“I am Voting for Barack Obama for President,” by Keysha Hogan

Keysha Hogan voting for Barack Obama

Keysha Hogan

With the close of the Republican National Convention and the opening of the Democratic National Convention this week the attention of the electorate will soon be laser-focused on November and Election 2012. President Barack Obama (D) and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are very close depending on the day and the poll, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson well back. Decreasing civility, and increasing mud-slinging–especially between the Obama and Romney campaigns–are certain to mark the coming months. It is all very predictable.

I have asked several friends to contribute articles for Kingdom in the Midst in support of their preferred candidate for president. Today a new friend, Keysha Hogan of Dallas, Texas, has written in support of President Barack Obama. I appreciate her thoughtful reasoning. She will attempt to interact in the comments, but holds a full-time job so her opportunities will be limited. Writers in support of Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson are already lined up, and I also hope to find someone who plans to write-in Ron Paul.

Engagement in these posts is welcome but stay on topic. Personal attacks will be deleted without warning or explanation. If civility is to decrease let it decrease somewhere else.

I like my President. As a black woman it’s easy for people to assume that my support of him is an exercise in cultural solidarity. And while I am proud that I was able to help elect the first African-American president, this election is about more than President Obama for me.

As I thought about all the reasons why I cast my vote a certain way, it seems I find myself voting for issues and candidates at the same rate that I vote against them. And in this respect, I think it would be painful for you to listen as I meander from one political hot button issue to another.

First off, before 2008 I volunteered for the Gore/Lieberman and Kerry/Edwards campaigns. My support for the President is more an extension of my beliefs in the values of the Democratic party than it is for the man himself. As the Affordable Care Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act and Recovery act passed I was high-fiving my fellow democrats (in secret of course, I live about 20 mins from Former President George Bush!).

But awesomely inclusive legislation aside, I’ve been asked to explain how my faith is represented in my vote. And although I don’t feel comfortable focusing on one issue to the exclusion of all others, when I face any big decision I always take the golden rule into account.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

And as corny as this sounds, everytime I enter the voting booth I take a minute to pray that my vote will be used to uplift someone to a better life.

The idea of renewal and rebirth is central to the themes of my life. I have been fortunate enough to have lived in a big home with both my parents. And I’ve known the myriad of feelings that came with their divorcing and losing our home. I’ve collected church volunteer hours at food pantries, and have faced the uncertainty of where my next meal will come from.

To many I think the word “poor” is an abstract idea to describe the distant faces at the monthly trip to the food kitchen, or the sad children on the late night infomercials. But to me, it was close to being a reality. During this time, we applied for food stamps which was a painful process. My sister was a chronically ill child, so she was afforded some help from the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The weight of watching your life crumble was becoming a burden to carry each day. But it was prayers, friends and government assistance that helped us on our path to a better life.

I am so thankful that there was a social safety net in place to help us through. Matthew 6:21 (NIV), says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This verse is often offered to encourage us to keep our affections on heavenly things instead of worldly things. But for me, its also served as a reminder that I want my treasures here on Earth to accomplish the deeds of my heart. I want my tax money to offer support, comfort, to enliven and to hearten people that are facing bleakness in their lives.

And we know from scripture that the message to help those less fortunate is repeated throughout the Bible: Psalms 140:12, Isaiah 25:4, Proverbs 31:8, and Luke 6:20-21.

Here is one of my favorite passages: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and the poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? If you keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:1-9 (NIV)

By now, I’m sure you’re thinking…”Well we know you’re for the poor and so is Jesus so what does this have to do with your vote??”

Well I voted for an administration that::
– Provided health care coverage to 4 million uninsured kids with the Children’s Health Insurance Plan Reauthorization
– Made it illegal for insurance companies to deny or cancel coverage to people with people with pre-existing conditions
– Doubled Pell grant funding and offered tax cuts for tuition expenses.
– Signed the Recovery Act which allocated $225 million to the Dept. of Justice to promote law enforcement strategies that addresses violence against women
– Revised the American with Disabilities Act to ensure newly designed, built or renovated public facilities were accessible to all

…and the list goes on.

