“If Trump wins, cities will burn!” “This is the most important election in history!” “If the Democrats win, it is the end of America.” Such is the rhetoric of our divided society. By all public accounts, everyone is on one extreme or the other, and moderates are a vanishing group.
Every election is important. Thousands of local, regional, and state officials are elected and entrusted with billions of dollars and hundreds of decisions. Nationwide, the entire House of Representatives is up for election every two years. A third of the Senate is elected. The next President will appoint many judges, including those on the Supreme Court. The 2020 election matters.
Our current crises do amplify the consequences of how we vote. This said, we must avoid two mistakes: apathy and apocalyptic fear. The former simply gives up and says, “My vote does not really matter” or “The same power-brokers are still in charge, so what is the use?” The latter term frames this election as an “end times” choice between good or evil. How do we avoid these tendencies and take our civic duty seriously?
Here are some insights I have gleaned from thoughtful women and men over the past several years that I think are helpful as we go to the polls:
- Are we praying for all in authority and blessing those we disagree with most?
- Do the candidates truly support freedom of conscience and religion, peaceful assembly, redress of government, and free speech?
- American Presidents are very powerful, but they are not messiahs or antichrists.
- Are we engaged locally, or obsessed with a few national campaigns? Change for good begins locally, and we can have much influence here.
- People do not fit into neat little ideological or partisan boxes and we must be careful not to judge too quickly. There are pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans. There are Democrats that affirm traditional marriage and Republicans living and supporting alternative lifestyles. Voters often feel they are trapped, and they end up voting for the lesser of two evils.
- Are any leaders looking to balance a budget and be fiscally responsible?
- Are we reading the fine print on ballot propositions?
- How do all candidates propose to change our trajectories for failing cities and rural communities, poor education, and crumbling infrastructure without just printing more money?
- What are the policies on immigration? Do they combine compassion and security or just yell at the opposition?
Let’s say, “NO!” to apathy and apocalyptic speculation and, “YES!” to wise engagement, and personal commitment to fostering peace and justice. Our future rests more on the moral decisions of millions of citizens that the rhetoric of a few politicians. Leaders are powerful, but our voice can be more so, if we have courage.
Dear 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates,
understand your frustrations with current political leaders. What I am
awaiting are policies that are pro-life (from conception to coronation,
caring for the vulnerable at all stages) consensus-building, doable and
fiscally responsible. Rage against Trump will not balance a budget,
confront our global adversaries, repair our broken cities and increase
candidate willing to meet in the middle and stop hating people of
traditional faiths will have a shot. Imagine a courageous Democratic
candidate stopped pandering to the Radical Left wing of the party and
stated the following:
balance our checkbooks at home; therefore, the federal budget should be
balanced as well. A few government workers may lose a job, but the poor
can be helped, infrastructure rebuilt, and solid military defense
provided within our revenues.
is a real person inside a mother’s womb. Allowing for exceptional
circumstances, we should foster support structures that prevent most
abortions and welcome children as gifts to our world.
is the only democracy in the Middle East and the United Nation’s
continual condemnation is a travesty of historical knowledge and
justice. It is time to broker a real peace agreement with the burden
placed upon Palestinian leaders to acknowledge Israel’s legitimacy and
can be reformed to welcome the qualified, secure our borders, show
compassion to true victims and offer millions a chance at citizenship.
stewardship is good for the world, our economies and future
generations. We can care for our planet without global power structures
forcibly transferring trillions in wealth.
I will cross parties and vote for this candidate.
Dear Republican and Democratic leaders,
While the public is distracted by kneeling, standing and tweeting, you are failing in your public service. Only courage will stop the polarizing forces tearing us apart.
Republicans, you were elected so we can have better stewardship of policy and public funds…and you cannot seem to pass any bills of note.
Democrats, you keep drifting to radical extremes while most of America wants a principled middle…can’t some of you propose bills for negotiation and eventual passage? Lock-step voting is a tired excuse for serious labor.
To both parties: Please stop the grandstanding and self-righteousness and start doing your job.
The president is not a king or a savior…and the courts are not legislatures (despite some of both branches antics over the past half-century). Instead of hand-wringing and blame-shifting, start working. I want to believe you have the best interests of our citizens in mind.
My first directly political comments this year:
Dear Congress, I am praying for you tonight. Please do your job and pass legislation.
Republicans, reach across the aisle with principled compromise and proximate justice.
Democrats, please do not let hatred for President Trump keep you from your stewardship. Stop posturing and start serving. It is possible that:
Healthcare can be refined without millions losing coverage.
Our military can be strengthened without the poor marginalized.
Our veterans deserve better.
The EPA can protect our lands without overreaching militancy.
All aspects of government can improve efficiency.
You do not need to wait for all your cues from the White House or the media. Show some courage and make some friends across the aisle.
Lord, bless all public servants with an unselfish disposition and a vision for the common good that yields fruitful work and public trust.
Dear Secretary Clinton,
Transparency often opens doors of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Hiding from truth only increases suspicion form others and soul-diminishing inner conflict.
Nixon lost his presidency because of his paranoia and refusal to clean house and acknowledge the nefarious actions of his administration. Chuck Colson went to prison for his role – and what he did would be seen as minor infractions compared to today’s corruption.
Madam Secretary, you would be amazed at how relieved your followers would be if you fully accept your responsibility for poor decisions at Benghazi and carelessness in your communication, along with potential and real conflicts of interest with your Foundation.
Your enemies may not change, but supporters and undecideds might forgive and go forward. For policy reasons, you do not have my vote, but I am willing to extend grace and respect if the stonewalling will stop and real policy debates can begin in the campaign.
I pray for you and your husband that desire for power will give way to humility and service.
I cannot and will not judge your heart, but I tearfully plead for accountability and integrity – for your soul and the soul of our nation.