Happy Election Day! I just returned from the polls with my proud “I Voted” sticker beaming for attention my shirt. Why does voting feel so good? Even if I did believed our elections were fixed I have the feeling I would still feel great post-vote. I know I am generally easily entertained. But seeing all my fellow Americans at the polls with me, the smiling democrat giving me a sample ballot and the smiling republican…..it all just makes me happy.
Of late I have been in a quandary about the elections. Actually, that’s not fully true. I was semi-interested pre-primaries. Especially the day before when I researched the candidates for a good six hours or so. But then I lost interested when it was a fight between dear Hillary and dearest Obama. I have tried to stay somewhat in tune with it during the debates, but since my initial research I pretty much wasn’t. Though, thanks to my wonderful lunch lady friends I was forced to keep up, at least enough for conversation. So of late I have realized I can’t go on forever saying that I am not sure who I would vote for. I mean, today at the polls I was very very tempted to change my mind last minute and vote for Mr. Libertarian just for the heck of it.
So, as that last sentence implied, I was really okay with not voting for who I voted for. How does one decided who to vote for when they don’t really like those running? A friend of mine brought her daughter to my house today. She is almost three. She told me that she likes to vote and I asked her who she was voting for. She told me she was going to vote for “daddy.” That’s awesome. I wonder if her daddy would do a better job running the U.S. than these candidates. After all, he is probably “Pro Everything That I Believe” more than these guys are, abet, not practiced or knowledgeable in the realm of politics. I guess that means he wouldn’t be a good candidate (no offence), but still, I’m just thinking of any alternatives.
My first problem is that I really like Obama. I mean, who doesn’t? He is a nice, handsome, “family” man. Fully charismatic, great personality; why wouldn’t I like that? He stands for change, something we all crave. But, as my husband says, “Change isn’t good when its going the wrong direction.” And I guess that is my biggest problem with him. Not that he has less experience than McCain. Honestly, that doesn’t bother me at all. According to studies, experience doesn’t determine how good of a president you’ll be, examples being FDR and Lincoln (http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Info/experience.html). What bothers me is that we share very few actual beliefs in common, or at least legislatively.
I like the fact that he cares about the poor (supposedly, or at least his party does). Caring for the poor is something that is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. This must be a top-ranking value to God. Obama supposedly stands for the environment. I think that is another value to God, He told us to take care of creation after all.
Obama is the anti-war item on the ticket. I don’t really like war, though I think I am far from informed enough about this war to make a decision about it being right or wrong. I think its somewhere in between. Personally I hate war; its gross and greatly disturbing. Although in the Old Testament God was anything but anti-war, I get the feeling Jesus isn’t pro-killing people for the heck of it. Is this war “for the heck of it?” And what about where we are now, what is the right or wrong decision about what to do next? When it comes to what will be done about it, I don’t think Obama can really decide what is safe/best to do for all parties without being in that leadership position (and he probably won’t know then either). Who knows what he will really do, even if he doesn’t like war and is the anti-war candidate. McCain, he is experienced with war, and so in that sense I trust him more. Yet, I don’t know if he will happily go around trying to bring every country into a democracy or not either. I like to think he won’t, but he is pretty comfortable with war. I am far from being against foreign intervention, but I think when to intervene is a fine line. Hence, although I would love to avoid more deaths, I don’t think I can really know in advance what any candidate will do this coming year or four years from now when it comes to war. Decisions like that can’t be made in advance without knowing all the details. Hence, I don’t feel like I should vote with war being a determining issue.
There are others things, too. I am against the No-Child Left Behind Act, I hate the Patriot Law and Guantanamo. I am generally pro-immigration and am convinced there is no good solution for that issue. I am not concerned about the economy because I already have come to terms with what I consider a fact that someday it will crash completely. I am not too concerned with gay marriage although I am not pro-gay marriage. For the most part I don’t think its worth fighting about and don’t think it has much to do with this election. I am also pro-gun ownership. And, as I consider both candidates liars, who knows about anything they say. I have many more opinions, many of them more formed on issues I care much more about. Yet these are generally not political opinions, and therefore don’t really matter when it comes to this vote. and who knows if what I consider to be good now I will consider to be good later. Yet either which way, some things I have no doubt I will think are still important years from now.
Recently I have been getting a bunch of e-mails from friends of mine. Christian friends of mine. They disgust me. They declare that McCain is God’s candidate. I don’t think God has a candidate. I think He leaves it up to us to decide. I think He allows who He wants to be in office whether they stand for the same thing as Him or not. Its no secret in the Bible that He will allow a bunch of wicked people to rule, even if He doesn’t like them. Jesus wasn’t political. I am sure He didn’t love Caesar’s oppression on His people, but Jesus willingly paid taxes to him without a fight. Jesus wasn’t a zealot. And Jesus isn’t a Democrat or a Republican either. It disgusts me that people I know really believe that McCain is God’s answer and we are being bad followers of Jesus if we don’t vote for Him. Its like those stupid e-mails that say you don’t love God is you don’t forward the e-mail along. Its ridiculous! I think my lifestyle is much more saying than what trashy e-mails I forward or don’t, and for which candidate I voted for. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a healthy responsibility to my country and even to God that I vote. But I also think God might happily direct some of His followers to vote for opposing candidates. Maybe they see different things God values within that candidate, and that’s why they vote for that person. Maybe those opposing votes would bring about the results God would want. Whatever. The traditional right’s “bad guy” might be whom God wants to win for the sake of purposes He has that we don’t understand. I don’t claim to know the mind of God and I don’t think we should either, even if we do read the Bible or believe God is speaking to us. Its fine to have an opinion, but I don’t think its fine to condemn others based on your voting understanding unless the Bible says “Vote for McCain in 2008.” And I am pretty sure I’ve never read that in there. Voting just isn’t an issue in the Bible, not like Jesus’ love and justice is.
