Election 2008 Extravaganza (Post 1 of 2)

I’m heading out early this morning to vote.  Later on tonight, we’re going to watch the returns with our friends, the Cribbs.  I know this has been so overused, but this election is certainly historic.  The economy is going down the crapper, we’re still in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans feel less certain about the direction of our country more than ever, and the best candidates for President that the two “major” parties can offer us is this:

You’ve got to be kidding me. 

Here are our supposed choices for the most influential leader in the free world…

  • A guy who thinks fancy speeches will cover up for his glaring lack of experience, who has a growing list of really shady relationships, and a governing philosophy that just screams, “The government is the answer to everything!”
  • An old guy with an axe to grind from losing his party’s nominee eight years ago who chooses a running mate based on political expediency, and who looks as if he could continue the current course of nation building in Iraq and maybe even the spending spree of our current President.

As a Virginia resident, I’m not really drawn to either of the “major” party candidates for Senate, former governors Mark Warner (D) and Jim Gilmore (R).   

As a preacher, I’m not allowed to endorse candidates from the pulpit or through our church (which is a good thing–it’s not the church’s job to endorse political candidates).  But as a private citizen exercising his right to vote, two words should suffice:

NO THANKS. 

I will not be voting for either major party candidate for either President or Senator.  I’ll be voting for third party candidates on both cases.  You’re probably thinking one of two things…

“Your candidates won’t win.”
“A vote for anyone but McCain is a vote for Obama.” (I haven’t heard the opposite, yet).

So why am I voting for candidates with no chance of winning, which seems to be a waste of a vote, especially in such an important election?

Because I can.

The United States is still the freest nation on the planet (although the government, in my opinion, continues to invade our freedom).  We’re free to decide who our leaders are, free to protest them, free to pray for them, and free to blog about them.  I’m free to chose whichever candidate I feel best represents my interests, beliefs, and values without fear of persecution or imprisonment.  I’m free to vote for the candidates I think will move the country in the best direction… even if they won’t win.

The logic of the reasons above (which I’ve heard multiple times) no longer resonates with me.  The first one is, honestly, not very smart, because only one candidate in each race can win.  That means your candidate may not win either.  Do they have a higher chance of winning than mine?  Sure, if they’re from one of the two major parties and have spent a TON of jack on advertising.  They’ll probably garner more votes than mine, but they may lose, too.  Winning an election is important, but so is having the freedom to cast your vote for whomever you choose.

The second line of reasoning seeks to get people to vote a certain way through fear.  Fear is often a motivator for change, but it isn’t always the best motivator for change.  A vote for my guy is not the same as a vote for the guy you’re voting against.  It is a vote for the guy I’m voting for.  Our republic’s electoral process isn’t one that should be driven by fear (although it increasingly is becoming that way, especially with the state of our economy and foreign affairs).  It should be driven by your worldview–which candidate best represents your values and your philosophy on government, domestic and foreign affairs, etc.  And this year, neither presidential or senatorial candidate that the Democrats or Republicans are offering does that for me.

Many of those voting for McCain that I know are using the “lesser of two evils” take on politics–you may not like the guy your voting for, but you really don’t like the other guy.  Some want to vote for a third party candidate, but since the third party candidates won’t win, they settle for the choice that makes them want to puke least.  On the surface, that sounds OK, but think about it for a moment.  To me, that’s like facing a choice the doctor gives you:  would you rather die by cancer or a massive heart attack?  Which is the lesser of two evils?  It doesn’t matter–both choices suck!  Which dictator would you like to raise from the dead and take over the universe:  Hitler (who was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and others who didn’t fit into his idea of a master race) or Stalin (who murdered 20 million of his own people)?  Neither!  Are these examples extreme?  Yeah, but I think they illustrate my point.  If we continue to vote this way, for the lesser of two evils, things will never change.  The two major parties will continue to nominate professional politicians who are more smoke than substance, and we’ll keep getting the same crappy results.

So this year, I’m not voting for the Democrats (who are just like their mascot–a bunch of asses) or the Republicans (the GOP is no longer grand… just old).  I’m going to vote for the candidates that best represent my philosophy on how the government should govern:  that government which governs best, governs least. 

I hope you go and vote, too.  If you think the federal government should be more involved in the lives of people and providing solutions for social problems, go vote for those candidates.  If you think the federal government should be less involved in the lives of people and should be reduced in size and turn more responsibility for social justice back to private citizens and charities, and let the states decide a great majority of issues for themselves, then vote for those candidates.  If you think the federal government should convert our currency to Hershey bars, go vote for that guy (if he exists).  Just go vote.

