This evening, I’m going to…
I don’t know that I’ve made a single political comment here on the blog before, but it’s not because I don’t have strong convictions about “the issues.”
I do. And if you know me well, I’ll happily discuss them with you if the opportunity arises.
I might even get a bit worked up about some of them.
But I, like so many others, am often reticent to talk about my beliefs in any public forum, not because I’m ashamed of them, but because I’ve let myself become conditioned to worry about stepping on others’ toes who don’t agree or who just don’t want to talk about it at all.
At least, I feel that way with my peers.
Whenever I taught high school (6 years of Spanish, ESL, and English), I had no problem
brainwashing helping my students be informed about the issues, even if that meant telling them exactly what I thought about a particular topic (have you noticed that it’s acceptable to “introduce” an issue for debate and then step back, but it’s much less okay to express a specific opinion or attempt to sway someone to your point of view?).
The irony is that a lot of those kids practically were my peers in terms of age (since I started teaching when I was 19, and I had quite a few seniors who were only a year younger than I). But the gap in our authority levels made me comfortable with telling them what I really thought.
Not so much with my friends, neighbors, or colleagues…unless, of course, I know you already agree with me.
But I’ve been reading more and more blog posts and facebook updates from non-voters who just don’t see the point.
Or maybe they think that politics are just a little beyond them. Especially women. They haven’t watched that many newscasts or read that many articles about “the issues,” so they feel unqualified to express their opinions with their ballots.
After all, isn’t voting better left to the interested and informed?
I would honestly much rather have people voting who know why they’re supporting their candidates.
But I don’t think that gives anyone an excuse not to know his/her own mind and heart.
In fact, I would argue that you don’t have to have a “political” bone in your body or have watched a single debate to be qualified to vote.
You just have to have convictions that are based in truth. And a basic understanding of which candidate best aligns with them (are you going to find a perfect match or a completely trustworthy option? No. That’s the drawback of having humans for politicians).
Speaking of convictions, since I’m writing this post, I’ll tell you about mine.
First, let’s start with what I’m not.
I am not a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian.
I am not even, first and foremost, a conservative (although I embrace that label more readily than the others).
So, what am I?
I am a Bible-believing Jesus-follower, which means that my convictions about some of the key issues like abortion, gay marriage, the national debt, and the welfare system are informed by God’s word, not CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, or even my family.
And having the Bible as my basis for truth means that:
- Life (beginning at conception) is sacred (Psalm 139: 13-16)
- Marriage is a holy, God-ordained joining together of one man and one woman (Mark 10:7-9)
- Debt weakens an individual’s (and by extension, a country’s) efficacy and strength (Proverbs 22:7)
- We are to be kind/generous to the poor, but idleness/entitled behavior is wrong (Deuteronomy 15:7-11; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-12)
You may not agree with my stance, but you can hardly fault me for holding fast to it since to declare myself a Christian one moment and then the next to say that I am ambivalent and/or uninformed about what I should believe would be pretty inexcusable.
And to say that I believe in the infallibility of the Bible and then apologize for its standards would be downright disingenuous, not to mention cowardly.
So, at least for today, I am casting aside my fear of public censorship and scorn and declaring my intention to vote for my convictions, to the best of my ability with the options provided me (because if I wait to vote until the perfect candidates come along, I never will).
And I encourage you to do the same.
Honestly, my encouragement is less about simply being another body in a voting booth (although the very ability to do so is a phenomenal privilege that should never be taken for granted) and more about examining your beliefs—especially if you’re a fellow Christian—and why you hold them (or, if you don’t have any…why not).
Because if we’ve got a stronger opinion about which contestant should win American Idol than who should lead our country, there’s a problem.
And it may not be with “the system” at all. The problem may start with us.
Because if we know what’s right but can’t find the time or motivation to stand for it, there’s no guarantee that someone who shares our knowledge will do it for us.
What can be guaranteed is this: if we don’t vote our convictions, others will vote theirs, and then we will have to live with their decision, not our own.
(I’m pretty sure that could read “woman” too : )).