Sunday, October 31, 2004

Why Christians Should Vote Their Conscience

I'm impressed by the amount of rhetoric, good and bad, being posited in the blogosphere concerning tomorrow's USAmerica Elections (MeanDean @ b4G on "why all Christians should vote for Bush", among others). Since turning 18 in 1986, I've always voted - not alot of people can say that. I've tended to be conservative, and that's meant tending to vote Republican. I don't know if I've ever voted for a Democrat - but at the same time, I've never just checked "straight party" either. Now here we stand at the eighteenth anniversary of that first election after my eighteenth birthday, and I'm going to vote again.

I am going to vote my conscience. I am going to vote my idealism. I am going to vote for the person most closely aligned to what I believe should be the ideals and beliefs of a strong leader for our country.

I am going to vote for: NULL.

My ballot will contain an undervote. Do not look for a hanging or pregnant chad on my electronic ballot. I mean to do that.

I will be leaving the slot for "PRESIDENT" blank. I have done it in other races in that past, not knowing anything about candidates for County Coroner or leaving a slot blank if there are more openings for School Board than I know. It is my right as a citizen to conscientiously tell the parties and the candidates that there is still much more to do, still too much division, still too much inactivity and partisan bickering and passing the buck on all sides.

I am tired of being statistically sorted into the group of white Christian southern professionals who will vote with the evangelical block and stand for gun rights and less government. I have a hard time voting for "the lesser of two evils", knowing it's still "evil" and that it's lesser but not positive yet. I think it will take a stronger leader, a better reformer, a more congenial and unifying force in the Oval Office to truly bring this country together. That's probably the only thing that will bring us to a real leadership in the world, too - someone who will avoid all appearances of evil, who will not bow down to folks even within his own party, and who will not only reach across the aisle, but who might straddle that aisle for the good of the country if it's the right thing to do.

Don't tell me that if I don't vote I can't complain. Bull hockey - when does complaing do any good anyway? And don't tell me that not voting is a vote for the winner - that's bad math, bad statistics and just not true. I want someone to take a stat on the people who do not vote at all, and find out WHY people would go to the trouble of visiting their precinct's polling place and casting an empty ballot to say, "None of you guys inspired me to be an American today!"

Should "all Christians vote like Rick"? No - not unless you're tired of this rigamorole like I am. Don't just settle for a candidate. Let each person, beyond the two major parties to the other party candidates, too, inspire you to not only vote for them but to run for them, to argue for them, to fight for them. If you can't do that for "your man" - I encourage you to not vote in that race. Go to the polls, vote where you can, leave the non-inspiring races blank, and then let someone else know what you've done. Write a letter to the editor, or post a message on your own site about how something needs to change. Vote with your whole heart, just like every other area of your life devoted to Christ. That's what I'll be doing, for better or for worse.

You've got about 40 hours to change my mind.


Blogger Jeff Stilwell said...

can't say i disagree. when voting for the lesser of 2 evils, you are also voting for the defeat of the worst of the 2 evils. I hate voting. I'm tired of being told I need to excersise my right to vote. I haven't been told yet that it's against the law not to vote, so if I don't, I guess I'll still be excersising my right not to. As for the complaining, 1st ammendment doesn't say I am only entitled to free speech if I vote. My wife and I will vote, and we will vote for the lesser of 2 evils so we can see hilary run in 2008. man, what are we coming to.
ps. I'd vote for my grandmother if she's lower gas prices back to $1 a gallon. Now there's a platform.

1/11/04 7:32 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

Here's one simple reason to change your mind. Vote for the millions of unborn babies that are slaughtered every day, that have no hope unless there is a president willing to do something about it.

With your logic, you will never be able to vote for a president in your lifetime unless Jesus himself is running. There will never be a perfect man. A perfect president. Any and all who have gotten that far will have cheated, lied, manipulated and deceived along the way. Them's the breaks. So you're going to have to decide what's important to you with the things that are evidently different among the candidates. And with me, I'm voting for the babies with no voice.

That's about as simple as it gets. (unless you hold a different view on abortion, then it's not that simple :) )

1/11/04 9:27 AM  
Blogger Doug E. Pudge said...

