I will if you will.

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Raise your hand if you are truly, sincerely, excited to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Okay, you folks with the raised hands, today’s post is not for you.

Now raise your hand if you expect you will vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate, but you REALLY don’t want to.

YOU FOLKS are the people I’m writing to today.

I have spent a number of election years voting for the lesser of evils, and I hate doing it. Can you relate?

And here we are, faced with the prospect yet again, only with astronomically more less and evil.

If you are anything like me, you may even have a candidate that you would actually prefer. Someone you think would make a good president, or at least someone you think would support what you value.

And you are deeply distressed that you can’t vote for them, because that would be throwing away a vote. And every vote AGAINST either Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, depending on your values, MUST COUNT.

If you are anything like me, every time you’ve voted for the lesser of evils, you’ve thought

“I KNOW there must be a lot of folks JUST LIKE ME, who want to vote differently, and if we could all band together we could probably even swing this election.”

But you can’t be SURE they will vote for the long shot candidate. So you can’t risk voting for the long shot either, or (say it with me) your vote will be wasted and THE WORST OF THE EVILS will be elected because you wasted your vote!

So you’ve voted the safe route.

I got to thinking this week though: what if we DID know  how many other people were going to vote for the person they REALLY want to vote for?

Would we feel braver about voting that way ourselves?

I would.

If I knew that 100 million people had pledged a write-in vote for Bernie Sanders, for instance, my choices about not voting for Ms. Clinton would be rather less stressful.

Then I thought, with the advances of technology, we CAN kind of know these things. We no longer have to depend on biased media polls. We could band together and stage an information revolution.

We have the technology. 

As we’ve talked about before, I’ve only got energy enough for fairly small revolutions at this point, but a small revolution just may be enough to solve THIS problem, at least.

So I have a proposal: I will if you will.

I say we set up a campaign with a pledge to vote for the REAL candidate of our choice. I’m happy to start the thing, but I’m equally happy for anyone else to do so if you have more time/energy/whatever than I have.

If I am going to do it, Bernie Sanders is my first pick, and if he declines, then Jill Stein is probably my next choice, but I am not going to make any final decisions on that until well after the democratic convention.

I imagine if you are very conservative you’ll probably want to do your own version, because my candidate likely won’t be to your taste. And that’s fine.

I do suggest that our odds are best if we have only one main progressive and one main conservative candidate, so we can gain a critical mass of those voters.

But ultimately, I want a system where EVERYONE can vote their conscience without fear; so do what you believe is right.

So, what do you think?

If there were  public pledge  to vote your real conscience for this one election, in hopes of beginning to change our political system,

and

you could see how many people had signed on before voting day arrives, would you be wiling to do join? 

We are not guaranteed success, of course.

Being true your beliefs, especially in a rigged system, necessarily involves some risk. People may not keep the pledge, even with all of us voting our conscience we may still not have enough votes … lots can go wrong, and we could still end up with a president we deplore.

But at least we will have fought that for real instead of contributing to it. And perhaps 4 years with the worst of evils would be worth it if we change our futures. But it’s a risk, no doubt.

I figure we can give it a shot, and see how things look by, say, mid October, and go from there.

Anybody else in?

If so, leave a note on the blog or on Facebook, and if I see some interest I’ll start the petition or campaign and get us rolling.

If you’ll both sign up on whatever forum we come up with, and also share it through your networks, we may just achieve something!

If anyone has the time / money / energy to do more than that, let me know. I’m happy to hand this over to someone more able to focus on it than I am just now.

 

UPDATE at http://somegracewiththat.com/i-will-if-you-will-update/ but if anyone wants to move forward with any sort of campaign, please do let me know!

I will if you will update

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Since I didn’t get much response on my offer to create an online campaign that would let folks track the number of people committed to voting for their preferred third party candidate, since Bernie Sanders refuses to be an option, and since online campaigning is DEFINITELY not my strong suit, I’ll put that aside as not the right investment of my time.

Not that I’m not still dedicated to changing the society I live in, especially the political system that has become a corporate version of our worst big-autocratic-government fears.

It’s just that I have to choose my battles, and I know my capacities pretty well. And a massive online campaign, while something I COULD do, if necessary and with adequate support, is not my ideal environment.

Which still leaves me with the election year question of Where do I go from here?

I certainly will not vote for Donald Trump.

And I don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton.

I understand the fears of many, including my main man Bernie, that to vote outside The Two Party is risky.

And I certainly won’t just sit this one out and refuse to vote; that is far too precious a right to waste, even in this rigged system. (I did find this article nicely thought provoking. Not the right choice for ME at this time, but it’s a viable choice and I certainly agree that there are times when it may be the only way to vote one’s conscience.)

