This Tuesday is election day and I’m scared. I’ve never been scared like this before. In the past, I may have had a candidate that I wanted to win; but never have I been scared that the outcome of the presidential election would be a dangerous detriment to my life as a citizen of this country, or as a citizen of this world.
I haven’t spoken outright about my support of Hillary Clinton much during this campaign. And I’ll tell you why. I have a few solid reasons…firstly, my parents. I remember when I was a little kid and my Dad would take me to the polling place with him on the way to drop my off at school. When I was really little, he let me come into the booth with him and push the button on the mechanic voting machine. When that magical glamorous experience disappeared with the introduction of computers at polling places, I waited in the lobby. Either way, I was happy to get a sticker that said “I voted” when we were done. Even though everyone knew I didn’t actually cast a vote that day, I was proud to live in a country where one day I could.
But something both my parents insisted upon was not telling us who they were voting for, not for the big ones. We always knew. My whole life, my parents have voted pretty much straight down the party line. But they always told us that it was our individual right to vote. And therefore it was our own, private decision to be made. It didn’t matter who we voted for, they told us, it was important that we “exercised our franchise” as my dad would always say.
Secondly, I’m honestly horrified that if Donald Trump wins this race, there will be consequences down the line for those who didn’t sympathize with him. Now, I have not been shy to speak out about my distrust and disdain of Donald Trump verbally, among friends; but I have not written or committed myself to anything potentially incriminating because, well, I’m scared. I’m scared of what he can do. I’ve seen what he has encouraged, I’ve seen what he has justified, I’ve heard what he’s said. I’ve seen him attack journalists, and women, and minorities, and small business owners, and immigrants…why shouldn’t he attack me? Why wouldn’t I be one that he manipulates and takes advantage of and oppresses and abuses? I’m scared that what he has already done to others, one day, will not just offend me, it will hurt me.
I’m scared now even writing this. Freedom of speech, huh…?
Lastly, I haven’t bought the buttons, or blasted my social media with support videos and campaign pictures because, Hillary wasn’t my first choice. I don’t want to passionately support a candidate that I haven’t passionately supported from the start. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with her. 100%. I believe that she needs to be the next president of our country. I think she can do wonderful things for this nation and I look forward to finally having a woman president. Her campaign has made me think good and hard about what I believe in and, bottom line, I’m with her. But I didn’t start that way. I didn’t vote for her in the primary and I haven’t been her biggest fan over time. I didn’t support her from the start and I think she, like most politicians, has her issues. I don’t love the fact that she is caught amidst this email controversy and I don’t love that she stepped down from her position as Secretary of State at a time when it seemed like the country really needed her. But these, to me, aren’t reasons to not cast my vote for her.
I believe in her platform. I believe in the change she could be for our country. I believe that women deserve to paid the same wages as men. I believe that education should be a right, not a privilege. I believe that institutional racism, implicit bias, and global warming are problems that we must face. I believe that our nation is a magical fabric of different peoples, ethnicities, religions, and orientations, and that it is a beautiful fabric. I believe that love trumps hate, every single time. But I believe this not because I believe in Hillary, but because I believe in Christ.
I believe in power of goodness and love to overcome the most challenging of obstacles. I believe that Christ loves us in our mistakes, in our failures, in our disappointment; and he forgives. I once heard a person of faith say that they find where Christ is on the ballot, and that is where they cast their vote, and that to me is the most powerful voting advice I’ve received. I’m not a democrat, nor a republican. I vote for whomever, for whatever I feel like Christ has his hand in. And this year, Christ is voting for Hillary. There is no doubt in my mind.
People say she is a liar, that she’s dishonest. Haven’t we all fallen short from the glory of God? What was that bit about the plank in your own eye? People say that she’s changed her platform over the 30 years she’s been in public office. Good! Aren’t we called to repent and turn away from our mistakes? To be changed and shaped and transformed as love opens our hearts, our minds, and our eyes to see?
I stand beside my faith this election season – my faith in God and my faith in this democratic process – and I’ve cast my vote. I stand with her, proudly, because I first and foremost stand with him.