I will not stop fighting

This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a week, but I knew it would be hard. I know some people like my mother who read and actively support my writing will be disappointed with me because I’m not following the right path. By ‘right,’ I mean what is seen as correct and the conservative, right-wing opinion.

I was raised to think Republicans were God’s chosen party and we needed to remain conservative. When my father registered as a Democrat, I remember thinking how horrible. I was appalled. How could anyone not be a Republican?

My eighteenth birthday fell two months before the 2008 election, and I registered Republican because that was my job as a Christian. This was the year Obama swept the nation with his message of hope. Friends in high school who couldn’t vote wore hoodies advertising his platform and I was disgusted. Didn’t they know better? My mom said he would ruin America.

In both of Obama’s election, I voted Republican. My justification was that, as a Christian, I had to vote for the candidate who represented my values best. Being pro-life, this typically comes down to the abortion issue. To me, everything else was politics. I assumed either would do a similar job in office, so I didn’t care about plans or policies.

Looking back, I realize it never occurred to me how momentous it was to witness our first black president. This is incredibly disappointing. I let myself think he wasn’t a good choice and as a white girl from a small town, I didn’t think anything of it because it didn’t seem like a victory to me.

When this election began, I was an ‘anyone but Trump’ person. Early on, it was simply because I saw it as a joke, not a threat. My mom really dislikes Hillary Clinton, so like many others I assumed she was the devil. When it came down to Clinton and Trump, I was a ‘they both suck’ person planning to go third party.

What changed?

More and more, I’ve let my brain think for itself. While I think it’s valuable to hear the opinion of those you respect, I would simply grab that opinion and let it become my own. I’ve learned to escape the trapping of what I should think and decide how I actually feel.

At first I laughed off Donald Trump’s racism because I didn’t see him as a threat. When I started paying attention, I was appalled, both at him and his supporters. I don’t care if you think he’s the fresh breath we need in the White House; you need to acknowledge his racism is unacceptable.

If you and your circle of influence weren’t directly insulted by Trump’s words, you don’t understand why they’re a big deal. To you, they’re just words because he’s a buffoon. Don’t take them seriously. We nominated a buffoon for president and now we’re told to not take what he says seriously. No straight, Christian, white person has the right to tell someone else not to worry when you don’t understand.

I say ‘person’ and not ‘man’ because it’s alarming how many women weren’t offended by Trump’s views and treatments toward us. We heard how he disrespected and violated women and still we voted for him, excusing his language because he’s a guy.

Republicans think they have a right to this country. They believe they are right and the liberal agenda will ruin us. We can’t survive four more years with a Democrat, they say. Christians stick with Republicans because traditionally they line up with our values. Traditionally, I’m ok with this. The problem is when Christians believe their holy Republican mission is greater than God’s mission for us.

What is the greatest commandment? Elect a Republican candidate to keep America conservative? Save our nation through our government? Make everything that isn’t Biblical illegal to keep people right with God?

Maybe you’re reading that thinking that’s not how it is and maybe I believe you, but none of that matters. If you’ve followed Jesus long, it’s likely you know the real commandment.

The religious people of the land loved to question Jesus and try to trip him up. Time and time again, he showed who he was and what it meant to actually follow God.

“One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question, ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’

Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22)

We aren’t supposed to love God and support our political agenda. God doesn’t have a political agenda. He didn’t answer our prayers and put Trump in the White House. We did that with our free will. Jesus doesn’t have an elephant sticker on his car.

Politics are a messy part of religion because there isn’t a commandment telling us how to vote. But Jesus does tell us how to love.

My greatest purpose in this world is to love God and love others. Period. My neighbors aren’t just my physical neighbors or the people I know or people like me. I am called to love everyone. This means even if I agree with the stereotypes or think someone is a threat to my safety, I am still supposed to love them.

Now let’s look at both candidates. For the sake of this post, we’re going to eliminate all of the alleged criminal activity. We’re going to take away every stupid thing they’ve done in the past. Now we’re left with two people who campaigned this year for our vote.

Trump built his campaign on rallying the crowds and allowing hate to fill his words. Because we wanted change, we allowed it.

He threatened to keep all Muslims out because they’re terrorists. He wants to build a wall and deport Mexicans because they’re rapists and ‘bad hambres.’ He plans to take away marriage rights for the LGBTQ community. He’s spent an extraordinary amount of time belittling women with terms like ‘pig’ and ‘nasty,’ and that’s ignoring the tapes where he bragged about sexually assaulting women because of his power.

Because I’m not threatened, I wasn’t concerned. They’re just words, after all.

My agenda as a human is to love others. To hear threats against people I care about and take them seriously, not write them off because they’re ridiculous. It is to tell bullies they cannot keep us down.

In most elections, I don’t think it matters. Typically we have two politicians who probably won’t screw up too much. This time we had a real candidate and a hateful man and we elected him because we didn’t trust her and we needed change.

Like it or not, you supported his mission of inequality.

There is no way around this. I won’t call you all racists because I know you all aren’t and some of you would never admit it. But Donald Trump showed his true colors. Even if he changes his opinion, he’s said the words.

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Trump isn’t offering us fruit, only poison.

I voted for who I thought would love others better through equality and inclusivity, instead of panic and fear. I hear the reasons you voted for Trump. Now is the time, regardless of who we voted for, to show love to everyone. This isn’t done by saying move on or telling them not to worry.

The election is over, yes, and like it or not Trump won. I thought at first this meant I had to be quiet now, but the fight is far from over. As a Christian, I thought I needed to be quiet and supportive of my leader, but that’s not right. I have to give up letting people know they are heard and loved to support a man? Is that Biblical? No.

Remember those guys who were thrown in the furnace for not bowing to a false God? Or how about any of the disciples who were killed for continuing to preach? Maybe Esther who stood up to the king to save her people, even though she knew it could take her life?

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

I will not accept this as normal. I will pray for our president and wish him well, but what we’ve allowed to happen will never be ok. We have put our fears and frustrations over our fellow Americans. I will keep fighting and making sure people know they are loved.

You can be upset and disappointed with me because of my radical liberal views, but that’s not who I am. I am someone who loves people and puts that above all else. I want equality and safety for all, not presumed safety at the expense of a group we stereotype and generalize.

I know people will read this and be mad and try to tear apart my argument. I know I’m not a theologian. I’m not trying to start a fight. But I will not pretend or hide my feelings about this for approval or to spare a fight.

I won’t stop fighting to love others, because that is equally as important as loving my God and Savior. This is only the beginning, and there is hope.

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