Why elephant shouldn’t endorse Obama or Romney for President.*

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on Nov 5, 2012
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I wasn’t going to endorse anyone, for three reasons. 1) while elephant is big, 1.3 million readers at our peak, our endorsement matters not-that-much. 2) Given my blogs re gay rights, women’s rights, Obama, Romney, Osama bin Laden etc etc, I don’t think my view is a surprise to anyone. 3) I treasure our blog’s bipartisanship—while we’ve received few articles from our conservative readers, I’m all about elephant bringing differing views together, not requiring or encouraging groupthink.

That said, my below endorsement is inspired by hundreds of our readers arguing with this article, an article that urges the yoga community to endorse Obama.  ~ Waylon H. Lewis, ed.

Bipartisanship doesn’t mean we have no allegiance to values. It means we never forget that we’re in this together.

One of the wonderful things about yoga, or environmentalism, or bicycling, or adventure, or family, or the arts, or education…any one of the things elephant focuses on, is that they by nature cross party lines.

What’s needed in America is less partisan news, more getting out of our own bubble, less agreeing with those we already agree with, and more big-umbrella community.

Yoga, for one, supports bipartisanship by appealing to rich and poor, minority and white, hipster and yuppie, young and old, conservative and liberal, male and female. It’s truly a force for united diversity within our greater Union.

For elephant’s part, we welcome different points of view, and articles representing that—dialogue is healthy. While our editor, yours truly, is a moderate liberal, I resist partisanship. I’ve reported nice things about McCain, about Eisenhower, I defended Bush on a few occasions, and I’ve seen Mitt Romney make a few fair points in the course of this campaign, and have said so. No: I’m liberal because I’ve looked at the party’s platforms, and I’ve looked at the two candidates, and with one I’ve seen responsible economic stewardship coupled with compassion and tolerance. And in the other I’ve seen selfishness and deceit.

So it’s not yoga’s role to endorse one candidate over the other—from a partisan point of view. But I do agree with Mr. Remski that bipartisanship does not require we leave behind our allegiance to tolerance, or fairness, or ultimately endorsing a candidate that best represents our values.

And so let what is obvious be said, clearly, in black and white. Based on gay rights, women’s rights, the economy, green domestic clean energy independence, cheaper and more humane healthcare, foreign affairs, terrorism…elephantjournal.com formally and enthusiastically endorses President Obama for another four years. He’s only the second candidate in my lifetime who I’ve heard speak with decency and heart, and he’s the first I’ve heard who combines such authenticity with a decided, fundamental lack of aggressive partisanship.

You’re not a Republican, or a Democrat. Neither am I. We’re Americans, first—in this together. We were reminded of that by Mother Nature, in the form of Hurricane Sandy.

And even before that, we are individually humans, with hearts and dreams and families and loves and triumphs and disappointments, all. And we are collectively humans—part of the big wide small world that, more than ever, requires an America to lead based on humility borne of strength, on tolerance borne of wisdom, of ideals free of aggression.

For more about why and wherefore, click any one of the contextual links above.


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Comments

36 Responses to “Why elephant shouldn’t endorse Obama or Romney for President.*”

  1. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    Haha! Good one, love the photo.
    Now if you could just get it signed… :)

  2. The middle way is not void of a position, in fact it's position is clear. This election is not whether Romney or Obama occupy the White House in January, but whether or not the rights of every person, not just the few, be defended and upheld as sacred as the next. Anyone who doesn't see that, does not belong espousing some kind of unique insight. Human suffering is real and compounds in this Nation and around the World. The solution to this suffering is not an economic one, but rather a moral one. The economy is merely the result of an immoral agenda that has been upheld in America for too long. The choice is which candidate presents the best opportunity to bring this immoral reign in government to an end.

  3. mariavlong says:

    Well done, Love this!

  4. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Hey Waylon, I always appreciate your willingness to present both sides. I mean, it's not your fault if you don't actually get much from another side. And I respect your right to campaign vigorously for Pres. Obama. I mean, as I understand it, EJ is yours, right?

    But of course, I always have to jump in with a little reminder to anyone reading…

    Both major parties and candidates support the American war machine and the American gulag. I realize you have to get practical in politics. But that's quite a jump for someone who believes in ahimsa.

