I've heard a lot of people say how happy they'll be once the US election is over with. As a political junkie, a part of me doesn't want to see it end. It's entertainment at its best! But I think that even though I'm thousands of kilometres away from America, I can sense that things are getting ugly and, at times, even scary.
The past couple weeks, it seems that we've seen an increase in racial tensions. Whether it was the lady from the McCain rally referring to Obama as an "Arab" (which, sadly, is automatically understood as being something negative), or Rush Limbaugh's assessment of Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama as being "all about race," sometimes it's hard to believe that things really are getting better in this world. Today on CNN there was a report from a small town in Pennsylvania where even some life-long Democrats admit that they will not vote for Obama because "black people leave a bad taste in (their) mouths." Even the neighbour lady of my parents back home in Canada -- who hates Bush -- commented that "If Obama wins, it will be a dark day for America." No need to wonder what she meant by that.
My husband and I just watched the movie The Pianist this evening, which is the true story of a Jewish pianist who survived the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto. Every time I watch a movie like this, I'm reminded about just how much I hate racism. I am reminded that racism, even in its smallest, most subtle forms, is a deadly cancer that can mestastasize to something as big as the Holocaust -- or something as seemingly insignificant as denying fellow Mormons certain privileges and ordinances.
Racism's faithful companion is bigotry and if we think we are immune to it even in our own church, we are wrong. While I was reading this article about the Church and Prop 8, I was deeply saddened to read about the tension and divisiveness this issue is causing in the very place where we should be most unified -- at church. Morris Thurston, an LDS attorney in Orange County, CA, says, "The general church authorities I have spoken to have been understanding and compassionate. They counsel respect and civility toward those who may disagree with the church's position." However, the backlash that some members who disagree with the Church's position are experiencing from fellow brothers and sisters seems to indicate that they are not heeding that counsel. Sadly, I think that we're going to see a lot of good, strong members with strong testimonies end up leaving the Church when the pressure of having their faith and loyalty to the prophet constantly questioned becomes too much for them to deal with, or when they get tired of having to defend their position or loved ones who happen to be gay.
I've expressed my doubts and questions about many things on this blog. There is, however, one thing that I have no doubt about: racism and bigotry are two things that have no place in any society or religious organization -- and certainly not in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The sooner we can stop rationalizing and justifying these things, the sooner we'll realize that eggs are eggs -- whether they're white or brown.