We are supposed to be voting within the next few days. Choosing the candidates. Dropping off our ballots or going to the polls. We are supposed to be determining the future of our country with one piece of paper. We pick our favorites, and then we hand our government over to them. We hand them power. We hand them a mess. We hand them debt. We hand them our hopes and aspirations. We hand them a bad reputation. We hand them a military. We hand them social programs. We hand them an impossible situation, and we tell them to make the best of it. We tell them to fix it. We tell them to give us what we want. We put these men and women in office and we expect them to make our lives better. Because that’s their job, right? To take care of us? To improve our stations in life? That’s what our elected officials are supposed to do.
We cast our ballot and hand off the responsibility that is necessary for our government to work. We choose the person we want to be the president, and we expect them to solve our country’s crisis. We elect men and women into these positions and tell ourselves they can figure it out. It’s their job now, their mess. We need only to go about our lives, business as usual, and hope that they can sort everything out.
But in four years, when we have to do this all over again, we are still going to be dissatisfied. We are still going to be frustrated. We are still going to sit here and survey our country’s situation with a sense of disappointment. They failed us, we’ll say. They didn’t give us what we wanted. They didn’t do what they promised. They made things worse. They didn’t live up to what we imagined they could be.
So we’ll go through the process again. We’ll take part in what has become nothing more than a popularity contest for the rich and educated. We’ll mock the candidates on Twitter, assault Facebook with photos informing the entire world of our uninformed political opinions, and we’ll say that we could do a better job. We could fix our country. We could turn this around. It doesn’t take a genius, we’ll say, to see what went wrong. Anyone could do it.
And you’re right. We could fix our country. But we won’t. We will sit on our couches watching the debates, thinking to ourselves, “Really? This is the best we could come up with? Out of the entire country, I have to pick between the lesser of these two evils?”
We have never fully embraced the power that comes with living in a country that gives, essentially, complete freedom to the citizens within. We are able to do so much, because our founding fathers dedicated themselves to ensuring the people would have the power, not the government. Ours is a government for the people and by the people. We have the control. We have the power.
But we’ve handed it off. We’ve given the power to those we elect. We’ve placed the responsibility of a country that is founded on the will of the people on the shoulders of a few, while the many ignore the power we still retain. The power we can exercise within this country. The power and freedom that is our right.
And it has nothing to do with voting. Your power has nothing to do with choosing the president, vice president, senators, representatives, governors, etc. It has nothing to do with political parties, which only serve to divide our country in half, isolating whole groups of people from being heard and represented in our government. It has nothing to do with the democratic system at all.
But it has everything to do with taking a stand. Because you can take a stand. You can look around and see the needs in your community. You can look around and see what is lacking. You can look around and understand that our neighborhoods, cities, and counties are made up of people who need our help and need our love.
And look to yourself and realize you can answer that need. You can act. You can serve.
We talk a lot about how God would want us to vote in this election. Whether or not He’s more like a conservative Republican, a liberal leftist, a moderate, or strictly third party.
Honestly, I think God couldn’t care less. That’s not how He works, choosing a side, drawing lines of division. Our God is one of love and unity. It is all-encompassing and unconditional. We are all His children, and trying to figure out which candidate God would vote for is as useless as trying to figure out which fruit is His favorite. He doesn’t play favorites. He’s already chosen us all.
And He’s charged us to go into the world and to spread His message of love, forgiveness, and salvation. He’s commanded us to love our neighbor, to give to the needy, to care for the orphans and the widows. He’s asked us to show compassion, to be generous, to work as one body of Christ. He has called the Church to work beyond politics, to use our power and freedom to give back to those who need it. He’s given us that responsibility. It’s cowardly to pass it on to someone else, and then blame them when our country only continues to fall father away.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter who the next president is. He’s just a man who’s going to be trying to make the best of a bad situation. He’s going to be overwhelmed, overworked, and unable to meet every need in every community across the country. He won’t be able to do it all, because the scope of his job is ridiculously unfair.
But you can make a difference. In your community, you can reach out and change lives. You can meet the needs of people who are desperately crying out. You can finally stand up and take upon yourself the responsibility that comes with being a child of God and a citizen of a country by the people. We can merge both purposes as a Christian and an American, and find a way to live as both.
So when you vote, because you should if you feel convicted to do so, I urge you not to only consider the party lines, the media frenzy, the vitriolic campaign commercials, or the overused platforms. I urge you to vote for the people. Not just for yourself, but for what you believe is best for your community, for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I urge you to put aside old habits and preconceived notions and vote with an open mind and open heart, considering which candidate would best suit the people in this country, and not just your best interests. I urge you to vote how God leads you, not how your church tells you God would vote.
And I urge you to not let your vote be your only contribution to the country or your community.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter?