I cried in class tonight. I cried in class tonight because people are voting to take away my rights. Amy Barrett, the soon to be sworn-in Supreme Court Justice has made it clear how she feels about my rights, along with the official GOP platform: “we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal” (p.32). Will I be able to live in the United States if I want to get married, have a family, or feel safe holding hands in public? I cried in class tonight for my students. Just a few weeks ago, one gave a heart-wrenching speech about her experiences with racism as an Asian-American citizen in an Iowa school. I cried in class tonight because we have forgotten how to listen to one another. We look only to reinforce our ideas and beliefs rather than challenge them. We find refuge in social media, whose algorithms are designed to divide us into predictable groups. We are afraid to be wrong; for to be wrong is to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable is to be weak.
If you are undecided, conflicted about voting for our current president, or sick of hearing fake news: I challenge you to sit down with someone in our community – someone who is not like you, and listen to them. Ask a person of color what Black Lives Matter means. Ask an LGBTQ+ person about why they are afraid. Ask an immigrant if they’ve ever experienced racism in Ottumwa. Ask a senior how citizenship has changed. Ask a young person how they feel about the world that you will hand them when you die. And then ask yourself, should I help this person? And, if your mind is made up, ask yourself – when was the time I listened to someone listed above?
If you believe in helping American citizens who are not like you, do not vote for your individual rights - vote for theirs, for our lives and liberties are in danger. As a lifelong Republican, I am proud to stand alongside George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Cindy/Meghan McCain, John Kasich, and a growing list of Republicans who will vote for Joe Biden. For, as Matthew 25:40 tells us in the Bible, “Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you did it unto me.”
Isaac Campbell, Ottumwa