I do also agree with your comment about the lesser of two evils, but what are you defining as evil. I have voted in only one more election that you have. I am a white Northern state professional who is also a Christian. I have NEVER voted for a candidate with whom I agreed with 100% on each and every issue. So, each election I go through the same thought process and decide what is the most important thing to me! This time around there are two. The sanctity of life and national security. I would pay $4/gallon for gas if it meant that the unborn in America are safe. I would gladly stand in an unemployment line if it means that those I love are safe from terrorist. I personally don't care about my 2nd ammendment rights. I don't own a gun and probably never will. But, if that IS an important issue to you then make that part of your thought process. Not voting is like riding the fence, I respect your right to do it, but I don't believe it will accomplish what you are setting out to do. I don't believe that the frustration and aggravation you feel will be heard! But, you do have that right! Be blessed today.

1/11/04 9:43 AM  
Blogger James said...

One word, my friend: Nader.

1/11/04 10:38 AM  
Blogger jen said...

See my post on blogs4God.

1/11/04 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is jeremy...

let me ask this (as the 40 hours dwindle) ... Do you CARE who wins the election? I can understand if you say "well, i don't agree with any of the candidates and i don't really care, so i choose not to vote." ...

but if you say "i don't agree with the candidates, but i do care who wins" than you should vote the "lesser of two evils."

i dont know that answer.

1/11/04 5:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy R. Butler said...

I'd have to echo what the others said. In fact, I just posted (before seeing this) essentially a very similar argument (as what some of those saying you cannot find a perfect candidate said) on my web log, Let's face it, you are going to get one of these two guys. If your a conservative, Bush might not be a dream candidate, but he is a whole lot more in league with conservatives on many issue than Kerry is. Is it better to get someone who supports a lot of your views or someone who supports none or fewer of them?

I don't agree with the PATRIOT Act, for example. But both guys support it (or did at one point in the not so distant past), so I'm not going vote by that. I do support a pro-life stance, the Marriage Amendment, smaller government, less taxes and so on. Again, Bush might not be the ideal candidate here, but he shares my values on far more issues than Kerry. If you win on one issue (say abortion) isn't that better than not winning at all? As I said in my blog post (and someone else said here), we will have to wait for Jesus to return before we get an "ideal" leader.

1/11/04 5:54 PM  
Blogger janet said...

Hey Rick :)

I respect your decision so I won't tell you what to do. I have always told people to vote by their ideology (conscience, beliefs, pick-your-word here). If no one fits it, so be it. But I do agree with the commenter who said that, truly in a perfect world the only candidate who fits the standard would be Christ. Ideally, Christians should fit that bill. But in an imperfect world, we have to work with what we have. We give a certain amount of grace in those instances and, in my view, I don't see how an election is much different.

Ultimately, I would like to see third (or fourth, fifth?) party candidates become more of a mainstream in national elections like this.

God bless with whatever you end up deciding. It's your own spirit that must be clear with God, and if NULL is what will accomplish that, good for you! :)

1/11/04 6:06 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

i think it's fair to say that we as Christians settle for "good enough", and that one of the reasons we're in such a crappy situation of divisiveness in this country is that no one's ready to stand up for what's right over what's right-enough.

bush is pro-choice when it comes to matters of rape/incest, and in that light is not pro-life in my eyes. i also have a problem with his not wanting to admit mistakes, not wanting to avoid the appearance of evil in the halliburton and prison scandal experiences, and the overwhelming ploy every dang election to make one candidate look good by demonizing the otehr side - that bites in a major way and someone's got to stand up and say enough is enough. i'm tired of the statistics and the polls that overlook the value of real people with real needs.

but evidently that's just me.

1/11/04 6:07 PM  
Blogger Russell said...

Just one more devil's advocate before the end of the said Bush is pro-choice in your mind because he claims to be in favor of a choice when rape/incest are the case. By saying all or none, you yourself are putting a price on the value of life. If I can save one single life, one single soul, I consider it a job well done.

1/11/04 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went through a lot of this same thought process this time out. My discontent with Bush stems from his policy voiced toward amnesty for illegal aliens, which is the wrong way to go I believe. But Kerry isn't really offering an alternative there.

I considered a couple third party candidates with explicitly "Christian" platforms, but one was very isolationist (I don't believe in putting all our fences up and locking the doors and just saying "the rest of you can go it alone") and the other had some positions I felt were problematic on illegal drugs among other things.

In the end, I believe you always choose the best you can among fallible men, and then hopefully you pray for wisdom for your fellow voters, then after the fact you pray that Godly counsel will surround him or her (yes, I believe eventually we'll have a woman President...and I also believe a minority President's coming one day..)

I posted this "anonymous" because I didn't feel like setting up a Blogger account, but if anyone really wants to debate this, I have my own Blog over on Xanga:

2/11/04 10:30 AM  

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