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Now, for a die hard modern Whig to get up on his or her "soapblog" and start with a religious quip about a specific group, you ought realize that there is some cognitive dissonance going on. I mean, we've been called the "amoral" party by some, as we do not espouse individual morality publicly. I've found this ironic ( or maybe moronic), as at the time we were labled amoral by some, we had more than one member of the National Executive Committee serving in their church, as an elder, or missionary, or deacon.
Amoral indeed! So how can folks with such deep beliefs, and obvious personal committment to their respective religions cotton to being called amoral?
Because that is personal and as Whigs, which is a PUBLIC face of each of us ( homo politicus),we are not judgemental on individual morals. Ethics? HECK YES!!!Ballistic on Ethics! Morals, not so much so. But, the citizenry seems almost hung up on morality. And today's politicians, being the rational self interested actors they are, play into that very, very well. Clearly, the public has not yet mastered the 'zen' of being a Whig, as they are easily swayed by a criteria which may actaully be irrelevant, not easily measured, and very easily manipulated.
Ethics are "common ground" and easily measured.
My opinion, and not an MWP opinion. You arent electing a rabbi, priest, shaman, imam, or sifu. You are electing an effective adminsitrator and fiduciary to all citizens. Continuting in imho mode, have any of you come to the conclusion that the pols speaking to morality is designed to frame the discussion with the ILLUSION of leadership?
That's right. The discussion of public morality by politicians is designed to give the ILLUSION of leadership, where none really exists. Too Whiggy for you? Still, something you may want to cogitate on and discuss with others. I may also encourage you to take the MWP Academy Leadership course to crystallize exactly what a leader is, and exactly what a follower is. The cliff note version: what we are seeing out there today are followers, not leaders. Check the definitions. I knew that somewhat intuitively being in uniform for a bit and business for alot, recognizing what good and true leadership is. Yet, I relearned something important in that leadership course (which comes from a military org) which helps my Whig zen see through the hubris of supposed leadership,rather clearly I might add. Whig ZenSee. Sounds funny.
Yet, here we may be faced with the selection of two individuals for Commander-in-Chief next fall. One a Christian whom some believe to be a closet Moslem ( ??), and the other from a 'fringe' or 'cult' religion. In my parenthesis, as I dont see it quite that way. And here I also assume that many citizens will not cast their votes for minor or third party candidates. They rarely do.
So will Americans vote for one or the other due to their religious beleifs? Some clearly will, and many of our Whig brothers and sisters will say that is wrong, the key should not be one's religion. I would have to say that,generally speaking,they are entirely correct.
Yet,here and now,this Whig is going to explain why you may consider voting for one of the candidates based on religious beliefs, but not in the way you think.
First, lets go back to my definition of who we should be electing, : an effective administrator and fiduciary to the people. I would encourage all citizens to throw the notion of electing a good leader out, until they truly define what leadership is. Most folks dont really know, but likely have some visceral or intuitive feel about it. If they were to take our leadership course, that intuitive notion would be honed into a razor's edge and they would quickly realize, "Oh my God, they're all followers!". (They may also hit the logical conclusion,after some analysis,that our current electoral system is hard pressed to provide true leadership.)
So what of the effective adminsitrator? That one is pretty factual and easy to judge (and we are being asked to judge here) from the candidates resume and prior experience. It could be business experience, military experience, social service experience, etc, and need not be public policy adminsitration experience. In fact to the last type of experience....
Can someone who spent their whole lives in government really be called an effective admnistrator? Do politicians who are forced to spend 30-50% of their time raising money for relection or election campaigns be called effective administrators of the public good? We will not answer that here, and will go further and say that maybe framing the criteria as effective administrator might not go far enough. I leave that to you.
The second criteria may not be any less slipepry, but I'll take a stab at it. A fiduciary to the public. How can we determine that? From prior experience? Well, as a Veteran I will tell you that anyone who says to me that they took the oath to defend the U.S. Constitution ( which all soldiers swear to) "from all enemies foreign and domestic", just might be on the way to being a proper fiduciary. This gives them a universally held set of political mores and values that all U.S. citizens should beleive in. It's a start, but a fiduciary is truly driven by ethics.
