I’ve been voting since the first time an unelected president ran for reelection.
You politics geeks can figure that one out, right? By my count, I’ve voted for president 10 times and I’m batting .500. This was going to be a tie-breaker election for me but now I’m seriously considering whether I should even vote at all. I know that offends some who consider voting a sacred duty, but so far I’ve found absolutely no options for me. So now, post-convention, in this break before the real electioneering fires up, I have a few things to say. After I say them, it is my intent to retire from writing about politics completely – though I’ve been known to change my mind.
1. Voting is gray-area, “disputable-matter,” Romans 14 territory.
I am anything but wishy-washy about politics and sometimes I wonder, “How could a Christian vote for …..” or something like that. I tend to state my opinions strongly and argue them, but ultimately we must remember that these are issues of conscience in which there is not a single Christian position.
As we express our views we need to give honor to those who differ. I’ll be straight here. I don’t see how a follower of Christ can even think about giving their vote to Donald Trump. Twenty years ago he’d have been laughed out of my former party, now he is the standard-bearer. On the other hand, I’m getting vilified by some who believe that hating Hillary Clinton is an act of worship. I’ve been told that I’m actually voting for Hillary because I’m not voting Trump. I’m not voting Hillary either, does that mean I’m voting Trump? One lady, a lifelong friend, is really angry because I won’t vote for Trump.
We can articulate our opinions and argue them, but we must also respect the conscience of every person in Christ.
2. Voting is an act of conscience under the Lordship of Christ.
I don’t get to vote for “whoever I like.” I’m a servant of Christ and my vote (or refusal to vote) must be an act of obedience designed to honor Christ and advance the kingdom. It’s not a personal decision, it’s a kingdom decision and I must vote as an obedient act. Yes, it is an act of personal conscience and obedience, but it is a spiritual act nonetheless.
3. Every election is “the lesser of two evils” – yes – but that has limits.
There’s only one perfect man (and they crucified him). He is not running! So, every election of my lifetime has been a choice between flawed candidates. I loved Ronald Reagan. A lot. But he had flaws. A lot. In my ten elections, I’ve only gotten to vote for 2 candidates that I supported in the primaries (each ran twice – Reagan and W). I voted for candidates I was not enthusiastic about most of the time I entered the booth. Bob Dole. John McCain, Mitt Romney, even George the Elder. They were not my first choice. Bob Dole and Mitt Romney weren’t my second, third, or fourth choices.
In the last election cycle, Romney toed the acceptability line. The fact that he was a Mormon was troublesome, but that wasn’t my chief concern with him. It was his last-minute conversion to pro-life politics. I’m not really a single issue voter, but I’m pro-life dispositive. If someone believes that killing babies in a mother’s womb is okay, he or she doesn’t get my vote. Other issues matter, but I only fish in the pro-life pond. But when Romney was a Massachusetts Republican, he was conveniently pro-choice. Then, just before he decided to run nationally, he was knocked to the ground by a blinding light and a voice from heaven corrected his abortion views. Whew! Just in time. I found that both convenient and suspicious.
I voted Romney. Barely.
But there is a limit to the “lesser of two evils” rubric – I can only go so far. Romney was an honorable man. Bob Dole and John McCain seem to be decent human beings (of course, there are always stories about any politician). Of the 17 candidates who ran for the GOP nomination, I would have held my nose and voted for 14 of them, and possibly a 15th. Pataki is pro-choice, so no-go. I’d have a hard time voting for Chris Christie – he impresses me as everything that is wrong with politics, but I might have held my nose and voted for him at the end.
But saying, “lesser of two evils” doesn’t justify voting for truly evil, despicable, unrepentant people who have not even tried to be morally upright. Can you believe this, people? The party of the “moral majority” has just nominated a man who made his money partially through gambling and has owned “gentlemen’s clubs.” He has bragged in his books and on appearances on the Howard Stern show about his immoral lifestyle. Kennedy had to hide his – Trump brags about sleeping with many women, single and married alike. His words are uncivil (that’s the civil way to describe them) and he has shown no concern for morality or truth. Trump lies more than Hillary Clinton. And when asked if he’d ever repented and trusted Christ, he responded that he’d never made mistakes and had no need to repent.
There’s a limit to how low I can go in accepting the lesser of two evils. Is Trump less evil than Hillary? That’s a good debate. But neither of them has the character or deportment to make an effective president of the United States. I won’t vote for either.
