I’M 60 YEARS OLD. With one or two possible exceptions during the foolishness of youth, I’ve voted annually since I was eligible to do so (and personally, I’ve never felt the need for a ‘participation sticker’ to brag about fulfilling my personal civic responsibility, but if it makes you happy, that’s cool...) I was an independent for most of my adult life, until I got tired of being completely shut out of the primary process here in the good ol’ Empire State. (Did you know that almost half of states allow some form of open primary voting?) So I picked the party that aligned most closely with my conservative, traditional values.
The first time I voted in a presidential election was 1980 - Carter vs Reagan. In that pairing, there was at least a semblance of character and ideals from which to choose. I’m pretty sure I voted for Carter, but didn’t feel any great sense of dread when he lost. Back then, kids, you could at least have some sense that either candidate would still try to work with Congress towards the nation’s best interests, even if they viewed those priorities and the paths to them rather differently.
I’ve been voting long enough to realize that this election, like most every other, isn’t really about who’s the most glib orator (a.k.a. the most “presidential.”) No, it’s about policies, track records and the ideals and priorities expressed in their party platforms. On that basis, there’s a veritable canyon between the two main choices, with a striking lack of middle ground to stand on. Never in our history has “left” been so far left, nor “right” so far right.
Speaking of which, I also believe that running mates matter. Enough so that, in 2008, I - with significant reluctance - voted for Barack Obama, because the thought of a clearly ill-equipped Sarah Palin being a missed heartbeat away from the White House was too much to overlook.
In 2020, the prospect of Kamala Harris - the veritable face of today’s far “left” - being a missed heartbeat (or a mental competency test) away from the White House, amounts to a reverse replay of the Palin conundrum for me. My sincere concern is that America would suffer irreparable damage having the left wing in the West Wing. It has absolutely zilch to do with her gender, race, or ‘white privilege.’ I judge her the same as I do any would-be leader of mine: On track record and stated goals. Suffice to say, we see the world - and America’s role in it - much differently.
Same applies to Biden, of course. From government-mandated abortion policies and nonsensical gender laws to the heavily-flawed “Equality Act” and “New Green Deal,” there’s just precious little common ground I can find there.
Popular culture would label me as some fringe pariah for not supporting those major planks of DNC policy. Were that true, then so be it, but honestly, I don’t buy it. While I have no idea who might prevail in this election, I attribute the closeness of it more to a continuing repudiation of liberal policies which aren’t nearly so popular as their supporters would have us believe.
Meanwhile, as Election Day heads to a close, cities are putting police & fire on alert and barricading vulnerable places in anticipation of prolonged rioting - the sort of violence that too many leaders - mostly Democrats - were hesitant to combat or even speak out against in recent months. I hope for all of our sakes that wiser leadership prevails should we face that same nightmare again - or worse.
All of that said, my biggest hope and prayer is simply for a peaceful process. I view life through the lens of scripture whenever possible. That means you won’t hear me utter such foolishness as “not my president.” While there are policies I cannot support and will fight against, if Joe Biden is elected, then he’s my president and I’ll pray for him. Ditto Donald Trump.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” - Romans 13:1.
That can be a very tough passage of scripture to follow, but contrary to popular opinion, the Bible has never been a pick-and-choose proposition. Yes, there are points where defying government is valid, such as when its edicts run contrary to God’s word. That’s a scenario that requires biblical knowledge and wise, prayerful discernment.
Thankfully, as a Christian, His word also provides a trustworthy and merciful limit on any anxiety or despondency I might be tempted to feel if I feel my government is headed in the wrong direction:
“For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” - Colossians 1:16-17.
Amen to that.