It’s that time again. On street intersections, in front yards and all through the countryside, we are assaulted with signs of the names of candidates for us to vote for. Nothing else but their names boldly emblazoned for us to remember when we enter the voting booth. Nothing else, just their names, nothing about what they stand for, or what they support, what their politics are, or in most cases, not even their party affiliation — just their names. Huge amounts of money are spent just to get the name out there.
When I hit the voting booth, I need more than a name. I’m not voting for the candidate with only a few signs because they seem to be the underdog. And I’m not voting for the one with the most signs because they appear to be the most popular. I am voting for the person whose values and positions best match what I want to see supported in government.
It’s our responsibility to research their positions and/or voting records to see whom we can support, and cast our vote for that candidate. One of the best clearing houses to get the LGBTQ perspective on the candidates before us is the Equality NC Voter Guide: (see equalitync.org/voterguide2018 and qnotes’ endorsements article at qnotescarolinas.com/61472) Or, if you don’t want any slant to your information, and you wish to view the candidates in an unbiased platform try VoteSmart.org.
Sometimes the people we like and support get elected, and sometimes they don’t. We can’t let our disappointment affect how we do, or do not, continue to back the causes that we care deeply about. There is always that temptation to respond to our disappointment with an attitude of, “OK, I’m going to take my toys and go home!” But that’s never the answer.
Regardless of the results of any election, we need to continue to support and fight for the causes that are near and dear to our hearts. And we need to be involved in and support our government, because that’s the place where we can begin to bring about change and growth.
I was living in Florida during the famous “hanging chad” incident, and I felt that my vote had been stolen from me. I was angry, but instead of giving up and fostering an attitude of “it doesn’t matter anyway,” I continued to be active and involved. In fact, I think I may have become even more involved. I focused on the issues that matter to me and my community. I continued to stand with those who strive to speak for the marginalized, those who can’t speak for themselves.
My point is that you can’t just give up. You still have to maintain a faith in what you believe in and continue to move it forward. And personal faith can do a lot to give you hope to move forward. You may get discouraged and feel like these are the worst of times and that things can’t get any worse than they are now. But I believe that things will always get better, and along the way we will have setbacks, but a personal faith can help keep us engaged and moving forward.
As bad as you may think things are now, they have been worse. Remember Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero — things were most definitely worse — especially for people of faith. People of many different faith backgrounds were butchered for fun and entertainment, and for a time, especially Christians. But things got better, the tyranny did end, and people of faith were there to help guide and steer the new politics and the new age forward.
We are called to never give up — there is a brave new world before us. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever see marriage equality in my lifetime. But I never stopped fighting for the cause, and for the future for the next generation. But look where we are now; even with all the opposition we had, we have full and equal rights for the LGBTQ community to marry.
Never give up! Let me leave you with a repurposed quote from Carey Nieuwhof, the pastor of Connexus Church in Barrie, Ontario — “(People) who see the future can seize the future, (people) that don’t, won’t.” Whatever your faith may be, never lose sight of your unique vision of the future, and carry on.
Rev. Todd Goewey is the pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte.