The Front of the Bus

I first learned about the Civil Rights Movement in grade school. It changed me.  Realizing that laws in America at that time were grotesque, either vividly like lynching or more civil like segregation, was unbelievable because they were laws. This meant that somehow the majority of the population was unaffected by the horror, worse, they conscientiously supported it. What could be done? They protested at every level. People marched on congress, they “sat in” racist restaurants, and boycotted racist institutions. Ms. Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus. Her singular act has never left my imagination.

That Movement of protest is desperately needed today. Christians must protest the Republican and Democrat Parties wholesale. They are not our parties. In fact they force us to have to choose their platforms. Human dignity, solidarity, social integrity (subsidiarity), and the common good are being seriously threatened or annihilated in one way or another. In one way or another we are being forced to sit at the back of the bus.

This presidential election is only the most recent molestation. Supporting either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is unconscionable to me. I am revolted every time I see or hear Donald Trump speak just as I am every time I think about the Clintons. Despite trying my best to, I cannot understand why Christians would support either of the presidential candidates. This cannot be our only recourse.

Mr. Trump is obviously a belligerent fool and Mrs. Clinton is the champion of the most egregious evil, abortion. The choices are unacceptable. Donald Trump feeds on and rallies the basest behaviors. Mrs. Clinton promotes and white washes the most hideous behaviors. So how is there room for compromise? Can you even look at Tim Kaine or Mike Pence without feeling embarrassed that they represent American Christian politics?  

Donald Trump’s “pro life” platform is disingenuous at best. Occasionally he has said that he is against abortion and pro life, but he vehemently assaults human dignity at every other level. If he is the lesser of two evils it’s only by a stitch. Is it truly just to abandon our moral framework for him? No.

Donald Trump is a fool by every meaning of that word, and a fool has absolutely no place in power. Hillary Clinton completely loves everything that God calls absolutely evil. Voting for them, and others who support them, should be considered civil malpractice. Choosing either of them tarnishes our witness as Christians. It has to stop.

But as usual everyone seems to be settling in as November rolls around. I hope the October rally is because Christians and people of goodwill think there is no other option. I’m tired of having to kowtow to two parties that do not represent me and that are filled with people who abandon their own principles, or distort them when the options are set as they are in this election.

The political arena has tyrannized us this way for too long; it’s time we cut our losses. Imagine if the tens of millions of Christians agreed that we couldn’t participate in this election, or any others like this one. A protest of that magnitude would be a political tsunami.

It would encourage those politicians who are cowardly, it would inflame the boldness of those who are courageous, and it would send a message to this nation that Catholics have in practice a “consistent ethic of life,” that we will stand up for what is right with absolute conviction. Now the voting booth is polite, private, and pathetic. Protest is pointed, public, and powerful; it’s prophetic.

This is not the time for politics as usual, but as usual we politely go to the voting booth. When will it end? Why won’t it end? I will not move to the back of the bus anymore!

Mike Henderson