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:
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…