Vote For Your Neighbor

When I was first able to vote, elections felt a lot like football games. Winning and losing. Which moral compass would be victorious on Election Day. Losing an election simply meant the country was morally headed against my ideals and we could try again in a couple of years.

That was the privilege I was (and am currently) dealing with.

It was a battle of teams. The narrative I lived under was that Republicans loved America, loved Jesus, and supported the troops. And of course wouldn’t raise our taxes.

Democrats were conforming to the ungodly world, didn’t support the war, and wanted to use all of our hard earned money on things people should earn for themselves. (Ya know, like healthcare.)

Losing honestly had little personal cost and even when Obama won both elections, there was an element of hope that even I could feel. While I had been groomed to fear such a moment, I knew a great many people were happy in a way they’d never been before. And so I took the loss and hoped for a positive outcome.

The older I’ve gotten the more capable it has become to see that elections are not just ideological battle grounds. They really are life or death for a great many people. The life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of multitudes is tied up in how I vote.

As a Christian, I am called to be concerned for my neighbor. If politicians bully and bruise the rights of my neighbor I am not called to simply walk on by them to the ballot box and vote my idealism into power again and again as they become less and less prosperous, free, or healthy. I’m called to stop, consider, aid, and include my neighbor in all that I am giving power to.

Dr. King succinctly described the difference of the Good Samaritan by saying(and I paraphrase): The others who walked by asked the question, “If I stop and help this man, what might happen to me?” The Samaritan asked the question, “If I do not help this man, what might happen to him?”

I want to encourage that consideration when you vote in this upcoming election.

And I want to share with regard to so many people that I love, that your vote has such a direct impact on their life, their Liberty, and their pursuit of happiness.

The safety and security, and likely the legality of my LGBTQ+ friends, youth, and their families are on this ballot. My state politicians, the Republicans in charge, have targeted their relationships and their families in both speech, directives, and policy. Consider if this were directed at your life, how your days would feel? Knowing that people in charge stand opposed to your flourishing?

Many communities are working against an informed public where everybody belongs. They’ve targeted your local libraries, your school libraries, as well as the natural testimony of many people’s lives and families. A gay teacher should not need to hide the fact that they have a loving partner. No teacher should have to hide their families from their students.

I’ll never forget standing on the National Mall and hearing a speech from George W. Bush about the importance of having the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture so near the White House and Capital. He spoke to the importance of not just celebrating the strides and achievements of African Americans but also facing the reality of what this nation has done to them. And what it means to be a country, unlike so many, that can face its past mistakes and learn to be healthier from them. Yet, many school boards and teachers are facing countless attacks to prohibit such a movement forward. We need capable leadership that values such an honest and whole education that will not cave to racism.

Many polticians are trying to build distrust in our public school systems so they can defund them and build up a base for charter schools or “school choice” policies. It’s all a ruse to fill more pockets rather than a dedication to give every child a meaningful education.

The necessary healthcare several friends have needed, has been taken away from them. “You love someone who has had an abortion” used to feel like a simple catchphrase. But in my adulthood I have found this to be so true. I love many people who have shared their abortion stories with me and even more who have shared recently with my faith community. Each story is unique and particular to the individual. This change in safety for them is a cruelty too many will never consider beyond the moral victory they seek to achieve. I recommend reading a book titled ‘A Complicated Choice’ by Katey Zeh before casting your ballot if you are able and to really consider the impact this has on necessary healthcare. Most women who have an abortion already are mothers. We cannot say it is some unknowing choice. Many have already thought of names, prepared rooms. They are the ones best equipped to make such decisions. Not a politician who has never heard their stories.

Millions of Americans are about to receive debt relief that will have an enormous impact on their livelihood but movements are already underway to stop this from happening.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the future of this planet is on the ballot. Fossil Fuels pollute our air and trap the suns warmth from escaping back into the atmosphere. The more we burn, the more we pollute, the more we trap. The more we trap, the hotter our planet becomes. The hotter our planet becomes, the more extreme our storms are, the more glacial flooding we will see. The more extreme our storms, the more loss of life, the more climate refugees we have (people who have to move because of droughts and devastation), the more government spending is needed for rehabilitation, community restoration, the fewer crops we can produce, the fewer healthy foods we have and on and on. Our health and future is directly impacted by who you vote for. Your children’s children will feel the weight of these elections.

Your vote has an impact. Your vote is not about “sticking it” to anybody. Your vote is about building a better tomorrow, a more informed public, and more sustainable society. A more caring community.

Stop voting for harmful bullies that are too busy trying to win applause that they’ve forgotten to extend basic human empathy. Too many leaders have been so enabled they’ve lost the plot of public service. To them the spectacle has become like football games and they run campaigns like egotistical jocks without any honest people in their corners. Only enablers. They refuse to believe they lost because they are so self-absorbed. We don’t need leadership like this.

Start considering your neighbor.
Vote for them as you’d vote for yourself. So much is on the line.


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