So, can we say that our citizen representatives should be loyal to the U.S. Constitution above all else? And in that way, can be universal fiduciaries to the people, reducing all our competing interests into a single common belief set?
We tend to practice much too much reductionism in our lives already. Its our way of being cognitively lazy, so we might as well define it explicitly, and then set out proper criteria. Yes?
Now I am ready to speak to religion, which ought be the last criteria for a good Whig to use, right? No WRIGHT.
If you havent lived out West, it is likely you have never met a Mormom. We had the pleasure of seeing the Hill Cumorah Pageant, which is held outside Palmyra NY, not far from where I grew up. That was my first introduction to Mormonism sometime in the mid-1970's. And a lovely introduction it was! However, they seemed really queer in their belief set starting with a modern prophet who moved from our area to Utah for religious freedom by the name of Joseph Smith. A prophet,here in the States? Really?
Really. We must learn not to judge folks on their beliefs ( or their camoflauged skins!), as long as those beliefs are in line with natural law and good conscience,i.e. live and let live. I am still in IMHO mode here, but if I may "flip" into Whig mode, as far as our homo politicus, or "political selves" we all need to view our REPRESENTATIVES not as leaders, for which most are clearly not, but as REPRESENTATIVES. As we are being asked to judge, formally, we then should be a bit more formal about the methodology we use to judge, shouldn't we?
Still in Whig mode: In the ideal context of a republican democracy, the citizens would be much more engaged in the process of crafting legislation. This process is happening now, but in the context of our dysfunctional, controlled and very "corporate" money-dominated process today, it takes the form of SuperPacs. When we Whigs speak of reforms of methodology, the core reform is right there. Replacing the SuperPac paradigm of the pooling of collusion of interests with a more interactive, informative, non-confrontational and consenus building process that is entirely cellular, i.e., no barriers to entry, only multiple avenues to better governance By The People. Looking for consensus and commmon ground, using scientific fact to underpin public policy, new public policy origination and development mechanisms and institutions that arise from open and public sources ( Whig Roundtables are our example of this which must be replicated across the nation at all levels of governance!) and a total revamp of our electoral processes to allow true leadership, of great adminsitrators with the common good at heart, to emerge, to replace the ruling class with a meritocracy Of The People.
Did I digress? Heck no! This is the Whig paradigm and dream in a paragraph. It frames our mission and how we ought choose our representatives.
In the most broad stroke, what type of candidate/representative can share that dream with us and the silent center of the American body politic? Truly a new Republic formed from the good of the old, in a "Back to the Future" context, without the need for any catharsis, revolution or strife.
Can you see why we modern Whigs prefer candidates that are from outside the system? Can you see why term limits and limited control by political parties of the electoral process are core tenets of our Renewed American System?
So this modern Whig might ask you to consider viewing your candidates from that place a bit more often. My personal opinion: there is a much greater chance of electing a true leader from that place. Remember, most true heros were unsuspecting/unwitting. Leadership is not unlike that.
So this Whig resepctfully submits candidate metric number one: Is the candidate part of the current paradigm ? I.e., are they so entrenched in the current methods of politics that they cannot reasonably be expected to promote a modern Whig-driven paradigm shift in the governance of our Republic.
In the context of the Presidential campaign, controlled by the oligarchs or "corporate parties" as I personally like to refer to them, it is hard to image a true leader emerging from that process. The odds certainly aren't in our favor. A true leader likely wouldn't perform well in the current paradigm, but may make it through the process, slightly 'stained'. Conversely, it might be likely that anyone who makes it through today's Presidential electoral process with flying colors, may, in fact, be exactly the wrong candidate. Why? Because the process is flawed, Whigs beleive. And since Whigs Vote and are forced to judge, we will, but on our terms, laying naked the flaws and prejudices of the current system before we do.
