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The Resistance Prays

January 27, 2019
By Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

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Today's Top Story
"The 2020 Democratic field is the most diverse ever," reports CNN. "Four are women (a record), one is an Asian man (Andrew Yang), one is a Hispanic man (Julián Castro) and one is a gay man (Pete Buttigieg). All told, seven of the eight Democratic candidates are non-white, women or identify as LGBT, or some combination of the three." 
Left to right: Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julián Castro, and Elizabeth Warren
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17​
2020 Democratic field is the most diverse ever
The 2020 Democratic primary excites me because it gives me hope for life beyond Donald Trump and it excites me because Democrats will hear many diverse candidates with competing visions for the nation. The debates will sharpen each candidate, expose those who have troubling viewpoints and past positions, and model for the nation how to debate civilly with facts (something Donald Trump is incapable of doing.) My social media feeds are already filled with friends debating the different candidates (I'm a hard no on Tulsi Gabbard, for example) and speculating about who else will jump in the race. As more and more candidates announce, I think it's helpful if we step back and think about the values we want in our next president. Here are my top concerns:

1. A bold, visionary platform  
Policy matters. As Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proven, there's an excitement building around a bold vision for progressive change in the country. It's not enough to criticize Donald Trump and his corrupt administration. We need to argue for positive change like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, Abolishing ICE and creating a more just immigration system, free college, and student loan forgiveness. Elizabeth Warren should be commended for introducing her Wealth Tax proposal which has driven a focus on economic policy in the early days of the campaign. 

2. Ethical leadership
While the progressive policy is my top concern, ethical leadership is a close second. Donald Trump's plutocratic reign reinforces our desire for ethical leadership. I disagreed with many of the policies of the Obama administration such as drone warfare, but we knew that the president and his team considered evidence, read books, and brought expertise to decision-making. Believing in our ability as Americans to come together and govern ourselves for the common good is dependent on trusting our elected leaders, to be honest--even when we disagree. Every candidate running should be investigated and proven to be honorable so that he or she provides a stark contrast to Trump.

3. Religious outreach
This is a prayer letter after all! I'm convinced that Democrats can shift the overall political discussion if they can make inroads in religious outreach. This is not a litmus test for any candidate's personal faith, but a call for each of them to speak to the moral values of the issues we care about and invest in outreach to faith communities. During the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton's campaign employed over 1000 full-time staff. Not one of them was dedicated to religious outreach. Far too many Americans believe that the only choice for a person of faith is to vote Republican--and they think that partly because no Democratic has argued otherwise in a long time. While policies and character certainly matter most, Democratic religious outreach could fundamentally shift one of the tectonic plates that sit under our political debates today.

I'd love to hear what values are informing your approach to the 2020 primary. Let me know by replying to this email.
Research each of the candidates. Scrutinize their policy positions for their vision and explanation of how they plan to achieve that vision. Look into the personal experience and character of each candidate, with a focus on how they will contrast with the total moral failure of the Trump administration.  
Holy One, we give you thank for these courageous leaders who have stepped forward to take on the menace of Donald Trump. Keep them safe, give them courage, and guide them to defend the common good. Throughout this primary season, keep our hearts and minds trained on what matters most: defeating Trumpism and bringing about a revolution of values in our nation that embrace fairness and dignity for all. Amen.
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