Four years ago today, I wrote a post titled "Why I Woke Up Happy This Morning."
Four years ago, I was 26 and in grad school. I remember writing the post through teary eyes as I sat in the computer lab at Gorgas Library. I'll admit I was one of the many people who found myself swayed by Obama's charms and the promise of HOPE. I rallied around that "Yes We Can" as hard as I'd rallied around anything else in my life. I loved the idea of helping elect our first minority president. It was a magical night, and I was proud to vote for change in this country.
Four years ago, I voted for Barack Obama mostly based on emotion.
Last week, I voted again for Barack Obama, and I cried happy tears last night, and I woke up happy again this morning, because I made an informed decision I truly felt it was right. I voted because of my values and ideals, and because I felt like he was the better man for the job. With all of the hot button social issues that directly affect me and my loved ones, it was a no-brainer. As I told someone (jokingly) who asked me if I was a Romney supporter... I have a lot of gay loved ones, I have lady parts, and I am someone who would give my last dollar to help someone else... what do you think? For me, there was no going back.
I voted for Barack Obama because of the same reason many people voted for Mitt Romney: my values centered around faith, morality, family, and community. I don't pretend to understand everything about politics, but I do know what I believe:
- I believe in helping people who can't help themselves.
- I believe in equal opportunity, and that with the way the system is now, we don't have it.
- I believe that no one should have to worry whether they can receive the health care they need without having to declare bankruptcy because of it.
- I believe that no one in America should literally starve while others have such excess.
- It's a confusing concept, and one that I wouldn't have gotten to without the many loved ones I have in my life who are gay, but I truly believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, and that we have no right to limit who people can love and especially their legal rights when in a monogamous relationship just like straight marriages.
- I like Obama's sense of humor and sensibility. I think he is smart. And his wife is a real class act. I also think he's a pretty dang cool person, and I will not apologize for that being something in his favor.
- I believe it is unconstitutional to bring religion into the governance of this country. They formed this country on those ideals for a reason, but not just to encompass or inforce one version of Christianity. Sure, faith and morals should steer motivation to do good, but not forced on anyone and certainly not used to outcast or restrict rights.
- More than anything, I believe that we aren't here to judge, but to help. In any way we can. In the words of John Wesley, to "Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.”
One of my favorite posts from a friend was this:
God is neither surprised or relieved by this election. His plans don't jump the track. And no one man is a savior or destroyer of our country. There are checks and balances on place to protect democracy. Be careful when choosing your words this week. The people you loved yesterday are the very souls you alienate with malice and hateful words. The "other side" is closer than you think and it looks like your family and friends. ~Mary Katherine (Samples) BackstromIt's true, people. I have been so shocked by the way people have reacted in social mediums, and especially the way people have reacted to me and my thoughts. But here's the thing: I voted as a single, straight, Christian woman who is also a daughter, a friend, and a sister. Just the same as many of you. And I do not appreciate being told that I am "lost" (when not in jest, obviously). Just stop it. Take a minute and stop assuming. Being mean and hurtful and alienating people based on faith is SO not what should be happening right now, and I take offense to it. Can't we all just get along?
"I voted for Regina George because she got hit by a bus."
"I voted for Cady Heron, because she pushed her."
At the very heart of this, we are all Americans. And we are all humans. Sure, there are disappointed people, and I get that. I would have been disappointed had the election gone the other way. But at this point, it is crucial that we do three things (two of which are found right there in the Bible):
- Honor our leaders. (Romans 13; and 1 Timothy 2)
- Love our neighbors. (No reference needed)
- Move on and work together to move forward.
I'm excited. Ecstatic, even. All smiles today. Here's to what I hope will be a good four years!