When I was 8 years old, I called my friend a “stupid buttface” and told her that she wasn’t going to be in my wedding. We got in a fight over sidewalk chalk. I had drawn a house, and she definitely crossed into my house with her stupid house, and the argument ensued. She stormed home. I sat in the back of my dad’s red Suburban and told him about it. He laughed.
Fast forward 24 years, and a few weeks ago I called somebody a “stupid buttface” for not voting for the candidate that I think should be president. An argument ensued, with me shouting, “WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT POLITICS,” and I stormed out of the room. Except this time, nobody laughed.
Tomorrow is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, election in my lifetime. Tomorrow, I have the opportunity- the privilege- to cast a vote for the next president of the United States. I love America. I love what it stands for. I love that every single branch of my family immigrated here. I am proud of my American roots. There is no place else that I would rather be. And I feel that pride constantly.
And then I log onto Facebook.
Facebook: A Place for Friends. Or at least, that’s what their slogan is. I would more say it’s a giant couples’ therapy session but with no therapist, no “safe place,” and hundreds of empty threats.
I want to be enormously clear about something: I do not believe that there is a good choice for this year’s election. I am morally disgusted by one candidate and politically disgusted by the other.
With the election of Donald Trump, I feel as thought we would be taking a GIANT step back from the progression of equality that we have made as a country. Am I saying that all Trump supporters are racists? Nope. But I am saying that you are overlooking quite a lot to justify voting for a candidate simply to ensure a supreme court seat. I cannot and will not justify talk about sexual assault. Nope, not locker room talk where guys talk about boobs and butts, but actual talk about an actual sexual assault. If you think I’m wrong, please talk to any woman who has been grabbed by the pussy, and she will explain the difference. In fact, you can start with me.
I cannot and will not overlook the…we’ll call it expressive candor of his supporters and the things that they spew at his rallies. Just yesterday, a friend sent me a picture of her classmate that got his head bashed into a wall for saying that he didn’t support Donald Trump. If you are part of the crowd that says, “Well, he shouldn’t have gone somewhere where he could have been in danger” or “He probably was asking for it,” then I would venture to say that you are part of the same crowd that asks if a girl was drunk or how she was dressed when she was raped. Assault is never justified.
Do assault and racist chants happen every time? No. Does it happen at Hillary’s rallies? Probably. But I still won’t justify it. For the sake of my friends and family who do not fall into the BUILD-THAT-WALL-spectrum, I just won’t do it. I think he is a loose cannon who cannot be trusted with foreign affairs. I think he is a selfish man with tiny hands who will do whatever it takes to be successful. I think he is disgusting, truly. My conscience does not allow. It’s truly that simple.
With the election of Hillary Clinton, we are getting a lifetime politician who, simply put, cannot be trusted. I. Just. Don’t. Trust. Her. I don’t know how else to say it. I don’t trust that she’s telling the truth. I don’t trust that she means what she says. I don’t buy the whole “I couldn’t sync my phone up with my computer” email garbage. Listen, if my mom can do it, ANYONE CAN DO IT.
I don’t trust her with our troops. Because let me be clear, there are few things that I love more than I love our troops. I have people that I love who are actively a part of our military. And I don’t think that she cares about them. I mean, I’m pretty positive that we know that for a fact.
I don’t think that she has my best interest in mind. I think she will do anything- ANYTHING- to make herself look good. I think she is sneaky, I think she is a liar, and I think that she is the epitome of a politician.
So here’s where I’m at: a liberal Christian (because not all Christians are conservative republicans…SURPRISE!) who has no idea what to do. I honestly, truly don’t. Like, this is going to be a game-time decision, y’all.
But here’s what I do know. This election has brought out the worst candidates possible for us to choose from. But there’s something even more awful that has happened.
It has brought out the worst in us.
