Some things I learned from this election

  1. People tend to react with a “deer in the headlights” look when you tell them that there ARE more candidates on the ballot than two. Really? You mean I don’t HAVE to choose the lesser of two evils? No, really. This was my first year voting for an independent candidate. It was kind of a tough decision – I’d done my research and found someone who represented my core value more than Obama or Romney…and I knew they stood no chance at winning. I came to accept that, and I cast my vote anyway. Why? Because my vote is my voice – and even though I represent a small chorus, I am speaking my convictions to whoever takes office. This SHOULD be our intention when voting – not to simply prevent a candidate we don’t like from taking office, but to be fearlessly honest about what we stand for. After all, if someone doesn’t know what you represent, how can they represent you?
  2. I am baffled by the nastiness of people, and how easy it is to dilute morals to make a (hateful) point. I believe killing is wrong – in almost every circumstance. Killing an innocent American baby and killing an innocent Iraqi child are both wrong. Inflicting mental trauma on a pregnant woman is wrong. Inflicting mental trauma on a 19-year-old soldier is also wrong. You can’t say one is worse than the other. God help me if I ever get to the point where I feel I have the right to tell someone that they are not a follower of Christ based off of what morals they take with them to the polls. I kind of thought that Christians had moved past the point of saying things like, “You are going to hell if you vote for Obama”, or, in my more liberal camp’s case, “You are not a Christian if you vote for Romney”. I was sadly mistaken.
  3. There’s quite a few white people who truly have no clue what it means when a black person says they are voting for Obama because he’s black. And, I mean, I guess I understand that. As white people, we’ve never, ever had to think about our ethnic identity and what our skin color represents. We have that luxury. Unfortunately, no other ethnic group in our nation does. For many people that I know who are black, it had nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with what someone’s skin color represents. Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with a white person voting for someone simply because they’re also white – it’s a natural and somewhat healthy part of diversity to acknowledge one’s culture and ethnic identity and want to identify with it. This is especially true if that particular identity has often been synonymous with oppression or hardship. What I would have a huge problem with would be someone saying something along the lines of “I’m voting for ________ because the other candidate is white/black/purple/green and I don’t want someone who is white/black/purple/green to be in office”. That’s racism, kids. Pure and simple.
  4. I stand on the same soapbox I stood on four years ago – and that is right next to you on your soapbox. My vote is one small way I affirm my beliefs and convictions, but the far more important way I can do this happens in my day to day life. My vote represents choices I have made, and with those choices come great responsibilities.

    To raise daughters and encourage other young woman to respect their bodies and emotions, and to never take lightly their choices and the consequences of them.

    To raise sons and help other young men to understand that a woman is not a commodity, not a plaything or an object. We are human beings deserving of the same dignity that they are.

    To push myself outside of my comfort zone and engage with people who are different, so that I may have a better understanding of the world around me and make decisions that benefit the least of these and not just my own ambitions.

    To participate, whenever possible, in business transactions that benefit my local economy or that benefit poverty-stricken areas around the world in a manner that is fair and ethical.

    To do my best not to support forced labor, underpaid workers, unnecessary wars, and abuse of privilege – even if this means that I pay more money for a garment (or go without!) or have to use a few extra dollars to fill my gas tank.

    To never take lightly my ability to produce my own healthy food in my backyard, nor my ability to share these resources with the community around me.

    To advocate for children in my city; one in four lives in poverty, and consequently one in four will also not graduate from high school. In an American city where people in the suburbs literally have so much wealth and opportunity that it’s a burden to them, these are some sad statistics.

    To never take for granted that I have an education, a home that I am able to own, a car that I have a license to drive, a job where I am treated and compensated fairly, and citizenship in a country with abundant resources. Many, many people within blocks of where I live don’t have these privileges.

    To daily acknowledge the fact that war is not a vague concept happening overseas – war is being waged in my own home, in my own city, in my own state. War happens whenever I chose to selfishly serve myself before my family (which, I should note, is different than engaging in self-care for my well-being so that I CAN participate in selfless behavior towards others). War happens when I disrespect someone because of their political beliefs. War happens when I make decisions out of fear for those are different than me.

    War happens when I insist, without honest dialog, without making the effort to understand how you came to form your convictions, that you are wrong and only I am right.

    For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

    Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2: 14-22)


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