A “President’s Day” Confession.

I have a confession to make. And its not easy … I am so going to be “keeping it real” here … something that many bloggers in my genre try to avoid (so as not to lose readers) … but I think my readers can handle this one. I hope. Because we all have our stuff. And we are all here to learn and grow. Again, I hope.

Well, recently I enjoyed a fascinating political conversation with a great new friend I will call “Fred”. This conversation was so enjoyable because though we shared both similarities and differences in our opinions, we were quite happy to appreciate the viewpoints of the other. I am not sure how much he learned from me, but I can say that his insights as an active U.S. army soldier, police officer, fire fighter, child pornography detective (if that’s what his title is — basically he helps catch the bad guys who abuse kids), father of 8, homeschooler, Freemason, and chairman of several boards ….. caught my attention and respect. I know all this about him not because he boasted … because he did not … but rather because I inquired (as I often do – people fascinate me).

Anyway, I discovered a few things about myself during our deep conversation. And this is where my confession comes in. I voted for Barak Obama because he is black. I voted for a person based on race. I made a decision — putting all my other values aside — based on a person’s skin color. This is not good. Please let me explain… (and please read all to get a full understanding, otherwise this statement will make little sense) …

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. My personal and political values did not jive with either McCain or Obama. In fact, I have strong personal convictions against some of each of their political motives. However, there was a third party candidate that both my husband and I felt strong support for. On Election Day, my husband voted for that person. I even tried to talk him out of it by saying, “Honey, he is not going to win, so at least vote for the first black president. Make a statement for Isaac.” My husband replied, “I am making a statement for Isaac, I am sticking to my values … and trying to create a better future for him.” I didn’t listen to this reasonable argument. I just thought he was being ridiculous. I mean, there was no way our guy was going to win … so why not make a different statement? So, when I entered the voting booth, with Isaac in hand, I checked Obama … forgetting all the reasons why I did not want him to be my son’s president. And I was proud of my decision.

On Inauguration Day, I like so many others, cried tears of joy at seeing our first “Black” President. And I was so very proud of our country for not dismissing a candidate based on his skin color. I still am. I am still VERY proud that our country has gone from slavery to a Black president in less than 200 years. I am very happy to see George W. finally leave office. And I am quite hopeful for our country’s future. What I am now not so proud of is the means by which I made my voting decision.

See, had I not voted for Obama … and voted my convictions and my truth … I still could have celebrated the beauty of our country’s choice of a black president. I still would have cried tears of joy. I still would have been hopeful for our future (as there is much about Obama that I am hopeful about). Please don’t get me wrong, I am not sad that he is our President. Not at all. I am quite open to much of the change that he is encouraging … I am already pleased with much of the direction he is already taking our country into. But, he was not the guy that I would have chosen for our president … and because I take voting very seriously … I should have stuck with my convictions and voted as if my ballot was the only one that was cast. That is how I believe everyone should vote … but I didn’t. I let race overrule my convictions. Me … Mommy to Isaac … chose someone based on race alone … something I would never want done to my son. I would be mortified and enraged if my son got a job or a promotion based solely upon his “race”. See where I am headed with this?

My new friend “Fred” lovingly showed me the error of my thinking on November 4th, 2008. And he did so without even knowing how I voted. And why does his opinion mean something to me? Well, I already mentioned some of the titles that he wears that caught my attention and admiration. He is a giving person who has put his life on the line on many occasions, in many different roles … all because he truly loves people … believes in liberty & happiness for all … and is a bleeding heart in every sense (and I LOVE people who truly LOVE people). But more than that …. WAY more than that … he is a loving husband and a devoted father to eight children … two of whom are black. And when he explained to me why and how he voted … and about what he told his black children regarding why it would certainly be wonderful to have a President that added some color to the White House … they should not go against their beliefs in order to make that happen … Well, I was humbled. And I learned something.

I am not sorry for how I voted — as I don’t believe in regret. I believe in learning and growing. I see now that my thinking was skewed … and I will be more mindful regarding similar issues in the future.

Meanwhile, I will support my President … hope for positive change … and work on being the very best role model for my son. Every decision I make is with him in mind … sometimes I’ll get it right, sometimes I won’t. But I will never give up on trying to do right by him.

Thank you for reading my “confession”. Please don’t hate me in the morning 🙂


P.S. Dear Cousin Nic — you were right. Thanks for not rubbing it in.

Jodi Renshaw

About Jodi Renshaw

Jodi is a homeschooling Mom, a photographer, a wife, and a proud resident of the city of Bangor. She spends part of her time working at a locally-owned shop in the downtown area, part of her time homeschooling her favorite young man, and most of her time behind a camera lens. She often writes about adoption, family life, homeschooling, and community.