I have been watching all the Republican debates. This past Friday (Sept. 23) I was invited to a small gathering to hear Michelle Bauchman speak and share her faith. I will admit she was impressive, and I have no doubt she was sincere. But nothing she said changed my attitude about politics in general. Last November, on the eve of the mid-term elections, I posted the following blog on my facebook. I did not have my own blog page then so I thought I would repost it because my feelings have not changed. Let me know what you think.
Please, Tell Me Where I Am Wrong:
“This year’s mid-term election is the single most important election in our country’s history”…that is, since the last election two years ago and until the next election two years from now. I am really tired of all the pundits telling me every election season that this is the most important election in our lifetime. This year’s election is no different, no better, and no worse, then any other election.
I use to think voting was a big deal and not voting was almost a sin. After all, people all over the world don’t have the same freedom we have, and people everywhere are willing to risk their lives for the opportunity I get to freely cast my vote. If I don’t vote, I told myself, I am casting shame on all those people around the world who cannot vote.
I don’t believe that anymore. If anything, I believe all the politicians I have voted for have brought shame on me and my naiveté, thinking my vote counted and if I elected them they really would do what they said they would do.
I have voted in every election—local, state, and federal—since I was 18. I am now 45, and to be honest, I am tired of voting. It’s not worth the time or the effort to stand in line. I no longer believe my vote really counts. I don’t trust any politician on either side of the aisle. I think the goal of both parties is to get power and then maintain power. If their party is not in control, their goal is to completely destroy the character and reputation of the party that is in control. The goal is no longer to do what is best for the United States, and the politicians are no longer looking out for the voter. Our government is dysfunctional, and it seems to me that continually voting for either party is enabling the dysfunction.
I am also growing weary of people telling me I am not a good Christian if I don’t vote the way they think a good Christian should vote. Enough with the judgmental attitudes already! The Democrats are not any more evil than the Republicans and the Republicans are no more righteous then the Democrats. My understanding of Scripture is that I am to pray for whoever is in leadership and I am to do my civic duty to the best of my ability while maintaining that my real citizenship is in God’s Kingdom.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to vote, but I am not going to enjoy it. I will drag myself to the voting booth purely out of civic obligation. Then, I will follow the election returns on the news while I hear what I am supposed to think from O’Reilly and Olbermann, Savage and Maddow. But if it rains, or if there is a good basketball game on, I may change my mind.
After tomorrow’s election, more than likely the party not in power will regain some power and then both parties will start looking for ways to tear the other party down to regain the power they lost or add to the power they gained, and nothing will get accomplished and nothing will change. To say I am a cynic is an understatement.
I am not going to tell you how I will vote, but I will tell you how I will not vote. Starting with the last presidential election, I decided to not vote for anyone who is either a Republican or a Democrat. I decided that instead of voting for something, I will vote against something and the something I am voting against is the establishment. I am a single issue voter. If you are part of either party then you are part of the problem and you will not receive my vote. So, as I did in the presidential election, I will vote for a third party candidate on every ballot. This means none of my candidates will win, which means none of my candidates will disappoint.
You say, “But Kevin, you are throwing your vote away.” My response is that I have been throwing my vote away for 27 years, but at least now I know I am throwing it away. I am convinced that nothing in our government will change until there is a legitimate third party. Right now there is not a legitimate third party and so I will throw my vote away until there is one. By doing do, I believe, I am voting my conscience.
You counter, “But Kevin, if everyone felt the way you did, and threw their vote away, things would be worse.” My response is how do you know that to be true? What evidence do you have that brings you to that conclusion? Most third party candidates share my disillusionment with the way things are. Most third party candidates are not career politicians. Their new ideas and new approaches to government may be exactly what we need. They may actually bring about the change we can believe in. I may not know what that third party candidate will do, but I have a pretty good idea what the candidates from the establishment will do.
Please, tell me where I am wrong.