I started writing this blog entry yesterday but nothing felt quite right. I started talking about civic duty, voting with a conscience and heart. I started with my story of how I came to vote. I started on a rant against one of the worst presidential campaigns I’ve ever witnessed.
And then I closed up the computer and told myself to start again later.
I voted today. I walked into my voting area and walked into the voting booth. As I pulled up to my voting area I was almost in tears, mostly because this election has been SO tough. And even as I let my conscience and heart guide me, I’m still not sure I made the correct decision for our country.
But I also could not not vote. I needed to cast that ballot today.
Because I cannot let hate win. I cannot allow someone who has mocked and joked about people with disabilities become President. I cannot allow someone who openly degrades women, including his own daughter, to become President. I cannot allow someone who acts like a child by whining and throwing temper tantrums like my 3 year old niece to be President.
Instead today I voted for all of those minorities – African Americans, Latinos, LQBT and Transgender and countless others who are seeking a place to thrive and be who they are. I voted for the Muslim, Jew, Atheist and all who seek religious freedom. I voted for those in the path of violence so they may freely come to seek refuge within our borders. I voted for families of service men and women who deserve better treatment and who know the meaning of the Purple Heart. I voted for the rights of women, who should not only be receiving equal pay but should also have complete control over our bodies without punishment. I voted for the idea of better healthcare for those who need it. I voted to keep America this wonderful, beautiful melting pot that it is, with all its messiness and diversity.
Now, I’m not saying I agree with the other candidate. In fact, that’s part of why it was so hard to cast a vote today. Unlike many of my fellow friends and colleagues I’m not 100% sure of the candidate and I wasn’t crying because I cast my ballot for a female President. In fact, I’m not sure either candidate is worthy to be called President. However, the few things I do not like in said candidate I can live with. I can look past some of her ideas and missteps because frankly, she’s human. And she’s taken it all in grace and stride, which well, the other guy hasn’t. She gets called out on something and she moves forward. The other guy has a fit and begins blaming other people. Yeah, cuz that’s what we need when negotiating a big plan. Plus, the other guys stuff I cannot and will not live with. So if I had to choose, which today I did, I am with her.
It’s hard to be a pastor and to not allow your faith to interfere with politics. No one likes the itinerant pastor preaching fire and brimstone form the pulpit on why to vote this way and not that way. I’ve refrained from posting anything on social media about my political views, though most know I’m as liberal as they come.
Yet, I find more and more of the Gospel in this mudslinging election. I seriously almost had a What Would Jesus Do? moment in the voting booth because ultimately the way I view the world stems from my faith. I voted for all those reasons I listed above because that’s what Jesus would have done, that’s what he taught. He fought against bullies and the abuse of Rome. Jesus stood up for the oppressed and weak. And so I voted to keep the hate out of power because my faith tells me that all are welcome in God’s kingdom, that all are wonderfully and messily created. And I voted because our founding fathers started this country on an idea that all may live without tyranny, where all are welcome to worship as they see fit, where all at welcome to free speech and to the idea of a better life. I’m not saying there weren’t mistakes along the way. There were. But the idea of a country that’s run with so much hate, fear and bigotry is not what I’m assuming our founding fathers had in mind.
At this point in the evening, you all have probably casted your vote. I hope you did. I hope you got out and rocked the vote to tell the country that we will not be bullied or abused. And if not, find out when your polls close and get it done.
Now we wait to see if our country will move forward or backwards. Will love trump hate.
The one and only time I will blend God and country is in one simple prayer that I have been saying all day, even as I walked into the voting booth: God, please shine your presence on this country in its more direst of times. Help and guide us to do what is right. Amen.