David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Thursday, August 18, 2005
Yes, I Would Vote for a Druid

The subject of religion has reared its whiny head in the high-profile city council races in the great and spacious valley to the north. Whether people with religious convictions really have a place in political life is a discussion we need to have. (I say they do; a lot of influential voices say otherwise.) But that's not what they're discussing in Salt Lake City. There the question is, Can an elected representative adequately represent someone who has different religious views? (The same could be asked, and has been, of differences in race, gender, economic status, age, and so on.)

My view: We've been a democratic republic for more than two centuries now. Isn't it time to grow up already? I am very committed to my own particular church, which happens to be the dominant one here in Utah Valley. But I would vote for an atheist or a Druid who shared my political philosophy before I would vote for, say, Nevada Senator Harry Reid (if he ran in Utah), who shares my religious affiliation but precious little else.

For that matter, I am a grievously well-educated, Caucasian, heterosexual, 40-year-old male. But I think a 25- or 85-year-old, non-white, lesbian college drop-out, who shared my political philosophy, would represent me better than a well-educated, polished, articulate, white, presumably straight gentleman such as Jim Matheson, who is presently my congressman. (That said, I note that Mr. Matheson clearly has virtues and skills, a fact which apparently is not lost on the majority of my fellow voters in District 2. Among other things, he runs a smart campaign; local Republicans could take a lesson.)

In our supposedly mature polity, political group-think is almost always bad, dangerous, and expensive - as it will be again in Salt Lake City, if they don't get past this silliness sooner than later.

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