When it Doesn't Turn Out Like You Thought . . .
Can you imagine being Mary, or one of the apostles, or a disciple of Jesus . . . on their walk home from Calvary? Trudging home, having witnessed Jesus on the cross. Jesus, who walked on water. Jesus, who raised the dead. Jesus, who fed thousands with five loaves and two fish. Jesus who turned water into wine, made the blind to see, and the lame to walk. That Jesus. That Jesus who was now gone. Dead.
How could this be? They must have been so bewildered and discouraged, having been told from birth a Messiah was coming. One who would "sit on David's throne." Though they misunderstood and thought it was a physical kingdom, it is of little matter. Having witnessed what Jesus was capable of, they must have expected He would have come down from the cross, or disappeared into the crowd, or something. But he was now gone. Dead.
And, the next day? Still dead. And, He remained dead. Surely, by now something would have happened. This was Jesus! But, no. He was gone. Dead.
It did not go as they thought.
Now, of course, we know what happens. The story does indeed have a happy end. Jesus did rise from the dead. But, when He did, he told His disciples to wait. Further, he did not establish a physical kingdom.
Again, it was not going as they thought.
What in the world does any of this have to do with politics or anything African-American Conservatives would blog about?
Most of you know that I have worked with Allen West for the past five years. We met because of AACONS, over a decade ago, as one of our most popular guests. I was blessed to develop a friendship with him and his beautiful family. And, though in no way, shape, or form am I comparing him to Jesus -- something Allen himself would put the kibosh on -- I am saying there are some parallels to the scenario I described above that I, and other West supporters, feel right now.
We had the data solidly on our side. We had thousands posting not only their support, but that whole families voted for him. Standing room only events . . . Does this sound familiar? Something was just not adding up. At all. And, sadly, this was not the first time.
If you have followed AACONS for any length of time, you will remember my outrage when, as a member of Congress, Rep. West was absolutely robbed of re-election in Florida. How on earth could more people cast votes than lived in his district? And, this very same county, under the very same County Clerk, has had the same sort of issues during subsequent elections.
Having worked on this gubernatorial campaign, I can tell you I have more questions than answers. And, it's not "Sore Loser Syndrome," either. I was in the belly of the political beast, and I am legitimately scratching my head. Republican voters in Harris County turned away at polling locations (with video evidence of the same). Machines not working. Weird things that just did not make sense. Does this sound familiar?
I saw this happen in 2012. I saw it in Florida in 2018. I saw it on the national level in 2020 as part of Black Voices for Trump. And, it was "deja vu all over again."
So, I sat yesterday, with a very bitter taste in my mouth about all of it. Not only had it happened again, and so close to home, but I honestly floundered for a bit. Never angry at God, though, because " . . . we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, ESV)
When I am in a quandary about something, I have to sit with it for a bit. I have to process it the only way I know how to, and, that's through a spiritual lens.
Though it's early days yet, here is what this process, this particular election, and this result have me thinking:
After seeing Governor Greg Abbott enact mask mandates, shut down churches, and take donations from clinics performing gender modification surgeries on minors -- in defiance of his own Party's pressure via Legislative Priority to ban the practice outright -- how can I now pull the lever for this man?
Seeing the men and women serving in our State National Guard experience pay discrepancies, go without ammo and body armor, be openly shot at by illegal immigrants, yet being told to stand down, having to go to the bathroom openly by the side of the road because they don't have portable latrines . . . the list of why I am struggling right now goes on and on . . . and on.
Here's what I think this experience has taught me:
The message is more important than the man: The message had to go on after Jesus left this earth . . . as it still does today. Though I love me some Allen West, one of his favorite sayings is "sunshine is the best disinfectant." I am going to be a ray of sunshine in a movement thousands -- prayerfully millions -- strong, to expose our leaders and make them accountable to We, the People (yes, the folks who elect them and pay their salaries)!
One of Allen's favorite movies is "Spartacus." Well, guess what Governor Abbott? I AM SPARTACUS!
It's a "Wake the Lions" moment: Currently, on social media, there's a meme going around, posted here. Two lions, side-by-side, with the caption, "There's no time to wake the sheep. It's time to wake the other lions."
How long are we going to continue to let our rights be trampled? To vote, only to have ballots show up in people's cars, trash dumpsters again and again, or made up in back rooms in the night? Lions, do you hear me?
No "toothless" accountability anymore: Just as there were millions who have told Allen over the years, "when you run, I will back you," there are those posting those messages in the light of this new reality from Tuesday. Well wishes, however well-intentioned, are not much better than the Twitter virtue-signaling with the black squares. Those days are gone. We must translate words into tangible, trackable, measurable outcomes.
Here is the upshot: Hold every single legislator accountable. Because of Allen West, Don Huffines, and Chad Prather, Greg Abbott had to actually do some things he had been loath to do. Because the lions were watching. And, prowling. And, they were hungry.
Though I am wary of the whole political apparatus right now, I do know movements have created history: the Boston Tea Party, the move to abolish slavery, the Civil Rights movement . . . Someone said 'enough!" And, got people to join in. When your state's Legislative Priorities are voted on, advocate for them. Call and e-mail daily. Hold people accountable.
There should be absolutely no reason that a Republican Governor, of a red state, with a Republican-controlled legislature, cannot get that state Party's Legislative Priorities passed, unless he doesn't want to. The 87th #txlege sure found time to designate San Marcos the "Mermaid Capital of Texas." And, proclaim Dr. Pepper as the state drink of record. They even had a "Best Mustache" contest on the State House floor. But ban irreversible surgical procedures performed on minors? Nope. "ran out of time." Address true election integrity by fixing the watered down language? "Oh wow, would you look at that? Sadly, the clock ran out. Adios!"
Hold every one of them accountable. Pick two or three issues that are most important to you and call every single day during your state's legislative session. Call them. Email them daily. Visit their offices. Don't just virtue signal. Don't just put faith in one elected position, whether governor or president. Pray. Vote. Put boots on the ground. And, for the very bravest among you: run for office. Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Today, I am joining STAT. And, today, "I am Spartacus!"
-- Marie Stroughter (AACONS)