I’ve started a 2020 election blog post about 4 times over the last few weeks. I felt like I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t say everything that was bouncing around in my brain. I know I am way more political than most and I don’t want to be polarizing. I also couldn’t let this election go by without a reflection on this tumultuous season.
Last year I decided my vote for president at the last possible minute… in the voting booth. I held my nose and I voted. My primary candidate didn’t make the cut and I did not like the choice I had to make on Election Day. This year, I voted with confidence. I’ve had four years to process what happened in 2016. I’ve had time to look at the accomplishments and track record of both presidential candidates. I have come to the conclusion that they are both deeply flawed individuals. They are both liars. They both have questionable ethics. They both have past indiscretions they wish we would forget. They have both said really stupid things that make us cringe. They are both hypocrites… In short, they are both human.
My kids are older and are interested in politics and government. They are navigating a hypersensitive and hyper-political culture and have engaged in spirited discussions with their peers. As a parent, how should I coach them? How do I teach them about what guides my conscience in choosing among such deeply flawed individuals when so much is on the line, especially in our swing state of North Carolina? How do I teach them to avoid the trap of voting based on feelings, emotions and identity politics? What it comes down to for me is policy, issues, principles and record of accomplishment over personality, charisma and even character. The truth is, a person can be easy-going and fun to be around while advocating for policy that goes against everything in which I believe. In contrast, they could be a jerk who vigorously fights for the values and liberty I hold dear. It is a rare thing to find a candidate that is the total package. I am a Christian and a values voter, so I had to think hard about what I value the most: sanctity of ALL life, family, individual liberty, freedom of religion, free markets, limited government, law and order, peace through strength, the US Constitution, equal opportunity for all. What is the role of government with regard to my values? Which candidates will fight for what matters most to me? What have they accomplished in the past? What policy actions have they taken that go against my values? If they’ve never run for office before… Is their platform realistic and consistent? Who is endorsing them? Do they bring any new ideas to the conversation? Are they good ideas, or pie in the sky promises? I applied this test all the way down my ballot and I left the voting booth feeling good about my decisions. It is admittedly more difficult to vote this way. It takes time, introspection, prayer and a lot of research to figure it all out, but it is worth it.
Now I pray for America. I pray we will continue to be “a shining city on a hill” and an example to the rest of the world. It breaks my heart to see our beautiful cities boarded up in anticipation of violence over the outcome of this election. We are better than the rioting and looting currently on display throughout this great nation. I pray we will choose unity, peace, love, kindness and understanding regardless of the outcome. I pray we look past our differences and look to what we share in common. I pray for reconciliation and forgiveness. I pray for the Church to lead by example. Will you pray with me? Our kids are watching. The world is watching.
©️Elizabeth Smith 2020