Saturday, November 01, 2008

Principles to Carry into the Voting Booth

As the US political season winds down and we approach Election Day, I find myself thinking about principles for voting. I have no desire to endorse a candidate or a party, or even to disclose who I am planning to vote for. I do want to encourage some principles that I believe are universally applicable whenever we vote. They're not much more than common sense, but common sense seems to get thrown out of the window when elections approach. Anyway, here they are:

Vote rationally, not irrationally. I have very little patience with those who try to encourage everyone to vote, even if they have not thought through the issues and have no particular reason for voting one way or another. Don't go into a voting booth and flip a coin. Don't vote for a candidate simply because you "wanted to vote for the winner." Ignorant voting breeds careless--or malevolent--governance.

Vote for substance, not slogans.
Look at the policies that each candidate is proposing. What does this candidate want to accomplish? Where does he want to take us? What are his goals, and his proposed means of achieving those goals? If the candidate is more interested in engendering doubt about the other guy than he is in proposing a vision of leadership, be wary.

Vote facts, not rumor and innuendo. Vote based on what you know, based on what you have learned from reputable sources, not based on what you've heard or what someone suspects or on speculation. We all have a horrible tendency to want to believe the worst about those who are in political opposition to us. A candidate with whom you disagree on policy will give you all the reasons you need to vote against him from his own mouth; it is almost never warranted to assume some dark secret or hidden agenda.

Vote faith, not fear. I've heard far too often, in too many elections, "I'm scared to death of what's going to happen to this country if [insert candidate's name here] is elected." Frankly, there are too many people who are too willing to stoke those fears. In reality, the government has only limited (thank God!) power to affect people's lives. I sometimes think that we Christians place far too much emphasis on elections. God's power is not altered by who occupies the White House. Vote for whomever you want as president. Jesus is still Lord.


  1. Good post--I feel the same way you do. I follow campaigns closely. I come from a political family. One brother has served our home state (and Christ) in public office.

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  2. Though it won't take very much examination of my blog to figure out who I am voting for, I definately agree that it is more important to promote principles instead of canidates. To many decisions are made in this country through arbitrary thinking.