A generation ago in a hotly contested election, those seeking to unseat the incumbent president seized upon the effects of a recession as a way to differentiate themselves from their political opponents. A brilliant political strategist coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” as a rallying cry. The phrase had a great deal of power with voters, as it sent a short, pithy message that could not be misunderstood. The incumbent lost, the opposition won, and the era of the Clinton presidency was born.
Some people look at the verbiage used in the phrase—particularly the use of the word stupid—and take offense. They think it is mean. They think it is cruel. They think it is insensitive. They think it is snarky. But, consider two facts: First, the phrase wasn’t directed at the opposition; by some accounts it was directed by James Carville (the political strategist) at the candidate he was advising (Bill Clinton). It was to force focus in his campaign, not to denigrate the opposition’s campaign. Second, the phrase was much more memorable and “focusing” than any alternative. (Could anyone really see “It’s the economy, guys!” or “It really is the economy!” being as successful in forcing focus?)
Fast forward to today, in a different venue only of interest to Mormons on the Internet, and we see a couple of people who are either leaving the Church or threatened with expulsion from the Church because of their participation in and responsibility for the MormonThink website. Only a month or so ago, the founder of MormonThink resigned his membership in the Church after facing the possibility of a disciplinary council for apostasy.
[Read more…] about It’s the Interpretation, Stupid!