I'm with Hope.

I usually am quiet about who I vote for.  I usually feel this is a private matter.  I usually feel strongly about one candidate but if my choice doesn't win I accept and respect the one who does.  I am having trouble with doing any of these this year. This election has changed America. This election has changed our democratic process.  This election has changed me.  

Let me give you a bit of history... I am going to let you in on something I have told very few people... who I have voted for. Yikes!  I am a registered independent. I am a strong Christian woman who leans both ways on many issues. I have never been a single issue voter because I don't feel that is fair. In the end my vote usually relies on my assessment of a candidate's character and worthiness of the highest office of our country. Every election I listen carefully, look at their platforms, check impartial sources, tune into my intellect and listen to my heart.  I have voted for the senior George Bush, but not the junior George Bush. I have voted for the 1st term Bill Clinton, but not the 2nd term Bill Clinton. I have voted for Reagan, but not for the ticket that had the 1st woman VP candidate. I have never voted straight ticket. Ever. I have voted not as a Republican, or a Democrat... but as an American.  

I was brought up in a home where my brother, sister and I didn't know who our parents were voting for. They kept all their "kitchen commentary" neutral. They said good and bad things about each candidate. When we would ask who they were voting for they said that that was private. It was, at the time, maddening. I just wanted to know what my parents thought because I respected them {even though I probably didn't tell them that ;) }. But now, looking back, I am so grateful they chose to lead us like that. They positioned us to be adults who discovered our own political identity.  I know many parents are very vocal in their homes and not coincidentally their children vote the same as their parents do in their elementary school mock elections. They never really learned to explore their own views. I am grateful that I was allowed the opportunity to do so. 

So, I come to this year's election a very independent, open minded voter.  It was clear very early on that the Democratic candidate would either be Hillary or Bernie. And I was eager to see who the Republicans would have to choose from. I loved seeing 16 people step forward to run on that side. I wasn't "in love" with anyone.. on either side. But mainly because many were relative unknowns and I had lots to learn about and listen to. As much as politics can give me a headache, I absolutely love the fact that we have this PRIVILEGE to vote in our country.  I am proud that I live in a country that values the voice of the people and honors their collective choice.

This year has made me so.... Embarrassed for America. Disheartened about people's desire to be public servants. Frustrated with our inability to demand answers about policy in place of the propaganda.  Angered by the disrespect shown to others & the absence of consequence. Heartbroken for the fading strength of the democratic process. Dumbstruck by what people let slide. Sad, just plain old sad. 

I voted 2 weeks ago as an early voter. I love election day! I look forward to wearing the sticker and the energy of that day. Seriously folks, I get a bit choked up on the 2nd Tuesday of November every 4 years. I put such a high value on that privilege and it touches me every time to see the people of America using their voice. But...sadly, November 1 brought surgery to my silly torn tendon and I knew I wouldn't be ambulatory enough for my polling place. So, I went to our local village hall and went straight to the tables {because I was the only one there} to chat with the lovely women who volunteer to ensure the voting is done legally and correctly. I marked my ballot and got my sticker. I walked to my car... and still got a little choked up. 

So, now you know my voting bi-partisian record. You know my upbringing. You know my current emotional status. But what you don't know is my decision for 2016. Here it is.....

I voted for Hillary Clinton. I, a gal that I am sure many in my little town call "churchy", relied on  my faith, my gut, my conscience and what I believe in to cast my vote. Even though Hillary has never been my favorite, my choice was ABSOLUTELY CLEAR. Here are just a few of my many reasons...

I thought about the 3rd party candidate and was leaning his way until I heard a few interviews. Gary Johnson didn't know what Aleppo was, or even that it was a "where" not a "what". He couldn't name a single world leader who he respected. These things are deal breakers. If he, as a candidate doesn't know anything about the besieged Syrian city or can name one leader in the entire world then he is not ready to be President of the United States. 