While I agree with Bernie that we need to focus far more attention on the NON presidential elections, and I’ll be doing a much better job of that henceforth, that is a big job, and I have only a limited capacity to do it, since I only live in one state, county, and municipality at a time, and have only so much cash with which to support campaigns.

So where DO I go from here? 

I happened into a very helpful article at just about this point in the quandary.

I tend to get all uptight about the election and think of it in terms of the fate of the world for the rest of eternity. And, yes, there ARE important, long term considerations at stake here, so it’s not that I shouldn’t be concerned.

But Ms. Funes’ article reminds me to have perspective, and not just the long-range-end-of-the-world perspective. Sometimes the smaller picture makes things more clear.

Yes, this election will have significant consequences. However, we’ll probably survive even the worst of the consequences of this election. And one bad president will not change the whole country. Nor one good one, for that matter.

Does that mean I’ll vote my conscience instead of taking the ‘safe’ choice?

I’m still not sure yet.

But it does mean I’ll calm the heck down a bit as I consider it.

And it means that whether I vote for the lesser of evils or not, I’ll do so with an eye toward my responsibilities AFTER that vote:

  • If Ms. Clinton wins, I am obligated to hold her to account for the public statements she has been coerced into by Bernie Sanders and his supporters.
  • If Mr. Trump wins, I am obligated to express my views as a voter  and work with the WHOLE of the US government structure to encourage him to support what I feel is right, and discourage him from making costly errors.
  • As a Christian, of course, I’m obligated to pray for either of them, AND for the work of Congress. I’m obligated to remember that God still has it all in hand. And I’m obligated to God’s commands on citizenship.

And as Bernie has reminded me, I’m responsible to look both beyond the Presidency, and beyond this, and any other election.

My government is a complex organism, and only by viewing it as a whole, and focusing on that whole, can I collaborate with the other citizens of my country to reform and restore it.

Sense, lies, and lesser evils.

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If we do nothing else right this year, can we please just stop lying about our lesser evils?

Maybe a ‘Friends don’t let friends vote on denial‘ campaign?

Sure, the candidates’ staff needs to lie about them – that’s why they make the big bucks. And maybe their few TRUE supporters have a good rationale, too.

But the rest of us, who never signed on for these candidates?

WE have no business spouting nonsense in order to make it less appalling to vote for them!

That’s a lot of what got us into this mess to begin with! We’re already reaping the consequences of a few decades of lazy, full-blinders-ahead voting; let’s not make this worse.

Within hours of Hillary Clinton snagging the Democratic Nomination disturbing drivel began cropping up about how her crimes, voting record, and general approach as a power-hungry 1%er should be overlooked.

She’s only human…

Nobody is perfect ….

Everyone makes mistakes…

Are you kidding me?!? 

Yes, Hillary Clinton is human, and yes, every imperfect one of us makes mistakes.

But Ms. Clinton’s choices were not mistakes. They were intentional breaches of ethics, and securing the privilege of her peers and financial backers over the needs of the American people.

It isn’t necessary to lie about that, even if I feel I have to vote for her!

She hasn’t earned my respect or trust, so why should I stand out in the heat whitewashing her record? Madness!

Yes, there are legitimate reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton.
But let’s be real:  The most compelling one is,

She’s not Donald Trump.

  • She’s reasonably less likely to drop us into a completely unnecessary war (or three),
  • far less likely to incite jihadists to attack the United States, and probably even has some deterrent effect,
  • she won’t actively work to destroy our climate,
  • and she can be fairly effectively bludgeoned into not shoving our best shot at decent quality health care and living wages off a cliff.
And that’s about it!  Her biggest asset is the Republican nominee, and we all know it

 

Along with the ‘Hillary is only human’ bilge, came the statements about Donald Trump being ‘the Christian option’.

Or ‘not meaning it the way it sounds’ when he says (numerous times, vulgarly, unrepentantly, over decades) that he claims the right to sexually use and harass women as he chooses.

Or that his lifelong history of privilege, lying, exploiting tax loopholes, and gaining the most profit possible for himself at the expense of his workers and the American people, has no bearing on his legitimacy as The Champion of the Common American.

Are you kidding me?

NOTHING about Donald Trump could possibly be considered representative of Christianity, and every literate Christian with a Bible knows that. And no logical person thinks Mr. Trump is going to champion our rights over his privilege.

So let’s be HONEST about it!

If you feel you must vote for Donald Trump, because

  • you believe that God is bound to the American Republican Party,
  • you genuinely believe legislation is the way to reduce abortion and trust Mr. Trump to keep his word once he’s got your vote,

or ‘He’s not Hillary Clinton.’

 

then SAY THAT!

