What Would Jesus Do?

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries. I’m definitely voting for Hillary Clinton during the election. In the past, I’ve said that I’m not a hardcore Democrat, but I am registered as a Democrat so that I can vote in Florida’s closed primaries. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. After hearing arguments about Donald Trump being a billionaire businessman, and how we need someone with a business mind to run this country, I’ve reconsidered my decision to remain nonpartisan. Even if Trump gave us some enlightenment about how he will accomplish what he says he can accomplish, instead of merely giving vague promises, I would still vote against him, and I would vote against the Republican Party as a whole. He represents the ugly American. His character is indefensible, and the idea that Trump supporters ask me to give them an example when I say that is also indefensible. If you still need examples at this point, you are deplorable.

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Photo by Ashley Inguanta

A friend of mine once said that the biggest difference between the two parties is that Democrats are generally more poetic people than Republicans, and it’s hard to explain poetry to someone who has never tried to understand or doesn’t see any reason to understand it. He said this in a half-serious way that didn’t sound like an effort to be profound, but I’ve been thinking about how true this really is. There’s plenty that is not very poetic about either party. There is plenty of political bullshit and hypocrisy in both parties and with both parties’ supporters. But the idea of Trump apologists closes the deal on any possibility that the Republicans stand for anything legitimate. The truth is, I’ve never been a fan of the party, but I also never thought it would fall to this level. Trump’s popularity is the first time that I can recall a mass exodus of Republicans from supporting a potential leader of their party. That shows some promise, but there is just too much that is inexcusable about the party.

The biggest reason I am against the party is because of its abysmal human rights record and its anti-science and general anti-intellectual nonsense. I’m tired of the “holier than thou” crap about using the church as a platform to judge and hate. I grew up in a church that prided itself in being a part of the civil rights movement, not blocking civil rights. I’m not a fan of the games the Republicans play either: government shutdowns, blocking Supreme Court nominations, etc.

I wrote an article a few months ago about the NRA, and the idea that if you are a Republican, you unflinchingly support the NRA and you are playing follow the leader instead of thinking for yourself. The NRA is evil. They don’t give a crap about the Constitution. I take that back; they love the idea that they can distort what it means for their own benefit. How many people have to die before the party of family values realizes that everything the NRA tells them is self-serving? How is a party that is opposed to Roe v. Wade okay with enabling murders because the Constitution is more important than anything else? Why is it that Republicans—the party of “family values”—generally does not see that young, black men have been murdered by police officers? Why is it that if we criticize the police officers who murdered, we are viewed by the party of family values as being against the police? Why has the party of family values fought same-sex unions? The general argument from them was something like, “it’s not natural/sacred,” or, “it’s against our beliefs.” Judging by the national divorce averages of straight couples, it seems like the divorce rate would make us all question how sacred these straight unions are. My father used to say, “I don’t think that gays should get married, they’ve been oppressed enough already.” I want to be a part of a group that is more “live and let live.” It is hard enough for straight people to fall in love, but do you want to be a part of making others miserable just because you are? I don’t want an answer. Happy people don’t do things like block others from getting married. They mind their own fucking business or say congrats or buy them a wedding present.

montage appropriation by Matt Duke

montage appropriation by Matt Duke

If you think that being loyal to your party means that you will excuse racism or other intolerance, I don’t have any patience for you. I find it curious that the Republican Party always seems to side with the person who killed a young black man. When Trump gains support from former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard, David Duke, and fails to denounce it immediately, he is inexcusable. I heard Trump referred to as “a racist enabler not a racist.” Either way, he is bringing out the worst in humanity. I thought by 2016, we wouldn’t hear people proudly making racist comments. This is a very dangerous precedent, especially when this is the party that not only finds excuses for young blacks being killed by police officers, but also consistently responds with dangerous misinformation like, “there is so much black-on-black crime.” The reality is, there is about an equal level of white-on-white crime. This is the party that aligned itself with George Zimmerman’s stand your ground defense. This is the party that stands by the NRA even when the NRA shows an incredible lack of sensitivity and respect to victims after a mass shooting. This is a party that defends cops killing black men, and never says that the murder offends their religious beliefs, even though something like gay marriage does. I would think the party that says it is closer to God would exhibit more compassion. I was brought up in the Catholic Church. I was taught that Jesus’ compassion is what we are to follow. I remember being told by a priest that a Christian should strive to be like Jesus, and to really think about what Jesus would do. I don’t translate that into open carry, and I don’t understand why places like Liberty University, started by pastor Jerry Falwell, would strongly assert that humans don’t factor into global warming. Why are there so many Christian Republicans buying into this? I think Jesus would be strongly concerned with persevering the planet and not just the immediate economy. I’ve made comments like this and have been accused of being anti-Christian. That is almost the opposite of what I’m suggesting. I’m suggesting that a lot of people are abusing religion, and using it to ruin this country. For conservatives to normally side with the cop who killed a black man, or to not believe science, is dangerous and not Christlike.

digital caricature illustration by DonkeyHotey.

digital caricature illustration by DonkeyHotey.

The Democrats are very flawed, but at least there is an effort towards fairness; yet they are called elitist by many Republicans. This is another example of the dangers of anti-intellectualism. I never thought I would live in a time when teachers, professors, and scientists would be so disrespected. I’ve noticed that this logic doesn’t follow to the most of the medical field. It’s interesting how the conservative, anti-science sentiment hasn’t fostered doubt in the ability of doctors. I know that the anti-vaxxer crew has been aligned with the Democrats, and I don’t support that either. I don’t want to live in a time where scientists are dismissed as elitist intellectuals. I’ve heard Governor Rick Scott talk about discouraging liberal arts degrees. These are the comments of people who don’t understand the learning process, and don’t understand research.

Life is not all about the bottom line. Most of the Democrats I know don’t have a problem disagreeing with other Democrats, but most of the Republicans I know are unwavering in their allegiance with members and supporters of their party. It feels like if they give in a little, they think they will lose everything. I don’t see any effort to come to a compromise by the current Republican Party. Regardless if I agree or not, I would like politics to be an effort to compromise. If we ever want to make America great, we have to grow up and get along.

Patrick Greene is the curator at The Gallery at Avalon Island, and hosts a weekly radio show Mondays from 4pm-5pm on WPRK 91.5

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