Michael Coren made news recently writing about a long true reality: no single political party is bible-encompassing enough to guarantee that party the Christian vote. Many factors go into how a person votes, Christian or not, and no single party is always going to find allegiance with any one group. It strikes me that as Christians vote they tend towards family focused parties that see the family unit as a place of instruction, love, foundation building (and all the rest that families do for us) combined with leftist economics that want to see the hungry fed, the poor clothed and educated, the refugee welcomed, the widows and the orphans cared for, oh and perhaps having a coherent strategy for the stewardship of the planet God has placed in our hands and on which we depend…doesn’t sound like any party I’ve ever heard of.
I’m not writing to tell anyone how to vote and I won’t wear the t-shirt or button of any parties, yet I do want people to take seriously this very important feature of living in a democratic country. People have asked me how I intend to vote, how I reason my way through the arguments being made and how I process theologically the various promises and discussions. While I wouldn’t answer that regardless of how my vote was going to go, I have been personally torn about whom to vote for; I even “googled” how to properly spoil a ballot to log my frustration as a voter.
To clear things up for me I attended an all-candidates debate here in Duncan to get a sense of the would-be politicians. I encountered a member of my congregation there and we spoke a bit. Neither of us really had one single issue we wanted answered, she was, in fact, not really sure why she was there other than she wanted to make an educated vote when she did cast her ballot, a sentiment I applauded her for.
I was there to assess the integrity and intelligence of the candidates. Who, I wondered, would sound like they knew what they were talking about? Who would be relying on notes and who could speak from the heart and mind? Who would toe the party line and remind me of their leader and who would talk as though the ideas were actually theirs? Who would interrupt the others or try to speak over them? Who would disparage their opponents and who would be willing to admit when the others said something intelligent?
Surely no one can make an instant evaluation of such things as who would be the best person to represent us at the table, the fighter, the mediator, the facilitator, it changes from issue to issue and context to context, but we can and must make judgments regarding who will represent us. I wondered who really knew themselves and what sort of politician they would be (especially when no one was looking), who they were mimicking, who were their political heroes, why they wanted the job which to be frank sound terrible to me, who would be able to be themselves and not molded by the machinations of the leadership of their respective parties. So many questions and how to even get at them?
I must say that the most impressive, coherent, colorful, truthful and speaking off the cuff candidate was the Marxist Leninist guy, who seemed down to earth and interested in calling things as he saw them (he, of course, has the advantage of not thinking for a second he might get elected—though he suggested if he did he might upgrade from his 1990 caprice). He may even get elected if he would run for another party, but as it is, this is simply too important a task for me to throw away my vote on the funny guy.
The bible has a lot to say about leadership and it regularly tells us things go wrong when the wrong people are in charge. This tells me that it matters when I vote. It tells me to be a part of the process. I won’t tell you how I intend to vote other than to say that I left feeling a bit better about our democracy, I won’t be spoiling my ballot (though I understand completely if you doJ), and I will be watching on the 19th to see what happens.