15 degrees of glory on the Provo River Trail

Location: Provo River Trail
Miles: 4
Time: 0:35:52
Pace: 0:8:57
Temp:  15º
Weather: Cold and clear
People I saw: Michael!
Pain/injuries: Fat and slow
Weight: Very fat

Notes: I woke up at 5:57 am, hoping that I had another hour or more to sleep. Unfortunately my alarm was set for 6, so there was no point in not getting up right away.

Having my running clothes laid out was key, as my motivation was low to jump into the frigid morning air. I checked the thermometer before I left and was alarmed/excited to see that it was 15 on my back deck.

Yesterday I’d told a train friend that as long as you stay out for 1/2 a mile, you’ll warm up and be ok. But this morning it took about a mile (so about 9 minutes) to warm up to survivability and not turn back to cut the run short.

At the halfway point (2 miles), I turned around and worked my way home. I met Michael along the way and we cheerfully greeted each other. I was surprised to see him out in such cold weather, but I guess I remember that last year he trooped through some ridiculously cold air. It’s always better to suffer with friends.

I’m on the train, now, and am happy that it’s 8:13 am and I’ve already done the hardest thing I’ll do today.

Why are you throwing away your vote on a 3rd party? or “Let the Consequence follow” (version 1.2)

This post is taken from a conversation that I had on Facebook with a friend, who is a Mormon (as I am) wherein I tried to explain to my best ability why I’d vote for a third party. It’s a rough argument, but it’s also a Facebook response. It’s got room to grow.

Warning: A whole lotta religion and personal belief follows. I spend very little time being funny and a lot of time being uncomfortably serious in this post. Trust me- it wasn’t easy.

Voting McMullin is a long-term strategy. I know he’s going to lose. I am ok with this (as far as being ok with my candidate losing, or Trump surging in Utah goes…)

I’m not talking about making a statement for the sake of making a statement. I’m talking about apprising the GOP that if they want my vote in the future, they’re going to have to take me and my principles seriously. By withholding my vote from both Clinton and Trump, I’m saying “I expect more from my candidates. In the future, I will continue to vote elsewhere until you guys get your acts together and present me with something worth voting for.”

Trump’s distasteful personality vs. Clinton’s criminal acts
I keep hearing people say “Trump said things but Clinton DID things.” The insinuation is that Trump simply speaks poorly, but that Clinton has been verifiably criminal. The next logical insinuation is that Clinton is therefore “worse” than Trump. I don’t understand this. If you don’t believe that Trump is not guilty of criminal acts (Google search: “trump and the law” and read about 75 separate lawsuits against Trump), then it might be easier to get back to something you and I agree on: “As a man thinketh, so is he…” This is found in Proverbs. If you believe that there is no act that Trump is guilty of, except in word, then consider that the way that Trump speaks is the way he thinks and that, as he thinks, so is he.

“The stakes have never been higher” and voting out of fear
Each and every election year, we hear the same phrases: “The stakes have never been higher.” “Now is not the time to vote your conscience.” Etc. With this mentality, we’ll be stuck in this cycle forever. Every election year that we don’t say, “Vote your conscience” or “Vote for who represents you”, we further embed into our political system a habit of non-reform and send a message to both major parties that we will vote for the frontrunner of our own party, REGARDLESS of how they’ve lived their personal lives and in a lot of cases, regardless of their past policies.

Right now, by voting Trump, republicans are saying, “Send us a filthy-mouthed, womanizing, dishonest-in-business xenophobic candidate and we’ll vote for him.” By voting Clinton Democrats are saying “Send us an election-tweaking, corruption-mired public servant, private server-holding candidate and we will vote for her.” There is no line in the sand. We simply tell ourselves that we’ve done our best and that our only hope is to “block” the other bad guy from taking office. We vote out of fear and not out of duty to our principles.

I don’t want Clinton to win; But I don’t want Trump to win even more
Some of us see Trump as a greater threat than Clinton. We see a man who can’t go a couple of days without losing his temper and “going off”. We see a man who is unhinged and literally needs to remind himself verbally at the microphone to “stay on point.” Sure we despise Clinton. Some of us (like me) were furious with what her campaign did to Bernie Sanders. I was a Sanders supporter (long story, if you’re interested, but I’ll skip it, for now.) So I’ve been accused of wanting to see Clinton go into office. This is not true. I wish people would stop saying it.

Doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult
Well-meaning adults spent a great deal of time in my youth, teaching me that sometimes we need to do the right thing, even when it seems to hurt us. For instance, I was taught that if I get into a situation at school where I haven’t put myself into position to do well on a test, it’s not ok to cheat off of another classmate. We tell the story of a kid who didn’t cheat, but ultimately received a poor mark on his test- and we celebrate the personal integrity of this student. The reason that this is an important lesson, is because we know that a student who doesn’t cheat on a test (even when it means a personal, yet temporary defeat) will ultimately grow up to be true to himself, which will of course serve his family and community well.

But right now I hear people saying, “Look, you need to vote for the sleaze-ball (Trump or Clinton), even though there’s a perfectly decent man who is running for office (let’s use McMullin in this example, although surely there are other decent people), because he doesn’t have a chance of winning.” In my opinion we are turning our backs on the lessons of our youth and saying to ourselves, “Well in this case, it’s different because the stakes have never been higher”. All of a sudden it isn’t how we play the game; it’s whether we win or lose. All of a sudden, it’s ok to cheat on the test, because if we don’t pass, we’ll never get into medical school. Sure we wouldn’t cheat on other, lesser tests, but this one- this is critical, we tell ourselves.

If we continue to elect people who don’t reflect our values, we will never be represented
I believe that my freedom is best exercised when I vote for a person who represents me. If my values are most-closely reflected in a Trump or Clinton, then I am best served when I vote for whichever one aligns with my principles. But if neither do a decent job of representing me, and a McMullin is available for election (and does represent me), I’m best served by voting for him.

Voting for the long-term future and shirking a party, if needed
In Helaman, chapter 2, verse 5 (Book of Mormon), it reads:
“For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.”

It never occurred to me before, but I wonder if it’s possible that, in this verse, the people who “chose evil” were well-meaning citizens, that chose evil over good, simply because they were afraid. But in this verse, there is still a small group of people who chose good. They chose good, even though they were in the minority. It was the right thing for them to do. They literally chose to lose for the sake of choosing the right. The did not align themselves with the majority. I wonder if they did this, even though the stakes had “never been higher”.

I don’t share this to say that this candidate or that candidate is the right or the wrong candidate. I use this to illustrate that those of us who are choosing someone who we believe to not be the best candidate, simply because we are fearful, should reconsider the advice laid out in the Book of Mormon.

Steadying the ark
Another possible analogy, which may or may not hold water, is the lesson in the 2 Samuel, about steadying the ark. In this analogy, a well-meaning Uzzah puts forth his hand to steady the holy ark of the Lord, even though a strict commandment forbade touching the ark at all. Uzzah was concerned that without intervention, a stumbling ox would cause the ark to fall. So he made a judgement call and tried to steady it, rather than do what he already knew was right.

This story is used to illustrate that even though we may be fearful and well-meaning, our first call is to uphold our principles and obey God’s commandments and let the chips fall where they may. This election is no different to me. We have been called upon to elect wise and righteous people, who represent good principles and sound judgement.

There is an LDS (I think?) hymn that goes:
Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!

Think long-term
Let’s consider the long-term, both spiritually and civically. As long as we continue to vote for subpar leaders, both major parties will continue to select subpar candidates for our consideration. We can and should do better than this. And since I actually do believe the stakes have never been higher, there is no time like the present to lay the groundwork for our country’s future, by voting for a “losing” candidate.

Let’s not reach out to steady the ark by voting out of fear. Let’s do what is right and let the consequence follow. God will protect us.

Why are you throwing away your vote on a 3rd party? (version 1.1)

This post is taken from a conversation that I had on Facebook with a friend, who is a Mormon (as I am) wherein I tried to explain to my best ability why I’d vote for a third party. It’s a bad argument, but it’s also a Facebook response. It’s got room to grow. So for now, I present to you Why I’m voting for Evan McMullin. Enjoy.

Voting McMullin is a long-term strategy. I KNOW he’s going to lose. I am ok with this (as far as being ok with my candidate losing, or Trump surging in Utah goes…)

I’m not talking about making a statement for the sake of making a statement. I’m talking about apprising the GOP that if they want my vote in the future, they’re going to have to take me and my principles seriously. By withholding my vote from both Clinton and Trump, I’m saying “I expect more from my candidates. In the future, I will continue to vote elsewhere until you guys get your acts together and present me with something I consider worthy of voting for.” If my representatives don’t get this message, then I’m not sure what else I can do.

