Friday, September 18, 2020

A Change is Gonna Come

"What's the point?"

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with that feeling in regards to politics. We are SO divided as a nation, with people DEEPLY entrenched in their views on either side. There is a lot of talking (actually- yelling) little listening, and seemingly no budging. So what’s the point? Why bother debating, correcting, convincing, educating, campaigning, protesting...flag-flying, sign-posting, petition-signing, IG story-sharing, or truth-seeking if everyone is already set in their beliefs/decisions/party lines?

What’s the point in discussing all of this with my Trump-supporting friends or family if they’re not going to change? Is it worth it? To risk awkwardness, or hurt, or even a severed relationship when no change in opinion is likely to come anyway? What’s the point in even voting if my vote is just going to get cancelled out by my MAGA hat wearing neighbor, my ultra-conservative cousin, or outnumbered by groups I’m technically a part of but shockingly unaligned with (hey there: evangelical Christians and suburban white women!)?

How much do I want to “make this a thing”? How much does it matter? How much should I speak up? How much should I risk? How much do I think I can change? 

I honestly don’t know. But a quote I saw recently might hold part of the answer. “I don’t do this to change the country. I do this so the country won’t change me.” 

So when the controversies flare up, the alliances dig in deeper, the dividing lines are put on display...I may not change her mind, or his mind, or your mind...but I can fight to be unchanged by a world I don’t agree with. And that is HARD. It’s COMPLICATED. It's a flip-your-brain-inside-out kind of struggle, dealing with the cognitive dissonance of it all, trying to understand what's true, what matters, how does it fit, what does it mean, what should I do, who am I, and who do I want to be...


Who I am (in my very core, at my very best) is a Jesus-following, family-loving, friend-supporting, people-championing, everyone-accepting person. I won’t give any of that up for any candidate, policy or party. But I also absolutely won’t compromise any of that by supporting, condoning, or ignoring systems, rhetoric, or people who promote hate.


And that all sounds just fine and good, and fairly politically-agnostic. Because in the end, we're all just good people trying to do good things, right? 


Well...let me say this as clearly as I‘m able to now, at the risk of offending, or being misunderstood, or accused of hypocrisy...

I do not support President Trump. I will not vote for him. And I have some serious concerns and questions about people who do and will. Yes- even people I wholeheartedly love. Actually, ESPECIALLY those people. I want to love unconditionally, I want to fully trust that relationships are bigger than politics, and know that everyday actions mean more than one box we check every four years. But I also deeply struggle with understanding how a leader of such profoundly and obviously flawed character could be endorsed by anyone who professes to value the same things I do. 

And let me also say:

I will love you no matter who you vote for. But please don't make me prove it! (Kidding. Kind of!)


I'll say it again because I need to repeat it confidently as I simultaneously start the hard work of meaning it: I will love you no matter who you vote for.


But I ask you to consider what your vote demonstrates to those around you. What does it say to your daughters? What does it say to your Black friends? Your gay coworker? Your classmate with a disability? Your immigrant neighbor? (OH how this list could go on...) What does it say you care about? And who does it say you DON’T care about?


And here- let me be explicit: If you vote for Trump, can you look at my white, Black, male and female children of yet-to-be-determined ability, status or sexual orientation...and proudly tell them who you voted for? Knowing all that you know. Witnessing all that you've seen and heard. Can you tell them what your vote means? What your yard sign is about? Who and what exactly you are putting your social, emotional, and monetary trust and support behind? Can you rationalize enough? Explain enough? Overlook enough? Cost-benefit analyze enough? Will any amount of party-loyalty or tax break incentives be enough to back that choice?

I am a broken, flawed, mess in progress, now, this November and always. I will change in innumerable ways between now and this November and the end of my life. My circumstances, my opinions, my approach (and my hairstyle!) could all be radically different over time as I pursue continual growth. I’m not afraid of that change. I’m not ashamed of progress that reveals contradictions. I will not confuse healthy conviction to core ideals with a stubborn grasp on temporal things. I will be changed in many ways, but I will be vigilant in what things I allow to change me. 

I will hold fast to the example Jesus set, and my responsibility to do what’s right.

I will pray for the bravery to speak up for others, stand up to harm, and risk my own comfort for broader gain.

I will vote for Joe Biden.

And I will hope for the very, very best kind of change for us all.


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1 comment :

  1. I really appreciate this post. Clearly describes how I am feeling as well. Thank you!