly liberal guy.

And re: that lady hating me - I sincerely hope not. I just sent her the first sentence. "I hope this doesn't offend you and know that what follows is meant with respect and love, but we would appreciate if you would please stop forwarding these political e-mails to us." I think that's nice enough, right?

Besides, she only has our e-mail from the Relief Society list, so I would assume she shouldn't be using that list to mail this stuff out anyway, right?

If she does hate me, well, I guess that's between her and the Lord, right?

Patti said...

ugh, I was trying to be funny...

I knew you only sent the first sentence (still applaud you) and really, I was kidding. Although there was that lady in DC who was VERY unhappy with me because I told her I didn't appreciate Rush coming up in Relief Society.

She doesn't hate... :)

chanel said...

DUDE, you so totally ROCK! How do you find the ability to restrain yourself from sending the whole thing?????? This was EXTREMELY well written.

Our ward is the first one I have EVER gone to that actually respects (or fears) us Mormon Dems, maybe also b/c there are more than just The Adams in that category- strength in numbers rules!

andrea said...

I know I never comment on your blog, but I just checked in and I am laughing so hard. We too have been getting these emails and I am SO ANNOYED! I hate forwards in general, but especially these, I don't agree with any of them and it bothers me that she just got our name off the CHURCH list! The last one entitled "Wake up Folks" was particularly annoying. It really didn't make any sense.

Please for the benefit of everyone...send the whole email :)

Dylan said...

Patti, Thankfully, I've never had Rush brought up in a meeting, though I did once storm out of a Sunday School lesson (leaving in such a hurry/huff/hissy fit that I inadvertently knocked Chanel's sunglasses right off her head. oops, sorry.) where a ward member claimed that the Lord had intervened in the 2000 election to make sure Gore didn't win.

Because, you know, He's a Republican. Obviously. Which is why He let a Democrat - and a philandering one at that - win.


Chanel, Thanks. If I had more of an attention span, I'd have gone through a draft or two, but, well, that would take time and concentration. And we all know that isn't going to happen.

As far as not sending them goes, I have no idea why I can't "seal the deal." I just can't. I'm a chicken. In the end, I want everybody in the whole world to love me. At least that's what my therapist says. Or did I read that in a fortune cookie? Oh well, same difference, right?

Andrea, I could handle the whole "disagreeing with it" thing if:

A) It were at all reasonable. The whole tone of the e-mail (which I won't reprint. It's not worth it.) was so alarmist and illogical. It was like Grandpa/ma forgot to take his/her meds, passed out in front of Fox News, woke up in a panic and started writing every crazy thing that entered their head. It was very "kids these days/keep off my lawn!"-ish.

The whole timbre of the e-mail was not one of discussion. Like too many politics lately, it's been a lot of "You don't agree with me? Well, you're obviously a godless, unAmerican Communist." There's no civility in it. It totally refuses to admit that the "other side" may have anything resembling a point. It's just bilious rhetoric shouted at even more bilious rhetoric, only louder.

B) I knew who this sister was. If I could place a face to the crazy, I would have maybe been more charitable, but since she just sent it blindly to her Relief Society list, that got me going.

chanel said...

dude, you so knocked my sunglasses off! whoa- look out! that was scary! hahahhahahaa makes me laugh so hard now!

I wish I had been listening and I could have stormed out with ya!

bryanorion said...

DON't be a shicken, holmes. I think it was awfully presumptuous of her to send it in the first place.

I've found myself being particularly vocal about these things. I recently repremanded a self-proclaimed Christian for saying racist utterances within my earshot at a restaurant. I'm tired of people getting away with this stuff. Especially under the guise of being good Christians.

Now is the time to speak your mind. If you can plant a seed in just one person's head, who knows? Maybe there'll be a tree come November.