I'm An Evangelical And I'm With Her

Trump’s successes have come at the expense of everyone else.

I’m an evangelical Christian, and I’m voting for Hillary Clinton this November. Many like me have been silenced by an assumption that, as a Christian, they’re not allowed to support Hillary Clinton.

Not publicly at least.

Perhaps they feel guilty. Aren’t all evangelical Christians supposed to be conservatives? Or, perhaps they fear the onslaught of unkind remarks from their fellow Christians who seem unable to separate Hillary Clinton from decades of rhetoric associating her with the Antichrist.

Of course, Hillary Clinton has flaws.

I’m not ignorant of who Hillary Clinton is. As a politician who’s been in the public eye for decades — scrutinized by voters in senate elections and two brutal primary seasons — Clinton’s sins are out in the open and have been for some time.

Among her greatest flaws: her many lapses in personal judgment. From a lack of responsiveness in the Benghazi situation to the foolish, sketchy use of a personal email server, Clinton has made choices lacking 21st century wisdom. This lack of judgment extends to the collaboration between her State Department and the Clinton Foundation, and more recently her campaign’s sloppy messaging about her pneumonia.

Voters, regardless of worldview, should be perplexed by her lack of clear answers on many of these issues.

Despite her flaws, Hillary Clinton is prepared to take on the realities of governing a global superpower.

So then why her? Why choose to stand with her if she is so flawed? I don’t have to stand with any candidate this year. Does Hillary Clinton really deserve my vote?

For starters, Hillary Clinton understands the realities of governing a global superpower. What Trump mocks as “ineffective” — her 20-plus years working to affect change amidst opposition — I consider one of her greatest assets. Compromise is the cornerstone of American governance. No matter what one thinks of Clinton’s character, Clinton’s tenacity in reaching agreements to achieve a goal is undeniable.

Hillary Clinton is also prepared. She has had lapses in judgment, absolutely. She also has unmatched experience, range and understanding. She spent years learning how Washington and the world work. That may make her an insider, but I think it also makes her more prepared than anyone else out there. When I watched the debates, I saw a professional — albeit a very flawed professional — with an exhaustive knowledge of her field.

Clinton’s preparedness means that she will not spend the first hundred days of her administration figuring out what a Constitution is. She has had to spend her entire career living within its constraints.

I don’t believe Donald Trump is prepared for the office, and I don’t buy his gimmicks.

Many Christians — including Donald Trump’s running mate and some of the people with whom I worship — impute messianic significance to Trump’s campaign. Only Trump can save this country! Only he will take back Washington! It is my personal belief that many do so because they recognize that Christians — evangelicals especially — have lost much of their relevance over the last two decades.

That is a very real and terrifying sentiment, and the survival mechanism on display should not be ignored by either of the political parties. This crisis of the soul has left many Christians susceptible to sign up for quick fixes to shock the system (e.g., the Donald). But there are no quick fixes to any problem facing our nation, and Christians should be wary of anyone promising them.

The actions of an entire career speak loud enough. Trump’s successes have come at the expense of everything and everyone else — from small contractors not getting paid for services rendered to the insolvency of his own companies. I don’t believe Trump’s style of success, not to mention his xenophobia, racism and misogyny, belongs in the White House.

Above all, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because my values line up with the Democratic Platform. Well, some of it, at least.

My vote for Hillary is the result of a year long effort I undertook to define my political opinions. I started this journey because I genuinely wanted to participate in our democracy. For a year, I’ve explored topics like gun control, abortion, the economy, foreign policy and the military. I’ve challenged myself to find a balance between my personal faith and the realities of living in a democracy in which many do not share the same values.

Fundamentally, I have bought into the premise that America is already great. Acknowledging that our country has some real issues to deal with (including the divisiveness that is tearing us apart), I am using my vote to affirm the Democratic viewpoint that we are stronger together.

To this end, the Democratic platform has a lot to offer: improvement of family medical leave, reform of the criminal justice system, a balanced approach to immigration and the global refugee crisis. It champions the notion that what makes us different does not need to separate us irreconcilably.

In contrast, the Republican platform peddles the high ground of moral rectitude, but just like Trump’s many failed businesses, is no more than a front, a series of highfalutin trinkets and promises.

Does this mean I accept everything in the Democratic platform? Certainly not. As a moderate, I want to see a better balance between expensive government programs and fiscal responsibility. Additionally, I am not willing to give the Democratic party free reign with abortion policy, though I am willing to compromise in order to promote life and protect women’s health holistically.

In the end, I believe that governing takes moderation. It takes balance. It takes compromise. In a democracy constrained by guaranteed rights, there are very few binary choices for our leaders ― even fewer for citizens in the voting booth.

Despite certain ideological differences with Clinton, I believe she understands these trade-offs better than other candidates. I don’t find my differences with her in conflict with my faith.

So, yes, this election I’m with her. And I think you should be, too.



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