    Or maybe it's not a jump. I detect from your last line (lead with strength) that you might actually support the American war machine, or would if it's called by a nicer name? But you can't "lead with strength" (which normally means, through the American military) and at the same time, do it according to "ideals free of aggression."

    So do you actually mean leading through a string of military bases around the world? Come to think of it, I don't recall ever seeing a denunciation of that, just support for any "good" person to be in charge of it.

  5. paul says:

    a final debate between Johnson and Stein tonight, livestreamed at 9-10:30pm Eastern time (8 Central/ 7 Moujavascript:%20postComment(0);ntain/ 6 Pacific) on the Free & Equal website, http://freeandequal.org/events/final-presidential

  6. Truth says:

    Well, at least this was somewhat of a positive endorsement that listed the reasons why you are voting for Obama, unlike others who only list reasons to keep Romney from office.

    Personally, I can’t in good conscious vote for Obama or Romney. I think you have to have deal breakers and both have them in spades. So I’ll vote Gary Johnson. Jill Stein almost persuaded me, but at the end of the day I lean libertarian.

    “A wasted vote is a vote for someone you don’t believe in.” Gary Johnson

  7. Sara Porterfield says:

    Wonderful article. The quote I've been living by this election season is from Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the US Forest Service, who wrote: "It is a greater thing to be a good citizen than to be a good Republican or a good Democrat." As you said, it's not that one doesn't take a side, it's that one puts the ideal of citizenship (the definition for which Obama provided at the DNC as "the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations") above the ideals (or strictures?) of party or partisanship.

    My father is a fiscally conservative, socially rightward leaning kind of guy who has his political viewpoints (and very well thought out reasons for them), and consistently challenges me to think about why I believe what I believe. Not to make me change my mind, but to make sure that I've done my research and have come to my own conclusions. We've been exchanging news articles for the past few months, and today I sat down and wrote him a three page email about why I voted for Obama–with plenty of citations attributed to elephant, natch (And because as a historian I can't not cite my work, though I can and do use double negatives. Gotta know the rules to break 'em. I digress.). To me, this is the kind of dialogue necessary for a healthy and functioning democracy: one that creates citizens who see beyond party lines, beyond the labels of "Democrat" and "Republican," and that fosters a community able to see multiple perspectives whose members can draw their own, well-informed opinions.

    (However, I do live in Boulder, and hence in a swing state, and Dad lives in California, which is decidedly not a swing state…)

  8. Edie Lazenby Edie Lazenby says:

    Do I dare enter this? I am voting Obama. My dad thinks Obama is ruining the country. Until my work for EJ I knew less than I know now re: politics or current events. I find newspapers tiresome…I do like the Christian Science Monitor, or used to….I hate watching the news. I find the patterns in history, as we all well know, spiral.
    I was listening to Carolyn Myss. She talks how this country was founded by mystics, by Statesmen, not Politicians.
    I think Ahimsa is worthy but am not a Jain and death is part of a big cycle.In a utopia world maybe there would be no violence. But this is not utopia. And violence has many forms, from the war machine to disrespect of others. I don't believe others should believe what I do or live like I do and I don't like in theory how democracy gets spread thru McDonald's and other industries. Bear with me. But there is war. And if our country did not stand up for the rights of others….even though we are sometimes wrong, I don't know who would. This idea of policing the world, for our own sake, I get. And I am not into missionary work per se though they do good in places in a way….and I am not into Imperialism…but honeslty, I think this country and its citizens have more compassion than most….we do wrong. Of course…we do. We all do. Human nature is what it is.
    Tara Brach is great on this stuff…we all have fear. It is in our nervous system. We are all programmed for lack of better word, to survive. There is good and evil. There is light and Shadow. I don't think voting for someone who might make a difference is supporting the war machine. I don't think, excuse me, we have a War Machine. I know I know, defense, military spending, all that….the intentions aren't always honorable but often they are. If I could close my doors and not see who suffers….maybe I would be happier….but if we dismantle the so-called war machine, I'd like your opinions on what else would go?

