Lawd. I'm talking politics. This will probably be the only time I talk politics with you. Glory, glory hallelujah. I've always tried to avoid it. In recent months, however, I have been bombarded with a constant stream of political turmoil like I have never experienced. Social media completely changed the game. We used to watch news coverage of the election at home, pick up, and go about our lives--perhaps with some sprinklings of mentions in break rooms at work or on the radio on the commute there. Now, you have live coverage notifications popping up on your cell phone. No matter where you are, you can't escape it. Political turmoil isn't a new thing, but the near constant stream of information is a relatively new thing. The constant connection to heated topics have turned into friendly fire. We're turning on each other. Emotions are running hot and our fingers are typing fast to just GET OUT everything we feel about what's happening. It's turned friend against friend. Brother against brother. You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to get in uncomfortable political debates with your Uncle Pete, these debates happen every time you interact on social media. It's heavy. It's exhausting. It's so hard. And I'll be honest, I just don't want to get in these debates. The political waters are getting choppier, and it feels like the perfect storm swallowing up tight bonds between people I deeply care about. So as dangerous as the waters may feel for me, I feel compelled to talk today.
- God has done some of his best work in times of political turmoil. Stand strong in that truth. Be encouraged that we can be sure He is still working now.
- I voted third party. I didn't vote for Donald Trump. I don't care for him as a person or for his policies. I have friends who did, and this will never automatically make them my enemy. My love for people is bigger than where their checkmark goes on their ballot. Hatefulness and name calling from either side of the aisle is more likely to get you unfollowed on my feed than which party you vote for. I trust that if you voted for someone I didn't vote for, you considered your options and voted where your conscience led you. I may for the life of me not be able to understand why, much like you may not be able to understand why I voted the way I did, but I would love to believe we can still be friends.
- There are many political problems I have still yet to form a solid opinion on. My political beliefs have always been somewhat solid but yet flexible. I want to stand strong in what I believe but be open enough for those beliefs to be challenged. I have thoughts. I have leanings. I have ideals. I have my own personal experiences and those I have read about, but I don't know everything. I'm perfectly OK with that.
- Compassion and wisdom are both important to me in politics as in life. Having one without the other is ill-advised. I am a citizen and a believer. I try to be the best I can at both, and fail regularly. I will always be committed to try again.
- I value facts. I recognize that my idea of what is factual may not match yours. We all filter our facts through our own experiences and worldview. You may look at my list of facts and call bullcrap or vice-versa. But I recognize that you probably worked as hard as I did to arrive where you did. God wouldn't have created us uniquely with completely different thought processes if he wanted us to all think the same. I honor your right to have different opinions. This is what makes America already great. We can think or say whatever we want, as brilliant or asinine as it may be.
- Peaceful protests will never offend me. Before you get mad, let me reiterate the word PEACEFUL. I encourage them. I welcome them. They are a vital thread woven throughout the fabric of the history of our nation. I may join some. I may decline others. Peaceful protests have accomplished great things, and they have also been met with rage and violence. I may not support whatever you're protesting, but I dang sure support your right to do it. Protests are only divisive if we let them be.
- I love social media. I love keeping up with my friends' lives. I love the connection we can still share across the globe. I love watching their children grow. I love seeing the wedding pictures. I love their wit. I love all the unique and special things they all bring to my table. But sometimes I overshare. Sometimes I get defensive and snarky and type something I shouldn't. I bet you could think of examples she you've crossed a line on social media too. It's not my goal. I would hope that it's not yours. Let's have some grace and believe the best in each other rather than jumping to the wrong conclusions.
- Just as we have different political leanings, we all process differently. What I feel compelled to talk out loud about on social media, you may not, and vice versa. If I'm loud, I will not hold your silence against you. If I'm silent, I'm not saying you can't be loud. We're different, and that's good. It means we have a variety of causes we care enough about to fight for. There's enough suffering in the world to go around. We don't all have to walk the same road. I won't call you a hypocrite for supporting a cause quietly and not attending the protest. I won't declare you inconsistent if you support some causes of your chosen political party but not others.
- We can't tackle all these issues alone--we need each other. We need different trains of thought. We need people of different races, religions, and tax brackets to show up and work together if we're going to figure this mess out. By unfriending each other and getting into hateful (and untimely, unproductive) arguments, we are limiting who we will subject ourselves to eat dinner with and therefore limiting the spectrum of ideals available to us. I value diversity in my friendships. I value diversity in my nation. I don't want to live in a country with only one correct way to think. I don't want to live in a community that tells one another to "get over it" or "get off my page" for having differing opinions. I want to build a bigger table, not bigger walls.
- Please trust my heart in the causes I do go after. Even if I am supporting something you don't like, please know my heart is in it. You don't have to agree with me, but please respect my road. I promise I'll do my very best to respect yours.