Yes. On many levels, each of our votes does matter.
Cynicism is always ready to win in our hearts as we see the machinations and manipulations of powerful elites, especially the influence of large donors. There are continual cries for better voting standards, especially demanding some kind of ID, citizenship, and periodically refining the rolls so only eligible people vote. These reasonable measures are called suppression by those that want no safeguards and maximal ability to influence results in the name of “access.” Conversely, others wonder if their votes matter in congressional districts or even whole states that are heavily weighted toward one party. These folks see the influence of big tech and social media and wonder if their mark matters.
Yes. Each vote matters. However imperfect, the USA remains a representative republic, and local and state candidates, propositions, and amendments have great impact on our daily lives. Here is a shocking reality: if only half of all eligible voters register and only half of them vote, it means that 13% of the adult voting population elects those in power! Please see this: 50% register…50% of them vote (25% of the eligible population) …and just more than half of these voters elect and approve measures (12.51%…rounded to 13%) …there is a big need for eligible voters to show up and make their voices heard. The percentages are a bit higher in many election years, but huge numbers of our neighbors are unengaged.
Please study the issues carefully and vote. Encourage your neighbors to vote, even if you disagree on some issues. Join with groups that ensure both access and reliability, citizenship and ID, and support both ID and registration drives so all citizens age 18 and older have a voice.
There will always be critics of every election and there will always be some corruption. Stand with reasonable leaders demanding integrity and be watchful for undue influence of large donors supporting what are supposed to be non-partisan efforts to secure the vote. At the same time, do not blindly follow every accusation made by personalities or groups from one side or the other. We are far too quick to accuse those we differ with and exonerate those we like.
Last week I spoke about having winsome voices in the public square. Voting is one way our voices are heard.
Hypocrisy is an ugly trait. It is one thing to fall short of one’s ideals and humbly aim to do better; it is quite another to profess virtue while willfully doing the opposite. It is not hypocritical to fail at times, if there is repentance and resolve to improve. It is hypocritical to present oneself as a paragon of compassion and then recoil when called upon to act in accordance with one’s ideals.
Political hypocrisy is on full display as hundreds of migrants are bussed or flown to sanctuary locations. None of the leaders of sanctuary cities complained when these folks were transported under cover of night to conservative suburbs or rural locales. But the moment a few dozen folks arrive in Martha’s Vineyard, suddenly such actions are now “inhuman” “Illegal” and even “akin to the Holocaust.”
Open borders serve no nation well. Neither does xenophobia. America has a wildly contradictory history of immigration law and practice and current systems are in need of reform. Before offering a way forward, balance is needed as we critique the current crises. Some Democratic leaders want a flood of people dependent on state help and they offer rapid citizenship so migrants will vote for their benefactors. Republicans have been unfairly portrayed as White Nationalists for simply wanting order and security at the border. But many Republicans are secretly happy with an endless supply of cheap labor.
How do we make progress? We must start with ending the “either/or” thinking that poisons reasonable policymaking. We can be hospitable and secure, creating pathways for citizenship and residency that welcome hard-working people from all nations. A secure border matters. The wall must be finished and many hospitality centers constructed on both sides of the border with Mexico. Criminals must be screened out and current undocumented felons must be deported. DREAMers deserve a pathway to citizenship while we eliminate incentives for anchor babies and the tragic separation of families.
Legal immigration is a mess. It is cumbersome and expensive and we can do better. Instead of reactive, symbolic actions (open borders, shipping migrants, etc.), Let’s gather people from all sides of the issue, keep the cameras outside (I know, that is impossible!), and forge real policy. For those in the USA illegally, offer a streamlined pathway to normalization with real accountability. ONLY citizens can vote. Apart from basic food, clothing, and temporary shelter, government benefits require registration and screening. Reform the whole system and while this is taking place, take the monies designated to the IRS increases and apply them to border security and compassionate care.
