Today is Election Day 2016. You should go vote. You MUST go vote. It is the ONLY responsible option afforded you as a citizen.
If you do not go to the poll, declare yourself to your friends and colleagues. You are not entitled to a single word of analysis--positive or negative--for the next four years. You're on the bench.
Failing to vote is irresponsible. Failing to vote is un-American. Failing to vote is un-Christian as well. There is NO moral reason for you to not go to your polling place.
Most who read my blogs and thoughts are Christians. While there are some followers of Christ who firmly believe in one of the candidates, either Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump, there are a great many who are deeply conflicted about their choices. You are not alone just because you are a Christian. America in general is profoundly in quandary. Indeed, the whole world is confounded.
What to do? How do you reconcile your sensibilities and your X on the ballot?
Voting for either candidate feels less like a vote for a candidate’s positions and more like an ethical shortfall.
First, let’s strip away the varnish. Both of this election’s candidates are flawed—flawed for so many reasons that the media has had an absolute field day reporting about everything from whether Mr. Trump’s hair is real to whether Ms. Clinton spent too much on her jacket. Never mind the allegations of perjury, tax evasion, murder-for-hire, illegal bankruptcies, conspiracies, and duplicity.
How anyone can enthusiastically endorse either candidate has stymied the American electorate and the watching world. In short, voting for either candidate feels less like a vote for a candidate’s positions and more like an ethical shortfall. When you place your X by a candidate’s name, you like to exit your booth believing that is the best person for the position. This election, many Americans are troubled because placing their X by either feels somewhat immoral, never mind reckless.
Is that true? If it is true, what do you do? Stay home and behave irresponsibly?
If you are going to maintain a viable citizenship, then you put yourself in the game by going to the poll and placing your X.
Staying home is the LAST thing you should do.
Are you unhappy with the status quo? Most Americans are, according to the polls. Here's the deal: Both political parties state without equivocation that they would win the election if their supporters would simply go vote.
My fellow Americans, you might not like what is before you, but if you are going to maintain a viable citizenship, then you put yourself in the game by going to the poll and placing your X. Furthermore, when has an American ever backed down or pulled away simply because he/she was uncomfortable? We are people of action—and must be ever more so on Election Day 2016 (and thereafter).
But what about the questionable character of these two candidates, you ask?
Eric Metaxes wrote an article in the “Wall Street Journal” that I found helpful. In particular, he referenced the political endeavors of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), a devout follower of Jesus Christ. After two decades of political effort, Wilberforce was successful in outlawing slavery in Great Britain. Metaxes notes of these labors, “William Wilberforce, who ended the slave trade in the British Empire, often worked with other parliamentarians he knew to be vile and immoral in their personal lives.”
Wilberforce eyed a higher ideal, i.e. making the slave trade illegal. To obtain his vision, indeed a moral vision, he created political alliances with people who behaved in immoral ways in order to realize his goal.
If you fail to show up, you denounce the most important responsibility that is yours as an American.
While Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton are testing the lower aspects of the moral spectrum, no politician—no human being—is completely moral or ethical. All of us are flawed and much of human relations is devoted to management of our failings. Christians since the founding of America have made alliances with flawed political leaders in an effort to realize a higher good—and the result has been the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. This election feels icky to many, but nothing much has changed. You might like the option of voting for a person in whom you believe, but short of that, there are a number of critically important events that will transpire during the next Presidential term. Engage the issues, as Wilberforce did who proceeded you.
My fellow Americans, when you go to your polling place you are not voting on whether you believe Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump are upstanding, or moral, or Christian. These are important character qualities, to be certain. But you place your X on a ballot because you are an American. Period. It is what you do because you are a citizen. If you fail to show up, you denounce the most important responsibility that is yours as an American.
Go. Let God be your guide to the best of your ability, but go vote. Make an informed decision, not so much about the moral character of the person on the ballot, but about the concerns facing the nation. While you might flinch voting for an individual, if you make an informed decision regarding the issues, you can go home comforted that your X reflected your convictions.
Seth Godin wrote Monday morning, “Vote as if you're responsible, because you are, especially if you don't vote. Vote as if it's not anonymous, knowing that you'll have to explain it to your grandchildren.”
Now that civil servant is in the hands of God.
Explaining my vote to the next generation is why I found the actions of Wilberforce helpful. A brother in Christ who passed through life prior to us, set a precedent. Simply, he engaged. He probably held his nose on occasion, but he didn’t abdicate.
Election Day is not a referendum on Christianity or whether America is a Christian nation. It is the day set aside by our Constitution to seat our governing officials. You participate because you are an American. As a Christian living in the United States, you participate.
Whether you like one or the other or neither candidate is not addressed in Scripture. What is addressed in Scripture is that you pray for the person beside whose name you place your X. Once done, you have fulfilled your responsible duty.
Now that civil servant is in the hands of God—before whom he/she will swear an oath on Inauguration Day.