4. A lot of conservatives and Republicans owe Bill Clinton an apology.
Every single person who supported the impeachment of Bill Clinton because “character matters” back in the late 90’s and is now supporting Donald Trump in spite of his despicable, ungodly, immoral and amoral character, owes the former president and likely future first husband an apology.
If Donald Trump’s words are to be believed (and they often are not), his immorality may exceed Bill Clinton’s. There are certainly no winners in that contest. But if we are simply going to turn a blind eye to the Donald’s amoral flaunting of biblical standards because he is playing for our team when we called for the resignation or conviction of Bill Clinton because he played for their team, we are hypocrites.
I think character matters. It matters. It mattered in Clinton. He could not be a good president when he was regularly violating his most sacred oath with Monica and others. He was a creep. It matters in Hillary. She is a dishonest person who lies for no apparent reason. It matters. And it matters with Donald Trump. He’s been married 3 times and he was unfaithful to the first two. Melania? I don’t know. He has bragged about his promiscuity and adultery.
Character matters and I’m not going be a hypocrite. I’m holding Trump to the same standard that I held Bill to, and that I’m holding Hillary to. Sorry, his character disqualifies him from my vote.
5. Consistency matters. Hypocrisy is wrong.
I recently received a sanctimonious reproach from a self-appointed prophet of American revival because I spoke against Donald Trump. Others have chastised me for speaking ill of him. But those who have chastised me for speaking against the character and qualifications of Donald Trump have one thing in common. They speak about Hillary Clinton in the most vicious, vile terms, and they have spoken of the president in the strongest and most negative terms.
The Bible commands me to respect the president – a lot of Christians have sinned by ignoring that command. But I am free to speak the truth about political candidates as an American and I do not see how that violates scripture. But people, if you slander Hillary you cannot get self-righteous when someone critiques Donald Trump. You cannot say it’s okay to publicly eviscerate Democrats but wrong to speak against Republicans.
God is NOT a Republican. Do we need to argue that?
I’ve asked those who rebuke me for speaking my mind on Trump this question, but not a one has ever even attempted to answer me. “Why is it okay to slander Hillary but not okay to speak against Trump?”
6. Voting is not a biblical mandate.
Since I turned 18, I’ve voted in every presidential and congressional election. Every single one. No exceptions. I’ve sat up late with scorecards I created counting the Senate and House balance and watching the electoral map. Wow, remember 2000? Up all night!
But please do not tell me that I am sinning against God if I make a conscientious choice to stay home the first Tuesday in November as an act of conscience or if I simply leave the presidential slot blank and vote in other races. There is not a single biblical injunction that requires me to vote. If my conscience does not allow me to vote for any of the candidates, I’ll just stay home or leave the presidential vote blank – and I will have NO SIN to confess.
7. Not voting for one candidate is not voting for another.
Please leave Ross Perot out of this. “If people hadn’t voted for Ross Perot in 1992, Clinton wouldn’t have won.” If I had a nickel for every time I’d heard that I’d have a lot of nickels. It is not true. Research has demonstrated conclusively that Clinton would have beaten old George man on man whether Perot ran or not. He made little difference.
And me refusing to vote for Trump is NOT me supporting Hillary. The GOP does not own my vote and has to earn it. They didn’t – they picked (one of?) the worst man in American history to run for office. I said at the start that if Trump headed the party, I’d renounce my affiliation. I did. I’m ex-GOP now. I’m single, looking for a political relationship.
But I’m not obligated to choose between the Democrat and the Republican. They want you to think they are the only choices. They aren’t.
8. If you think the GOP is pro-life, pro-values, you have been in Colorado smoking something.
The GOP is the party of Renee Elmers. She ought to be the chair of the RNC. She ran on a pro-life platform but when it came time to cast a vote that mattered to support a pro-life initiative, she sold us out. That’s the Republican Party, folks. They are the party that pretends to be pro-life to get our votes. But has the GOP really fought for us? No.
By the way, I didn’t watch it, but those who watched Donald’s speech at the RNC, did you see what he said about abortion and the pro-life agenda? If what I read was true, it was NOTHING.
For me, abortion is a passion. It’s evil and must be opposed. For most of the GOP, abortion is a wedge issue to be used to keep us in line at the voting booth. Once the election is over, they shelve the issue until the next election cycle. How long are we going to fall for this? The GOP’s passion on abortion tends to flare up only in the months before an election. Between election cycles they treat it like a shameful family secret to be ignored.