  9. Auki says:

    I'm happy the campaign will be over soon (at least for a little while before the next one.) I admire and respect Ralph Nader, but think a valid argument can be made that the folks who voted for Nader in 2000 helped to throw the election to George Bush. Even though I don't agree with all of Obama's choices, I definitely do not feel that I am wasting my vote by voting for him. I think Mitt Romney, if elected, will be a global catastrophe!

  10. paul says:

    A +1 for Obama from some shamans http://www.canada.com/news/Obama+gets+endorsement+from+s...

    "LIMA, Peru – A group of self-described Peruvian shamans are predicting the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama — and are trying to help it along.
    The 12 medicine men and women in traditional Andean dress gathered Monday at the top of Lima's San Cristobal hill, where they burned incense and rubbed a poster of Obama with flowers and the plant common rue, which is supposed to bring luck.
    Meanwhile, a poster of challenger Mitt Romney was assaulted with maracas and a sword as the shamans sang, whistled and danced in a circle for journalists, who came and went as the ceremony continued.
    The group has staged similar rituals for the press ahead of major sports events and Peruvian elections."

  11. Ethan Neville says:

    Yo Way…..from Nova Scotia….I now have a Canadian passport. Last election actually gave me a re-newed sense of pride in the good ole' US of A my native land.
    May Colorado turn BLUE–Green!
    Canada is basically a communist welfare state. I mean we have a regulated banking system and for Christ sake we have SOCIALIZED medicine.

    I do not personally know a single Canadian who can see how anyone could vote for Mitt/Ryan.

    Then again Canada has a conservative MAJORITY government with only a 1/3 of the populous supporting the PC party.

    Our ultra Conservative Prime Minister Harper would be a bleeding Liberal in the divided states of America!

    We are all watching from the sidelines….

    Thank you for your voice!

    Ethan in Halifax NS

  12. Jim says:

    I agree with the notion proposed in this article of EJ not endorsing candidates. I also take some issue with turning yoga into activism of any kind. Just unsubscribed from yoga votes and don't really like yoga classes where teachers preach to me about their personal perspective on activism (sorry Sean – I mean no disrespect). I go to yoga to breathe and do asana, to find peace within, to restore my center…and really that's it. When I can find peace I can emanate peace in the world. So in yoga class I want less chatter. Let's enter the space, hold the space, and do our practice together. Namaste'

  13. karlsaliter says:

    I like Stein, so I'm invisible.

  14. Anonymous says:

    When I saw this site name on Election Day, I thought, "Oh, another conservative blog." Boy, was I wrong. I almost decided not to check it out. I suspect a "true" liberal might make the same mistake… just say'in.

  15. Sorry4yourdog says:

    Politics can be a drug…Drugs agitate the mind…just saying.

    When people see another person who is so relaxed through all of the bullshit that happens throughout the day, some of them will look for advice on how to attain that peace…Then we get to give our testimony of how our practice works for us. A witness.

    What are we witnessing to others by getting so wrapped up in what the world is doing while we call ourselves yogis, christians, muslims, etc. While could be thinking of ways to connect with others in our spheres of influence, we seem to be spending a lot of time buying into the dreams these people are selling and trying to get others to buy into them too.

  16. Courtney says:

    You disgust me Elephant Journal. As of tonight, I have decided to officially cancel my membership. I joined this magazine as a yoga instructor, thinking this would bring me closer to the yoga community and be a great source of knowledge of the ancient art of yoga, but all I have been bombarded with for several weeks was e-mail about politics. You have shoved this down my throat further than any reputable news source I have followed. This is NOT what yoga is about and I will no longer support it. Yes, voting is important, having one's say is important, and being in control of one's life is important, but when one furiously harps on one subject over and over again, this is the opposite of yoga, and violates one's practice of bramacharya–moderation in all things–in case you have forgotten. Your political views are not moderate and neither is your obsession with them. Get over yourself and stop using the name of yoga in vain. I will happily be saving one dollar a month and will never have to worry about seeing all of your ridiculous political propaganda loitering my mailbox ever again. NAMASTE b*tches!

  17. matthew says:

    Courtney and Sarah: "True yogis aren't political."

    Except for these guys: http://www.yogabrains.org/politics/yogis-stand-up

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