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Mormon Politics

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 06, 2012

Mormon Politics

By James Bond

Let Whigs and Democrats agree to stir up party strife;
And thus shall opposition be the very hinge of life.
Each party strives to gain the sway; to beat the rest they’re bent;
All say they’re going to win the day, and choose their President.

Chorus:
Though politicians all be blest with nobleness of soul;
From north to south, from east to west, the Mormons beat the whole.

Free Soilers then bring up the rear against the other two;
They hold each other n great fear, and e’en themselves out-do;
And each will bring their candidate, and choose their nominee:
Each party thus in every State strives conqueror to be.

Though politicians, &c.

The canvassers will raise their hats, and each the other twiggs,
While Whigs will vote for Democrats, and Democrats for Whigs.
Thus Scott and Cass the race may run, in faith their party serve;
The heroes who have battles won, in politics ne’er swerve.

Though politicians, &c.

But hold, ye Whigs, and clear the way, for Douglass now comes in;
Who knows but “Young America,” the present race may win?
And each “great man” knows everything to work his puppets well;
And each knows how the votes to bring, and offices to sell.

Though politicians, &c.

Bull Fillmore, should he condescend to try the people’s choice,
His noble mind would never bend, nor stoop to mean device.
He has been tried and fairly proved; his character is plain;
By upright men he is beloved; they’ll vote him in again.

Though politicians, &c.

But filthy minded dabblers can’t work him like a tool;
And empty headed babblers think he must be a fool; –
But, hark ye! now, the time is nigh, when righteousness shall reign;
The Mormon vote will cast the die, when they shall vote again.

Though politicians, &c.

For Mormons always vote one way, and soon a voice they’ll get,
And unison will bless the day that shines on Deseret.
But never mention what we’ve said, for this partic’lar reason,
That if you do, we’re good as dead, because, you know – IT’S TREASON!

Though politicians, &c.

(1852)



12 Comments »

  1. Ardis, how long have you been saving this for just the perfect day? This is wonderful!

    Comment by Carol — September 6, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  2. Well, I knew it had to come *sometime* during this season!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 6, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  3. What an interesting poem. I get the impression that the author had positive feelings about Pres. Fillmore, which puts him historically in a distinct minority. Fillmore voted for the Fugitive Slave Act, and the compromise of 1850 which extended slavery to the territories, and was unable to secure his party’s nomination for the election of 1852. Mormon support could not save Fillmore, it appears. His sole redeeming act may have been the appointment of Brigham Young to be territorial governor, hence Fillmore, Millard County, the capitol of Utah for about six months.

    “Mormons always vote one way…”. As one who frequently does not vote in unison his fellow saints, I really, really, hate that, but I think it may have been pretty accurate in 1852.

    Comment by kevinf — September 6, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  4. It’s kind of catchy if you sing it to “The Iron Rod”…

    Comment by mahana — September 6, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  5. Where did you find this? This is a great political folk song. (Even if I disagree with almost everything this says.

    After seeing the “political songs” that were written this election cycle and last, this is at least as good as the more recent ones. I wonder if the ever did a MoTab version for Fillmore to use on the stump. ;-)

    Kevinf- Everytime someone tells me that all Mormons should vote the same way, I tell them that I would be happy to have them join me in voting for the candidates I believe in, and that they are welcome to come over so we can fill out our ballots together. ;-)
    (We are 100% vote by mail in Oregon, so voting parties are not uncommon.) :-)

    Comment by Julia — September 6, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  6. Julia,

    The voting party things sounds interesting. I am constantly frustrated when my wife and I sit down to fill out our mail in ballots here in Washington for a lot of the offices we really don’t know much about. It would be fun to get a bunch of people together so that we could talk them all over, and get some input beyond just my wife and I. Maybe we will have to consider that….

    And this song, to the tune of “The Iron Rod,” could be our theme song! Thanks for the hint, Mahana!

    Comment by kevinf — September 6, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  7. Interesting. I wonder what the author was thinking when he wrote,

    “For Mormons always vote one way, and soon a voice they’ll get, And unison will bless the day that shines on Deseret.”

