I grew up in St. Louis, 5 miles from Ferguson, Missouri. My parents taught their 13 children to go the extra mile and love and serve everyone. They taught us that compromise and compassion are necessary to solve problems, forge relationships and build better lives for everyone. They are an example of service to others regardless of race, religion or ideology.
Over the last few weeks, I have watched two presidential candidates preside over their conventions and ramp up their home-stretch campaigns. The contrast is stark. The incumbent is stoking violence, pitting citizens against each other, and demonstrating no willingness to show compassion, listen or compromise. Every day we are bombarded by his Twitter account filled with lies, vile attacks and ignorant rants. He refuses even to say the words “Black Lives Matter” but stunningly gloats that he has done more for Black Americans than any president since Lincoln.
In stark contrast, our other candidate went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to meet with community leaders and residents to listen with compassion about the challenges facing their community after the brutal shooting of Jacob Blake. He and his wife spent time with a family that is devastated and hurting. They listened and prayed together. When he sat down with community leaders, he was there to listen, to care and to show his concern. This man can say out loud that “Black Lives Matter,” and his actions show he believes it.
I will only support a presidential candidate who demonstrates the ability to solve problems with compromise and compassion, forge relationships and build better lives for all. We desperately need an empathic, vulnerable, compassionate leader who can set the stage and guide us to recovery. Choose compassion over chaos.