Here in Maryland early voting has ended. My birthday is just a few hours away.
Election day begins on Tuesday, November 6, with the opening of polls as early as 7am, but hundreds of thousands of people have already made their choices in states allowing early voting, or by mail through absentee ballot. This election is still too close to call, despite all the evidence that shows how big money is manipulating our election system.
As a result of my mother’s incapacitating long-term illness (Multiple Sclerosis), my father raised my sister and me as a single parent, at a time when such things were very far from the norm. Dad, not interested in organized religion, nevertheless instilled in me a wish to understand ethics and live by the Golden Rule as a basis for conduct.
For the first 40+ years of my life, my experience with organized religion came mostly in sound bites, in the form of weddings, funerals, holidays and other special occasions. Most of my friends were Catholic (mainly Italian) or Lutheran. As a child I attended a few services, mostly weddings or confirmations. Occasionally we would attend Passover Seders.
During the summer for more than ten years, we traveled throughout the US and Canada, until my father tired of driving and settled on a summer-house near Garden City, on the shore of Bear Lake, a beautiful spot at the very top of Utah near the borders of Idaho and Wyoming.
In our travels, Dad took us to Anasazi sites like Canyon de Chelly, Taos, and Santa Fe, all the way west to the Spokane World’s Fair, Eureka, CA and Seattle, north as far as Jasper, AB and south just close enough to Mexico to walk across the border one afternoon. There’s much to tell about those trips, but that’s not the point of this article and I’ll come back to them eventually.
With an architect’s help, Dad designed and built the Utah house on the hill overlooking Sweetwater, the local timeshare where I got my first job (working as a sitter). We visited Salt Lake City about once a year, along with trips to Logan, up to the Grand Tetons and once to Yellowstone and to the Salt Lake Tabernacle’s Temple Square. I traveled out to the house every summer with my sister and Dad until my Junior year of college, when I decided to stay for the Summer Repertory theatre program.
As an adult, my religious exposure ranged from liberal to orthodox in Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal, Pagan (several forms), United Methodist and Born-Again Christian traditions, among others.
I visited several UU congregations as part of an ongoing attempt at understanding faith and the Bible, but until 2005, the year I lost eight people in my circle of friends and family (some by association and some directly connected to me), I was not committed to any one religion.
After that terrible year, I sought to make some sense out of the platitudes and sermons or a way to interpret the losses and how people perceived them. I was already experimenting with the idea of committing to a congregation when we attended our first service at what I now consider my spiritual home, in January, 2006.
In the spring of that year, I signed the Membership book and became an official member of our Unitarian Universalist congregation. Since then I have worked hard to better understand other faiths in their context. I suppose that’s part of what makes the story below so horrifying to me.
From MetroActive come two stories of the internal life of Mitt Romney, not known until recently because there is pressure to keep such things private, within the confines of the faith.
Based on these stories, it seems that Romney talks a good Moderate game when coached to do so, but even through coaching his true opinions often leak out through the cracks, causing his campaign staff to “walk back” the things he has said.
Witness the flak caused by his “Binder full of women” comment. The men in my circle of friends have generally not understood what the fuss was about, but the women, especially those in the workforce, understand all too well.
These two related articles are well worth the read:
Reading these two articles brought me to this profile of Judy Dushku on The Mormon Women Project (http://www.mormonwomen.com/). Her profile raises questions for me of what the Mormon Church thinks of these women. I would call them pioneers for a new age. I suspect Gov. Romney would call them something else: Boat-rockers who belong in the kitchen, not in public.
Despite his protestations of moderation, Romney’s condescending remarks at the second Presidential debate about filling key positions in his gubernatorial staff with qualified women helps to expose an underlying story that paints a different picture of his views on women and their value in society.
President Obama’s sudden adoption of the term Romnesia comes closest to describing Romney’s convenient inability to remember the facts as they come to light. That these facts are damning is no less true, whether he admits to them or not.