Everyone has a tipping point as to when they need to abandon their natural reserve or silence and make their feelings known.
My final tipping point was the white power tweet. The absolute lack of consequences for that blew my mind. How many elected officials stood quietly by as our current president tweeted out one of his supporters shouting this disgusting phrase? The excuse of, “he didn’t hear it” is unacceptable. There was no apology. No contrition, not that there ever is, but the overall lack of outrage was bewildering.
As a teacher for 20 years, I have mostly kept my political feelings to myself. I am a Lutheran teacher. My biggest concern, (other than the AP US History exam each year) is to be an ambassador for Christ, and do what I can in my own small way to point kids to Jesus. Now, I’ve always generally believed that my being overtly political in the classroom could be a barrier to sharing the Gospel with kids (both liberal or conservative). Therefore, throughout my career, I have done my best to refrain from sharing my political opinions in the classroom. The last couple of years, I have been a bit less clandestine, but I’ve tried to keep current politics, or my feelings on them, at a minimum.
For the time being, that silence has ended.
To make some things abundantly clear, I don’t love the Democratic Party. I think both parties are highly flawed, and I am and always will be Pro-Life. First, let elaborate my feelings on this one issue.
I am anti-abortion. I believe it is wrong. I believe one of the biggest things we could do to encourage more babies to be born is to institute a year-long national paid maternity/paternity leave to help people who worry bringing a new child into the world is too big a burden. I also consider it an investment in our future.
I am anti-death penalty. I believe that the government being able to kill criminals, regardless of crime, is wrong. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Plus, a life behind bars seems the far worse punishment in my eyes.
I am also anti-euthanasia. A person can reject treatment at the end of life, but no one should actively kill a person, even if they desire it.
With that said, I am very pro-Black Lives Matter. The data regarding discrimination against black Americans is very strong. In my mind, reforms that will save lives is an extension of pro-life thinking. Ahmad Aubrey and George Floyd died unjust deaths. Doing what we can as Americans to prevent this is an extension of these ideals.
For those who say that the Republican party is the pro-life party, I largely feel this is just lip service in order to get and maintain votes. For those who are curious about this, just look up the stories of Rep. Scott DesJarlais and former Rep. Tim Murphy.
Once we get away from that issue, I find I have nothing in common with with the current Republican party, and their inexplicable continued support of our current president.
Our current president is an actual threat to the future of our country. He is a habitual liar. He disregards facts. He has no respect for the office or its meaning. He has no clear knowledge of the Constitution which he has sworn an oath to uphold and protect*. He disregards and belittles our allies (Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany) and cozies up with nations that are clear enemies (Russia, North Korea). He has stoked fear, conspiracies, and division of all sorts unlike any individual in modern American history.
*I would pay any reporter any amount of money they’d like to ask the president direct questions such as, “Can you name the rights protected by the first amendment?” or, “How many articles are in the Constitution and which one pertains to the presidency?”
Then there’s the tweets. On June 5, 2020 he tweeted 200 times. These ramblings have numbed the nation, and have lowered discourse as he lies and bullies along the way. When is he actually doing work of substance?
It would be fine if he was just incompetent, or based on the amount of his Twitter usage, uninterested, but it also appears that he actively pursues evil. Here is a man who has been married three times, with numerous examples of infidelity along the way. There was the whole “Grab them by the ….” recording before the election. Do you think he wants to keep his tax documents private because he is a big believer in the 4th amendment? He created a “university” that by all accounts was a scam. He has not divested himself of his businesses while president. He has hired wildly unqualified family members for high positions in his office. He had made statements to erode faith in the election process. He supports torture. He has continued and escalated a policy of detaining immigrant children in inhumane detention centers. He is most definitely a racist. “Good People” at unite the right, “White power” tweets, the stuff about “protecting our heritage.” His campaign people chose to use Nazi imagery for political opponents on Facebook. He has emboldened white supremacy to come out from the shadows, in ways we haven’t seen since the 1960s. He has no empathy for others. The statements he’s made about COVID-19 are just mind-boggling. His administration’s convoluted response has directly led to confusion and resistance to things that are KNOWN to save lives. He has made lives for immigrants, both legal and illegal more difficult. We have experienced this as the host of two international students over the last few years.
Finally, this is what I want to say. Our current president does not care about you.
You the farmer, who has seen unsuccessful trade wars drive and keep prices of crops down. Our current president has never sat behind a tractor all day. He has never been worried about too little rain, or too much. He has never had a field of crops destroyed by hail. He has never taken care of a dairy farm, or a herd of cattle, or a flock of chickens. He does not understand or care about you.
You the factory worker, who has seen the continuation of jobs being lost or shipped overseas. He has never welded, or milled, or worked a forklift. He has never assembled, or created anything. He does not understand or care about you.
You the miner, who works in some of the most dangerous conditions in our country. He has never experienced the dark, dust, heat, or explosions. He does not operate the machines that brings wealth for his cronies from beneath the earth. He does not understand or care about you.
You the Christian, who believes in Jesus as your savior. He does not repent. He does not attend church regularly. He does not confess the Apostles’ Creed. He does not read the Bible (“It is A Bible”). He does not love his neighbor as himself. He does not display LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, or SELF-CONTROL. He does not care about your ministry to the homeless. He does not care about your ministry to battered women. He does not care about your mission trips. He does not understand or care about you.
My biggest concern aside from the health of our nation is the damage he has done to the church. If you were a non-Christian who didn’t support our current president, would you be welcome to an invitation from someone who is a staunch supporter of him?
Going forward, I do not plan on making my class overtly political, there will be no Joe Biden rallies or anything, but I WILL call out the actions of our current president when they are wrong, and I will do my small part to oppose him.
We are housing another international student, because my wife and I want to welcome immigrants in our home and our country. I will join the International Club and Mosaic Club at school. I will encourage young people, regardless of party to vote and make sure their voices of protest are heard not on the streets, or Instagram, or Snapchat, but at the ballot box where it matters.
Finally, I don’t enjoy being political, but I have a decent knowledge of history. During my lifetime, I can remember Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, and Obama clearly (I was too young to remember Carter). As Americans, we all have moments where we agree, disagree, love, or hate a president, yet we’ve never lived in a time where one was an embarrassment due to their incompetence, or worse yet a danger to our country. Beyond the presidents of my lifetime, there are some real duds, but none of them were tweeting about being a “stable genius.”
Because I care about my family, my students, and my country, I cannot and will not support Donald Trump. Here I stand, I can do no other.