I thought about the email fiasco of Hillary Clinton. This is a tough one because it was a huge error in judgment. It weakens my trust for her a bit. I also learned that she is not the first, or last public official to do so.  And at the same time that I wish that she would show us her human side, I acknowledge that the minute she does, because she is a woman, it will be ripped apart as being over-emotional and not stable. I believe that she is a steady, smart, dignified, experienced person. The fact that she is a woman does not have weight in my decision, but it is a bonus. The fact that America might have had their first Black and first woman president is something I feel we can be so proud of. The tipping point for me was when Colin Powell, a conservative man who I would vote for in a hot minute, endorsed her. He knows her very well and has many things he does not like about her but he is clear in his feelings that the other choice is not even considerable.

And I have thought way more about Donald Trump that I wish I had.  He has been in the forefront of the news for well over a year.  What I know of him comes from what he says and what he does. I haven't been swayed by anyone's "spin" because there has been no need for spin.  His words are already so ugly and crystal clear that no spinning is necessary.  This man is unworthy of the respectable, dignified, honorable office.  If Hillary Clinton or any other candidate had said even 2 of the 100s of things that he has said their campaign would be dead in the water.  But Donald Trump is thriving because he has touched that shockingly hateful part of many of our hearts and stirred it up.  He has fanned the flames of many people's fears. He has spoken outloud the outlandish offensive hateful things that sadly some people actually feel themselves.  He is a racist, sexist, egocentrist man. He has run his campaign on fear, hate, distrust, mean-spiritedness, disrespect, rudeness, disdain and disunity.  He has changed the political process that I love into a side show.  He is a cancer that is invading the foundational goodness of our country. 

I just have to listen to my wise, compassionate, sensitive, loving 11 year old to know the answer.  Noah has said things like....

"He is a bully. If any of my friends said something like that we would be sent to the principal's office."

"He just doesn't get it.  If he loses he has to be ok with Hillary Clinton being President.  That is how America works."

"Why would he make fun of someone's disability? That is awful. He should be grounded."

"It isn't nice to call someone a pig or ugly. He is so mean."

This is not what I want my child, or any of our children, hearing the president of their country saying. Noah understands bullying. He has been a victim of it a few times in his short life. He knows how it feels. He understands that there is zero tolerance for it in his school. And he feels the same should be true for our country. Zero tolerance. 

As a mom, I can not vote for someone who I would not allow to have spent time with or cared for my children.

As a woman, I can not vote for someone who has a clear disrespect for me and all women.

As a Christian, I can not vote for someone who consistently, and unapologetically, behaves nothing like Jesus.

As a human, I can not vote for someone who easily, and to be honest, quite gleefully and unashamedly, is plain old unkind.

As a sexual assault survivor, I can NOT vote for someone who bragged about forcing women to kiss him and violating and assaulting them by grabbing their private, sacred, personal parts. 

I. Can. Not.

But I am not in control of this election and I do not know what the result will be. But what I do know is that I trust in a God of hope. I cling to the belief that no matter what happens Tuesday that He will still be sovereign on Wednesday...and all days.

I hold out for hope. I place my confidence in hope. I am convicted by hope. I am dependent on hope.  

I vote for hope.


May you exercise the privilege to vote, no matter who it is for.

May you understand the awesome gift that voting is.

May you work toward healing the divide
that has been caused by this election.

May you vote for hope.

November 06, 2016 — Sarah Stevens



D said:

Thanks for sharing your heart with us about this very important day tomorrow. I respect your authenticity and openness and I think it’s a beautiful representation of someone who fully regards our amazing freedom to vote. I feel it’s also important to not vote straight partisan ticket—too much to consider in the details. This election has been a disappointment to many and I pray for our country no matter who ends up in office.
xo ~D


Beth said:

I appreciate your thoughtful comments Sarah and I think this is so well-said.

Tricia Kutz

Tricia Kutz said:


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