And my vote goes to…

DISCLAIMER: The following are my thoughts, and mine alone. They are not to be construed in any way as an endorsement of one party or candidate.

I am tired. I’m tired of the politics. I’m tired of the endless campaign. I’m tired of the mud slinging. I’m tired of the endless bickering and finger-pointing. I’m tired of the smug politician smiles. I’m tired of unkept promises. I’m tired of meaningless soundbites. I’m tired of advertisements. I’m tired of surveys and robocalls. I’m tired of yard signs. I’m tired.

And truth be told, I have been tired since even before the Iowa caucus.

This has been a messy, messy election season, but to tell you the truth, I’m not sure it’s been long enough. You see, as I write this, there are now 17 hours before the polls open here in Iowa. And I still don’t like any of the choices for president. I’m not sure I like any of the choices for any of the other offices, either. I mean, I know people who voted (early) for one candidate or another. I even know people who have campaigned – and continue to campaign – for their champion. They are following their consciences, and I guess I applaud them for that.

But I cannot in good conscience vote for any of the options which will be on the ballot for tomorrow’s presidential election.

Why, you ask? Well, there are a number of reasons, but the biggest one, I suppose, boils down to trust. On the one hand, I have an incumbent who promised everything to everyone and then failed to deliver on most of it. Even when his own party controlled the Congress for the first two years of his administration. And on the other hand, I have a man who campaigned during the primary season on a platform of pro-life and pro-family, but was governor of the state which led the nation in legalizing gay marriage and has been, in recent days, running ads specifically designed to temper his opposition to abortion.

How can I trust either of these men?

Now, I understand that there are many people out there who will agree with me and then suggest that I vote for the lesser of two evils. (Of course, everyone has their own idea of who that would be.) But how has that worked out for us in the past? Since I’ve been old enough to vote, there have been two instances where the president and Congress were both controlled by the same house. In the first, a bunch of people who ran on the pro-life/pro-family platform did nothing to end abortion or gay marriage. And in the second, a bunch of people who were supposedly all about fiscal responsibility and education and healthcare reforms sat around and bickered amongst themselves until they came up with a budget that has averaged more than $1 trillion in deficit spending per year, my wife (the teacher) wants to pull her hair out because of the so-called education reform, and we have a healthcare package that was so convoluted even the people that voted for it had no clue what it would actually do.

It must stop.

But it won’t stop as long as I continue voting for “the lesser of two evils.” You see, as long as I vote for one of these major party candidates or another, they continue in power. And they get the message that it doesn’t really matter what they say or do; I’ll continue to vote for them so that they can stay in power. So why should they actually advance a candidate with integrity or values. Because such candidates can’t promise everything to everyone. Such candidates won’t win. But I’ll tolerate the lesser of two evils, so they’ll continue to bring forth candidates who are merely not them.

The answer, some have suggested, is to not vote. I know several people who I respect greatly who will not vote tomorrow because they can’t bring themselves to support one candidate or another. But this course is perhaps even more fundamentally flawed than voting for the lesser of two evils. To do so is the equivalent of doing nothing, and as the famous quote by German pastor and intellectual Martin Niemöller reminds us, if we do nothing now, when we have the chance, someday, we will say to ourselves, “Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” The truth is that neither party cares about people who don’t vote. They are interested only in the people who will vote and so determine whether they gain or lose power. These people win or lose elections. People who don’t vote, cry as they might, are invisible to the parties. So not voting in protest is a non-answer which may have disastrous consequences down the road.

So what shall I do?

Recently, I spent time pouring through the websites of every presidential candidate on the ballot where I live. There are eight candidates and their running mates. As I worked through each of their sites, though, reading what they thought were the issues and how they stood on all of them, I realized that none of them lined up with my values or ideas. Some lined up with several points but then failed on others. Some sounded great until the very bottom of the page, when they fell of the rail with some hair-brained idea. But the bottom line remains: I can’t in good conscience vote for any of the options with which I will be presented on tomorrow’s ballot.

Therefore, I will be voting for a write-in candidate. I have given thought to who this might be. Some options I have considered include Dr. JoAnne Lyon, the general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church; Rev. Tim Purcell, our district superintendent; Rev. Al Goracke, a pastor I greatly respect (who apparently has nothing else to do); and my dad. I haven’t decided just yet.

Rest assured, though, that whoever I pick will line up with the principles set forth in Deuteronomy 16:18-20; 17:14-20; 1 Timothy 3; and other Biblical texts.

But my working theory at this time is this: if enough of us vote for candidates other than the lesser of two evils – even if we all vote for different candidates and none of them win anything – the major parties will be compelled to recognize that we’re done tolerating their mediocre candidates and their shenanigans. We want leaders who will be men and women of integrity, committed to doing the right thing. Not just saying what people want to hear so they can get into power and stay there.

I’m tired. And I don’t think I’m alone. So tomorrow, I will be going to the poll to write in someone I think will do a better job than any of the options I’ve seen so far. And I guess I hope you will too.


1 Response to “And my vote goes to…”

  1. 1 harry November 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    the problem with enought people writing in candidates, is that
    if enough do it, the people in power will work to eliminate
    that possibility rather than taking the message to heart, for
    example the process is “flawed” because the people may vote to
    unseat a judge, rather than taking the message that judges
    are responsible for their actions.

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