Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why I Switched Political Affiliations

                             "I don't understand how you are able to laud such individuals
                         in favor of a narcissistic and blatantly dishonest candidate who
                         has no principles."

This was a response to a Facebook post I made about respecting the republicans who refuse to endorse their party's candidate.  I am not going to get into a tit-for-tat about either candidate because the same could be said of Mr. Trump.  Clearly, he is narcissistic, and his principles change with the wind. 

My response to my good colleague was to say we could "chat" about it next week.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I would do better justice explaining myself here for those inclined to read the whole thing.

To understand why I am supporting Hillary, one has to understand my world view, past and present.

I have already explained a little of why I'm supporting Hillary here, but let me really make it clear in this post.

I was reared in a republican household.  My parents are not card-carrying republicans, but they have always voted that way for as along as I can remember, at least in state and national elections.  So, I followed suit.  I also need to say here that I was brought up a Methodist, and when I moved to Beaufort, I attended the largest evangelical church in the area.  Next is where the change began.

A little over 5 years ago I began attending a church that emphasized community service.  It was something new to me, but exciting.  It started small with me.  Five summers ago there was a man who lived nearby who needed a bicycle to either get to work or look for work; I can't remember which.  I was going to buy him one myself.  A church friend wanted to go in with me, so we purchased it together, and I delivered it.

From that church, I became involved with a like-minded group who formed a homeless ministry in Washington Park downtown.  There are homeless in Beaufort, hidden among us.  I had a homeless student in one recent year who lived in the women's shelter with his mother and brother because they fled a domestic violence situation in Florida.  But, I digress.  Back to that homeless ministry.

For about a year and a half, we met every Sunday at the park.  I was the sole cook and bottle washer.  I learned to cook for about 40 people:  stews, chili, I forget what all.  We had fellowship with music, a short verse discussion, and food.  Three of us went in on the food.  All of that ended nearly three years ago when the other two people moved to California.  However, from that ministry I met a dear lady whom I still cook for each weekend. She is wheelchair-bound, having had three strokes.  She doesn't talk well, but there is nothing wrong with her mind.  Below is her home as it currently looks.  My "old self" would not have been caught dead going into her house.  I would have been scared to death.
I began to think about other people when I stopped focusing on myself.  My perception of the republican party is this: strong military, tax cuts for the middle class, anti-abortion, and anti-gay rights.  Make no mistake:  I once thought like this.  After all, I still have my button from the first presidential campaign I was old enough to vote in:  
HOWEVER, when I began to get involved with community outreach, community service, whatever you want to call it, I became a Jesus follower.  That means that I do what I think HE would have me to do.  I have scriptures that tell me:

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
Proverbs 19:17
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.

And my favorite: 

Matthew 25:31-46New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
These verses are clear to me that we are to do for those who are less fortunate. It also makes it clear to me that I can not discriminate based on sexual orientation, or anything else.  I am against abortion?  Yes, I personally am.  Am I against gay marriage?  Yes, I personally am, but I no longer believe we should legislate others' rights.  That goes against the love that Jesus said we are to have for our fellow man.  I will leave the judgment of these areas up to Him.  I just need to serve His people....the people He created in His image.  
                                              
Consequently, I began this election cycle a Bernie Sanders' supporter because his philosophy was most closely aligned to Christ's words that I attempt to live by.  Notice I said his philosophy.   The republicans are the antithesis of Christ's words.  Let me be clear:  I see nothing of Christ's words in their beliefs.  For me to vote for Hillary is the next best thing to voting for Bernie.  Don't get me wrong:  I'm not excited about it, but there is zero way I would vote for Trump with the vehement hatred he spews.  And, much to my mother's chagrin, I'm sure, I will not stay home on election day and risk adding to a Trump victory,

I am not out to please man, but I am out to please God, for He said,    " Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  I hope to hear one day, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

I want to be a sheep, not a goat.