Trump’s distasteful personality:
I keep hearing people say “Trump said things but Clinton DID things.” The insinuation is that Trump simply speaks poorly, but that Clinton has been verifiably criminal. The next logical insinuation is that Clinton is therefore “worse” than Trump. I don’t understand this. If you don’t believe that Trump is not guilty of criminal acts (and I do), then it might be easier to get back to something you and I agree on: “As a man thinketh, so is he…” This is found in Proverbs. If you believe that there is no act that Trump is guilty of, except in word, then consider that the way that Trump speaks is the way he thinks and that, as he thinks, so is he. (Ok, it’s a stretch, but I think there’s something to this.)

On federal judges, religion, family values:
Each and every election year, we hear the same phrase: “The stakes have never been higher.” “Now is not the time to vote your conscience.” Etc.

I disagree. I think that we could do this forever. Every election year that we don’t say, “Vote your conscience” or “Vote for who represents you”, we further embed into our political system a habit of non-reform and send a message to both major parties that we will vote for the frontrunner of our own party, REGARDLESS of how they’ve lived their personal lives, their actions, their words, etc.

Republicans will say: “Send us a filthy-mouthed, womanizing, dishonest-in-business xenophobic candidate and we’ll vote for him.”

Democrats will say: “Send us an election-tweaking, history-mired public servant, private server-holding candidate and we will vote for her.”

Many people will disagree with this, but it will help to explain some of the success of Evan McMullin: Some of us see Trump as a greater threat than Clinton. We see a man who can’t go a couple of days without losing his temper and “going off”. Sure we despise Clinton. Some of us (like me) were furious with what her campaign did to Bernie Sanders. I was a Sanders supporter (long story, if you’re interested, but I’ll skip it, for now.) So I’ve been accused of wanting to see Clinton go into office. This is not true. I wish people would stop saying it.

I’ve voted for several Democrats for political office (local govt, as well as nationally.) I’ve voted for Republicans in the same manner. I am happy to vote for anyone who seems to align with my personal values. It’s not conventional, but I need to be true to myself. My point is that those who accuse me of wanting Clinton (or Trump) to win do not understand my point of view. And it might be helpful to understand it, because I’m not the only McMullin supporter who believes the following:

Clinton is bad. Trump is worse. I’m voting for McMullin because I want to vote for someone who represents me. This is the purpose of our country- we are a representative government. If “the stakes have never been higher” and I vote for Trump or Clinton out of fear, am I not losing, already? If I withhold a vote for McMullin, who represents me much more closely in temperament and policy, am I doing myself any favors? If you believe in Trump’s message and don’t vote for him, are you doing yourself any favors (I had to add that, because I know I’ve been hard on Trump supporters.)

I have been told to vote for Clinton or Trump because:

  • McMullin will lose.
  • I’m throwing my vote away.
  • McMullin doesn’t have the necessary experience.
  • McMullin is trying to derail Clinton.
  • McMullin is trying to derail Trump. (Yes, BOTH of these derailing arguments are being leveled at McMullin supporters.)

But I don’t think I should vote out of fear, especially if it means not voting for my best representative (Yes, even if he/she loses). I’m not going to support either Trump or Clinton, both of whom do a poor job of representing me. I believe that my freedom is best exercised when I vote for a person who most closely represents me.

In the short-term, this is a losing battle. And this is what everyone is quoting McMullin on. He says his #1 goal is to block Trump. So people say, “See? He’s trying to throw the election to Hillary!”

But they are missing the point. This is not a short-term movement (hopefully). The goal is to not only send a message, but to let Washington know that there is a large group of people who are willing to lose in the short-term, for the sake of winning in the long-term. What that win is might be different to different people. For me, it means I win personally. I can honestly say “I voted for a representative of me.” I can also say “I voted for the long-term goal of getting reasonable and less-corrupt candidates into the pool for the future- maybe even the 2020 election.

And since I actually DO believe the stakes have never been higher, there is no time like the present, to lay the groundwork for our country’s future, by voting for a “losing” candidate.

Why are you throwing away your vote on a 3rd party? (version 1.0)

This post is taken from a conversation that I had on Facebook with a friend, wherein I tried to explain to my best ability why I’d vote for a third party. It’s a bad argument, but it’s also a Facebook response. It’s got room to grow. So for now, I present to you Why I’m voting for Evan McMullin, version 1.0. Enjoy.

