Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shortsightedness and American arrogance. I am guilty

As a rule, I do not talk politics when talking teaching; however, I had an interesting experience this weekend that got me thinking.

I had lunch with a friend whose parents are Canadian. My friend and I share similar political views and both of us are extremely against socialized medicine. Normally my friend and her parents agree on most things political, but this is one thing they completely disagree upon. Her parents keep telling her how much "the U.S. is going to LOVE socialize medicine." Her parents rave about how excellent it has been for their own health, and they love the fact that everything is "free." In spite of the fact that her mom had to wait almost two years to get her cancerous growth looked at because there were other Canadian citizens with more "life threatening" problems, and in spite of the fact that after her dad's hip replacement he was given absolutely no physical therapy and now struggles to get into a car, they still believe socialist medicine is the best thing for citizens. They are excited, actually giddy, at the possibility that their daughter will be able to experience such greatness. My friend is just as perplexed as I am about the whole situation. She is actually angry at the treatment her parents received under socialist medicine. She has said as much to them, but they still love it. They have no complaints. Interesting.

Now, I will not go into more of my feelings on the issue, other than to say I am clearly not a fan of socialism (which is an understatement to say the least).

What surprised me after pondering this conversation was my own American arrogance and shortsightedness. I tacitly and unconsciously assume that if you are Mormon, you are in favor of democracy. Now, it is not as if I am ignorant of or bias against other governments, I just always associate agency with democracy.  I have never lived in another country, I was raised a patriot, and I love democracy. During and after the missionary lessons, I became more so. Democracy and the Restored Gospel work together.

But as I was thinking about my friend and her parents, trying to understand their perspective, the 12th Article of Faith kept popping into my head.

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

It does not say the democratic law; it just says the law. And then it hit me; it is not about socialism and democracy. There are things about my government that I don't like, just as there are things about other governments that I don't like. I am subject to the law and the confines of my own government, just as my friend's parents are.

You can love socialism and still be a good and faithful Latter Day Saint. You can love a monarchy and still be a good and faithful Latter Day Saint. You can love a parliament and still be a good and faithful Latter Day Saint.  To be a good and faithful Latter Day Saint, you are subject to the law of the land and you should obey, honor, and sustain the law of your land...wherever that may be.

Now, I know that I simplified this issue quite a bit, but without writing a book on the whole thing, this seemed to work. But please, if you feel so inclined to comment, whether do agree or disagree, please do so.

I love little inspirations that make me feel smarter.

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