If you can find a member of the GOP willing to take a principled stand on abortion, he’s probably right next to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, and they are probably all in an SEC football program that observes all NCAA rules.
9. We need a new party.
The GOP formed when the Whigs disintegrated. The GOP has become nearly as corrupt as the Democrats and its time to leave it behind and form something new – a party that is pro-life, has a reasonable immigration policy, balances fiscal sanity with economic justice, repudiates racism in all its forms and genuinely fights against it, and takes reasonable positions on issues.
10. The Supreme Court is the fly in the ointment.
There is one argument that makes me question my position. I just can’t vote for Donald, but the fact that the next president will appoint at least one Supreme Court justice and probably two or three, and that if Hillary makes those appointments things will change for the worse in our land is the best reason I can think of to lower our moral standards far enough to vote Donald.
Of course, that assumes that he will actually appoint someone like the list of 11 candidates he suggested a while back – all good candidates. Donald Trump changes his mind and feels no obligation to stick to his word. So, you are voting for him in faith believing he will do what he says.
For me, it is not enough. His character disqualifies him and even if he does something wonderful he is still not a man of honor, of character, of truth, and of decency who should be president. But I can at least understand the motivation of those who use the Supreme Court as their motivation.
Exploring the Options
So, for whom should I vote this time around?
1. I could vote for Hillary.
Uh, no thank you. She is passionately pro-death and has no integrity or loyalty to the truth. She has a 25-year track record of bad policy, bad behavior, dirty-dealing, flip-flops, and bald-faced lies. No way. No how. Not ever. Not in a million years.
2. I could vote for Trump.
Sorry, can’t do it. The Supreme Court issue is tempting and it is the one reason that I suppose I’d be happier if Trump won than if Hillary does, but his character, his positions on certain issues, his suspicious views and lack of passion on pro-life issues – no means no. I was, I am, and I will remain #NeverTrump.
3. I could vote for Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party.
But I can’t. I have some quibbles and quarrels with Libertarians over a few smaller issues, but I could hold my nose and vote for them as the “lesser of three evils” if it weren’t for the fact that both Johnson and William Weld, his running mate, are pro-choice (I prefer the term pro-death).
I won’t vote for abortion supporters.
4. The American Solidarity Party
A newer party with some very interesting possibilities. It follows the “Consistent Pro-Life Principle” with means they are against abortion, euthanasia and even against capital punishment. They are essentially a conservative party following Catholic social teaching and can best be described as socially conservative and economically moderate (some would say liberal).
I like their pro-life ethic, but I disagree with their other views on a lot of issues. I don’t know who their candidate is going to be or if he (or she) will even be on my Iowa ballot.
5. The Constitution Party
This very conservative party has some problems for me – they tend to be dominionist and I can’t get behind that. I’m probably not voting Constitution Party.
6. An Independent Run
I’d hoped that the dissatisfaction with Jezebel and Lord Voldemort might bring about a significant candidate to run as an independent. It seems that a lot of people explored it but no one pulled the trigger. It may be too late. My guy was Ben Sasse from Nebraska – I even promised I’d cheer for the (much-hated) Nebraska Corn-shuckers this year if he’d run. He didn’t. I think a significant independent run is probably not going to happen at this point.
7. A write-in
If I were voting today, I think I’d write in David Rogers! He makes the most sense. Or maybe I’d actually vote “None of the Above.” That would be the best way to vote my conscience.
8. Stay home.
That’s a possibility too. There are some local races and we have a senate and house race, but I’ve lost my positive feelings for my congressman Steve King after he made some ridiculously racist comments recently, and refused to back off of them. I don’t think I can vote for him either. Chuck Grassley is probably going to win with or without my vote and serve in the Senate until he is 134 years old.
So, maybe if the weather is good I’ll take my granddaughter to the zoo.
I admit, I don’t really know what to do. I know what not to do. I have never given voting for Hillary even the briefest of a hint of a glimmer of a thought. She’s horrible. But I just cannot feel like I’m doing something honorable if I vote for a man with the character flaws, behavioral history, and political views of Donald Trump. You can hate me, berate me, and castigate me, but I can’t go there. I’ve not found a third party I get behind and my hoped-for independent bid hasn’t materialized.
Hey, that Pastor’s Conference thing worked out. Maybe I give this a try. No. The press would have a field day with stuff I’ve written on here and some of you guys would sell me down the river.
Right now, I’m stuck with the choice that “Brewster’s Millions” advocated so long ago.