Folks, it is time we had a talk. A long one. This is an internet intervention. I know you think you don’t have a problem, but, being an intervention, I’m sure you understand where this is going. I’ve thought about this long and hard, and I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. I figured I would go in all empathetic and kind, with that slightly frowny, concerned-looking face so that you know I care. Then I read things on the internet and got all hot and bothered and decided I felt far too sassy to go soft. Then I figured I’d alienate readers if I was too dry or sarcastic, but in the end I’ll just keep this true to my personality: way too long, raw, and in-your-face truth. It may be funny, it may be offensive. Stick with me to the end. I promise I have no ill-feelings towards anyone, I just need you to know what I have to say. You need to seriously consider how to vote as a Christian.
Your Vote as a Christian
If you are a Christian, you have a moral obligation to not vote for Trump. His words and actions do not reflect Christ.
Ready for the next part?
If you are a Christian, you have a moral obligation to not vote for Clinton. Her words and actions do not reflect Christ.
Let’s start at the top and work through this big mess of why you shouldn’t vote for either and why Trump is a very real and present danger to this country and the people who live in it. We’ll throw in a dash of why Jesus would be SMH at you if you go Trump or Hills this year. Here is the baseline set of arguments:
- This country is not a theocracy. You don’t want Sharia law, so it shouldn’t be hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and realize *some* people don’t want to live their lives according to Christian doctrines either. Surprise! This is the exact reason why we must uphold separation of church and state. I don’t want anyone telling me what religion I must conform to. What’s it got to do with voting? Believing our country is a theocracy (or should be) informs how we think of policy, whether we rally behind a president and generally either confirms or confronts our biases. So remember: The US does need Jesus, but not in the way you want to prescribe him. Example: Reading Bibles aloud in the classroom is super awesome, unless you’re not Christian. Likewise, I doubt you want your littles to recite the Quran right before the pledge of allegiance. Let’s all agree to ‘not do religion’ (because we all think our way is the only way).
- Since school examples are pretty easy to follow, let’s stick with them. This is not the elementary school yard. Just because someone else is throwing rocks does not make it okay for you to also throw rocks. Throwing rocks is always wrong. You are still responsible for your own actions even when someone else is being bad. Translation: Just because Hillary is a liar does not make it okay that Donald is, too. They both need to sit in time out, and neither should be running for student council. Cuz #AllLiesMatter.
- The American Dream isn’t Biblical. The accumulation of wealth, the pursuit of personal gain, the insatiable quest for ‘success’. None of it is supported by the teachings of Christ. Why is that important? Because most arguments in favor or against a particular political candidate all operate around this assumption that we are entitled to the American Dream and that policies are threatening that dream. I say good. That’s not why we’re here. We need to shake ourselves out of the mindset that we deserve things like money, opportunity or even safety. We also need the stark reminder that the things we do have (like money, opportunity and safety) are not ours because of our hard work. They were given to us by God. To claim that one group deserves these things while withholding them from another is pretty arrogant. We need to live a life of gratitude that understands we have nothing but what we have been given, and that God will provide so that we may be generous.
Still with me? Fair points? Let’s go deeper. Why is it that I’m so heavily anti-Trump? It certainly isn’t because I want Hillary to win. I don’t think she would do a great job, I have no respect for her, and she’s a proven liar just like the Donald. I see no advantage to electing her over Trump. However, I do see a very real disadvantage by electing Trump. The reason is his influence. While Hillary may be able to buy off people, and does her dirty work behind the scenes, she’s relatively uninspiring in front of crowds. *yawn*. The Donald on the other hand is terrifyingly persuasive for some reason. He incites crowds, emboldens them and then sets them loose – on other people. In effect, he’s a puppet master. With Trump comes the very real possibility of violence against all kinds of minorities. If you are a white male, you are safe. If you are anything else, think for a moment what it will be like when the crowd turns on you next.
At this point I can already hear the “Yeah, buts….” coming. (haha, I said buts).
