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We need more independent voters, thinkers

How did we get here? How did we decide that no matter what, we support “our” political party? When did we vilify everyone who doesn’t claim the same party? And, my final question — why is the church tangled up with politics?

I’ll start with the first question. It’s no secret I voted for Democratic candidates in recent elections. That was because they best represented how I felt about certain issues, not just because of the political party.

However, I’ve voted for Republican candidates when they represented my views. For me a vote should be about who is most qualified and will be the best leader.

I prefer candidates who are more toward the middle when it comes to being liberal or conservative. I want someone who is willing to look at a positive outcome for everyone, not just their base.

Unfortunately, that is not how we choose our leaders anymore.

That brings me to my second question. There was a time you were a Democrat or a Republican and still had respect from those who weren’t on the same side of your politics. No more.

Sadly, we live in a world where being of a certain political persuasion vilifies you in the eyes of the other side. It’s tearing us apart at the seams.

If you are blue in a red state, you hear you are a baby-killing, gun-hating, handout-giving, un-patriotic fool. Live red in a blue state and folks call you a redneck, gun-toting, immigrant-hating, war-loving fool.

As an example of this, the other day in a discussion about Alabama’s upcoming special election, I said I wasn’t voting for Roy Moore for senator. I was surprised at the response.

“Well, of course, you are a Democrat.”

It was a comment kind of flung at me. More like, yuck, you are a Democrat.

I said I would not vote for this particular candidate even if I was a Republican. I tried to explain that it was about the person, not the political party.

And, my final question. When I was growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, I heard nothing about politics in church. That was being “in the world,” and I heard I was to be in the world but not “of it.” Political affiliation was a personal choice and neither the preacher nor my Sunday School teacher said anything about it.

Now church organizations and ministers on both political sides, comment, write proclamations and speak out. Yes, that’s their right, but I think it’s helping widen the divide in our country.

Sadly, being liberal often means some folks see you as not being a Christian. And, being conservative means you hear you are not correctly following Christ’s teachings. Neither judgment is correct.

Let me stop and say this about the Dec. 12 election, I’m fine with Roy Moore believing whatever he believes. I’m fine with him stating it publicly. That has nothing to do with politics. He views issues in a certain way based on his faith. That’s his right.

I’m not fine with him, or anyone in a powerful position, deciding not to follow the law and constitution based on personal beliefs. Our country needs a wider view than one belief system.

That is the reason I won’t vote for him. Not because he is a Republican not a Democrat. It’s not because any organization or person says he’s not the best choice.

I’m deciding which candidate will work through differences to find solutions. For me, that is not Roy Moore. Forget the controversy swirling around him; he’s simply too divisive to move our state forward.

Beyond this election, I think there is a more important question than, “How did we get here?” It‘s, “How do we move ahead?”

Maybe, we do it by being more than Democrat or Republican when we cast ballots, by not vilifying each other and by not allowing outside forces to divides us.

Perhaps the answer is being what our forefathers envisioned — independent thinkers and voters.

 

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.