Let’s Talk About the Donkeys & Elephants

If you watched even moments of the debate on Monday, you may be seething, reeling, accusing, or just plain drunk from all the shots you had to take when Trump said “huge”! I foolishly logged onto Facebook the day after, only to see comments about Trump, comments about Hillary, funny comments, mean comments, downright foolish comments, and more. But, one stream caught my eye.

I have a friend who I respect very much and she posted about feeling really concerned about this election; she says she can’t vote for Hillary, but her conscience bides her away from voting for Trump. There are many in her shoes: this is the first time that millennials-raised-conservative are thinking about voting democrat. Or independent. Or anything else.

For people like my friend, there is simply a quandary. “An independent vote is a wasted vote,” we’re told. “Voting anything other than democrat or republican is pointless,” say others. Or, my personal favorite, “Its your Christian duty to vote for a republican, because they align the most closely with biblical beliefs” (to which I ask, what Bible are you reading?).

All that said, here we are: a whole generation of people trying to honor God with our lives and our votes and seriously thinking about just not showing up on election day.

I want to point out three things:

First, while important, this is just an election - they happen on a regularly scheduled calendar. These candidates, certain news organizations, social media, and friends are all telling us that this is a “really important election” or “its going to change our country forever”. I literally saw one comment that said this is a “country” or “no country” election - as in, if you vote for one, there will be no America left.

I don’t believe this.

This election - its just an election. Someone will win, someone will lose, and checks and balances will do their job. Guess what? In four years, there will be another. And that is good - that is the process working.

Second, never vote based on fear. Some candidates are painting a picture of America that is steeped in fear, shame, and “what if” questions. Fear is important - it can keep us from harm - but it does not get to choose our direction. If you find yourself becoming fearful, remember - “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. We are all in the process of evolving, figuring things out, and becoming hopefully more just and loving.

Third, vote your gut. I know there is something deep down in each of us that recognizes truth - so dig into that and vote your conscience. If it is telling you to vote independent and maybe see some reform, then do that. If it is telling you to vote democrat for the first time, then do that. If it is telling you republican is the best option, then do that. Do your research, know what you believe, and go for it.

As for me, I am excited to see a new generation of politicians rise up with hope for change. I am excited for what the next twenty or thirty years holds - I hope to see more gender equality, a lesser gap between the rich and poor, equal rights for all, a decrease in poverty & homelessness, and more unity in our country. That is something we can all hope for as we make important decisions this election.