I think I have just wanted to rebel against all those who say I must vote Republican. I want to be liberal because I am sick of people who follow Jesus claiming to be right (on the right). I’ve known too many ‘Christians’ who care about abortion and gay-marriage but don’t care about Jesus or people. Talking with those who are voting for Obama is sometimes a breath of fresh air (unless they are only voting for him because they are mesmerised by his charismatic beauty). I had an argument with a friend of mine the other day who totally thought I was a liberal and then wouldn’t believe me when I told her that I tend to be politically conservative. To her I was a liberal. I didn’t mind it that she thought that, as long as she understands what I really stand for. I have a few friends who I am so thankful are there because they get what I am feeling. I at least don’t feel this way alone. And in that, so here we were, looking for someone, something to convince us to vote for Obama just so we don’t have to vote for the McCain we don’t really like. Or maybe for me, so I don’t have to succumb to the traditional right that I am getting so much mail crap about.
And although I can truly say I would have preferred to vote for Obama, I never found a good reason to. I only found two real reasons which made me vote for McCain. One is that I agree more with his value system when it comes to who he would place in the supreme court. I read a quote of Obama the other day which was rather old, from 2001. Although the context is about rights for African Americans, he says some things which make me scared that he will not hold up our constitution (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_xNyrzB0xI). The longer versions also talk about how he wants to redistribute wealth, which is what he was receiving a lot of negative attention about in this past week. I personally don’t know how much or how little Obama wants to adhere to the constitution; from just one quote he said years ago, its hard to know what he really believes. Yet, I can say that I do want people in the supreme court who are conservative and who are trying as hard as possible to adhere to the constitution; judges I do not think Obama would put in place. Even if I might not prefer some conservative decisions this type of supreme court might put into place, I think it is much safer for America as a whole to have more conservative decisions made than liberal decisions. In extreme decisions like those coming from the supreme court, I like there to only be change that is good change (in which was deliberated forever and agreed by all before it was actually declared “good”). I have little doubt I wouldn’t like Obama’s picks for court.
The other issue is the abortion issue. I am not someone who will vote for whatever crack-smoker just because they declare themselves to be pro-life. Even so, I apparently hold it to be a high value. Abortion hurts. It hurts women terribly much. It hurts little humans. I can argue why abortion is wrong, and would love to hug any woman who has been through the experience with the little understanding I have of what it would feel like to be her. Yet, I really don’t want to debate why I think abortion is both wrong and should be illegal right now, though I very easily could. I don’t have high hopes for it becoming illegal again, and I think it would be really hard as that would also force a culture shift, which might not work too well. I would love it to end, even if its just by people understanding how life forms in the womb and seeing their alternatives to abortion. Yet that is one thing that is pretty clear about Obama, he is extremely pro-abortion. I have read conservative opinions on this issue with him, and liberal opinions on this issue with him. Yet, no matter who writes it, he still comes out as very much against ever having anyone call what is in the womb as being a legal human (or even post-womb in an attempted abortion). It would have been nice if even as being pro-choice that he at least still would try to reduce abortions. So, as I really do believe abortion is murder, this is a big turn off to Obama.
All say, I voted today. I think part of me will be disappointed with whoever wins today. Part of me really wants Obama to win. I want to see what “Change” he will bring. Maybe it will be great. Maybe it will be terrible. Who knows, that’s the scare exhilarating part! I am excited to see what he would do. I will be sad if McCain wins. I will feel like we are in the same rut, with the same politics and the same old America which I think can improve. Yet, at least I will feel more reassured that somethings might be okay, even if they are the same. Yet on the other hand, he might do things I terribly don’t want, taking more rights and lives away under the name stopping terrorism when maybe it is his administration who are really the terrorists. I don’t really know what will happen with him either. Whoever wins, I have a healthy fear of the change which is to come (or not come). Either which way I will experience a little grief and remorse. Either which way I will have a little bit, if not a lot of excitement of what is to come. And lastly, no matter who, I will choose to respect them as the leader of my country and pray for them to do the best job possible. After all, I am sure either candidate would probably do better than me! Or at least I’m glad I don’t have to have the job!
I am thrilled I get to be part of this exciting democratic process of shaping my country. This is a historical day no matter what, either a Black man will win or a woman VP. That’s a pretty big deal stemming from the civil rights movement or the women’s right movement. Although I might never find a candidate in my life time whom I both like and actually support, I am thankful that I am not oppressed and enjoy the blessing of being an American.