Right off the bat, I confess that I approach this nearly farcical presidential election with a great deal of resignation, owing to the reality that, as a non-Democrat in the State of New York, my individual vote will almost certainly mean absolutely nothing on election night. The white elephant that is the Electoral College system will once again see to that. I will cast my vote knowing that I might as well be casting it into an bottomless abyss. I pray that ‘one person, one vote’ electoral reform will one day gain the traction required to rid our nation of this tremendous flaw in our system. If you want to learn more about that reform effort, I commend to you www.nationalpopularvote.com
That said, I, along with many Christian voters, have struggled mightily this year to discern for whom it is I should cast my symbolic vote. My heart tells me that ours is a nation under supreme judgement. I certainly seem to have some company in that view.
Russell Moore, public policy point man for the Southern Baptist Convention, recently told The Washington Post: “What I expect the primary question from evangelicals is: ‘What do we do in terms of voting in November?’ That hasn’t been it. It’s been: ‘Does this mean America is under the judgement of God?’” Added Moore: “There’s a kind of person for whom every year seems like an End Times novel. This year has even sober-minded people feeling they are in an End Times novel.”
Amen to that.
Once upon a time, in a famous Harvard commencement speech, Soviet dissident
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said: “There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen.”
Check…and check. And yet, futile or not...symbolic or not...I, like every other voter, must make a choice.
I guess this is just a side-effect of being 56, but my difficulty in reaching a Clinton vs. Trump decision is most definitely not due to lack of information about them. The body of work on both of them stretches back for decades. Both have clearly shown their true colors over the years, and it’s not a pretty picture they’ve painted in either case. I heavily discount what they - or anyone actively campaigning for office - says in the days running up to the election. What they say & do before they’re running for office speaks much louder to me.
The first time I was allowed to vote for president, it was Carter vs Reagan in 1980. I’m pretty sure I voted for Carter, who lost in a landslide. In 20-20 hindsight, that may have been the last time - or at least the clearest time - that we were at least offered two qualified candidates of high moral character from which to choose.
That sure as shootin’ isn’t the case this time around.
The more I’ve studied this sorry situation - particularly through the lens of scripture - it has become, for me, not so much battle of those two unsavory individuals, but rather a choice between fundamentally opposed ideologies.
I think that underlying reality has been a significant source of the unprecedented vitriol we’ve witnessed this time around. All of their polarizing personalities aside for a moment, I think it’s fair to say, no matter which side you come down on, that Clinton and Trump present almost mutually exclusive choices on the direction of this nation. From foreign policy philosophy to the crucial role the U.S. Supreme Court will play in decades to come, this election, for me, anyway, comes down even more to that that it does to the unfortunate choices each major party made to bear their respective banners.
So upon that basis I will cast my symbolic vote. And then I will go home, and take a badly-needed shower.
But come Wednesday morning, whatever the news may bring, I will take palpable solace in the reality that God is still in control.
Christian commentator John Stonestreet summed it up so well:
"First and foremost, the ultimate reality is this: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead...This is not just a spiritual truth, it is the singular truth of the universe. The entire story of human history centers on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Yes, we have two horrible candidates for the presidency. Yes, Supreme Court seats are at stake. Yes, the Church is coming under enormous and fiendish pressure from all sides.
But none of that, not an iota, changes the fact that Christ is risen. To be a Christian in this world means to place our ultimate hope in that incontrovertible fact, not in the electoral process, in our nation, or in anything else."