Voting McMullin is a long-term strategy. We KNOW he’s going to lose. We are ok with this.

I’m not talking about making a statement for the sake of making a statement. I’m talking about apprising the GOP that if they want my vote in the future, they’re going to have to take me and my principles seriously. By withholding my vote from both Clinton and Trump, I’m saying “I expect more from my candidates. In the future, I will continue to vote elsewhere until you guys get your acts together and present me with something I consider worthy of voting for.”

“Trump’s distasteful personality”: I keep hearing people say “Trump said things but Clinton DID things.” The insinuation is that Trump simply speaks poorly, but that Clinton has been verifiably criminal. The next logical insinuation is that Clinton is therefore “worse” than Trump. I don’t understand this. If you (Ok, if I say “you”, I’m not singling you out, Sunny, I’m just saying, like “any Trump supporter”) don’t believe that Trump is not guilty of criminal acts (and I do), then it might be easier to get back to something you and I agree on: “As a man thinketh, so is he…” This is found in Proverbs. If you believe that there is no act that Trump is guilty of, except in word, then consider that the way that Trump speaks is the way he thinks and that, as he thinks, so is he.

On federal judges, religion, family values…
Each and every election year, we hear the same phrase: “The stakes have never been higher.” “Now is not the time to vote your conscience.” Etc.

I disagree. I think that we could do this forever. Every election year that we don’t say, “Vote your conscience” or “Vote for who represents you”, we further embed into our political system a habit of non-reform and send a message to both major parties that we will vote for the frontrunner of our own party, REGARDLESS of how they’ve lived their personal lives, their actions, their words, etc.

Republicans will say: “Send us a filthy-mouthed, womanizing, dishonest-in-business xenophobic candidate and we’ll vote for him.”

Democrats will say: “Send us an election-tweaking, history-mired public servant, private server-holding candidate and we will vote for her.”

Many people will disagree with this, but it will help to explain some of the success of Evan McMullin: Some of us see Trump as a greater threat than Clinton. We see a man who can’t go a couple of days without losing his temper and “going off”. Sure we despise Clinton. Some of us (like me) were furious with what her campaign did to Bernie Sanders. I was a Sanders supporter (long story, if you’re interested, but I’ll skip it, for now.) So I’ve been accused of wanting to see Clinton go into office. This is not true.

I’ve voted for several Democrats for political office (local govt, as well as nationally.) I’ve voted for Republicans in the same manner. I am happy to vote for anyone who seems to align with my personal values. It’s not conventional, but I need to be true to myself. My point is that those who accuse me of wanting Clinton do not understand my point of view. And it might be helpful to understand it, because I’m not the only McMullin supporter who believes the following:

Trump is bad. Clinton is bad. I’m voting for McMullin because I want to vote for someone who represents me. This is the purpose of our country- we are a representative government.

You mentioned freedom. If “the stakes have never been higher” and I vote for Trump or Clinton out of fear, am I not losing freedom, already? If I withhold a vote for McMullin, who represents me much more closely in temperament and policy, than Clinton or Trump, simply because Clinton and Trump supporters have convinced me that:

– McMullin will lose.
– I’m throwing my vote away.
– McMullin doesn’t have the necessary experience.
– McMullin is trying to derail Clinton.
– McMullin is trying to derail Trump. (Yes, BOTH of these derailing arguments are being leveled at McMullin supporters.)

Well, I’m not going to vote out of fear. I’m not going to support either Trump or Clinton, both of whom do a poor job of representing me. I believe that my freedom is best exercised when I vote for a person who most-closely represents me.

In the short-term, this is a losing battle. And this is what everyone is quoting McMullin on. “See? He’s trying to throw the election to Hillary!”

But they are missing the point. This is not a short-term movement (hopefully). The goal is to not only send a message, but to let Washington know that there is a large group of people who are willing to lose in the short-term, for the sake of winning in the long term. What that win is might be different to different people. For me, it means I win personally. I can honestly say “I voted for a representative of me.” I can also say “I voted for the long-term goal of getting reasonable and less-corrupt candidates into the pool for the future- maybe even the 2020 election.

And since I actually DO believe the stakes have never been higher, there is no time like the present, to lay the ground for our country’s future, by voting for a losing candidate.