I also believe that when we speak about the others in our society we have a way of excluding groups that don’t relate to our personal experience. Some people don’t speak our language and some don’t hold our values. And although I think more can be done, I like that this administration has enacted thoughtful inclusive policies about issues like immigration reform and using diplomacy as a method of mediation.

And if you think that all this goodwill will be for nothing remember… “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17 (NIV)

Please allow me to thank you for the opportunity to talk a bit about the intersection of my faith and politics, even though I am neither a theologian or political juggernaut. My expectations for my elected officials is often lofty and unattainable, but I try my best to vote on the issues that matter to me.

And as a former voter registrar, I’m giving you a stern look over the internet to encourage you to vote this November (even if it’s for the other guy!).

Keysha Hogan is an aspiring screenwriter who found a spiritual message in the Matrix films. Her life has been spent either in school or church and she enjoyed every minute. Surprisingly, she usually writes sports editorials for DFW’s Blitz Weekly. Feel free to say hello in the Twitterverse @TheKeysha.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

3 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • 317

    I do not like my President. As a white man it’s easy for people to assume that my lack of support is an exercise in cultural solidarity. And while I am proud that I will be able to help elect the first Mormon president and support religious diversity, this election is about more than skin color, class, or religion for me. This election wil be about the fact that my children and children’s children, and the future of every other American child, Anglo-Saxon (why can’t I be ethnically defined), African-American, Hispanic, Latino, or Asian will suffer the consequences of the $16 trillion debt this country has accrued, a debt that has increased by from $10 trillion to $16 trillion in the four years our current president has been in office. And while we can say that we will now have health care for all, the bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that health care costs will rise costs as well at limiting funds for Medicare for senior citizens, meaning my grandmother and my parents will be slighted on their health care when they need it. The CBO has also stated that Under the President’s new health care law 30 million Americans will remain uninsured. The health care law will not insure everyone in America. The CBO also estimated that the cost of the health act was not $938 billion as the President projected but $1.9 trillion, adding more to our looming debt. Most importantly, the President’s new health care law ensures that the Hyde Amendment will continue, as our tax dollars continue to be used for abortion. This is not surprising as he voted not once but four times against ending late-term abortion while in office in Illinois. Also, since I have extended-family that run personal businesses, I take great offense at the President’s slight against them, saying they “did not build that [their business].” They did. And we will re-build America, very shortly.

  • David Price

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 is the verse in question, Michael. It’s in there.

  • As Christians we are free to vote for whomever we decide will best run the country.

    This is a law issue and not a gospel issue.

  • Thoughtful and well written post. Thank you, Keysha. And thank you, Marty, for sharing!

    • Marty Duren

      Thx, Jen.

  • Thad

    Keysha,
    Thank you for sharing candidly your thoughts on the upcoming Presidential election. I truly sympathise and empathise with your perspective. As I have gotten older I have digressed, some may say regressed, toward the “left” with my political thoughts that have no current political affiliations. History has proven that the church has not met the standard of assisting the poor and I am thankful that government is there to assist those in need. I think this moment within the “Great Experiment” we have reached a point where there is no majority but a plurality within the US electorate. Obama has done a fine job on many points but believe that motivation for individualism and capitalism (although in it’s purist form problematic, hence Upton Sinclair’s The Jungel) he has fallen short. I am glad you know for certain for whom you will vote as I am certainly undecided.

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  • Don A.

    The current US President is the most pro-abortion in all of history. He has voted to allow abortion for the entire 9 months of pregnancy and it it can be well argued he is at least indifferent to allowing a child to die if they survive an abortion.

    You cannot argue this is untrue. You can only minimize it.

    A vote for President Obama is a vote for the continued barbarism that is abortion.

    You can vote for Obama if you want, but don’t even begin to equate the so-called “golden-rule” giving with hie heinous support for abortion rights.

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