November is coming. Election advertisements take up about 70 percent of the commercial airtime on television. No sense pretending the radio is all that different. Do people even read the newspaper anymore? While politics make me crazy, I believe in exercising my hard-won responsibility to vote.
Voting is more than a privilege. In the spirit of Thanksgiving (November’s holiday), let’s give thanks for our right to vote. More people in the world don’t have this right than do. But when our country was born, the founding fathers wanted voting to mean something.
In fact, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson (and I guess I should add Alexander Hamilton since he’s “famous” thanks to the Broadway musical bearing his name) saw casting your ballot a responsibility. In the beginning, it might have been only a white man’s responsibility, but thanks to a slew of amendments, things have changed.
Some of the changes haven’t been positive. It is for these reasons that when a major election approaches, I want to hide out in a media-free environment. Not that it truly helps. Candidates deliver flyers door-to-door. My phone rings with pre-recorded messages from organizations urging me to vote a specific way on ballot measures.
Every citizen of the United States of America over the age of 18 should be registered to vote. Each one of us has been gifted with the honor of contributing our voice in the governmental process.
And the subject of voting can’t be separated from politics. Here are three things about our political system that make me feel like screaming or pulling my hair out during elections.
Ads make it difficult to discover the truth. Whether it’s the positive effects a ballot measure could have or the true record of the candidate running for Congress.
Most of the time, the information relayed in an ad distorts issues. A single line item is focused on and magnified. Suddenly, everything is out of proportion.
Campaign ads are propaganda, plain and simple. I would guess most of the copy is written by a marketing major, who looked at the polls and decided which market to target. Some of the ads are obviously aimed at middle-class working people. Others try to appeal to younger voters.
In any case, they reek of dishonesty and bias, which makes me nauseous.
Political Party Tactics
Politics: “activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government.”
George Washington warned against political parties in his Farewell Address. He claimed they would divide the nation. A wise man – truly ahead of his time – but people clapped and followed the next leader: a Federalist who wanted the government to have more power.
Today, Democrat and Republican Parties trample underfoot the most important ”party”: the American public. Our right to vote gives us a voice, but if we don’t have money to influence our “representatives,” they listen to the voice that does.
Politics has come to mean “competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership.” Even Merriam-Webster knows it; that’s why this is the third definition in the list of five.
Discouragement of Voters
I believe God has given the institutions of home, church, and state (government) specific Biblical responsibilities.
Citizens have the responsibility to vote. Unfortunately, the “state” undermines my motivation because they have lost sight of their God-given responsibilities.
Part of the problem is that government has refused to acknowledge God as sovereign. Most elected officials act like separation of church and state means God isn’t invited to the congressional sessions.
As the person at the bottom of this chain of command, the average voter throws up her hands. What’s the point in voting? The liberals are going to get their way. Things are going to get worse. My vote doesn’t matter.
Friend, your vote does matter. God asks you to participate in civil government by educating yourself and voting according to Biblical principles. True polls would show that more Oregonians oppose many of the things that have recently been made into law, but because they didn’t cast their vote, they gave away their power.
Rather than going crazy this year, I’m going to do what I always do: ignore the advertisements, read the Voter’s Pamphlet and pray.
In the end, it’s not about politics. It’s about believing God is still on the throne, and “the powers that be are ordained” by Him (Romans 13:1). Take that in the shins, politics!
**A similar post to this was published on a different blog on November 4, 2014.