by Anna Arnett
Last week I felt spiritually warmed to the depths with love, acceptance, and pure enjoyment, though I seldom felt physically warmer than chilled. Washington weather can be a shock to a desert rat. But with wearing double of every clothing piece, and with the downy bedding Liz furnished,I not only managed, but thrived. Liz has already reported on the great retreat, and I've found myself raving in emails, but I'd still like to tell you how completely fascinating the whole experience was for me, and how much I love and admire not only the friendship, but the talent and vivacity of the approximately 20 sisters there. We had lively discussions, but never a cross word that I heard. I came home knowing that ANWA is thriving everywhere, and has talent unlimited.
Visiting with my brother's family was another highlight. I'm not sure I've seen my sister-in-law even once in the last fifty years. (Of course, my memory . . . but we won't go into that.) And going to the Seattle temple (which is not really in Seattle) and enjoying its beauty, inside and out, was another wonderful first.
Coming home to four hundred unread emails has been a challenge. The more I read, the more come in. I haven't gotten below three hundred in four days trying. Maybe I'll be forever behind. So what else is new?
Now for the frustrations. It's election time. I went for a training class on Monday to get reminded of all the details necessary to making the voting process available and positive for the votors. There are always the disgruntled ones who exclaim, "What do you mean I can't vote here? this is where I've always voted. No, I didn't check my notice in the mail. I shouldn't have to." So we feel sorry for them, but still have to point on the map how to find their new place. That's seemingly unavoidable annoyances, and fsirly easily soothed by a soft answer and courteous consideration.
But the soap box I've mentally jumped on today is how the whole political process has, in my mind, degenerated into a charade I'm not at all pleased with. It seems to me there's very little positive, dependable promises. Oh, they make great ones, but how many campaign promisses are actually kept? Even if one tried his best? TWe get the idea that the President can bring about whatever he decids to do. But as I read the Constitution, the President is listed second to the bicameral Congress. And as another counterbalance there's the Supreme Court. What gives everybody the idea that one man at the head can control everything in the nation? Or be blamed for everything? The campaign promises made seem about as possible to fulfil as those of a high school hoping to be elected student body president by promising root beer in all the drinking fountains.
I watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", that old classic where Jimmy Stewart battles the moneyed power behind the Senate. I wonder at emails, letters, and phone calls urging me to donate as much as I can to counteract the 'lies' the opposition is pouring out. There's something inside me that rebels. Are we voting for the best man, or are we actually selling the Presidency of the United States to the highest bidder -- the party that can raise the most so they can sling the most mud. Don't thinking people realize you can't sling mud without getting yourself soiled? And just who gets the millions, even billions, spent on campaigning? TV? Newspapers? Sign makers? Would the country go bankrupt without that kind of spending? Or with it? Could it be better used elsewhere?
I suspect it will take better minds than mine to work out these problems, but I'm just gullible enough to like the electoral college as I pictured it. I've got a neat Stake President. I could vote him in as an elector, and send him to study the issues and vote for me. After all, that's all we do for Clongress. No interrupting our lives with campaign rhetoric. Oh, I know I'm just dreaming. There are flaws. I even see some myself. Have you wondered how our Heavenly Father feels as He watches us? Maybe like we watch our teenagers battle with temptation. Or watch our toddlers toddle.
Well,if you've read this far, thanks for your charity. You've really gone the second mile.