This post was written on Wednesday, November 9. I normally avoid talking about politics on this blog, but I feel the need to share a few of my thoughts. Continue reading at your own risk.
|Veterans Day 2016|
Many awoke on Wednesday morning anxious to find out who our next President-Elect would be. I was one of those who knew the answer in the middle of the night. Even though I was still recovering from a severe migraine episode, I couldn't sleep. I needed to know the outcome of the election before my mind could rest. I stretched out in bed with my Android tablet - playing mindless games with the volume off to occupy the time. I periodically turned on my Wi-Fi to see the latest election results. As the stats trickled in, I found myself more and more hopeful of the outcome. The media had done its best to discourage us - especially in recent days - making us believe that one candidate definitely had the election in the bag. Others suggested that it didn't really matter which way our vote was cast - that both candidates were pretty much the same - a lot of hot air and not much substance - and America was most certainly doomed either way. We didn't let any of that dissuade us or make us apathetic; we voted anyway. Now, the morning after the election, I listened to the media rambling on and on - completely perplexed - and doing their best to explain "what happened." Why did America elect this man to be their next president? They were baffled and tried to analyze it - and many attempted to psychoanalyze me or define me. ME. The Voter. The Trump-Pence Voter. I listened to reporter after reporter - expert after expert - babble on for about 4 hours until I couldn't take it anymore - and turned it OFF.
Let me tell you something. I didn't vote for a saint. I didn't vote for a personality. I didn't vote for a gender or against a gender. I wasn't thinking about the race or ethnicity of anyone in America as I used a Sharpie marker to fill in the little circles on my ballot. I didn't cast my vote based upon which candidate a labor union or Hollywood said I should or shouldn't vote for. I didn't cast my vote based upon any religious experience a candidate may or may not have had. I didn't cast my vote because I thought one party or the other was better for my personal pocketbook. I didn't vote the way I did because I was uninformed or because I didn't understand the seriousness of it all. I didn't vote the way I did because I've always voted for a particular party or because my parents always voted for a particular party. I didn't vote simply because I wanted change and was sick of the status quo, and I certainly wasn't just sending a message to Washington.
Our Founding Fathers were flawed human beings, and every leader we've had ever since has been flawed. Yes, every one of them was a sinner - such as I. Yet, God used those imperfect people to draft a constitution and build a unique nation. My paternal heritage is illustrative of people who left family and friends to move to America - by then known as the land of opportunity - to build a better life for themselves and their descendents. They worked hard to purchase land and tilled the Wisconsin soil, but merely moving to America did not make them Americans. They learned our language and considered it a privilege to take the necessary legal steps to become American citizens. The heritage of my maternal family goes back to the very beginning of this nation - back to the Mayflower - the Revolution - and our Civil War. My ancestors fought to preserve the Union at a time when it was also very deeply divided. Several of them left their blood on battlefields and suffered with severe physical pain through the remainder of their lives as a result of their desire to keep us together as one nation. Is it because of my ancestry that I feel so completely American - that I feel so attached to the USA? I don't know, but it pains me to my core to realize that not everyone in America feels as attached to this country as I do.
I'm thankful for the sacrifices my ancestors made. How can I neglect to do my small duty in the voting booth as an informed citizen? It's not something I take lightly. It's my responsibility to prayerfully consider and research the candidates and their party platforms. The Internet makes such research easy nowadays. There were many sites one could visit that would quiz you on your views on every topic imaginable - from social, moral, religious, economic and environmental issues to foreign policy. The sites would then show you how each candidate matched or didn't match your views on those issues. That was all useful information in making my decision. After the primaries had whittled our candidates down to two - one from each major political party - a reading of each party's platform spoke volumes to me. (I wonder how many voters read those platforms.) Add to that the fact that our next president will likely make 3 Supreme Court Justice nominations, and my decision was completely clear. As much as some like to dream about the possibility of a 3rd party candidate who would share their views and would actually have any shot at winning a presidential election, that's not a reality in 2016 America. A write-in candidate? To me, that would have been a throw-away vote. So, it was really a matter of choosing the one candidate who said they believed in most of the things I believe in and represented a party platform that was most in tune with my views. That had to be Trump.
Uneducated white men in rural America are already getting the bulk of "the blame" for this election outcome. One Hollywood actor said rural America is "stupid." Yeah, he should know. He makes his living by reciting words written by other people and pretending he's someone else. I'm sure he's a genius. Well, guess what? My IQ didn't drop when we moved to the boondocks. Plus, I'm not an uneducated white man - and I have an unaltered birth certificate to prove it. Oh, and for the record, I don't "feel" like a man either - not today or any other day. No matter what Hollywood and the talking heads in the media say, I did do my research - and I do understand the severity of the issues our country is facing - and I believe that's true for the vast majority of the concerned people who voted the same way I did. I doubt if any of us are so naive as to think that any one candidate can heal all the wounds of this nation - or that they will be able to accomplish even half of what they say they want to accomplish - but we cannot let a spirit of apathy overtake us and cause us not to do our part in the voting booth or in our prayer closets. I'm thankful I'm a citizen of the United States of America - a country where I can still exercise my right to vote according to my values and beliefs.
All is well in this part of Rural America - the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula.