The Politics Of Preservation

So to start out… I’m sort of running for President of the United States. If you’re looking for an alternative choice this election season, please write me in. I’ll do my best. Check out my Facebook page…

https://www.facebook.com/rickhopkinsforpresident/

Last night I wrote up this post. Let me know your thoughts.

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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
– Frederick Buechner

This quote has been rattling in my head for the past year or so. Every time there is breaking news of another shooting, or ISIS performs some horrific act on video for the world to see, when death takes another friend, when natural disasters strike some part of the world wreaking havoc, death and destruction… when the current crew of political candidates take the stage.

Don’t be afraid.

The current political climate is one where fear, anger, and hatred are used to push people into embracing the politics of self preservation. It’s causing us to embrace the worst parts of ourselves. It’s modeled for us in how the candidates talk about each other, how they interact with their followers, and in their policies and beliefs.

We have fallen to fear. Anger and hatred descend from fear. It is the root.

Don’t be afraid.

I don’t wish to dance around the elephant in the room much longer. Donald Trump is unlike any other presidential candidate I’ve seen in my life. He says whatever he wants, and no one seems to hold him accountable. He is bold and brash, careless and merciless, graceless and clumsy, speaks too quickly and thinks too slowly. He uses fear, anger, and hatred as only a salesman could to convince people that he has the answers and that we need to buy whatever he’s selling.

He’s selling himself and he is a reflection of us.

Our tendencies are to react with anger when we’re wronged, to react with fear when we are threatened, and react with hatred to those who think differently. So here is the kicker. He thinks differently than me. The people who follow him think differently than I do.

Don’t be afraid.

All my life I’ve tried my best to be a follower of Christ. Many of you who read this will say the same thing. Some of you won’t, and that’s ok. I’m not here to preach. But indulge me for a moment please.

The words of Christ call us to fight against our natural tendencies of fear, anger, hatred, and self preservation. They call us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. His words call us to kindness, gentleness, patience, goodness, and over all of these, love.

Even Donald Trump is a child of God. Hard to believe, but it’s true. He’s a shining example of the prodigal son, pre-return to the father whose face he spat in. If you have a hard time hearing that you may be the older brother who got mad when the Father welcomed the prodigal back. Only the prodigal hasn’t returned yet. He’s still off doing what he wants and feeding pigs. I realize the metaphor is getting thick at this point, but what I’m trying to say is that Donald Trump is just as broken as you or I. You may think you are better than he is, but you are not. If I’ve learned anything over the course of my life it is that any one of us is capable of allowing our brokenness to become who we are instead of allowing our sonship in God to be our identity.

Please don’t hear me wrong, I will not be voting for Donald Trump and honestly I hope you don’t either. In fact I wonder if not voting for Donald Trump is possibly the most loving thing we can do for him. If we’re called to love him, maybe public humiliation in defeat is the best thing we can do.

The bigger part of my argument is this: Don’t vote for a man who feeds on your fear of what the world could do to you. Don’t vote for a man who brings out the worst in you. But also, don’t hate the man who stands against you. Don’t hate.

Don’t be afraid.

“The New Colossus” was a sonnet written by American poet Emma Lazarus read at the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I don’t place this here to convince you of immigration policies, but rather to show you that at one time the United States stood for hope. At one time the United States was a beacon to the lost, the hurting, and the hopeless. The promise of a better life was here safe from harm, hurt, and hate. I’m not sure if it ever measured up to that, but it could if we could get our acts together. If we could stop responding to everything out of fear, anger, and hatred.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t fear the man who shouts loudest. Don’t fear what may happen if he wins. Don’t fear what may happen if he loses, and some other candidate you disagree with wins. More than likely you will wake up the next morning and breathe the air, see the sun rise, go to work, and live your life like you did before.

Love your enemies.
Don’t hate.
Don’t be afraid.

It’s not easy by any means, but necessary for actual change to begin working into the world.

Oh and by the way, I’m running for president 🙂 You can vote for me.

Disclaimer: I am no expert in politics. I am a simple man who sees the field of candidates available to us and finds it lacking. I can not in good conscience vote for any of these people, or at least the people who look to be the ones getting the nominations from their respective parties. I fully accept that I may not have details or a general understanding of how some systems work. Please extend me some grace as most of this is just me processing my own thoughts and coming to more concrete opinions and beliefs on the many topics that face us today.

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