What do you have to lose?


By Mac McPhail - Contributing columnist



“What do you have to lose?” It’s one of those questions that when I hear it, I automatically become suspicious.

But that question wasn’t directed to me. The question was directed to the African American community by Donald Trump a few weeks ago. I imagine they also were leery of the presidential candidate’s plea for their support.

In his speech in Ohio in August, the Republican candidate for president stated, “Our government has totally failed our African American friends, our Hispanic friends and the people of our country. The Democrats have failed completely in the inner cities. For those hurting the most who have been failed and failed by their politician — year after year, failure after failure, worse numbers after worse numbers. Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats. And I ask you this, I ask you this — crime, all of the problems — to the African Americans, who I employ so many, so many people, to the Hispanics, tremendous people: What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. I’ll straighten it out. I’ll straighten it out. What do you have to lose?”

I doubt Trump’s argument has persuaded very many African Americans to change their vote for president. But it does make you think. Has being mainly a voting block for the Democratic Party for the past fifty years really benefited the African American community? But that’s not for me to decide. (Of course, being mainly a voting block for the Republican Party the past fifty years has not benefited the Conservative Right much, either.)

I have to decide what I have to lose with my vote in November. It’s interesting, and sad, that a majority of the people I’ve been in contact with are thinking the same way. Most, like me, are trying to decide which presidential candidate will hurt us the least, rather than which can help us the most.

What do you have to lose? It’s deciding if the potential gain is worth more than the potential loss. It’s a choice that we all have to make from time to time. The opportunity for a new job comes along. It sounds good, with more money and career advancement. But you already have a good job, in a comfortable position. Do you want to give up your current job? What if the new job doesn’t turn out the way it sounds? If the working conditions and pay at your current job were lousy, the choice would be easy. And if you knew and really trusted your new potential employer the choice would be easy. You’d give your notice to your current employer and would soon be starting your new job.

Maybe that new job example is similar to deciding who to vote for president next month. Except, unlike the exciting opportunities with that new job, the future that has been presented by the two candidates is not that exciting. Except, unlike knowing and trusting that new employer, is there any reason to trust either of the candidates? Okay, maybe the new job example and this presidential election are not similar.

In life, we are often more concerned about what we may lose than what we may gain. It’s funny, because most of the things that we are afraid of losing, we are going to lose anyway. Material things, relationships, even our health will someday be gone. So why are we so concerned about what we may lose? Take the risk, take the leap of faith. Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Mt. 16:25) What do you have to lose? Jesus added in the next verse, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” And that’s a loss you can never recover from.

By Mac McPhail

Contributing columnist

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