It was Independence Day weekend in 2016 and I was enjoying my long weekend. As usual, my to-do list obliterated the concept of being “off work,” but at least I had a break from the office.
In spite of the the long list, I could hardly put down my latest book. The Franklin Coverup is the kind of book that wields that contradicting power where you can’t put it down because you are desperate for the story to redeem itself, while at the same time, you have to stop because your soul can’t handle the evil.
My life would never be the same after reading that book.
For several years I had been involved in anti-trafficking efforts. I supported national and international organizations. I was trained and volunteered at local organizations. But in 2016 my journey for justice progressed into the dark side of child exploitation.
That took me right into politics. I quickly learned that fighting human trafficking was considered “politically correct”–fighting child exploitation–not so much. It was at this same point that I realized we would never fix child exploitation unless we cleaned up our government–because it looked like the trafficking trail ran right through the middle of it.
I had never been particularly political before this, but when I saw this connection, everything changed. I determined if I needed to get political to tackle this problem, that is exactly what I would do.
As I started being verbal about my political views, I was met with resistance, indifference, and even scorn. I began noticing that people would make comments like, “I usually stay out of politics, but…” as though they had to explain or apologize for expressing a view that in some way intertwined with our society or government. Sometimes I would see or hear blanket statements dripping with holier-than-thou righteousness. Reading these comments made me feel self-conscious and uncomfortable about being overtly political. Had my fight not been for kids, I would have probably shut up.
But when it comes to kids, I can’t do that.
How did we get to a place where being a-political is a virtuous stance?
The word “political” is deeply intertwined with government–but one of it’s basic meanings is “of or relating to citizens.” That’s us! if we aren’t involved in things relating to us as citizens, who is?!
I think we are learning the answer to that question in an excruciating way. I think we will learn more about it in the coming months.
How do we win?
We start with shedding the shame of being and discussing politics. The social rule to not discuss religion or politics is a con.
John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Is it any wonder we have been shamed into silence on these very issues?
Aside from our basic physical needs, religion and politics are at the center of who we are as individuals and a society. If we are aren’t wrestling with these issues and engaging others in finding solutions, someone else will. And you can be sure they won’t be looking out for our good. That’s becoming more obvious by the day.
We can win–but only if we step up, embrace the tough conversations, and get involved. Sitting on the sidelines discussing sports didn’t work. It’s time to try actually discussing and taking action on political issues.