“You reap what you sow.”
That’s what we are taught as kids. In some areas of life, that phrase is true. However, in the political arena that phrase is true, but incomplete.
“You reap what you sow…. but your harvest might cost other people dearly.”
It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely, but it’s a more accurate description of what happens when we elect new leaders.
Who Are You
I’m writing this series of posts because, unlike past elections, I was a big fat jerk this time. I threw around generalizations like a fishnet full of hooks, knowing full well those nets could possibly hit people I love.
If one of my careless net tossing tweets or posts hooked you, I’m assuming the following:
- You’re probably white.
- You are probably a registered Republican.
- You probably despise Trump, but voted for him anyway.
- You probably consider yourself an active Christian.
- You probably despise racism and hate being associated with it.
I was careless, and I’m sincerely sorry. I hate when someone misunderstands me, or believes something about me that’s not accurate. So if you felt anger as you read one of my many barb-filled tweets or FB posts, you should be offended because I would be too.
This series of posts is not an excuse, but it is an explanation of how a person who tries to be open-minded and pragmatic got to the point where he used birdshot to try and kill a deer standing 300 yards away across a road full of stopped cars.
Honesty, Humility & Accountability
I’m going to tackle each of those separately, but here’s why I’m writing about them first.
I lose my mind when I see someone who refuses to acknowledge the truth about things that are in plain sight (honesty), refuses to acknowledge what they don’t know (humility), or won’t acknowledge how their choices affect others (accountability).
(Sometimes this describes me, and when I find out later, it makes me angry. I try really, really, really hard to live out these three things, especially in politics.)
Those things get inside my head, cut the cords of common sense, and turn me into a raging lunatic shaking his fists in the sky and yelling to whoever will listen. I’m not proud of that guy, but he’s in here, and here is what wakes him up and sets him free. When he sees people:
- Willfully refusing to acknowledge the truth, to preserve political power.
- Willfully refusing to learn from people they know so little about.
- Willfully remaining ignorant about how their choices affect other people - especially those less fortunate.
I am many things, but skilled at walking away from a situation like that is not one of them. Most of the time, I am rational and pragmatic when I see people:
- Being honest about what they believe.
- Being honest about the big picture.
- Being honest about things that are facts, no matter how difficult those things are to admit.
- Being honest about what they want and fear.
- Showing an interest in learning about people from very different backgrounds.
- Being willing to believe what people say about their own lives.
- Accepting responsibility for how their actions will affect other people.
A few examples.
I believe that Hillary Clinton (the candidate I voted for) represents a brand of politics that is despicable. She is not a normal person, she is a rich white lady who operates in a cloud of money and power.
I acknowledge that in the big picture, many of Donald Trump’s supporters are not racist. They despise him, and dreaded having to vote for him, and are ashamed that he was the nominee.
I knew very little about Donald Trump’s actual policy plans and focused heavily on his rhetoric because I found it so offensive.
I know almost nothing about rural life in the rust belt region of the country.
I know almost nothing about the real costs of ACA health insurance because it hasn’t affected me in the way it has affected others.
My vote for Obama made way for the ACA, which some people are paying dearly for. (A software developer I know calculated that his ACA plan costs him $7,000/year more than before). My vote is partly responsible for that.
My vote for Obama made way for the ACA, and millions of people now have healthcare who didn’t before, and people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage. My vote is partly responsible for that.
My vote for Clinton would have helped establish a left-leaning Supreme Court, which is terrifying for some (a fear I do not share, but understand). My vote would have been partly responsible for that.
This is the hard work of embracing honesty, humility, and accountability without regard for preserving political power.
This series of posts is going to go deep, it's going to get personal, and if you take it seriously it’s going to be painful.
I’m not nearly arrogant enough to believe that anyone will take this seriously, but for the sake of the people I love, I’m hoping someone does. Honestly, sincerely, prayerfully hoping.
More to come…