As I have often put in simpler terms, we will know we have elected a true leader as President when he or she eventually turns their back on their party, focuses on The People and simply does the right thing. Remember Ike?! President Obama showed some potential early on, but.... the system.....
The above seemingly counterintuitive,or reversed,logic, is what I call the "zen" of being a modern Whig. We have to see through the flaws of the current system of representation, and see how those flaws can cause us to make bad choices, or frame our political views improperly( the big problem in Whig eyes ). Whig Zen see.
So there is candidate metric #1.
Candidate metric #2: Effective adminsitration. Should we say proven leadership? Would that preclude some folks who may have leadership potential that has not been tapped yet? We need some metric that identifies "doers" from "fakers" here. As the term leadership is oft misused in today's context, until we relearn what true leadership is ( think Ike!), this Whig feels "effective administrator" might be a more reliable metric. As long as its not political administration possibly.
But, as all things modern Whig, we are not TELLING, we are just sayin'! Being a Whig means you let go of your own prejudices for a moment and think it through yourself, no ego,using your intellect alone. So EVERYTHING the MWP does is not to "lead", but to provide tools and methods to lead. Different than folks are used to indeed!
Candidate metric #3. As I have framed it above in this long blog, it would be hard to measure in today's context. One who supports the Constitution? Switching to IMHO mode here: what I am searching for is a piece of common ground to build consensus with. This may come as a shock to some readers of this, but we modern Whigs are truly DIE HARD Constitutionalists. IMHO, I would argue, in a much purer and truer form that many of the current parties who claim to be defenders of the Constitution and "founding ideals". Which segues me back into MWP mode: in the current context, being a true Constitutionalist might be misconstrued unless we frame it ridiculously as a candidate/party who supports both the NRA and the ACLU. Because a true Constitutionalist just might. And citizens best start thinking well out of the box.
In the current Presidential campaign, Gov Perry did NOT exhibit the nature of a true Constitutionalist when he, in this Whig's opinion, threw a perfunctory call to revamp the U.S. Constitution out on the web. With no respect due to Gov. Perry's tolerance to racism, this Whig BLACK BALLED him immediately. That's right Rick, BLACK BALL. Which looks and feels like a swift and decisive black FIST upside your head! IMHO, can't beleive such sophmoric boobs actually succeed in politics today.
Anyway, a candidate that plays nilly willy with the Constitution to promote their agenda or a salient minority agenda, is truly the adversary of the modern Whig.
MWP believes we have everything we need to 'wright' the Republic within our grasp without any such thing, or cathartic event, or revolution. Hogwash, all of it! We simply have to create new institutions to foster the right kind of political participation by citizens, and everything else will follow. The vested interests will clearly put up a fight, but against an empowered 100 million citizens? Let it Roll Baby Roll!
So I leave candidate metric #3 provisional and open to your review. It might not be relevant for local electoral contests anyway.
And we have the added complication of the right wing fringe being viewed as the standard bearer of Contitutionality, but MWP beleive a false one. Can the American public handle a bunch of 'amoral', almost "lefty freaks" being the true defenders of that document? We modern Whigs take our guidance on methods, processes, the role of the electorate, from that Document and from the factual comments of the original Founding Fathers, i.e, the First Whigs. Today, it almost seems trite to mention the Founding Fathers in any political piece. Everyone claims to be "with them". Well, we're here to tell you, MWP is the vanguard, the true vanguard of Constitutional and founding principles in today's politcal marketplace.
So I challenge you to use the metric Constitutionalist? in your decision matrix of candidate selection on the national level, at least try it. Example, the current Commander-in-Chief: Constitutionalist? Interesting question given that he taught ConLaw.
But as all of us must be mindful, if you must judge, judge on ACTION, never on Words. Never on Words! WORD! Basic core Zen of Whig tenet. Whig Zen See.
