I was raised in the South. I’ve lived in Mississippi, the suburbs of Memphis, Texas and Arkansas.
I’ve seen racism first hand. I’ve seen fear of someone that didn’t look like “White America” first hand. I’ve seen it all. I was born in the late sixties….well after the Civil Rights marches…and still…I’ve seen it all. We live in a United States of America where not a single person over the age of 18 should have to “research” a white supremacist group. We should all be so against the ideology of those groups that we jump to condemn it. America, we don’t want to go back to the days of segregation or people singled out due to the color of their skin or religion. That’s not America.
I’ve seen poverty up close. I’ve seen homeless veterans on the street. I’ve seen homeless single moms on the street. I’ve been able to see up close those who live in nothing more than a strong cardboard box with a door. I’ve been a child of poverty and technical homelessness.
I’ve been part of the “poor school.” I’ve been part of the “rich school.” I’ve been part of heated battles as districts have redrawn lines for attendance, and those arguments almost always are rooted in who parents wanted Joe and Mary to attend school with. In 2016, we do not have equitable education in America. I certainly don’t know the solution, but I do know it’s real.
I’ve been a child with no medical insurance. I’ve been an adult subject to pre-existing clauses…a clause that can jeopardize the life of any American with a pre-existing disease. Change jobs, no insurance coverage for 6-12 months on that condition. I can’t agree to go back to that. A mandate with issues also has some areas that protect our sick, our children, our college children.
I have never lived in a nation where the media was controlled or censored. I heard the threat of that being the case from the leader of the Red. I went back to eight grade Civics where I learned “to silence the media is the first step in silencing us all. ”
I remember the days we said the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. The days where it seemed all was well in the United States. We can’t go back. Frankly, I don’t want to. I am thrilled to know that we truly are the melting pot of the world. Whether I like or agree with some of what we have now is irrelevant. Give us your tired, your weary…..not give us your Baptist, or Methodist or whites. Unless you are Native American in heritage, you are a product of immigration. I’m a product of immigration. A mut. I’m not purebred anything. I’m a mixture of this and that, just like most Americans.
I am a Gospel Christian. A Southern Baptist by denomination. I am not like the WBC radicals. I have to trust that if I can be free to practice my faith and not be associated with the radicals of the WBC, that others who practice a different religion are to be free to do so as well. I cannot fear what I do not understand. I cannot judge an entire group of people due to the acts of a radical few. I would hope the same is said for not judging my faith due to the radical few within the ranks.
I’ve have a vivid memory of the Carter years, the Reagan years, the Clinton years, the Bush 1 and 2 years and now, the Obama years. I’ve seen our country rise up in times of great trials….and I’ve also seen our country split into little pieces over a determination to “get their way.” The word compromise has become a four letter word.
I’ve been personally chastised for even possibly considering not voting Republican. That’s what good Christians do. Vote Republican.
And. Here I sit today. In disbelief that what I have been told is the “Christian” party has all but crowned a man that represents none of the values I hold to be true as a Christian. Seeing remarks such as, “Well, I can’t stand any of his principles, but I’ll vote for him if he is the nominee…I’ll vote my party.” “We have to take back America.” From who? From what? From people that don’t have white skin? Jesus didn’t have white skin.
I sit here today in disbelief that I’ve seen a quote, “I voted Trump, but I won’t tell my kids.” I hope there never comes a day that I am embarrassed by who I voted for.
I get people are angry. It’s ok to be angry, but to vote with that anger. No. We have to vote with our values and our principles…or we become just as lost as the lost. We can’t control who follows us, but if we look around and we are being followed by hate…what does that say about “us” or “I?” What message are we sending?
So, can a Christian vote blue? This year, barring a strong third party candidate, I believe it’s possibly the only way I can look into the mirror and have any hope of saying I voted for at least some Christian values and principles. Where “almost right” may have to be enough. The lesser of two evils, so to speak. This past weekend, HRC sounded more Christian than most of the candidates running Red and ten-thousand times more Christian than the Red leader. I have to vote knowing the protection of the First Amendment is just as important as protecting the Second Amendment. A silent America is far more devastating to our future generations than gun control.
Years ago there was a movement of WWJD. WWJD? I can’t begin to know, but I know what he commanded of His followers…..love, spread the good news to the ends of the earth…but the greatest of these commandments was to love. And that, is what I will do. I choose love over hate. I choose love over fear. I choose humanity. I choose life, not just birth…all of it.