The Anti-Vote

I’m about to break every cardinal rule of “lifestyle blogging” (I don’t consider myself a lifestyle blogger, so that’s okay) today and talk about politics, so gird your loins, y’all. (I’ve been girding mine with prayer and thought for months, so I’m right there with you).

Months ago, when it became apparent that our choices for the presidency were very likely going to be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the collective cry of despair across our country was almost comical (only not). People on both sides of the political divide were flabbergasted that, out of all of possible options in America, we were left with these two.

In fact, in a quick tumble down an Instagram rabbit hole one day, I happened upon a girl with obviously liberal/feminist leanings (obvious because she declared them, not because I’m inferring them) who still posted a rather amusing meme that went a little something like:

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are stranded on a deserted island.

Who survives?

America. American survives.”

I was surprised by her objections to Hillary, considering the rather popular #imwithher feminist mantra of those who are excited for a first woman president, seemingly regardless of her policies or morals. Because one has only to pay even the slightest amount of attention to the FBI’s current investigation–mere days before the election–into the illegal emails and Clinton Foundation political misconduct (more here, here) to deduce that Hillary Clinton is not concerned with: a) our national security or b) any basic standards for right and wrong in politics .

Of course, then there’s Trump. He’s obnoxious. And immoral. And did I mention he’s obnoxious? He’s not a poster child for anything I want to vote for–at least not as a human being. 

But vote for him I shall.

And here’s why: when a Facebook friend posted on social media last spring that he wished there were such a thing as an “anti-vote”–a way to vote against, rather than for, a candidate, I thought: “There IS. It’s called the other candidate.”

I mean, I get his point. If he votes for Trump when he doesn’t actually like Trump, doesn’t that mean that he supports Trump? I say no. Not inherently. It can simply mean that he doesn’t want what the other candidate has to offer. Voila. An anti-vote.

So, why not just choose a third party candidate altogether?

Because this is a crucial election in our nation’s political history–a hinging point, if you will, on which many civil liberties–Christian or otherwise–will turn.

None of the independent candidates can win, which means that a vote for any of them only weakens the chances of one of the primary candidates without changing the fact that one of them will still emerge the victor.

I’ve never made any bones about the fact that I am a conservative, Bible-believing Christian. In case you missed it, I spelled out my thoughts on the Bible and why it determines my worldview pretty clearly in this post.

I believe in the sanctity of human life (and am therefore opposed to abortion even at the chemical birth control level) and the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman (as outlined in Scripture and God’s original design for us in creation). I’m a supporter of Israel, an advocate for the poor, the widowed, and persecuted Christian believers around the world, and a proponent for religious free speech–even if it doesn’t align with the popular culture.

So, why in the world would I vote for a man who certainly appears not to be a Bible-believing Christian? Who, in fact, appears, in many of his public dealings, to be an egotistical blowhard?

Because, somewhat miraculously, regardless of his moral failings, he is still choosing to align himself with people who are moral, godly, and politically conservative, and when I vote for Trump, I am also voting for them.

If I had my druthers, I’d have voted for Ben Carson. Obviously, I didn’t get that option, but under Trump, Carson is likely to be appointed a to significant political position…which is the next best thing. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, is an admirable, well-spoken Christian man. Rudy Giuliani (possible future Attorney General) is solidly conservative and level-headed (just look at what he accomplished during 911 and then afterwards for the city of New York’s crime rates…which have skyrocketed since he left office).

And then there’s Trump’s list of potential appointees for the Supreme Court (because more than one Supreme Court position is likely to become available during this presidential term, and–as I’m sure you well know–those seats are for life). All of his candidates are solid politically (by my conservative definition :) ). You can listen to a podcast outlining who these potential candidates are and the kinds of issues they could be deciding, if you’re so inclined, or read a concise analysis from an evangelical political insider on how government appointments affect laws here.

