Anonymous asked a question:
I have no idea what to do about the upcoming presidential election. I want to vote because I can, but I don’t see either of the options as fitting for the role. Any advice?
Hey dear friend, at the risk of alienating others: I also don’t want to vote for either candidate. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate option, all the way up to the voting booth.
Here’s the thing. An American President only has so much actual deciding power, as there are checks and balances to limit what one official can do (though of course, their policies are certainly a factor in how you vote). But my main concern is that the elected officials in any government are part of a greater social influence that describes and decides who we are as a country and a people.
I think the question that I ask is: How will my vote affect the story and direction of our country?
We may not agree on this, but I believe it’s critically important that the face of our country must be someone who, at least to the best of our situation, is capable of calling us to our most reasonable selves. If an elected official is an enabler of destructive attitudes and a “dog whistle” for anger and unrest, then our culture will shift towards this particular mentality at the political and social baseline. This is a subtle shift, and perhaps I’m generalizing, but every President we ever had always empowered a particular voice in our nation to the detriment of others.
We’d have to ask: Is this candidate I’m voting for going to help defuse our current racial tensions? Is this candidate going to hold themselves accountable as an example? Is this candidate capable of proper foreign policy as well as bridging the divisions between American individuals? Is this candidate a step forward in the tapestry of progress and history? Is this candidate the kind of person who can address grief, loss, and prayers with sincerity and movement?
I don’t mean perfectly, but I mean: Who are we more or less comfortable with in directing our social and cultural narrative?
So I’m not trying to sway your opinion either way. I hope this is a fair assessment of our country right now (please tell me where I’m wrong, I’m open to talk). I can see how there are reasons to dislike both candidates, just as there are reasons why we might support them, too. The reason I don’t especially care for either is because I cannot imagine that they might truly repair much of the pain that our country is facing right now, without making it worse. But then, it is my responsibility to vote, and I must choose. Whoever is elected, I will be praying for that person, and rooting for them to do what is best. And regardless of any negative changes we may see, we’re still called to be politically and relationally active in the restoration of our people, as best we know how.