Amongst our state senators here in NY, we have two FAILS on this, as the very left leaning Dems cant help but support a utopian ideal. Hey, MWP does too support a utopian ideal, just a more practical, pragmatic and broadly representative one! Sen Gillenbrand was a moderate, until she got power from the Dems. Off to Chuck's left she ran.
So what does any of this have to do with a Mormon?
Well, regardless of who MWP officially backs this fall, which puts me back in IMHO mode: most citizens will be faced with a simple two candidate choice as many citizens do not prefer to "throw away" their vote on a minor or third party candidate. Reality. Not a judgement.
As MWP we'll consider putting out a more carefully thought out Candidate Metrics guide to assist voters in their decisions, without recommending specific candidates, yet asking voters to evaluate candidates using these common ground metrics of true leadership, i.e., in a new light. This may be the best public service MWP can offer this electoral season.
Let me conclude here on a personal note: If you are one of the voters faced with the two candidate choice this fall,and are fearful of voting for someone from a 'cult' religion,here is my PERSONAL observation of members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).
Now, generalizations are generally not scientific! But here is one that many professionals have made over the years. Recall that the Mormon religion was founded here in the United States. Recall that a basic tenet of the LDS religion is that the Untied States is indeed the promised land. So as I PERSONALLY get to provisional metric #3 for Gov Romney, I recall what the counterintelligence officer told me when he was vetting some new additions to my interrogation platoon, "No worry on those two Sarge. They're LDS. Their 11th commandment is never screw your country."
Come to find out members of the LDS church filled the halls of CIA HQ in Langley VA, and were widely held to be very Patriotic and reliable intelligence soldiers. I dug 'em too, great troops!
Now, whether Gov Romney would be as quick to give it all for the Republic as some of us, I donnow? And generalizations arent very accurate. But he has the potential, imho, to truly lead.
This Whig can only pray that he is indeed a good and true Mormon. And, if elected, that he eventually distances himself from the oligarchs ( the two corporate parties) and all their vested interests that got him there, and works for you, and for me, and helps wright the Republic for generations to come. We need a leader, not another follower.
We had hope for Obama as a leader, but he turned out to be a schill of the corporates. Another yes man, manchurian candidate, without the ability to lead. Just another follower. Which is what we cannot afford again.
It's Joseph Smith, not John Smith. 7;-]
Whoa. Edited. Thnx Twich, don't want to offend anyone! I should have checked the reference and not relied on a visit to Hill Cumorah in 1976. Apologies all.
And GeeWhiz! Someone actually read it, at least half way through! Its mighty long.
Nice post, thought provoking. With that said, I'd like to beg to differ with what I consider a false equivalency and that is your classification of President Obama as a corporate shill. Now, are the two major parties both suspect in terms of their involvement with corporations: absolutely. To the same degree? My opinion is no but that's not my point. I believe it's a false equivalency to compare President Obama's stance on corporations in certain issues with either the Democratic party as a whole or especially the Republican party as a whole (which lately seems to be by of and for the Corps) or even candidate Romney as an individual. Just saying "Well, he did this for the corporations, write him off!" then turns this election into a false comparison.
If we want to compare the two candidates based on their stance on corporations, I would present this evidence to consider:
Obama was in favor of removing certain corporate tax loopholes, breaks, and welfare that are certainly not necessary (oil companies most notably). These are popular ideas. Romney opposes this and claims that this is effectively a tax increase. Now, without arguing the truth of that assessment, this minimally shows that in at least one case, Romney is certainly more pro-corporation than Obama (some of the most successful corporations in the history of the world, no less). If one wanted further evidence, one might look to Romney's defense of the debacle Citizen's United Supreme Court case and his quip to a voter "Corporations are people, my friend!". I disagree with that statement so strongly I'm not even sure what the right word for it is. I would think that the MWP would very strongly disagree with it as well.
Now, there are of course plenty of other evidence which we could discuss. You could say that the auto industry and bank bailouts are proof of Obama's favor of corporations. It would be hard to argue that. To counter, I could point out Romney's stint at Bain Capital where "vulture capitalism" led to large profits, massive layouts, and multiple bankrupt companies. It also made Romney rich.