Today alone, I witnessed 3 sets of friends arguing on Facebook about policy and Right V. Left. I have seen family members unfriend each other. I have seen people literally rip other people to shreds because they didn’t see eye to eye. I’ve seen people say that they were voting 3rd party called “morons” and “uninformed idiots.” I’ve seen people laugh at the vulnerability of others and mock them for the life circumstances that lead them to vote for who they are voting for.
The name calling, the accusations, the sheer intimidation tactics have been sickening. I’ve been told that I’m a bad Christian, that I need to pray for guidance, and have had a few very, um, dedicated people tell me that they are praying that I “see the light.” I’ve been talked to like I am 7 and not 32. I’ve been told that I am a naive, young girl, and if I understood how the world worked, I would know who to vote for. I was told that I “must be one of those hipsters on drugs” (Honestly, my personal favorite). I’ve been told that I’m not using my voice for good and that I’m going to be held responsible by God for everyone that I’ve led astray. I’ve been told all of this without ever saying who I am going to vote for.
And every single thing that I have witnessed, every argument that I’ve read through, and every personal message pleading for my salvation that I have received has been by one very similar group of people: Christians.
Maybe there was a reason why Jesus didn’t get too involved in politics. Maybe it was because he was a hippy who probably would have voted for Bernie Sanders (please put down those stones!). But maybe it was because he knew what it would do to people.
Do I feel that we’ve lost a lot by having these two choices as our choices for the next president? Yeah, I do. I feel uncomfortable with either outcome.
But I feel like we’ve lost a lot more on a personal level. I mean, what’s next? Have we thought about that? Have we thought about the relationships that we’ve severed in the midst of this election? What happens after somebody wins? Do we re-add people on Facebook? Do we start saying nice things again and go back to sending Candy Crush invites like nothing ever happened? I mean, truly. What’s next?
Can we bounce back from the bridges that we have burned? What have we lost in this process?
In my very humble opinion (although I was told not once but TWICE today that I was self-centered!), I think we’ve lost the things that really matter for two people that, let’s face it, don’t care about us. In the process of making America Great Again or being Stronger Together, we have done the exact opposite.
We have alienated those who don’t agree with us.
We have shamed those who don’t vote like us.
We have laughed off criminal behavior to those who have been victims.
We have accused. We have taunted. We have ridiculed. We have shouted. We have insulted.
We have done all of those things with the same goal in mind: Greatness. Unity. Progression.
And we’ve done anything but be great. We’re the furthest from being unified that we’ve ever been. And we’re certainly no better today than we were yesterday. And truly, friends, shouldn’t that be the goal? To be better today than we were yesterday?
So tomorrow, we vote. Or some of us don’t vote, and hey, you heard it hear first, that doesn’t make you dumb. And by tomorrow night, assuming that Florida doesn’t have another major meltdown, we will have elected a new president. That is a beautiful thing that we have the power to do. There are many, many countries that don’t get that luxury.
But on Wednesday, when all of this is said and done, and we all lay down our political analyst honorary degrees and go back to being actual humans with normals jobs like dentists and teachers and hair stylists, we will have to deal with the aftermath of the way that we’ve talked to people or the way that we’ve been talked to. Or both.
So who would Jesus vote for? Honestly, I think neither. But hey, that’s a hot take and I get why that might make some of you mad. But at the end of the day, I really don’t know if he would. Because over and over in scripture, we see him do what it takes to cultivate relationships, restore victims, and spread love. So if he was going to vote, he would surely delete his facebook account. (But maybe keep Tumblr because Jesus was cool as crap, guys.)
If this election has taught me anything, it’s that I don’t know everything. But here’s what I do know: relationships matter more than anything else in this world. We can disagree and not disconnect. We can have voted for different candidates and never see eye-to-eye on a single thing, but still be under the umbrella of a loving God. We can hate Donald Trump or despise Hillary, but cannot deny that they were formed by a perfect creator, who loves them both immensely.
And we’re called to do the same.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. I Corinthians 13:1