KEEPing America Great

29 09 2016

Yes, I’m a Democrat! Most people who know me, know that; usually intuitively. In the Federalist fashion of Adams and Madison, I embrace the idea of a strong, centralized government; and believe that in an ever-changing world the Constitution must be read and understood as a living document, with implied powers needing to be interpreted and re-interpreted in every day and age. I regard America as one of the first nations on the face of the earth to have made explicit in its founding documents a commitment to the common good; and my liberal mind is quick and eager to consider new ways of thinking, believing, and behaving, particularly when they seek to further ‘liberty and justice for ALL.’

On the other side of the aisle are my Republican brothers and sisters for whom I have a great deal of respect! They are more inclined to favor a government that is strongest at the local level, and believe that the freedoms articulated in our Constitution are, in the final analysis, the catalysts for personal responsibility and accountability. They prefer a government that takes a more ‘laissez-faire” approach to our national economy, peoples’ individual lives, and the affairs of those in other parts of the world; and they place a high value on conserving and maintaining the greatest strengths of our country’s past.

Now admittedly, such descriptions paint the blue and red segments of the American populace identifying with our two major political parties with a very broad brush; but they serve as the foundation for the ‘stuff’ of which presidential elections are made! And throughout my lifetime candidates have sought to flesh out their political ideologies in their party platforms. Healthy, vigorous, informed debate has ensued, and eventually Americans were left to cast their votes for the candidate who best represented the future most deserved by one the world’s greatest Democracies.

Sadly, this year, no such debates are being had. No such policies are being considered and no such ideas are being exchanged. And the reason is simple – Donald Trump!

Today, as much as ever, intelligent and articulate leaders are needed to offer ‘we the people’ sound, practical, and wise council on how to best navigate the sea of change taking place around the world – change involving religious and political extremism that threatens the very fabric of the freedom and liberty for which Americans have given their lives for more than 250 years; change involving globalization and interdependence that cannot, should not, and need not be regarded as an evil to be feared, but rather a blessing to be embraced; and change that fosters a better stewardship of the planet that has been entrusted to our care, as well as of the resources that are found therein!

But unfortunately this election is not about any of these things, because Donald Trump has managed to distract so many people from anything and everything that is truly important. His loud, brash, and childish ways have attracted the affection of the most naïve and vulnerable among us; and as a result we are talking about building walls and carpet bombing neighborhoods. His manipulative and self-aggrandizing attitudes have garnished the attention of those who continue to resist and resent a world that is ‘bending at the elbow of justice’; and where America’s future is no longer only being determined by white, Christian, heterosexual men. As a result, our nation is debating actions that American courts have already deemed to be unconstitutional – like ‘search and frisk’; and that world courts have already deemed to be unacceptable – like torture!

The “Grand ‘ol Party’s’ opportunist nominee for President has already so denigrated the office of the President of the United States, that for a time, conversations about his qualifications were reduced to the size of his genitals! He has not been held accountable for his juvenile name-calling, nor for his infantile emotional outbursts. His blatant lies have been repeated so often that people have written them off as some new form of political and/or social expression; and his grandiose promises, all of which lack substance and realism, have blinded people to both the promises in, as well as the limits of, the Constitution. Worst of all, under the guise of ‘wanting to be fair and unbiased,’ the national media, and even average people like you and me, have failed to name his nonsense for what it truly is – nonsense!

But no more.  At least not for me!

As a pastor, I have spent 31 years trying to avoid being partisan during national elections. We live in a country where our most knowledgeable citizens value and honor the separation of Church and state, and I respect this interpretation of what I believe to be a constitutional mandate. But there are very few things about this election that can be considered partisan; for in the final analysis, this election really has nothing to do with political parties or ideologies. This election is all about a personality – that of an arrogant bully, who will do and say anything to add POTUS to a resume that lacks any substance worthy of such a title.

After carefully watching all that has gone on over the past 15-plus months, it has become clear that this election is not about Republican or Democratic party platforms. It’s not an election about big government or small government, “guns or butter”, rights or responsibilities, or any of the other important issues that have been debated and discussed in America for the past 250 years. Such conversations have kept our nation balanced and even-keeled, and on track to continue moving forward toward a future that is bright with social optimism, intellectual strength, and moral integrity. But this year, such conversations have not been had. Instead, Donald Trump has given voice to an angry, fearful, racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic segment of our society – a dark corner of the America psyche that truly CAN be described as nothing less than . . . deplorable. And the political conversations that have ensued should embarrass us all!

There are many reasons I will be voting for Hillary Clinton this year; but most of those reasons are private. I respect the beliefs of many who think it inappropriate for someone in my position to be proclaiming personal political opinions in such a public way. But once more I say, this election is not about politics! It ceased being about politics on June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump entered the race! So what I CAN do, is denounce a candidate who does not represent the values of either major political party in this country. What I am compelled to do, is call him out for simply being unqualified and unworthy to lead our democracy; for being tempermentally ill-suited to serve as a leader of the free-world; and for being far too uninformed to be regarded as anything even close to presidential!

This is not a partisan blog; for Donald Trump represents no political party – not really! This is not the blog of a devout Democrat who disagrees with the candidate of an opposing political party. This is not even the blog of Christian pastor who thinks it is his job to tell other Christians how to vote. This is the blog of a simple American, who loves his country, and who is concerned about the values that we stand for around the world.

On Tuesday, November 8, I hope you will join me in proving all the polls wrong, and vote in a landslide to keep Donald Trump from ever making his home anywhere on Pennsylvania Avenue but in that old post office that now bears his name! I know I cannot change the minds of those who have already sold out to The Donald; but to those who have not yet made a decision, or worse yet who have made a decision to stay home on election day, I hope you will reconsider the stakes. Whether you like Hillary or not; whether you embrace everything that she and the Democratic party stand for or not – Donald Trump is not worthy of the White House, and this year, Hillary is the only other viable choice.

So on November 8, vote to KEEP American great, by having the courage to say . . . ‘I’m with her!’