A Most Fortunate Daughter

twinkle

 

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.

He’s afraid.

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)>

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

9 Comments

AFRoger

about 11 months ago

Couldn't watch the speech but heard a few words: "The age of political correctness is over." What does that mean? That a new age of witch hunts and lynchings will begin? "I will restore law and order to our country. Believe me. Believe me." How? By declaring martial law, putting the nation on lockdown and systematically sweeping every household. glove box and storage locker of guns and ammunition--except those owned by white people who voted a certain way? The pastor who gave the invocation to open the convention said he supports Mr. Trump because he is "a friend of Christians." Were the speeches, blame, scapegoating, and anger so prevalent over the four days examples of Christian faith at work? Is this what it looks like, tastes like and feels like to be Christian? You nailed it a few years ago. Where is our Jesus now?

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 11 months ago

Yes, yes, yes, Roger. Indeed, Replace political correctness with what???

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Linda Williamson

about 11 months ago

Karen, tears streamed from my eyes as I read your beautiful words which so perfectly summarize my thoughts on this man. I am a traditional Republican, but have always said I was a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. My party has become hijacked by the Tea Party element which I have decried from its conception. That movement within the party has allowed for this to happen. I do not understand so much of what they as a group and Trump as a bully have come to espouse. It is especially hard to understand those who call themselves evangelicals who are so cold and calculating and excluding. That is not at all the message that Christians should be promoting. As Christians we all should promote and spread the message of inclusion and love and acceptance of differences. Why they cannot see the hypocrisy within is beyond my simple comprehension of this entire election year cycle! Thus that is why I am a #RWFH (Republican Women for Hillary) and a #NeverTrump girl in 2016. Let us all hope and pray that the American people see the real implications of a Trump presidency and see this imposter candidate for the narcissistic, megalomaniac that he is. Actually I do think if he were to be elected he would not really know how to go forward. For him, I think, it is more about being elected and having the title of U.S. President rather than truly serving this nation. This year for me it is the decision of country over party. And although Ted Cruz is also not for me a viable Republican, I do hope Americans take his wise advice he gave us from the podium at the convention. P.S. My men for this election year were John Kasich or Jeb Bush. So proud of them and the Bushes and Romney and Hank Paulsen and other Republicans for not endorsing Trump and for some of them for speaking out loudly and strongly in opposition to him.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 11 months ago

Linda: I hear you, honey. I know. I know. I just had a very serious talk with a family member who is far more politically conservative than me. Our talk was respectful and I have made it a goal of mine to try and speak to every loved one about the importance of not voting for Trump -for my grandchildren's sakes. What I said to my loved one is if the #GOP had put up John Kasich, or the #DEMS had put up Joe Biden, I would have voted for either of those over the choices we have before us. Both of those men would have done a fine job. I am an unaffiliated voter so I look for the person and not the party, anyway. But like you, I am voting for Hillary, not because I think she is the best possible candidate but because I believe she will do far less harm than DT. It's terrible what has become of us. Could a monarchy be any worse? I wonder that often.

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AFRoger

about 11 months ago

Linda, Thank you very much for writing as you did. It is so refreshing and hopeful to hear your thoughtful, honest response to the outcome of our sordid political process to date. I, too, grew up a traditional Republican in the Midwest. When it finally came time to cast my first vote for any candidate (the elections of 1968), I could not in good conscience vote for the Republican. In the ensuring years, I have voted mostly Democratic; but I have also cast ballots for Republicans and Independents who seemed to me the most responsible choices. Here in my adopted home state of Oregon, no GOP candidate has won statewide office in recent memory. And our state is the poorer for it. But the GOP is almost entirely responsible for their own demise due to the directions they have gone and the extreme positions taken. I WANT A RESURRECTION OF THE GOP; and the sooner, the better. Not just more of the same but something far better. I want the best and the brightest, the most thoughtful, the most compassionate, and the most creative Republican Party we can get. It would hold Democrats more accountable. It would be just plain good for the both the republic and the Kingdom of God. This year has me at the wailing wall in sackcloth and ashes. Much is at stake. That John Kasich is not the nominee should have us in tears. Hillary Clinton is not quite the enemy she has been made out to be. In terms of wisdom, experience and brain power, she can run rings around the competition. But she is compromised in many ways--by her own doing. We could do so much better, and we need so much better. The enemy is the complete piracy of our political discourse and decision-making by ungodly amounts of money and ceaseless negativity. THAT is our enemy. But it didn't create itself. WE created it, or we allowed it to take root. WE are at fault for not choosing better, and demanding better of ourselves. As a favorite theologian wrote more than 30 years ago, "Evil is never more quietly powerful than in the assumption that it resides elsewhere." 2016 elections, Amen! I gave four years of my life in defense of this country against the awesome military might of the former Soviet Union and the East Bloc. But I will not sit still for anyone to say that I kept our country "free". No, I helped with our nation's defense and security. But our "freedom" resides solely on the abilities of our citizens to understand and live the freedom that our documents describe. It's hard work and challenging at times. It's only what being a grownup American requires. No enemy could ever wrest from us true freedom unless we voluntarily lay it down through ignorance, apathy, non-thinking and non-participation. This year, we may be falling all over ourselves to throw our freedom away., perhaps for good. Keep the faith, and spread the word! Thanks.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 11 months ago

Roger: Somebody ought to be leaking the emails on why John Kashich was not the GOP nominee. Wouldn't it be great if we could pick a President from one party and a VP from the other? A Kasich/Kaine ticket? And your comments about what constitutes freedom is spot on. If only we relied on our ability to read documents and support our claims, and to understand the breadth of what it means to live in a democracy. But, alas, so much easier to believe the Celebrity Apprentice.

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Ken Freeman

about 11 months ago

Loved your piece and the comments of others. I am saddened by the endorsements of National known Preachers that I have admired over the years. How they lift up a man who claims to have never had to ask forgiveness. There is not a good quality of choice this year. but NO WAY can I vote for the hateful rhetoric and filth that mr T spews from his mouth on a daily basis. God bless all of you.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 11 months ago

Thank you, Ken. I wish more shared your sentiments.

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Linda Williamson

about 11 months ago

HaHa. A friend who knows my conviction for this election asked me about the #Dems emails and my immediate response before thinking was that I wish the #GOP had done something similar to change the course of our primary season. And then even though it goes against the grain of my personal convictions and my general wish for greater accountability for all politicians, I would not have changed my response even after considerable thought.

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