Not going to vote this year, huh?

So, the third and final presidential debate is in the history books and you are still at a quandary on who to vote for. If you are like me, you have imagined yourself at the polls putting your mark down for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The thought is not a pleasant one, but your conscience tells you that you must vote. It is just the idea of actually defending how you voted to your family at Thanksgiving. The picture of that scenario makes you want to skip the poles altogether.

I googled “why you should still vote this year” and six or seven selections about the topic popped up. These various sites provide a myriad of reasons to continue to vote this year even if you like neither candidate. These arguments include some sound reasoning for making it to the poles this year, even if it seems futile. The items below are mine and have been bouncing around in my head for several months now.

This is American politics. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the chosen candidates of the two major political parties in the United States political system. The Republican and Democrat parties followed protocol for electing a candidate and Trump and Hillary came out on top. This is the way the system is supposed to work and this is why the primaries are so vital to the process. Yet, the majority of voters don’t even show up for the primaries. Pew Research tells us the only 28.5% of eligible voters turned out for the 2016 primary elections.

[1]

It is this very reason that we don’t have better choices for our general elections. People are apathetic about being involved in the political system and exercising their power for who gets nominated for a certain office. If you do not like politics in America get do something about it and get involved. Don’t back out of the process, but engage and exercise your political influence as a citizen.
It is only four years. I know it seems like the end of the world if either Trump or Clinton enter the White House, but remember, it is only four years. Those four years go fast and most presidents struggle to get more the one item on their agenda passed through Congress in their first term. Like President Obama and “Obamacare,” one or two agenda items at a time is all the president has time for. Think of all the things a president proposes at his state of the union address each year and how many actually take shape. The president’s bully pulpit just doesn’t have the clout it did in say, Roosevelt or Johnson’s day. It takes longer for the head of state to get anything done.

[2]

Sure, the president can make some vital changes in those four years, but even those can be altered or repealed if need be. Remember, the United States president does not make the laws, the United States Congress does. Congress moves much slower than the president, for a reason.
We have had crazier election cycles than this. If you think Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are a hoot, read about political contests from the history books and you will be relieved that our candidates are who they are. Andrew Jackson actually ran for president after killing a man in a dual and his wife was accused of bigamy during his bid for the White House.

[3] You think certain emails and remarks are scandalous, how about murder and bigamy? Teddy Roosevelt was actually shot during a campaign speech and remained on stage to finish his speech. How about having that for talk around the water cooler tomorrow? Douglass said of Lincoln during their presidential contest, “horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman.”[4] So you see the present contest between Clinton and Trump is really just par for the course. It is American politics at its best.

Your vote does matter. Even though you feel you don’t have a viable candidate to vote for remember these three things. You may have to vote for the future and not the individual. No candidate is perfect. Seldom does the candidate you vote for represent all your views and concerns. You not only vote for that person, but more importantly what their influence will accomplish while in office. In this election Supreme Court justices are at stake. It may not be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton you are voting for, but a good or bad Supreme Court justice. Appointing several key justices will be one of the most important things our newest president will do. This is of vital importance, for these men and women hold the real governmental power.

Also remember, there is more than just a presidential election taking place. Use your disgust to drive you to find out about the other candidates and especially the judges. It is our senators and representatives that make the laws and these folks stay in office, usually, for years. Get to know the backgrounds of these candidates and make your political clout felt even more. Do not forget, many of these men and women are closer to us than the president, which makes them even more accessible and responsive to the will of the people.

This could motivate you to get behind your own candidate next election year. If you do not like the choices you have for the various local, state and national offices this year get involved in a political campaign, join a political party and get behind someone you know personally. Often getting to know a local politician leads to getting closer to the national office holders. You can learn how the process works, make your voice heard more powerfully and really know some of the people you are voting for. This is the way our founders designed our system to work. They meant for every citizen to be informed, involved and to matter in the political process. Instead, we have left it all to the career politicians and forfeited our clout as citizens.

So, you may not vote this year, huh? Hopefully these thoughts motivate you to stay involved. Remember, it is only four years. There is more on the line than just the presidency. This is no different than any political cycle. Getting discouraged and staying home only cripples the system, which depends on your continued involvement. On November 8th , get out and vote!

Pastor Craig

 

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/10/turnout-was-high-in-the-2016-primary-season-but-just-short-of-2008-record/

[2] Light, Paul The President’s Agenda: Domestic Policy Choice from Kennedy to Clinton. p 17

[3] http://www.history.com/news/shot-in-the-chest-100-years-ago-teddy-roosevelt-kept-on-talking

[4] http://www.neatorama.com/2008/01/28/5-nastiest-us-presidential-elections-in-history/