And when crucial issues are at stake—such as 1) the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade at a national level 2) a possible return to legalization for partial birth abortions (which Clinton supports), 3) the protection of civil liberties such as a church’s (which is a private institution, not sanctioned or financially supplied by any government) ability to choose what is said from the pulpit (without fear of its being labeled “hate speech” and resulting in loss of jobs, fines, or worse) and who uses which bathroom, 4) an individual’s or organization’s right to NOT pay for someone else’s abortion as part of their mandatory healthcare, and 5) a family’s freedom to home school their children (to name just a few of the issues that really are up for grabs), I will vote for the candidate who has aligned himself with those who support the right (again, according to a conservative Biblical standpoint; I’m making no claims otherwise).

If you think I’m exaggerating about the drastic nature of the hinge on which this election swings, just click on any of the links I included above or do a little digging of your own (this is a great archive of articles on issues just like these if you’re interested), and I think you’ll see that this country could be a frighteningly less free place to be, live, and worship in four years (or less).

Not to mention that, when the limited civil liberties of so many who are already oppressed throughout the world lean so heavily on those of our own currently (largely) free country, that’s no small political responsibility to bear.

But, Abbie. Aren’t you simply arguing for moral pragmatism? How can you live with yourself–especially in the light of Trump’s comments about women and your love for your daughters–if you vote for such a man?

Here’s the thing: I don’t like Trump personally.

But I don’t particularly like Artexerxes, Samson, Jonah, or Darius (to name a few) either.

Huh?

All of those are men in the Bible whom God used in very practical ways to accomplish his purposes. And yet, none of them were particularly likable or admirable. Some of them were completely morally bereft (Artexerxes was willing to commit genocide at the mere whim of a henchman).

God is able to use all sorts of people–even the obnoxious and unsavory types–to work his will.

In fact, he sometimes calls upon godly people to ally themselves with said unsavory types, even when it flies in the face of their moral convictions.

Can you imagine how Daniel felt associating himself politically in an advisory position to a man like King Darius of Persia? The man was a true egotistical blowhard–to the point that, when his advisors came to him and stroked his ego, he passed a law that banned praying or bowing down to anyone but himeven though he knew that his favorite counselor (Daniel) prayed to no other God but the God of Israel daily.

Or what about Esther? She wasn’t asked to vote for a misogynistic braggart (King Artexerxes, who immediately started shopping for a younger, prettier model when his current wife didn’t obey him at the snap of his fingers). She was asked to marry him. She–a pure, undefiled young Hebrew girl–who  could literally have been stoned for sleeping with any man before marriage–much less a pagan king–willingly obeyed her cousin’s request that she join the king’s harem in hopes of winning his favor and becoming his queen because she shared Mordecai’s conviction that the Lord had called her to this moment. Regardless of how unconventional and distasteful that calling seemed.

Of course, if you’ve read Esther, then you know the end to that story: the Lord used Esther’s unusual obedience, beauty, bravery, humility, and wits to literally save her race from annihilation. Could he have done it differently? Sure. Mordecai even told Esther that, if she didn’t step up to the plate, God would choose someone else.

I believe with every fiber of my being in God’s sovereignty. I fully understand that, regardless of who wins this election, the Creator of the Universe is still firmly on his throne.

I would simply argue that–according to the Bible–he can still use imperfect people like you and me (and, yes, even Donald Trump) to accomplish his will.

By the way, I’m not the only one who believes this. Lots of smarter, better-informed, more politically-savvy Christian conservative people than I are also voting for Trump–not because they’re enamored with his character–but because they believe that he is the unlikely best candidate (because of the people and policies that come with him).  (This sermon by Denton Bible Church pastor, Tommy Nelson, entitled “The Continental Divide” is excellent).

I am under no grand delusions that I will change anyone’s mind with any of these thoughts. I simply felt compelled to put them out there for consideration.

To that end, I am turning off comments on this post (the only time I have ever done this). I know that this election is emotionally charged for many, and I would like to avoid any unnecessary fights (not to mention the random internet trolls who get their kicks on forums like this) in the comments section. If you feel compelled to express an opinion to me personally, feel free to use the button on the sidebar to email me. I can’t guarantee I’ll respond. But I just wanted you to know you have that option.

The last thing that I would say and encourage is prayer. I have been praying for this election daily (multiple times a day) for months (as, I’m sure, have many of you), and I will continue to do so throughout this weekend and beyond–for the Lord’s will, for wisdom in how to act, react, and for the salvation of both candidates.

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