Don’t make Mr. Trump something he isn’t, or ignore all the awful things he (proudly) is, just because you see no choice but to vote for him!

It’s okay to be honest about lesser evils.

Actually, for those of us who are Christians, it’s not only okay, it is Biblically required.

And perhaps as importantly, it’s the only strong position to take.

If we excuse away the very legitimate things we don’t like, or respect, or trust about these candidates, we risk forgetting what we find unacceptable, and just blindly supporting ‘My Candidate right or wrong‘ rather than holding them to account.

So we never get better options.

Alas, I may vote for Hillary Clinton next month.

But that doesn’t require my excusing her past, OR accepting it as ongoing behaviour!

If anything, it requires holding on to a crystal clear understanding of where she falls short, because I never again want to find myself in this voting situation, and that will take some hard work!

Be well. 

GO VOTE! Vote like the future is in YOUR hands!

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Happy Monday!!!

If you are in the United States, tomorrow is ELECTION DAY!!

Even if you’ve found this election year to be one of unremitting distress, there is STILL cause for celebration:

  • In a few days it will be OVER! No more horror-flick suspense, or endless candidate news.
  • No matter how bad it is, we will get through it. Really.
  • We have learned the error of our ways and we now have the opportunity to ensure we never face this awful an election again!

So PLEASE, use the precious right that you hold as an American Citizen, and VOTE!!

 

Vote the party line, vote third party, write someone in, but VOTE!!

Many people sacrificed, even died, to win this right for us, and many around the world still lack this right, don’t miss this opportunity!

Heck, even if you don’t want to vote for one of the offices, no worries: you can STILL vote for the rest!!

Be well. 

Election day.

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It is FINALLY here!!!

After 18 months or so of drama (not to say horror) one way or another tonight it ends.

Thank God.

Oh sure, we may have yet more drama, vote re-counts, even, God forbid, law suits or Donald Trump storming the White House regardless of votes.

But our decisions have been made!

Our votes have been cast.

Our agonising (at least on that front) is OVER!!

(Though, if you’ve not yet voted GO VOTE!)

And now the real work begins!

I don’t know about you, but I never (ever, ever) again want to experience an election with two candidates of this… er… quality.

And I learned a lot during this election about avoiding this in future – mainly, alas, that we can’t wait until the election year to start making changes!

Citizenship seems to be a year ’round obligation.

But it’s worth it!

We are worth it, and our country is worth it!

One thing I can do today, before a single exit poll is announced, is to obey the call to action of my man Paul, in 1st Timothy:

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of devotion to God and respect for him.

A quiet and peaceful life sounds awfully good to me! 

Let’s transform our country, and our political system, into something that WORKS.

 

 

Be well.  

Privilege.

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I had a different post planned for today.

But after seeing a note by a lovely friend of mine who is Hispanic, about her concerns as an American in an America that feels that Trump is our best representative, I decided that post should wait.

My friend is by no means an alarmist.

Let me be clear on that. She has always been one of the most positive, optimistic, grounded people I’ve known.

And she is definitely no whiner.

This woman has endured degrees of hardship I hope I make it through my whole life without facing. But instead of letting it make her bitter, or hopeless, she has simply worked harder to bear the image of Christ.

And she bears that image better than most people I know.

So, seeing her comment in a public forum about feeling real fear due to the colour of her hair and skin … that impressed me.

Also this week I had also seen an article that impressed me, and saved it to post sometime, because I thought it was exactly the right perspective.

I’m going to move that up to post now, but I want to talk a little about it first.

I want to talk about it first because it deals with a very touchy phrase: ‘White Privilege’.

I’ve seen lots of comments on this phrase in recent years.

Sometimes it’s an insult : “You with your White Privilege, think you can……”

Sometimes it’s a statement of shame: “Me with my White Privilege, how can I …”

Sometimes it’s just a statement of fact: “White Privilege is… or does… or gives .. or takes….”

I didn’t hear this phrase growing up.

But my parents taught me that I WAS privileged, very, and that part of that privilege came from being white in this country.

They taught me that because I was an American, because I came from a family wealthy by comparison with most of the world (though we were normal middle class here), and yes, because I was white, I had many things easier than other people did.

They taught me about the difficulties that people dealt with simply because their skin colour was darker than mine and their history in America was different from mine.

My parents never taught me to be ashamed of being white. Or to be proud of it. They simply taught me the facts and taught me responsibility.

The same way they taught me that because I am a woman, I would have difficulties that I would not have if I had been born male. 

Not an excuse, not something to be ashamed of, just a fact.

So, when I’ve seen white people either defensive about ‘White Privilege’, or overwhelmed with shame because of it, I’ve struggled  to understand.

