On November 8, national, state, and local elections will chart the direction of our nation for years to come, and the Democratic and Republican parties’ platforms point to very different directions. Additionally, primary elections this summer in many states and communities will determine which candidates will run in the national, state, and local elections on November 8.
Our forefathers established a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” As such, every citizen has the right to vote. Even with the division prevalent in America today, we are still living in the greatest country on earth. Your vote is essential toward maintaining our liberty and strength as a nation. Three questions should frame your approach to this election season.
ARE THERE REASONS YOU SHOULDN’T VOTE?
Unfortunately, many Americans cite reasons not to vote. Consider these two:
- I don’t like either of the candidates.
Please don’t fall for this excuse. If you don’t like either candidate, vote for the candidate you believe will be even marginally better for America—at the local, state, and national level. Failure to vote means that you forfeit your voice in determining America’s future.
- I am a Christian—or a person of some other faith—and I’ve been told that politics and religion don’t mix. I’ll leave the voting to others.
We are blessed to live in a free nation where our political system is founded on the belief that every citizen can have a voice through casting a vote at the ballot box. Thousands of Americans throughout our history have fought and died or been wounded to protect our freedoms. That includes the right to vote. Don’t devalue their sacrifice. Don’t remain silent. Your vote is your voice, and your voice has been protected at great cost.
WHAT PRINCIPLES SHOULD GUIDE YOUR VOTE?
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18, ESV)
When evaluating political party platforms, as well as individual candidates running for political office, don’t blindly accept everything a candidate or party says. Confirm that their past actions have fulfilled their campaign promises. In other words, do their works match the principles they claim to hold?
There are no shortcuts to this process. But you can streamline your efforts.
- Select the top five to seven issues that you deem to be the most critical for these upcoming elections.
- Identify the position each party platform takes on an issue, and what individual candidates say that they believe. (Don’t depend on one source, i.e., CNN, FOX, NBC, etc.)
- Ascertain what each politician claims he/she will do if elected regarding each of the issues you have selected. Don’t settle for generalities. Research specific actions each candidate proposes to take.
- If the candidate has held previous public office, find out how he/she has performed in the past in relation to these issues. Checking the individual’s voting record will tell you a lot.
- Determine if the candidate has flip-flopped on a particular issue. In other words, has the individual simply said what he/she thought constituents wanted to hear at the time?
- It is not only fair to evaluate each candidate’s character; it is essential to do so. Our politicians’ collective leadership will set the direction of this country for years to come. It is vitally important that we have leaders of upstanding character.
ARE YOU CONNECTING YOUR VOTE AND YOUR CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW?
God’s guidance in Scripture is clear and direct on many topics but may not specifically touch on others. When discussing the economy, national defense, gun control, illegal immigration, and other headline issues, good people who are equally committed to a biblical standard can take different views.
I recommend the following link hosted by the Family Research Council which provides a comparison of political party platforms:
This election is casting a light on the deep contrasts between America’s two political parties. The battle lines are drawn, and the people will decide. Determine that you will become as informed as possible about the issues and will pray for God’s guidance as you exercise your right and privilege to vote.