Why I Did Not Vote

OK, so I know I’m a little behind the game on talking politics.  That is because the whole thing makes me nauseated.  However, this week I have had several discussions with people asking me to explain the reason I was not voting.  I am sure that I will catch a lot of flack for this, but I am interested in people’s responses, whether you agree or not.  So, here goes:

 

My Political Manifesto

 

I did not vote because I believe that until the people who claim their lives belong to God rise up and act like it, this country’s morals and plans will continue to disintegrate and decline.  No amount of human strategy will rebuild the integrity that has been lost.  I do not believe that you can legislate morality, and even if you could successfully do so, whose morality are you going to legislate?  I know people of strong moral conviction and Christian substance who are virtually polar opposites when it comes to politics.  Legislating morality is only somewhat controlling the level that an activity is conducted publicly.  Any activity is going to continue in the shadows regardless, and unless there is individual change, corporate law is merely a label to make us feel better because we cannot see certain things done out in the open.  It is about comfort.  “I want to feel comfortable in my political and societal environment, so I want to see this happening and don’t want to see this happening.”  This is just hiding your eyes from what is really happening.

 

I did not vote because I believe the political system is almost wholly corrupt.  It is full of people grasping for power and pushing agenda.  The political system has very little to do with maintaining personal freedoms now, and is mostly about whose freedoms get upheld.  Instead of maintaining freedom for all, politicians choose whose freedoms are more important and pander to that crowd, often, I am convinced, with very little personal conviction about an issue or the actual freedoms themselves, but with care to who is going to give them the most political support and help them attain the most power.  In conjunction with this reason not to vote, I do not believe that God needs to work within a corrupt system to get His work done.  God does not need a bunch of legislators passing bills to police morality in order to become more powerful.  God needs individuals who are willing to give of themselves and love others unconditionally.  Until this happens, no amount of putting God in or taking God out of government will really make a difference.

 

I did not vote because the political system is almost wholly managed by fear.  The terror that each political party tries to force down the throats of their own supporters just to ensure their actions and votes is not of God.  “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)  The fear that is constantly force-fed to people through political campaigns literally makes me sick to my stomach.  I cannot tell you how many people spoke to me during this campaign about how terrified they were about what would happen if their non-favored candidate was put into office…both sides.  Terrified.  This system creates and, in fact, counts on a lack of trust in God.  It says, in not so many words, “God cannot work if A is put into office.  YOU must control your own environment.”  Again, I believe the system gives rise to a corporate blame as opposed to an individual responsibility.  If individuals would act on the beliefs and convictions they claim to hold so dearly and so strongly, then it would not matter who was in power.  We CANNOT control our environment – God never says we are supposed to.  He talks about what we are supposed to do in our own lives.  People have their chosen institutions for who they get to point to when they say what they believe, whether that is a church or a political party or whatever…churches allow the same freedom from personal responsibility.  You can say, “I am affiliated with X church or X political party, therefore, I am doing my part,” when we sit back and, largely do nothing from our own resources or with our own time.  And going back to the verse I quoted above, the politics I see certainly does not give to rise to anything like a “sound mind.”  The irrationality and hatred (opposite of love as in the verse above as well) that politics brings about are NOT of God.  I have seen perfectly intelligent, highly peaceful and caring persons go nearly crazy with anger over politics and distort and demonize everyone who could have a different viewpoint.

 

I did not vote because I see no love in politics.  And this is the reversal of the last reason, being that it is almost wholly perpetrated by fear.  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love him, because he first loved us.  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he heath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” (I John 4:18-21)  I touched on it above, but the hatred and slander that is spewed on both sides makes me want to have nothing to do with the system.  I cannot view one or the other party as a representative of Good when that is what I see.  Politics does not encourage, in any way, unity.  It promotes, in order to promote itself, difference, which manifests as antagonizing and stoking every issue necessary to stir people up against one another.  There is not even a common courtesy or respect in place.  It is a gloves off battle for power.

 

I did not vote because I do not believe God needs to “win.”  Jesus was not a political candidate when He was on the earth; He loved people and lived life with them.  THAT is how He effected change, and that is how I believe we, as God’s people, are called to effect change.  Politics, to me, is simply a distraction from living out His love…a tool that the devil has used to take our mind off of the real business of being Christians and caring for the orphan, the widow and the alien as true religion is described in the Bible.  Again, God never says, make sure everyone around you is doing what is necessary to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien.  He says YOU do it.  If we would all follow that instead of waiting for the government to make sure it happens in whatever manner we deem best, the politics would not even matter.

 

I did not vote because I believe that God is in control of individual lives, including mine, and THAT is how His will is going to be accomplished.  I choose not to put my “faith” in a political candidate or party.  I choose not to put my vote and stamp of approval behind the caustic nature of politics, whatever issue or agenda or faith they claim they are going to uphold.  If I do not see love and God and peace in their campaigns, why should I expect that in their terms in office?

 

Addendum: Lyrics to Derek Webb’s song, “A Savior on Capitol Hill”

 

I’m so tired of these mortal men
with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin
scared of their enemies, scared of their friends
and always running for re-election
so come to DC if it be thy will
because we’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill

you can always trust the devil or a politician
to be the devil or a politician
but beyond that friends you’d best beware
’cause at the Pentagon bar they’re an inseparable pair
and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills
we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill

[Bridge]
all of our problems gonna disappear
when we can whisper right in that President’s ear
he could walk right across the reflection pool
in his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit

you can render unto Caesar everything that’s his
you can trust in his power to come to your defense
it’s the way of the world, the way of the gun
it’s the trading of an evil for a lesser one
so don’t hold your breath or your vote until
you think you’ve finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Jeff Burke said,

    November 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Voting is an opportunity to protect innocent lives. Anyone who votes for a pro choice candidate or refuses to vote for a pro life candidate is propping up the system of abortion. So, my friend, you have innocent blood on your hands. If you wait to get involved with the real world in this life until everything is perfect, you will have to isolate yourself from those of us who are less than perfect, which is everyone on the planet. My guess is that you are single and struggle with relationships. Another Burke once said that all that is necessary for evil men to prevail is that good men do nothing. Congratulations, your perfectionism is enabling trouble and suffering in the earth.

  2. Chris said,

    November 6, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Jeff,
    thank you I think readers of this blog will benefit from a visual aide .

    Could you please list the last “pro-life” politician that stopped an abortion from happening?
    or for that matter, name the one who claimed that they were going to stop abortions?
    Even if you voted for some third part candidate who did claim that they would, you know it was only so you could feel all warm and cozy inside, and you have received your reward in full, you can go post on blogs about how everyone but you has “blood on their hands.”

    Im all for voting your conscious or any other way but you must have missed the point entirely.

    to quote from this blog
    “Again, I believe the system gives rise to a corporate blame as opposed to an individual responsibility. If individuals would act on the beliefs and convictions they claim to hold so dearly and so strongly, then it would not matter who was in power. ”
    I know of one way to stop abortions from happening, and it works, Its the operative power of Jesus Christ in the lives of believers, and it works in every case!
    We can lead people to Him, He does all the work, He is unbelievably powerful when it comes to saving babies . and even healing the wounds left by this horrible deception.
    This method is the great commission, and it usually works like this, if you have a particular burden on your heart (in your case maby its abortions) then that is your ministry field! go save some lives now…or you have blood on your hands…..see how that works…

    Seriously though, I too have a heart not just for the babies but for those deceived into making this decision. I have also been burned enough by “pro-life” politicians to know that i would be a fool to think my vote for a “pro-life politician” did Literally anything except build my self righteousness up to such a point that I could claim that others would didnt do this had blood on their hands. this would of course would be the antithesis of the beautiful nature of our King, who is Jesus.

    I cant imagine Jesus voting, the picture seems out of character, but this doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t have tremendous political impact by his activism and local impact through ministry.

    Since you quoted Edmund Burke I thought I would do the same.

    “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises; for never intending to go beyond promises; it costs nothing.”

  3. Mom said,

    November 7, 2008 at 8:58 am

    In an ideal world, yes, everyone would do their part in helping to improve the lot of those less fortunate, but we don’t, and won’t live in an ideal world until we get to heaven. In the meantime, all we can do is what we can do by helping where we feel called to help. God’s principles include being wise stewards of what we’ve been given, whether little or much, lest it be taken away and given to someone more responsible (parable of the talents). And in our nation, at least we’ve been given a voice in the process. No, the “system” isn’t perfect, but it’s still the nation that most of the rest of the world wants to come to; and although our voice isn’t always heard, sometimes it does make a huge difference.

    In response to Chris’s comments about pro-life candidates not preventing abortions, I have to disagree. While I certainly don’t agree with many of the policies that Pres. Bush promoted, as someone who works frontline in the pro-life movement, I have seen first hand the positive effects of his pro-life policies. One place a President wields tremendous power is in the judges he appoints. Many of those judges are appointed for lifetime terms and their decisions will have a vastly greater and longer lasting effect than the President’s actions during his term in office. Judges who see our Constitution as meaning what the forefathers wrote at the time (instead of a living document that changes with societal shifts) will generally tend to rule in a more pro-life manner, whereas those who don’t will tend to be swayed by the morals (or lack thereof) of the day.

    Prov. 29:2 says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” And at least for now in our nation, we have the privilege and opportunity to say who is and is not in authority.

  4. Ariah Fine said,

    November 15, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I fully support your decision. (as for the rest of the comments: no comment).

  5. Marcia said,

    August 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Hello. Just wanted to say, I agree with you somewhat. I am a Christian, and I did vote, but I kind of felt that this time around it just didn’t make much difference. :-/

  6. Joli said,

    April 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    This responsibility weighs on everyone. To vote or not to vote. This is the battle that I struggle inside my mind. How can anyone choose a human being capable enough to lead? What should their qualifications be?
    I have come to three realizations.
    1. I can never fully rely on a politician. We are a government run by human beings, so we must expect that this system is never going to be perfect.
    2. The aftermaths of passed legislation do not match up with our expectations. I think that in general, the laws made by the politicians were made with good intentions behind it. However, sometimes the effects of these laws may not be as it was predicted. These well-funded intentions can backfire.
    3. The platform of political parties have changed. Look at history. What is “Republican” and “Democratic” meant something completely different 170 years ago. Sometimes I like “left-wing” politicians, but I cannot agree with them on the principles they seemingly support. As for “right-wing” politicians, they appear to be even more hypocritical. Again, they APPEAR to be.

    Conclusion: So, as for now, I agree with you mostly on this topic. But do not judge me based on these short arguments I made. This short post does not represent the fathom of insecurities I have within me whether I should vote or not. And this blog post does not quell all my fears. Your arguments do satisfy some of my chagrin I think about daily. So thank you.


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