Faith in Politics

Posted in Monthly at 6:18 am by Pasha

By Pasha Krise

People keep asking if I’m ok, like I am supposed to be devastated by a Donald Trump presidency.

Although I don’t flaunt leaning towards democrat and never lobbied for Hillary Clinton, my liberal attitude must be showing. That, and my love for Sen. Bernie Sanders was crystal clear, which others thought meant that the 2016 election results were jarring to me.

They weren’t. I was somewhat surprised at the results. But at the same time, I know middle America and the population of people who voted for Trump, so that reality pill was an easy one to swallow.

I grew up in a teeny tiny town of less that 30,000 people. While people there are familiar with the world beyond the border of Lake Erie, Pennsylvania and Buffalo, the vast majority are exactly the demographic that voted Trump in. And as ashamed as I am to admit this publicly, I think that every single family member I have that lives in Western New York voted for the reality TV star, many emphatically; my “hippy” mama included.

To understand this election, this republican result, you have to understand the people who live in these small towns and rural areas. They are afraid, many are struggling, they have very little opportunity. Because they do not see a large population of Syrains, Muslims, African Americans and homosexuals in their grocery stores, these people become less and less human to them and more of a threat. They believe that “killing” an unborn baby is more of a sin than sending an undocumented five-year-old girl back to a violent region in Mexico where she will be raped, made a sex slave and then killed.

They do not see big plants like Bethlehem Steel, CliffStar and Niagara Mohawk as an environmental threat, they see them as the only places where the uneducated and unskilled workforce can make a living and support young families. Instead of supporting clean energy that will bring jobs safe for humans and safe for the planet to fruition, they support the ideologies of old. And so the life-threatening industries in these places are called back. Keep the coal mining, the fracking, the carbon emissions safe. “Keep drilling for oil,” they say, everyone hoping it will make them rich like their idol, Trump.

They have seen Trump as an anti-establishment savior. Together, they listened to alternative radio and stayed glued to the internet sites that promise doom and destruction under Clinton and prosperity through Trump. They are sick of being poor and staying poor. And they truly believe that Trump cares for them. Even though he has never worked for the people, doesn’t pay fair wages and is certainly not one of them, the cling to him as I would imagine they would anyone who promises something better when what you’ve had your entire life is hard-earned.

I get it, I do. I understand why these people voted Trump. I thank God all the days of my life I left at 17-years-old. I don’t think my brain would function the same if I struggled to pay my bills every day, if I had not gotten an education, if I had become addicted to opiates, if I owned a company and there was nobody skilled enough or anyone who has enough integrity to work for me. What if there hadn’t been a planned parenthood and access to birth control at 14-years-old in that little town? I would have been hopelessly trapped and yearning WITH A CHILD IN TOW, looking anywhere, for a life that’s better. I may have turned to Trump, too.

For too many of these people, America is not Great.

This isn’t a judgement piece, it is an understanding piece. I do not see humans with these struggles in these small towns as less of a person than me. I do not want to dismiss or fill my heart with hatred for a person who taxes the welfare system by having babies young, being addicted to drugs and unable to work because they are uneducated. They are fearful of the future, of their kids future, of the unknown. They believe in reacting based on fear and the carrot of wealth dangling in front of them.

This is the same as a see a Syrian refugee or an undocumented Latino, a young girl who had an abortion, or any of the other sects of the human race who are now under attack with their livelihoods threatened. I see them as humans.

For me, for my little corner of the world, in this little bubble that I also live in, this election cemented who I am. I am a HUMAN first; I am an American second. I will not lead my life by fear. Trump, nor any other leader, will make me forget that I am fighting for human rights, for environmental rights, for freedom for all.

“Make America Great Again,” you say. I say that it is already pretty darn great! Those who can’t see that have never watched a nine-year-old prostitute “working” in a foreign country. They have forgotten that war means babies being used as human shields. They can’t see that oil spilled in sacred rivers and vast oceans means death for entire ecosystems and human exile to other places. When these things happen in America, as they do, there is ALWAYS someone standing up for freedom and equality two steps away. We have Freedom of Speech, that in itself makes us GREAT!

America is great, we will continue to be great, no matter who is at the helm. I am not giving up on any of these humans because a candidate that I didn’t like got elected … those are the breaks! I will always support my fellow humans, I will protect this Earth that God has given us to guard and I will always dream and hope that my fellow human-kind that are living in the trenches will continue to fight for their lives, no matter where they may be.

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