I am a white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, straight woman who for many years has identified as an Evangelical (in the strictest dictionary sense of that word, not the political one) for decades now.
In other words, I’m a most fortunate daughter.
There are certain assumptions made about me based on those things alone that puts me in good standing most everywhere I go. People assume I respect cops. I do. I honor the laws of the land. Except for traffic laws, pretty accurate. People assume that I work hard. There is evidence of that in my life. People assume that I’m not a drug user, that I don’t have a secret YouTube station under a porn name, that I am not participating in any illegal activities of any nature, and that I would make a good neighbor because I wouldn’t fly a Confederate flag or put an old couch on my lawn or sell marijuana from my home.
The truth is wherever I go, people generally assume the best about me.
I feel bad about that.
I feel especially bad about that in light of Donald Trump’s and the GOP’s assertions about people who aren’t like me.
I want to apologize to the LGBT community and to the community of hardworking immigrant families who live and work in the neighborhoods where I reside. I want to apologize to my American Muslim brothers and sisters who live honorably among us. I want to pull in every little child of color and weep with them, and try to explain our nation’s long and complicated racial history, in hopes that it will help them understand why wherever they go in life, people may assume bad things about them based on their skin color alone.
I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.
Recently, a woman I once considered a friend, posted a video of her five-year-old granddaughter wailing over the fact that she can’t vote for Donald Trump. The child wept because she said she knew Donald Trump would keep her and her family safe. She said, “I really want to vote for Donald Trump for president because I think he can help protect the police and the country and everyone I love.”
She, like me, is a fortunate daughter. White. Blonde. Blue-eyed. Which means she is in more imminent danger of being harmed by someone in her own family than she is by some unknown, unforeseen enemy.
The video reminded me ever so much of the videos coming out of ISIS. Not in the brutality of it, but in the sheer indoctrination of it. If you have a five-year old who is crying because she can’t vote for the president she thinks will protect her family and her country it is because the adults in that child’s life have introduced her to a fear. The adults in that child’s life have taught her to be afraid. To be afraid of transgenders and gays and Mexicans and blacks and Muslims and anyone who doesn’t happen to fit their particular brand of a Great American.
If a child is growing up scared it’s because the adults in that child’s life are teaching them to fear.
When Hitler sought to win over the people of Germany to his particular hatemongering ways, he started with the youth of that country. He knew that if he could capture the hearts of the young, he would be able to persuade their parents.
The other day a precious friend who is gay wrote to me about his thoughts on Donald Trump and the election.
I thought of him after I watched the video of that young child. I thought of how that child would probably grow up embracing a creed espoused by the GOP. It’s an ideology that says in essence: Your right to freedom is only ensured as long as you look and act like the standard we set for you.
Here’s the standard: Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.
Here’s the threat: We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions.
For the past year, I have worked in a school district that is nearly 90 percent Hispanic. The community I live in is nearly 50 percent Hispanic. Most of my students were the children of legal immigrants. Most of them, however, had a family member who had been deported. Some of them had parents who had been deported. These children are, in essence, homeless. In the country of their birth.
They are afraid of Donald Trump and his policies.
Here’s the policy: America’s immigration policy must serve the national interest of the United States, and the interests of American workers must be protected over the claims of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs. With all our fellow citizens, we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation. We stand with the victims of his policies, especially the families of murdered innocents. Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally. We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it.
There is so much anger and disgust in the adopted Republican platform that I wonder if Making Americans Angry isn’t Donald Trump’s one true goal.
My heart is heavy because a man I once admired, once turned to for insight and help in child-rearing, has endorsed Donald Trump, even though he knows that Mr. Trump does not espouse any of the Christian values that Dr. Dobson has been teaching parents to teach for decades.If anyone should be able to identify Mr. Trump’s infantile behavior, shouldn’t it be a child psychologist?
I am fraught with worry for my LGBT friends, for immigrants and their families, for Muslims and their families, for all the people of color, and for all those who will be harmed by the next assault-weapon bearing lunatic driven by his own fears and anger and the inflammatory rhetoric of a wildly careless presidential candidate.
So I want to tell you all right now, before another moment passes, I am so, so sorry. I wish I could gather you all together at my home, make you a big old fashioned crab boil, put on some James Dean, and dance under twinkling lights with you. I wish I could tell you that everything will be okay, that God is in control, that no way will Donald Trump ever be elected, that we will continue to live in the nation that honors freedoms for all people.
But I just don’t know anymore. I sometimes think France is going to ask for her statue back.
Know this, though, I am praying for you. I figure if as a white woman with blonde-hair and blue eyes and a traditional faith that I feel this much anxiety, I can only guess at how much anxiety my gay friends, my Muslim friends, my black friends, my Mexican friends must be experiencing.
The GOP may come to understand why the Black Lives Matter movement is important when people of color head to the voting booths in November and vote Hillary Clinton into office.
Then, just maybe, Donald Trump and all the rest of the people who want to live in a country where everyone is forced to think and act and look the same, much like North Korea, will begin to appreciate why diversity is the core to this country.
That’s my hope.
Until then, know I stand with you and that Donald Trump does not speak for me. He is not my savior. He will never be the savior of this country.
The only savior I honor is Jesus.
And if the Scriptures are any indication, Jesus would never lend his name to anyone who speaks words of fear and intimidation and marginalization. If the stories are right, Jesus always rebuked those who used their power and influence to abuse others.
Jesus would likely remind us all that he came to give us love, power and a sound mind.
Let’s claim that for one another, okay?
Especially that sound mind part.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Where’s Your Jesus Now? Examining How Fear Erodes Our Faith (Zondervan)>