Monday, February 16, 2009

A "President's Day" Confession.

I have a confession to make. And its not easy ... I am so going to be "keeping it real" here ... something that many bloggers in my genre try to avoid (so as not to lose readers) ... but I think my readers can handle this one. I hope. Because we all have our stuff. And we are all here to learn and grow. Again, I hope.

Well, recently I enjoyed a fascinating political conversation with a great new friend I will call "Fred". This conversation was so enjoyable because though we shared both similarities and differences in our opinions, we were quite happy to appreciate the viewpoints of the other. I am not sure how much he learned from me, but I can say that his insights as an active U.S. army soldier, police officer, fire fighter, child pornography detective (if that's what his title is --- basically he helps catch the bad guys who abuse kids), father of 8, homeschooler, Freemason, and chairman of several boards ..... caught my attention and respect. I know all this about him not because he boasted ... because he did not ... but rather because I inquired (as I often do - people fascinate me).

Anyway, I discovered a few things about myself during our deep conversation. And this is where my confession comes in. I voted for Barak Obama because he is black. I voted for a person based on race. I made a decision --- putting all my other values aside --- based on a person's skin color. This is not good. Please let me explain... (and please read all to get a full understanding, otherwise this statement will make little sense) ...

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. My personal and political values did not jive with either McCain or Obama. In fact, I have strong personal convictions against some of each of their political motives. However, there was a third party candidate that both my husband and I felt strong support for. On Election Day, my husband voted for that person. I even tried to talk him out of it by saying, "Honey, he is not going to win, so at least vote for the first black president. Make a statement for Isaac." My husband replied, "I am making a statement for Isaac, I am sticking to my values ... and trying to create a better future for him." I didn't listen to this reasonable argument. I just thought he was being ridiculous. I mean, there was no way our guy was going to win ... so why not make a different statement? So, when I entered the voting booth, with Isaac in hand, I checked Obama ... forgetting all the reasons why I did not want him to be my son's president. And I was proud of my decision.

On Inauguration Day, I like so many others, cried tears of joy at seeing our first "Black" President. And I was so very proud of our country for not dismissing a candidate based on his skin color. I still am. I am still VERY proud that our country has gone from slavery to a Black president in less than 200 years. I am very happy to see George W. finally leave office. And I am quite hopeful for our country's future. What I am now not so proud of is the means by which I made my voting decision.

See, had I not voted for Obama ... and voted my convictions and my truth ... I still could have celebrated the beauty of our country's choice of a black president. I still would have cried tears of joy. I still would have been hopeful for our future (as there is much about Obama that I am hopeful about). Please don't get me wrong, I am not sad that he is our President. Not at all. I am quite open to much of the change that he is encouraging ... I am already pleased with much of the direction he is already taking our country into. But, he was not the guy that I would have chosen for our president ... and because I take voting very seriously ... I should have stuck with my convictions and voted as if my ballot was the only one that was cast. That is how I believe everyone should vote ... but I didn't. I let race overrule my convictions. Me ... Mommy to Isaac ... chose someone based on race alone ... something I would never want done to my son. I would be mortified and enraged if my son got a job or a promotion based solely upon his "race". See where I am headed with this?

My new friend "Fred" lovingly showed me the error of my thinking on November 4th, 2008. And he did so without even knowing how I voted. And why does his opinion mean something to me? Well, I already mentioned some of the titles that he wears that caught my attention and admiration. He is a giving person who has put his life on the line on many occasions, in many different roles ... all because he truly loves people ... believes in liberty & happiness for all ... and is a bleeding heart in every sense (and I LOVE people who truly LOVE people). But more than that .... WAY more than that ... he is a loving husband and a devoted father to eight children ... two of whom are black. And when he explained to me why and how he voted ... and about what he told his black children regarding why it would certainly be wonderful to have a President that added some color to the White House ... they should not go against their beliefs in order to make that happen ... Well, I was humbled. And I learned something.

I am not sorry for how I voted --- as I don't believe in regret. I believe in learning and growing. I see now that my thinking was skewed ... and I will be more mindful regarding similar issues in the future.

Meanwhile, I will support my President ... hope for positive change ... and work on being the very best role model for my son. Every decision I make is with him in mind ... sometimes I'll get it right, sometimes I won't. But I will never give up on trying to do right by him.

Thank you for reading my "confession". Please don't hate me in the morning :)


P.S. Dear Cousin Nic --- you were right. Thanks for not rubbing it in.


Anonymous said...

Jodi, I love your open spirit and your free-flowing mind and mouth! I always appreciate what you share, and this post is just a confirmation of the fascinating person we all find in you...

Amanda Fogarty

mommyknows said...

This is a great post!

I voted my conscience in our last election. It backfired! My second choice lost the election by about 20 votes. My 'green' candidate didn't even come close. A real ass won!

So I did the opposite of you and would reconsider next time.

Paula said...

Nope, sure don't hate you! I love this post and think that you are far from alone in your decision. I HATE politics but know it is a necessary evil. Way to go, throwing this out there. Isaac can be very proud of his Mama!

Jodi Renshaw said...

Thanks friends. Your positive comments mean SO much to me. It took courage to put this out there ... and I am glad to find it rewarded with open hearts and minds.