In the weeks and days leading up to November 8, 2016, I, like many Americans, had a very difficult time. I felt that, in the end, if I didn’t vote, I really had no right to voice my opinion on the outcome. My reasoning stems from my own view that a vote is like an investment. When I take the time to vote, I am making an investment. Logically, we expect an investment to have a positive return. Likewise, if I don’t make the investment, then how can I have any criticisms of others for their investment? I don’t find any shame in my logic and I stand by it. We can all make bad investments and as long as we learn from those, then some good comes along.
When I chose to cast my vote, it was very specifically against Hillary Clinton. I understood the damage and corruption she would be capable of: 1) as a Washington insider, 2) being an extremely competent politician, 3) willing to deceive absolutely anyone, and 4) having such a corrupted history, she could throw anyone under the bus without flinching. The body count that seems to follow the Clinton legacy simply cannot be ignored. I felt that not voting or casting a vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein was a potential point for Hillary. The only way I could ensure voting against the Clinton regime was to vote for Donald Trump. How could I look anyone in the eye, though, and tell them, “I voted for Donald Trump?” I couldn’t.
I fought with this for weeks. I decided that, for others, I could not blame for not voting. I heard from voters across the country that could not, in good conscience, vote for Trump because of moral issues. I get that and I fault them not for their decision. There was no good side in this election – at least, not when it came to the people themselves. I decided I would look at the platforms instead of the candidates. As a (then) Republican, I knew that there were three points in the Republican National Committee’s platform that I would be voting for:
- Protecting human life (pro-life).
- Defending traditional marriage.
- Support for Israel.
I didn’t simply ignore all the faults Donald Trump had – the baggage he carries is extremely visible. None of us are without fault, however. One fault or twenty, we are “all created by the same God.” So, yes, I feel a sting every time Trump tweets because I know that, although I was voting against Hillary and for principles, my vote put him in office. Yes, I shake my head and, yes, I bear a burden. But, like any bad investment, I should be able to learn from it and keep going. I have and I will.
What I did not expect is to be generalized as an ethno-nationalist or white supremacist because of my vote (much less my skin color). The events that transpired over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA, undoubtedly, have opened anew the wounds of ethno-centric divisions in this country. I detest the word race in reference to people. Ethnos or ethnic are appropriate terms. Race became prevalent following theories of evolution and derived from Darwinian thinking. And, based on that (faulty) thinking, others have been able to use race as a means to inject inequality and promulgate, facilitate and commit mass murder.
Saturday, the news of Charlottesville hit hard. I was only somewhat aware of the “Unite the Right” demonstration. I did not know who was involved or for what reasons. I am fully aware now. Where do I begin? I detest ethno-nationalism to my core. Ethnic supremacy is an abomination and is unequivocally not a conservative (or even right-wing) principle. No one can say they value all life (as supported by the RNC platform) and be a white-nationalist. Whatever the organization or movement – Nazi, KKK, or any that promotes one ethnicity above another – no member or supporter can truthfully claim they value life, rights or equality. Most importantly, none of these can rightfully claim to be true ambassadors of Jesus Christ!
I did not expect it necessary that I should, once again, be required to make a public statement denouncing, not only the violence, but the root of the violence. It seems that I, along with millions who voted for Trump, and millions more simply for the color of our skin, must make the statement. I did not expect to be lumped in with the handful of hate-mongers that we witnessed on Saturday. Yet, here I am.
The fact that Trump does not irrevocably denounce, by name, the groups and people involved who have claimed support for the President only emboldens them. Donald Trump has given ethno-nationalists a stage and I fault him for that. There simply is no excuse for either side – David Duke and his ilk or Antifa. I refuse to take sides. Both are wrong. For the alt-right, David Duke and the KKK, to claim any legitimacy as Republicans, conservatives or Christians, is a flat out deception. I cannot make it any clearer than that. The fact that my vote enabled another to give a stage upon which this vile group may march is probably the deepest sting I suffer.
Although Trump won under the Republican platform, he is not conservative. He is a Republican in name only – like many others in Congress. As a matter of fact, reading the preamble to the RNC platform, there are a mere few who demonstrate any understanding of what they say they stand for. The party itself no longer represents or defends the values it says are the basis for its being. This is truly a sad state of affairs for this Republic and further overshadows the principles upon which I cast my vote.
Life, being the most precious gift we are afforded, seems to be of so little value to so many people. That is what divides this nation. It makes me weep.