The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to NOT vote. I’ve not settled on an opinion yet, I’m just thinking through this. Bear with me, while I process this for a few minutes – then, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Those that know me, know that I’m a raging moderate. My friends on the Left think I am very conservative. My friends on the Right, well, they think of me as being very liberal. The reality is, I’m neither. I tend to pick and choose issues as they come along. I don’t align with any political party. I align myself with Kingdom principles: compassion, love, simplicity, transparency, accountability, and obedience to Truth. If anyone, any party, or any organization – Left, or Right – is opposed to the purity of Truth, I will speak up against it.
Unfortunately, our society has become so polarized, that it is virtually impossible to have a civil discourse about anything. There is a considerable lack of tolerance, trust, and respect in the greater arena of thought. No matter which party gains the upper hand this coming November, the losing party will do everything in their power to stop any new policies from being enacted. We have brought our government to its knees by bureaucracy, debate, the media, and litigious approaches to everything. It’s really sad – really…
Unfortunately, our society has become so polarized, that it is virtually impossible to have a civil discourse about anything
Why should I vote? If one is not aligned with a political party, it is virtually impossible to raise the money necessary to get elected. And if by some miracle, they are elected, all of their efforts will be killed by a system that values cooperation over progress. For example, if someone came up with an idea to save millions of lives every year, or to balance the budget, or to end homelessness (to name a few abstract examples), the “system” would shut it down and it would never survive the committee process.
I’m fed up with this. But, as I’ve mentioned before, the Serenity Prayer offers me a path out of my frustration. I can’t control or fix the bureaucracy, so I ask God to grant me the serenity to leave it alone. My vote? At this point you’re thinking, but your vote counts. I disagree. When I vote, I’m voting for the lesser of two (or more) evils. I end up voting for someone that I would never choose to lead me – especially if they were the only one on the ballot. I tend to choose that candidate because I think they will do the least amount of harm. But rarely do I agree with their motives, principles, or values.
I want someone in leadership who puts integrity above electability, but by that person could never get elected, therefore they don’t enter the race, and we, the public are cheated. I want someone who puts compassion ahead of power, but again, that person could never get elected – because our society values power, charisma, and cunning. I want someone who is transparent, but because we have all made mistakes, uttered stupid things, and followed whims that were better left untouched – a transparent individual would be exposed for being flawed – and our culture doesn’t want flawed leaders.
So, as I look over the Oregon Voter’s Pamphlet. I actually don’t see many choices. There is an old friend who is running for county commissioner. He’s a good guy, he was a great paramedic, and I like him. But I don’t know anything about what he desires for the county – let alone his personal values.
One of the men running for mayor in our town, is a good guy. He’s a professional firefighter locally, he’s well liked by his crew, and in the few conversations I’ve had with him, I’ve been impressed by him as a person. But, what do I really know about him? Will he help me enforce the speed limit on the road outside my house? Will he help me change the ordinance to allow me to raise a few chickens? More importantly, what are his personal beliefs, values, and visions?
I might vote yay, or nay, on a couple of initiatives or other proposals, but to vote for a man or woman whom I don’t agree with, well that’s another matter altogether. Voting for the lesser of evils just isn’t good enough anymore. Voting for someone, who probably can’t make a real difference – well, what’s the point. Worse, voting for someone, simply because they are less evil than someone else – well, that means they are still evil. Right!?
I was talking with someone the other day, trying to express my frustration over the polarization of our society. I said something about “The Left” and “The Right.” His reply floored me. He said there is no “Right” in our system – “only the Left and the Far Left!” I didn’t know what to say.
When I cast my vote for someone, put their bumper sticker on my car, their sign in my yard, or a “like” on Facebook, I’m saying I agree with this person and I want them to lead me. I can’t change the system, so why should I stress and try? About the only thing I have control over in my life, is what color socks I’m going to wear today – everything else is subject to laws, rules, ordinances, my employer, or my wife’s desires.
More importantly, what are their personal beliefs, values, and visions?
For me, the path to serenity is in not getting frustrated by things I can’t change. And I doubt I can change the laws, debt, or failure of the American Empire by my vote – yay, or nay. I can affect how my children are raised, whether or not my family is in debt, or whether I grow spiritually, or not. These are the things I choose to invest in – not the political fortunes of political parties and candidates that are bent on polarizing the country I love.
And my final point: Why would I want to offend someone who doesn’t agree with my political preference? Jesus didn’t involve himself in political issues, why should I?
NOTE: I actually tried being transparent when I moved to Oregon. I admitted my discouragement, my pain, my failures, and even my weaknesses. I was in a bad place, but there was no room for a broken leader. This is a recipe for rejection in our current culture. It’s why Jesus was rejected by the Jews. They wanted a charismatic leader to rescue them, not a man of sorrows who was willing to die a pitiful, disgraceful death on a cross.