I have a confession. A confession that would make my sixth grade history teacher cringe. A confession that would probably make black suffrage advocates shake their heads in dismay. I almost drank the Kool-aid. I almost decided not to vote in the upcoming election. Hear me out.
Prior to news breaking alleging that many black pastors were advising their congregations to opt out of voting in this election, I hadn’t really put much thought into the candidate that I would be voting for. As a young adult and a student, it just seemed to me that President Obama had my best interests in mind and at heart, and that was who I had planned on voting for. However, my firm stance was shaken as I made my rounds one morning, scanning the web to see headline after headline implying that black pastors were advising their congregations not to vote in the upcoming election because of Obama’s advocacy for issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. Apparently, deciding between Obama and Romney was like choosing between two evils. Call me naive, but I had never really even taken those factors into consideration. Yes, his stance on the subjects directly conflict with basic biblical principles; however, I never stopped to make the correlation between my presidential candidate of choice and my religious beliefs prior to reading these headlines.
But the more I thought about it, the more conflicted I felt. Would me deciding to go to the ballot box and vote for the Democratic party be a direct contradiction of my Christian beliefs? Yet the thought of voting for Mitt Romney made me absolutely sick to my stomach. Because I couldn’t find a peace of mind with either men at the time, I decided that I would do like the other Christians mentioned in those articles I found online–I had decided not to vote. I knew it wasn’t the best choice, but what was I to do? Considering how much Christians endorsed President Obama in the fist election, comparing him to Dr. King and all, compared to the way in which they are at odds with him now was like watching two parents fighting and being unsure of which side to choose. So, I made up my mind to do what most children would do when caught in the middle of two feuding parents. Stand there and do nothing.
All was well in the world again. I didn’t have to choose between my Christian upbringing and my political party of choice. “May the best man win,” I thought as I made myself comfortable, nestling in the gray area instead of choosing sides. That is until one day, while on Twitter, I came on across this image of a man hanging from a streetlight post with a sign on his chest that read: This N-Word voted. I felt hot tears well up in my eyes as everything I’d ever learned about the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for black suffrage came rushing back to my memory. I thought of all the people who lost their lives so that I could have the right to vote. In that moment I came to my senses. Voting is a responsibility and a privilege. No one ever said that choosing between presidential candidates would be easy, but blood was literally shed so that people like you and I could be able to vote and choose. Deciding not to participate in this presidential election is a cop out that I almost took. But I am so glad that I came to my senses. While deciding between presidential candidates in this current election is a hard decision, know that someone died just so that you would have the right to make that decision. I don’t know about you, but I know where I’ll be next Tuesday…
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