But I can understand that neither response is helping any of us. 

And that is why I loved this article I found. One of my favourite lines in it is

“Guilt is not helpful. Shame is not helpful. Action is.”

There is no shame in being white. It’s not like we can help it.

And there is not even any inherent shame in being privileged for something we can’t do anything about.

These are simply facts.

The only shame that would make sense to me is having a privilege I did nothing to earn, which costs me nothing to use, and failing to see that as a gift that must surely be useful for creating some sort of general benefit.

How that plays out is different for different people. Not everyone is  Corrie ten Boom, but not everyone needs to be.

One of us might take on the whole legal or political system. Another might simply stand up for one person we know. Millions of us will do something somewhere in between.

And that’s perfect. That’s how all the needs in the world get met – by our glorious diversity! No one could do it all. 

My other favourite quote from the article is

“Because of your privilege, you have tremendous power”

And that, to me, is the key point.

We don’t all feel like we have much power right now. And just because I’m white sure doesn’t mean I have the kind of power, or as much power, as I might need to feel safe and okay. 

But I have enough power to choose to stand with people who are different from me, instead of letting ‘The Powers That Be‘ turn me against them.

(And let’s face it: most black, or hispanic, or Muslim, Americans have far more in common with ME than most wealthy, powerful politicians ever will! Neither Trump nor Clinton are at all worried about paying their bills or saving for retirement.)

It might be threatening to think of helping others when we don’t feel powerful enough ourselves in this scary world. But it IS NOT true that helping others succeed takes away our opportunities.

So, my recommended reading for today is the encouraging article:

This teacher is showing her students how to use white privilege for good.

 

And my hope for today is that we can all see any privilege we have –

whether white privilege,

American privilege,

or any other privilege;

whether it’s the privilege we wish we had, or not,

as one thing we have to offer in this big scary world.

 

Be well. 

Prayers for my new President.

I want to be like Daniel.

One of my favourite scenes in the entire Bible is when Daniel is called in to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:

Now, good ol’ Nebbie is the king of  Babylon, who has completely crushed Daniel’s country, sacking their towns, carting their ‘best of the best’ off into captivity, dissing their temple, and God with it, and  generally wreaking havoc.

Undoubtedly friends and family were injured or killed in this conquest, and Daniel, with the other best and brightest of Israel, has been dragged off from his homeland to serve in the King’s court.

So, Daniel might have some pretty legitimate grievances.

But in this story we see Nebbie having this really disturbing dream, and calling in our hero Daniel to provide an interpretation.

And Daniel is so horrified by what the dream predicts is going to happen to Nebbie, that we end up with the Nebbie comforting Daniel, saying (slight paraphrase) “Listen dude, don’t freak out. It’ll be okay. However awful this thing is, just tell me, and we’ll get through it.”

 

I love that.

I love the heart of Daniel. I love this relationship of trust and concern.

Let me be clear, in case you don’t happen to know my man Daniel: he was by no means a brown-noser! He risked his life on more than one occasion when the demands of his conquering employer went against his obligations to God.

But, except for the few occasions when true essentials were at stake, Daniel did his very best for Nebuchadnezzar.

But I’m not like Daniel.

Maybe someday. It’s a goal. But I definitely tend more toward opposition than diligent objective assessment. It’s ALL personal to me! And VITAL! EVERYTHING!

Alas.

 So it’s handy that praying for my leaders is not optional.

God has been very clear about my responsibilities toward my leaders; good, bad, or anywhere in between. And the outcome promised certainly fits into my ‘essentials’.

 

So, on this inauguration day, one I hoped never to see, I will certainly pray for, and FIGHT for, those most at risk, and for the things I value that this administration endangers. But I will also pray for President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the cabinet they will assemble to help guide them.

I’ll ask God to bless and guide our new President and Vice President. Giving them wisdom to lead, and bringing them wise advisors, as well as the humility to listen to the advice.

I am frightened of the harm that this administration can do to my country and this planet, but I’ll ask God to shape even this period for good instead of evil. And to use the trials that this administration will undoubtedly spark to awaken and energise the American people.

I’ll ask him to multiply and reward the good work that they will also do during their term(s) in office. Even if that takes more faith than I have right now. God has enough faith for both of us.

And, judging President Trump as I do, and having little knowledge of Vice President Pence, I’ll ask him to bring them to know and serve him if they do not, and conform their hearts and minds to his will.

And to conform my heart too, because I do not want to pray for, or support this administration in any way, and in some areas I should support them, even as I diligently oppose them on the essentials.

And I’ll keep praying. For as long as it needs to be prayed. And expecting it to build my faith and change my heart.

And remembering who is the ultimate source of power, I will trust.

Thy will be done.

Be well.