The problem with black/white thinking is that people I love to hate occasionally disappoint me by uttering reasonable thoughts and committing rational acts. George W. Bush is a case in point. People like me who see war as the opposite of pro-life and who don’t believe Big Oil is the solution to our energy problems loved picking on poor W. But then he proposed a valid solution to the Social Security shortfall problem—means testing for recipients, and he told Africa that further foreign aid from the US depended on their cleaning up government corruption and working on their own solutions. Can I paint one little corner of the Bush with a white brush?
On the flip side, I’m disappointed that President Obama has increased troop levels in Afghanistan and that he put Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, two of the crowd who caused the current economic crisis, in charge of the treasury. Black marks for my white knight.
Life would be so much easier if people were either all good or all bad. Or if God always blessed the righteous. Can I tell you what a shock it was to read the DHC and discover how often Joseph Smith was sick with la grippe or colds? While I knew the prophet was mortal, sniffling and flu-like symptoms just don’t fit my picture of a prophet.
Mormon culture facilitates b/w thinking with its heavy emphasis on obedience to church leaders. How can we unquestioningly obey leaders if we believe they sometimes make human mistakes? Or sometimes misinterpret God’s will—as in the belief that plural marriage was necessary for exaltation or that members of African descent could not hold the priesthood.
The only reasonable solution to my dilemma is to start seeing shades of gray. I think I can handle that in religion and politics. But no way can I see anything but darkness and evil in fashion designers who have decreed that women dress in clinging fabrics which reveal every ounce of cellulite and make any woman over 100 pounds resemble a python digesting a goat.