Why I’m With Her

By Kenny Vandergriff

We live in a world that seems to be going to hell in a hand basket in quick fashion.  Each time you turn on the television you see more doom and gloom, more terrorist attacks, more senseless murders of young black men or police officers, more drug crime, more death, more destruction.  Reading the newspaper isn’t much better.  The political landscape is one of historical proportions, not simply because a woman may win the White House for the first time in American history, but more because the circus that is Donald Trump is something never before seen in American politics.  The thing is, honestly, I’m tired of reading and writing about Trump’s climb through the primary.  Trump’s mantra of “making America great again” rings hollow to me.  Thus, let me tell you why I’m with her.

Hillary_Clinton_AIPAC_2016_Speech_(cropped)
photo by Lorie Shaull

 

 

An honest assessment of Hillary Clinton leads me to believe that she is the most qualified of all the candidates in the field.  She has served at First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State.  She began her career working for the Children’s Defense Fund and tirelessly worked for the rights of children with disabilities.  Trump, on the other hand, openly mocked a disabled reporter.  Hillary Clinton supports the Affordable Care Act and hopes to expand it and fix the issues that some are having with it.  Clinton supports making college affordable for everyone and reducing student debt.  She acknowledges that too many young Black men are incarcerated for minor offenses that carry major sentences and wants to reform the criminal justice system.  These are only a few of the reasons that I’m with her.

I know that many people point to the scandals that have surrounded Hillary Clinton as reasons they cannot vote for her.  Let me explain something as clearly as I can.  Hillary Clinton is not perfect.  I do not understand how she can be blamed for Benghazi, a terrible situation that erupted in an unstable country during a series of riots.  How is it that the Secretary of State, who was not in the Libya at the time, be held responsible for a terror situation?  I clearly do not think that she can.  Moreover, multiple times the Senate and House have tried to find a way to make charges of responsibility stick and were unable.  Did she screw up with the email server?  Absolutely, but remember that Colin Powell also had his email on a personal server.  Clinton was extremely careless.  She is not perfect.

So why does all this matter?  It matters because in this moment my faith and life collide in ways that I never thought they would.  I am a Baptist who believes in the separation of church and state.  I believe that the church shouldn’t be in my state and the state shouldn’t be in my church.  Yet, it seems that I cannot get away from politics in church or the call of evangelicals to support a particular candidate.  The problem is I cannot fully separate church and state because my faith influences all my decisions.  I cannot vote for someone who would suggest that the way to stop terrorism in America is to stop anyone of a particular religion from immigrating.  This is because I believe that God created all humanity in His image, this means that everyone regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion is created in the image of God.  That in and of itself is enough to stop me from voting for Trump.  But wait, there’s more.  I cannot vote for a person who swindles others into believing he will make them successful.  Matthew 25 is the heart of the Gospel for me – whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for Jesus.  For me these two things disqualify Trump.  Despite her flaws Hillary Clinton has worked for those who are the least of these.  In my book that is important.

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