20 March 2016


"Jane, you ignorant..." well, you know the rest.
For those of you of a certain age (like mine or older) and you were, like me, a news nerd even as a younger child, you will remember the "Point/Counterpoint" segment on CBS' venerable "60 Minutes." The format was fairly simple - for a few minutes in every episode, a wizened conservative (in this case, an older man who looked like he'd smoked more than his share of Camels in his lifetime) and a brash liberal (a woman, natch, because it was the 70's) would face off on the issue du jour. It was a format that was rife for farce and the early seasons of "SNL" were brilliant in their skewering. I can still hear Dan Ackroyd imperiously intoning, "Jane, you ignorant..." well, you know the rest. Let's just say the spoof highlighted the differences in their respective point of views. It made you laugh.

Sadly, in today's political discourse/horror story, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for laughter. Unless, of course, you find the thought of a racist, bullying, mysoginst xenophobe with literally zero policy plan leading the nation funny. Queue the laugh track, right? I didn't think so. This current environment has led to some interesting (some inspiring, some soul crushing) conversations with my friends who are on all sides of the political spectrum. Through it all, the hope is that there is some common ground where we can meet. Call it moderate, call it crazy.

The funny thing is that I know it's possible. For the last nearly year and a half I've been serving in a calling at Church with a woman whose affinity for Fox News and their 'fair and balanced' drivel terrifies me and she pretty much thinks I am deranged because I don't share that affinity, among other reasons. To say we are oil and water politically is an understatement. It's made for some lively conversation at dinner parties. In proof that God knows what's best (and that He has a sense of humor), she and I were asked to teach our adult Sunday School class and we've been doing so for like I said, at least a year and a half now. Why on earth are two lay people teaching Sunday School, you ask? That's how we Mormons roll. It's a lay clergy, so you staff with the resources you have. I have to say I think we've made it work. We stayed focused on what we we'd been asked to teach. We've had great participation from the people in our class and they've made it so we've been the learners more than the teachers. It's actually been a lot of fun and we always kept it cool, too. No shout downs, no imperious pronouncements (although that could have been really fun).

Well, today my partner in teaching crime was given another assignment so our version of "Point/Counterpoint" has come to an abrupt screeching halt. I'm going to be honest here and say I'm going to miss teaching with her. It's been a really good run with someone I can call a friend, in spite of our differences.

In the end, it's probably for the best. With this presidential election turning into the surreal train wreck that it is, it was probably only a matter of time before one of us laid the other out flat in front of the class (like the way that Trump's supporters seem to enjoy using on those who are, oh I don't know, exercising the right to protest). No one needs to see that in a Sunday School class. No one.

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