I completely agree that Romney's (or Obama's, or anyone else's) religion or lack thereof has nothing to do with their ability to do their job in office. In terms of electable qualities however, I'm disinclined to vote for a man who "doesn't care about the very poor", "likes to fire people", and thinks "corporations are people" in the hopes that he will magically transform into a person who cares about the middle class in lieu of corporations and the very rich.
Carnac, I tend to use the term "corporate parties" not to imply that the two parties are in bed with corporations, but that they in fact have become corporations unto themselves, and like most political corporations, i.e, bureaucracies, their primary concern is self-perpetuation.
If President Obama is a shill for anything, it would seem from empirical observation, it would be a socialist attack on the U.S. Constitution. I cant imagine where the purse strings lead on that, or if its internally generated and then mated with a "liberal" agenda.
I might argue he had no choice whatsoever on the bailouts. The executive branch loves to claim effect, whereas they actually have none, or in the case of the 2008-09 period, very little influence albeit on a tactical level. The economy controls the economy, not some President. Fact. This is one of my hot button pet peeves about pols. They dont control anything macro, but take credit. Its false causality.
True it be, that we Whigs do not view corporations as having ANY Constitutional protections whatsoever. Here the U.S. tax code that considers them "non human entities" is spot on.
As a journalist and a Vet, I have to agree with you and to say I believe the first step is to take back the government. This looks like a good first step.
As a Mormon, I'm telling everybody -- Don't vote for Mitt. I haven't heard a truthful statement cross his lips, and given the state of the nation and the current public appeal to elect a self-described Christian demigod, the last thing an honest Christian needs to do is lie his way into office. What is he hiding?
I am saddened to hear this Dave, and I do indeed respect your opinion. Can you be more specific on the mistruths?
I served with troops much better than I, with LDS on thier tags. They were utterly reliable, and utterly true blue. Now I understand why more. Adding, that is also a prejudice, albiet a postive one, and therefore inherently inaccurate.
Mitt caused me concern when he succumbed to the role of "follower" and signed that marriage contract in Iowa. No moral judgement on my part, but a character judgement. I am looking for a true leader. Also realized that Mitt wasnt a Whig at that point. While we Whigs may be exceptionally moral men and women, we reserve the place and time to exhibit, and public governance is not the place.
Once again, our choice becomes the lessor of two "evils", or more accurately, a vote against one, not for one. Not quite a Hobson's choice, but pretty near.
I got excited about Mitt. Thought maybe he was the real deal. Yet, as I try and prove in the hypothesis above, the process of Presidential selection (and ballot access in general)as it stands today, literally has bureaucratic/institutional obstacles to a true leader emerging.
We wont get true leaders until we shake the system some. Which is why I feel so deeply committed to what we are doing here, even though it may seem quite impossible to some.
We must wright the Republic for our future generations. We have no alternative.
Dave, I hope you like what you see here, as we Whigs need all the Paul Reveres spreading the word as we can muster. Thank you for your comments, and your service sir.
As a Latter-Day Saint, it's nice to see a Whig writing about this. Thanks for your remarks and I share your hope that Mr. Romney will continue to hold to the standards of our faith.
So far his only transgression against our beliefs I have seen publicly has been an overabundance of apologetics- there's no reason that he needs to justify our faith to the rest of America. I wish that he would lose the approach of "I'm a Christian, honest!" and just learn that whether or not the rest of the Christian world acknowledges us is immaterial since we believe their institutions to be corrupt anyway. There are times when I wonder why he's so desirous to have the label "Christian"- even though we are Christians, there are enough other ills associated with modern Christianity that I wonder if it's a label I want appended to me.
Excellent points Jeff.
Anyone who has ever been to the Pageant would have no doubt that LDS are Christian. Some faithful can be very closed-minded to alternative, yet similar, realities.