Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why I Vote the Way I Do--The Final Answer

(For those of you joining the party late, here's the Prologue, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)


I had made a list of at least a dozen more things that cause me to vote progressive--most of them issue-specific (war, healthcare, taxes, public health policy, etc.).

But at the end of this historic election day, there is really only one more important reason that I vote the way I do.

I live in hope.

Jesus and all God's angels give the same message: "Fear not!" To me, progressive politics reflect that message.

I don't want to live in fear my whole life--and it seems to me that so much of conservative politics is about fear. Fear that someone, somewhere, is plotting to take away what I have. Fear of change. Fear of difference. Fear of "them."

I refuse to live in fear. I live in hope.

I live in hope of liberty and justice for ALL. Regardless of your sex. Regardless of your skin color. Regardless of your creed (or lack thereof). Regardless of your sexual orientation.

I live in hope that we can come together and build a better future for our children--a future where all people have their basic needs (food, shelter, healthcare, education) met...and none are left behind.

(You parents will get this one. I live in hope of ohana.)

I live in hope that people will grant freely to their fellow citizens the rights, liberties, and responsibilities that they want for themselves and their children.

I live in hope that we, as a nation, will one day live into the promise that we Episcopalians make every time we renew our baptismal vows: to strive for justice and peace among all people, and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.

As John Lennon once wrote, "You may say I'm a dreamer." And I will acknowledge the truth of that statement. But I make no apology for it.

In the end, I come back to my first reason for voting the way I do. I am a Christian. I believe Jesus when he says "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b). I take seriously the need to ensure an "abundant life" for all of God's children.

I believe him when he says "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31) That means that I cannot claim privileges or benefits for myself that I will not grant to others.

I believe him when he says "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'...Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'(Matthew 25:35-36, 40) There is nothing in that verse that allows me to decide who is "worthy" of help. "Give!", "Care!", "Visit!" Jesus commands. I have no choice but to follow...

I live in hope. I vote progressive.

There endeth the lesson. Thanks for reading.