“Be excellent to each other…” – Bill & Ted
I’ve been putting off blogging because I’ve just got so many thoughts running through my head. Personally I’ve been struggling with a number of things like my health, my business, and my faith. Those are some big issues, and they are all entwined. And then, if you were living in a cave and haven’t heard, we had a Presidential election. That didn’t help my rambling brain.
See, I fall in into the grey area between both major parties. That may come as a shock to many of my Christian friends, because to so many people Christian = Far Right leaning Republican. But to be honest, I’m not sure how a Christian can be comfortable declaring a single party affiliation when both of the major parties try to encompass some major beliefs of what we in America view as Christianity. The modern Republican Party, despite the divorces and broken families in their ranks, spew family values rhetoric. The modern Democratic Party, despite the scandals, spew rhetoric about helping the downtrodden and environmental issues – you know, taking care of the widows and the poor and protecting God’s creation.
Also, this country was founded on the idea of religious freedoms, not Christianity specifically. What does that mean? To me it means that I don’t vote for a candidate solely based on their professed religion, and I’m skeptical of any candidate endorsed by a religion or church. We are a country that was founded by people seeking freedom to worship as they saw fit (yes, a few were Christians, but many wouldn’t fit today’s idea of “Christian”). Currently the US is heavily populated by Christians, but that doesn’t make us a Christian country, it makes us a country full of Christians.
It’s a small difference in some regards, but huge in others. The biggest hurdles for many American Christians are the separation of church and state and understanding that freedom of religion does not mean forcing everyone to believe as you do but rather allowing everyone to think and worship as they see fit. Does this mean we should allow child sacrifices to the river gods? No. But if you want to worship the river gods with out sacrifices, go ahead. It also means that not all Christians want to be, nor should be, lumped into a political party and that political parties shouldn’t be based on a single religion, or endorsed by a single religion. Sure, the parties may lean towards certain religions based on the candidates and parties beliefs, but somehow I don’t think human rights, civility, kindness and goodness can be accredited to solely one religious belief system as many religions have more in common with one another than the follows of either/any would care to admit.
That being said, I am not a Trump supporter. I could not in good conscious vote for a person who repeatedly is so anti-other. And by other I mean, any one who is not a Caucasian heterosexual male. I know there are issues with Clinton. I’m not a die hard fan of hers either, but for me, she was the lesser of the evils in this election. I’m not here to debate those evils – both sides have behaved wrongly. Simply put, I fall more towards the Democratic party on a number of issues, but the deciding factor was that I couldn’t vote for someone so full of hate. I know that will come as a shock to many of my Christian friends and family members who are ecstatic that there’s a “Christian” in the White House again.
I don’t see it. I keep trying. I understand that the only requirement to being a Christian is a belief in Jesus, so who knows? I’m not in a position to judge, I know I’ve done things that aren’t very “Christian”. I will try to be patient and see what happens. However, I’m taking the proactive wait and see attitude of a chronically ill person. The disease may cause pain, change my life, and kill me in the end, but in the mean time I’m going to take all the actions I can take to make sure I remain ahead of the symptoms or manage them as well as I can.
That may seem harsh, comparing the presidency to a chronic disease, but I think the analogy is fitting. At this point, both sides can agree the system is diseased – some are disappointed with the voting system, some that it’s pretty much a two party system, and some were not happy with the options we were given. All valid issues. But the election is over, so what does this wait and see while being proactive attitude look like while we wait to swear in a new Commander in Chief?
First of all, if you were not an Obama fan, you had 8 years to protest and voice your displeasure. And some of you did that vehemently. So why are you so shocked when those who are not pro-Trump do the same? Hello pot, hello kettle, look at that, we’re both black. You call them whiny kids, are angered by them burning flags, and accuse them of throwing temper tantrums. But that’s what’s been done in the past by upset citizens – on both sides. They saw someone do it previously, was it you? I’m not saying it’s OK, I’m just asking that you try and understand that they are just as unhappy as you once were.
Secondly, many of you have said, when explaining how you voted, something like “I’m not a racist, I voted for him because of what he stands for.” Go ahead, keep believing that, we’ve got 4 years to see what he stands for. Could be good, could be bad. It’s true, those of you I know who voted Trump are good people and I understand your reasons for voting for him, he’s radically different, you wanted change, and you thought he’d be good for your situation.
But it’s the masses and the group actions that are troubling, and unfortunately ALL of us are now included in that mass and group, it doesn’t matter that any of us are a good people – or who we voted for anymore. Many citizens of the world now view the entire country as a land filled with bigots, racists, and womanizers because enough of us approved of his behavior to vote him into office. And yes, if you voted for him, you approved of his behavior – the good (and the reason you voted for him), and the bad. That means that many of our fellow Americans feel betrayed by friends, neighbors, colleagues, and even family.
This is the part, that breaks my heart. I have a number of friends and family members who fall into the “other” category. I can’t tell them not to be afraid, and neither can you. It’s a lot like being afraid of the dark. Many think that a fear of the dark is irrational. But to the person who’s fumbling in an unfamiliar environment, tripping over rocks and roots and hearing things from beyond their range of sight, the fear is real. Very, very, real. I can only hope that my friends who are scared right now know that I worry about their safety and well being every day, and if anything ever happened to them, I would grieve and mourn with, or over, them. Every single one of them. I hope they also see me as a light in the darkness, I hope they know that I’m doing my best to remain their friend and support them, even when it doesn’t look like much.
One thing that keeps troubling me through all of this, and that has been swirling around in my head for a few months, is that I’ve become ashamed of American Christianity; and I’m not sure I want to be identified as a Christian. At this point and place in time, our light is not shining that brightly and there are many people out there who are afraid of the dark. Very, very, afraid. So if you are a Christian, please stop apologizing or saying that you are not a racist/bigot/bully and simply act like a decent human being; be excellent to each other. I know it can be hard, but I’ll try my best if you do too.