It seems I’ve created a bit of a brouhaha here on the interwebs. My post a few days ago about the election has generated more than 600 comments between my site and my Facebook page, many times more than anything else I’ve ever posted. About half of those comments were positive, but, if you’re any good at math you’ll figure this out without me even saying it but I’ll say it anyway, roughly half were not.
The negative feedback fell into a couple of buckets, which I think are worth mentioning.
- The most common complaint was from those who felt I was saying “If you voted for Donald Trump, you are racist.” I can’t emphasize enough that this is not what I was saying. People voted for Trump for a multitude of reasons. Yes, there are in fact racists in America, and a few of Trump’s tweets/statements got them highly engaged. But it’s a very small percentage of Trump’s overall support. So I’ve gone back over my original post and reworked it to make sure I don’t imply “a vote for Trump is a vote for racism” in any way. If that’s how the original post struck you, I deeply apologize. It was not my intent.
- Others complained that they felt they simply had no other option. I get this. Refuse to vote for Trump, Clinton might win. Even though we really don’t like Trump, we think Clinton is worse. (And others felt the opposite – refusing to vote for Clinton might elect Trump, and even though we really don’t like Clinton, Trump is worse.) This comes down to the “lesser of two evils” argument, which lots of committed Christians have wrestled with this year. Is the more responsible to hold your nose and pick the option you believe will do the least damage, or is it more responsible to place a protest vote with a 3rd party candidate or a write-in, even though they can’t win? I think what I’ve learned is how much people wrestled with that decision, and how much it felt as if I wanted them to feel guilty for making the decision they ultimately made. And for that I need to apologize.
I’d like to back away from the question of “who voted for who and why,” and refocus on my larger concern, which is to ask how we as a church can show minority communities how much we care about them, when so many of us voted for a candidate widely considered – whether accurate or not – bigoted and xenophobic.
Many readers informed me that Trump is definitely not racist or bigoted, and that I had clearly fallen victim to the influence of the “liberal media.” Obviously those on the other side would say Trump definitely IS racist and bigoted, and that to think otherwise is to fall victim to the “conservative media.” (Sean Hannity, Breitbart, etc.) I don’t really want to engage in the issue of “whose media is more biased” or “who is living in an echo chamber” or a “bubble”…. That conversation is really beyond the scope of what I’m trying to accomplish here. (And the bottom line there is that ALL of our news sources have biases, just as all of us have biases. And as for who is or isn’t living inside a “bubble” – we all are. No one is “bubble-free.”)
I’ve gotten increasingly concerned not as people have gotten angry with me, but as they have gotten angry with each other over my post. And so I’d like to, as best I can, walk back the tension that has emerged and just say this:
Quite of few (though not all) of our minority brothers and sisters are worried that the outcome of this election reveals an America that is becoming a less friendly place for them. We, the church, need to convince them otherwise.
And I will leave it at that.