There is no place for racism and xenophobia in our policies. And there is a need for secure borders and screening for criminality and diseases (which can then be treated). Once our agitation propaganda is replaced by compassion and courage, there is hope for our nation and for millions we should welcome to our land.
We need you as an inclusive, principled party, ready to debate and pass laws that benefit all Americans. Alas, your radical wing is obsessed with Trump and mandates that can never be funded.
You desperately need to recover the best of FDR-Truman-Kennedy-Humphrey if you are going to welcome many back in the fold.
Here are some tips:
Stop hating moderate to conservative Jews and Christians for their views on marriage and morality. If you welcome even more conservative Muslims, why exclude other principled religious adherents?
Demonstrate fiscal responsibility and bring a budget that leads toward less debt.
Agitation, protest and resistance are easy compared with governing. Clean out the corruption at the city and state level. Stop the class envy and offer economic policies that foster private-public partnerships. Be leaders of racial reconciliation, not the catalysts of more animosity.
Simplify the tax code, with special concern for those who are struggling. Hyper-progressive tax laws hurt the economy. Welcome pro-life social moderates back. End the campaign finance hypocrisy. You love “dark” money just as much as your opponents.
Welcome immigrants and create pathways to citizenship with reasonable security and the end of registering non-citizens.
Friends, we need civil debate and proximate justice.
Dear Donald Trump,
I pen these words with prayers for you and our nation.
You have caused quite a stir.
But unsettling the political landscape is not statesmanship.
For some you are the key to our nation’s survival.
Others see a narcissist running a new reality show.
I think you are – like all people – beautiful and broken – gifted and selfish, concerned about country and struggling with character.
Many share your concerns on immigration and jobs, national security and terrorism, inefficient government and insecurity about America’s future.
I know that many of your positions are “opening negotiating positions” especially the ban on Muslim immigration and the wall with Mexico.
But Mr. Trump, character matters. You cannot shout, “crooked Hillary” and not face your own challenges. I call on you to cease personal insults and offer clarity on:
- Immigration that remains hospitable.
- Job creation that keeps goods flowing globally.
- Abortion: will you support the Republican platform?
- First and Second Amendment liberties.
- Racial reconciliation – how to we reduce tensions and engender unity?
And there is much more…
I haven’t decided my vote. Frankly, I am dismayed that neither party could do better.
Will you envision a future and demonstrate the ethics necessary for all to flourish or are you merely one more demagogue we must endure?
Stop the insults. Start sharing insights. Come clean on any hidden issues.
And above all, cease boasting about all you will do.
Please articulate what all of us must do for a better future.
I already have a Savior…I am looking for a public servant.
July 4, 1776: Only John Hancock signed the Declaration that day – others would add their names on August 2 and beyond. John Adams, a rather dour fellow at times, was effusive that Independence be celebrated with great fanfare.
Here is my 4th of July tribute as a dual citizen of God’s Kingdom and our nation.
Rejoicing and Repenting
I rejoice in the greatest experiment in virtue-based liberty and I repent for past enslavement and oppression.
I rejoice in freedom of conscience and religion, with a free market of faiths and ideas and I repent for misguided and unjust actions in the name of any religion.
I rejoice in equality and opportunity and repent that we squander these privileges with momentary pleasures.
I rejoice that citizens have a say in their nation’s destiny and I repent from my apathy that forfeits this honor.
I rejoice in the many nations that make up our one nation (E Pluribus Unum) and I repent that the First Nations (Native Americans) were oppressed instead of embraced.
I rejoice in brave soldiers defending freedom and I repent that they often serve poor leaders and policies.
I rejoice in our compassion for the needy at home and abroad and repent for the destruction of life in the womb.
I rejoice in our Constitution and I repent that so few know it well.
I rejoice that God has blessed America and I repent of my lack of gratitude for so much mercy.
A Republic will only be as free as its citizens are virtuous. May we renew the covenants: first with Christ and then the Constitution. May we remember that governments exist to protect, not bestow God-given rights.
May God bless America…and every nation – for God loves unconditionally and judges without partiality.