Let’s not get knocked up side the head by the planks in our eyes while we flail on the floor about how terrible the other candidate is. I don’t have to recite the litany of awfulness that they embody. We all know it, but we don’t want to admit that our choice for President is absolutely rotten. Why? because then we’d have to justify our choice to others and ourselves. So we downplay. We make excuses. We point out the wrongs done by the other side to detract and distract from our side. Its a childish tactic that avoids confronting the truth and making a decision that makes us uncomfortable. We’d rather be complacent than uncomfortable. We’d rather be wrong than admit it. We’d rather ‘hope for the best’ with an obviously unqualified candidate than rationally think through what a vote for Trump or Clinton looks like.
This isn’t a game of comparison tactics. They’re both bad. This is the funny thing: no one contests that point! They’re the most hated candidates in history. So why do we keep justifying it as if one bad is ‘less bad’ or ‘more’? If they’re both rotten, throw them out! This isn’t a battle between political opponents. It is a battle for what is right, for a new system, for liberty. The time has come to reject the two-party system. We’ll win a battle but lose a war if insist on the mindset that our vote is wasted on third party candidates. We have to start somewhere, and now is the best time. Every flood starts with a drop of rain. If every person who complained of a ‘wasted vote’ cast theirs in favor of a third party, the third party could win. No really. More than half the US dislikes both candidates. So, simple math says that if a majority of the country votes ‘nope nope nope’, to Trump and Clinton, then the third party takes the cake. And who doesn’t like cake? Amirite?
The old saying of ‘if it isn’t baroque, don’t fix it’ doesn’t apply (architecture joke!) . We’re broken. Like, bad. We need goals. Objectives. Accountability. More voices heard, more views represented. We need candidates we can elect that aren’t chosen out of fear for ‘the other’. It starts with dismantling the two party system. That starts by giving credibility to third parties and making them a force to reckon with. Vote by your conscience, not your fears. Overwhelm the status quo – don’t perpetuate it.
Okay, let’s move on to the next hot topic a la Donald. How abouts them immigrants? That’s a fine topic. Go ahead and take an intermission – get your coffee, your popcorn, a cold brew….let out a few curse words and roll your eyes a few times. I hear jumping jacks are good for you. Maybe jot down a note about which point you’re going to meditate on and pray about. Then, let’s continue.
All aboard for immigration station! Its hilarious that so many Trump supporters are anti-immigration when their own families are likely only a few generations removed from immigrants. Sobering factoid: If you’re not a Native American, you’re an immigrant. LOL at you. You poor thing, you thought you were different. We’re just one too many generations removed from having to see the reality of immigration first hand that we feel superior to those still going through it. Doesn’t help that the rules have changed pretty drastically on how to get into the country since we got here.
Ok, maybe you just think people should come here legally. I can’t argue with that. Doing things legally is the right way to do it…except for when the law is broken. Or doesn’t work. Or actively endangers people because it wasn’t thought out and takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R to be carried out. Let me tell you – if it was your family that needed an exception to a rule, you would fight tooth-and-nail to get it. If you were desperate enough, you’d break the law to provide for your family. So take a step back and look at why so many people come here illegally. Maybe, just maybe, its because the law doesn’t work and waiting poses a real threat to health, safety or welfare of people. Like, human beings people. The ones that you probably go to school with, or church with, or the ones that play with your kids. So next time you’re all “they should just come legally”, how about you get that cup of coffee and go sit down with an illegal and ask them about the path to citizenship or their legal status. I’ll be the first to admit – when I heard how long it takes I didn’t believe it. Its shocking. And that’s for the ‘ideal’ path as stated on the website. And we all know how timely the government is.
Let’s stop with the pity party, too. The routine of throwing up our hands as we sigh in lament at the misfortunes of others while we argue politics on our iphones or macbooks, after a meal where we threw away half the food, after we drove to our 2,000+ SF house in one of our cars that outnumbers the people in the family that are safe from cartels, terrorists and the like. Yeah. Poor them. If only we could help those poor souls. Oh wait, we can. But we’re too afraid, and we’re too greedy. We like to make excuses that sound a lot like this:
“Yes, immigrants need a better life, but they should come legally!” Oh, so they can languish in our broken system for years, or be sent back by judges like this Houston gem? We already know the process doesn’t work as intended. Telling immigrants to ‘get in line’ when there is literally no line and “just wait it out in your country” doesn’t exactly work when your life is threatened by the cartel or you are facing a life of poverty. But whatevs, not my problem! Let’s look at the next self-righteous excuse for scrutinizing the sins of others while turning a blind eye to our own. (Sorry, that was harsh. …Still true.)
“Immigrants need jobs, but they take ours!”. Guys, last time I checked, white people tend to pay to do the jobs that immigrants do to survive. Read that one again: we give our hard earned money to the owners of a blueberry farm so that we can instagram ourselves breaking a small sweat in a designer sun hat as we fill up a basket of fruit for funsies. (And later, pie.) Because who the heck actually wants to do that for a job? Not you, whitey-McWhite! (I sure as heck don’t!). Did you know that according to math, immigrants actually are GOOD for the economy? And if that isn’t enough to calm you down, you should really focus your fears on machines – they’re the ones that will actually take your jobs. So long, human labor – hello automation!
Also, that whole ‘build a wall’ or whatever? That’s already a thing. We have fences, ya know. Dubya approved it. And the cherry on top? Several border cities are against it, because guess what…their economies depend on immigrants. Rick Perry was against it while governor of Texas. They get it – the real solution is reforming the process on how people come into our country, not preventing it.
Loving as Jesus Loved
Next up, Bible trivia! For 100 points, where did Jesus said and/or did any of the following:
- Acquired wealth. In any form – all answers are accepted.
- Insulted women
- Told poor people he felt bad for them but they should really get a job and stop being immigrants/homeless/mentally ill
- Followed all the rules/laws of the land to the letter every time, because law.
- Encouraged the accumulation of material goods in excess while others lack basic life necessities like water, food or clothing.
- Rejoice over being right at the expense of someone’s life
Yeah, short game. Spoiler alert – he didn’t. In fact, Jesus would be pretty confused at our pursuit of the American Dream. You should probably give Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream a read. It will shake you up, in a soberingly good way. It may even cause you to rethink your whole life and go to Iraq to love people who are different than you. (Individual results may vary). All of these immigration arguments are simply fear based soundbites. Trump is winning because he will play into the fears and anxieties of underserved constituencies if it means a win. Reflect on why you feel strongly against immigration. Is it because you’re afraid of losing something (safety, opportunity, way of life, etc.)?
The Solution is to be more like Jesus.
The issue is that through all of this we have no sense of control. We feel like no one is listening and we feel helpless. Politicians don’t get us, and we can’t rely on anyone to look out for our interests. Except for one person: Jesus. You know that guy who also happens to be God and died for you? He’s got your back. All he asks is that you live your life modeled after his. If we live a more Christ-like life, we don’t have to wring our hands about whether we should vote for Trump or Clinton because our lives might be impacted negatively. We can trust that God has our backs. We can trust that he will take care of us and not bring harm to us. If we really believe what Jesus says, why are we so afraid? Why don’t we step out in faith that God can use a single vote – even for a third party candidate that has ‘no chance’ of winning? What if we needed God more than we need safety and security?
If we need God more than safety, and God is love, and we are supposed to be as much like Jesus as possible, then doesn’t it make sense that we should value others even above our own safety and very lives? No greater love has anyone than this that he lay down his life for his friends. When does that start to sink in on a daily basis in ways that actually matter to us? To our wallets? To our comfort? To our ideas of what life should look like? We have to confront the notion that laying down our lives means death. It can mean physical death, but it can also mean death of a dream, of selfishness, of excess, of fear. What does it mean to your life?
Folks, this is the America I think we all desire, and it is much closer with what Jesus would want, too:
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
If we really want to make America great again, it starts with you and me. It starts by living a life that reflects the light of Christ – a lamp lifted high for all to see. A light that shines on darkness, on hatred, on fear and casts them out. A light that envelopes us in embrace, warm and kind. A light which illuminates our commonalities rather than our differences.
This is what will make America great. If your candidate doesn’t embody the light of Christ, seriously reconsider whether you should vote for him or her.
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**If you care to know, I am planning to vote for Gary Johnson. Why? Because he shows that he is willing to change based on a) what is right and b) what the constituency wants. He has experience. He has a good running mate with experience. He’s willing to compromise.