The only wasted vote is one that isn’t cast.  And if you don’t vote, you really shouldn’t bitch about the results…

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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6 Responses to Election 2008 Extravaganza (Post 1 of 2)

  1. Cribb says:

    Haha hopefully you get some other votes on your poll because it’s really skewed with my 1 vote : )

    A couple comments:
    “A vote for anyone but McCain is a vote for Obama.” (I haven’t heard the opposite, yet).

    That’s because the McCain people are scared. Obama people are not scared because we’re actually voting FOR someone this time instead of against someone.

    “that government which governs best, governs least. ”
    That is cool in theory but I can’t agree because the general population of this country thinks that they don’t give a crap about government (although they should) and are greedy (the poor will continue to get poorer while the rich get richer).

    OK, but I’m glad you are voting for your guy and I wish more people would do it because our system is crappy in that way. Check out this letter to the editor in the DNR yesterday:
    “After enduring a whole 37 days of campaigning, Canadians recently voted. There were no exit polls. There were no national news broadcasts about results on the East Coast before the polls on the West Coast closed.

    Within an hour of the last poll closing the overall result was obvious — another minority government. The leaders of all the parties gave what were essentially concession speeches — acknowledging that they would need multi-partisan cooperation to address the concerns of the whole country.”

    Make fun of their accents all you want, but sometimes the Canadians get it right.

  2. Aaron says:

    I agree with you that McCain people are scared… but I don’t think Obama people have done their homework (you may be the only exception I know…and obviously I still disagree with you). I think an Obama administration (and you’re going to hate this) will look in many ways like the Bush administration–from the spending point of view (Bush has spent more than any president in the last 40 years). Obama simply wants to sock it to those who make more so he can spend even more… and eventually, I think he’ll move that $250,000 down. And McCain won’t be much better in that regard.

    Taxing the crap out of the rich (who already make up a HUGE majority of the tax burden) and “spreading the wealth” is an absolutely horrible way to go (in my opinion). It punishes someone simply for making more money, it stifles economic ingenuity and creativity, it stifles job creation through small business, and tends to give a free ride to those who should be working, but choose to let the government take care of them (my wife, through her job, has seen plenty of those cases). Welfare states promote poverty–they don’t really help solve it.

    The USSR tried it for 70 years… and it was a crushing failure. Communist countries are among the poorest in the world (with the exception of China–and they’re not pure communists anymore). History tells us one thing–when governments think they are the answer to their culture’s problems, they totally screw it up.

    Why do we have such a huge national debt and deficit? Because the federal government throughout the 20th century and early 21st century has taken on the role of savior. Is there a need for a safety net for “the least of these”? Absolutely… but the federal government isn’t the answer. It’s been shown time and time again that faith-based agencies and private charities do a much better job at helping those in need then the “throw more money at the problem” governement.

    Bottom line (in my opinion), that government which governs most screws up it big time. And that’s no theory… that’s a proven fact of history.

    I think (and I could be wrong) that if the federal government would slash all the fat and waste, it would have more than enough in tax revenue to do what the federal government should do–defend the country, balance the budget, and start paying down the deficit, and letting the states decide many of these other issues. But it won’t happen… thanks a lot, FDR, for what you started.

    By the way… thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to hanging with you guys this evening. We think you guys should bring food stamps and rump roast (because your party is nothing but a bunch of asses, and after Obama is finished with us, we’ll all need food stamps). Hee Hee…

    And I think you’ll like tomorrow’s post a lot more.

  3. lsaufley says:

    All I have to say on this is Obama is not the Messiah and I wish people would stop acting like he is Jesus Christ sent to earth to deliver us from the evils of the government. If you’re poor and you want a handout then vote for Obama. HE isn’t going to give you anything, but he’ll tax the crap out of everyone so that THEY can give you something. The government is not the answers to our problems but Obama has made people believe that.

    That’s all I’m saying about this subject. I still love you Heather and I’m going to go vote for McCain so I can cancel out your vote for Obama! : )

  4. David says:

    Great stuff fAaron.

    “A vote for anyone but McCain is a vote for Obama.” (I haven’t heard the opposite, yet). = I haven’t either and thanks for pointing that out. I wish I had thought of it and used it on those “not voting for McCain is voting for Obama” folks. I didn’t vote for Obama so the McCain people ought to be thrilled with me (using their “logic”).

  5. Aaron says:

    Hey Willis,

    I used to be a “lesser of two evils” and a “vote for one guy so the other doesn’t win” type of voter. Not anymore. That kind of logic is either fear based, apathy based, or even lazy (people not doing their homework). That, and if we were as juiced about the kingdom of God as we were about an election, guys like you and me might be out of a job in a few years because the Great Commission would be fulfilled.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Pingback: Election 2008 Extravaganza (Post 2 of 2) «

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