    My question is about that phrase: “and soon a voice they’ll get.” This sounds to me like the simple desire to be made a state. But I would have assumed that in 1852 most of the political sentiment still would have been directed at some sort of independence for Deseret. Obtaining a mere “voice” doesn’t quite match the rhetoric associated with independence.

    Comment by David Y. — September 6, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  8. The inclination toward statehood in 1852 is right — we hadn’t yet clashed with the federal government (only with the runaway officers in 1851, and we had every expectation that the president and Congress would see the matter our way). Statehood was as powerful a voice as complete independence could have been, in those per-Civil War days of popular sovereignty. Under that system, we could have had our own way entirely in all those issues that soon would bring us into collision with the rest of the country: plural marriage, our own political and economic experiments, etc., none of which were in conflict then with the severely limited powers of the national government over the various state governments. At least until the Civil War, our “domestic institution” of plural marriage would have been as protected under popular sovereignty as Virginia’s “domestic institution” of slavery was. So from the point of view of a poet in 1852, statehood was as good as it could get: all the independence of a sovereign state, plus the benefits of military defense, a postal system, and the very few other national goodies that came with a limited federal government.

    It was the colonial system of being a vassal entity under the territorial system that gave outsiders such power over us, against which we naturally rebelled in the following years.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 6, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  9. It was the colonial system of being a vassal entity under the territorial system that gave outsiders such power over us, against which we naturally rebelled in the following years.

    Careful, now. That’s Tea Party talk..

    Comment by The Other Clark — September 7, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  10. Tea Party talk is to take labels that apply to mountains (i.e., federal treatment of Utah through 50 years of colonial oppression) and use them as though they were applicable to tiny pebbles (four or eight years of the administration of a president you don’t like).

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 7, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  11. Amen Ardis!

    Kevinf – I find that the parties work best with people who are aware of the candidates, beyond party affiliation.

    A few years ago, when I was new to a ward, one of the women invited us to their home for a voting party. I asked her about the make up of the group, and she said that it was mostly couples who were members of different parties and who were politically active. I am pretty clear about my thoughts, so I don’t mind conversations with people who passionately oppose mine. I do a lot of political research, but I am always open to other view points.

    The actual party was strange. I didn’t find out until I got to it that none of them had been part of a voting party before. Instead of coming with information about candidates and information about them that was relevant, two couples came without any information or their ballots. They had already voted. Another couple came with a flier from a political organization that told them how to vote, and they came with the intent of “making” all of us vote the “right way.”

    After about an hour, we decided to leave. It wasn’t helpful to have a yelling argument about “generic democrats” and generic republicans” and who was going to hell. That experience led me to create the following rules for voting parties at my parties:

    1) I send a list, on a spreadsheet, of the positions being voted on and the candidates for those positions. I also include all the ballot measures and the official state titles. We assume that everyone will have read the state voters pamphlet, and there is space for questions that came up, on the spreadsheet, and they are asked to email them to me in the nightly email. There is also room for other information, and people can bring mailers, and other info not online.

    2) For the five days before the party I send an email reminder and solicit any links to websites or new articles people have found, and compile it to send out the next morning. The assumption is that everyone is spending about an hour a day reviewing that info. if questions have been asked, everyone attempts to find answers, and if we haven’t found one in a day, I usually just call the campaign and ask. (If the answer I get is not available generally, I send it on to one of the political reporters I know at the Oregonian and OPB.)

    3) The night of the party, everyone shows up with their spreadsheets. We try to limit conversations on obvious things. Almost everyone will have made a decision about President, governor, etc. Most of the conversations are about local issues, and smaller races. I think the water board candidate I called was the strangest one. (He had been on the county water board for 6 years, and I was the first person to ask him a question about why he chose to be a candidate. He kept asking me which of his ex-wives had told me to call him.)

    No matter what the issue or candidate is, we stop at fifteen minutes of conversation. With the build up information gathering, the party is really just a chance to hang out while we talk about which information felt most important to us, as we chose our votes.

    Comment by Julia — September 7, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  12. Wonderful, Ardis. Well said and wow! You are an encyclopedia. Thank you.

    Comment by David Y. — September 7, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

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