It’s November. Election advertisements take up about 70 percent of the commercial airtime on television. No sense pretending the radio is all that different. Do people even read the newspaper anymore? I am the target of these annoying ads because I believe in exercising my hard-won responsibility to vote. Notice I said “responsibility.”
Voting is more than a privilege. We should give thanks that we have the right to vote. More people in the world don’t have this right than do. But America is government “by the people, for the people.” Or it’s supposed to be.
Back in the day, our founding fathers fought hard to maintain this freedom. George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson saw heading to a polling place to cast your ballot a responsibility. In the beginning, it might have been only a white man’s responsibility, but thanks to a slew of amendments, things have changed. Some of the changes haven’t been positive. It is for these reasons that when a major election approaches, I want to hide out in a media-free environment. Not that it truly helps. I had a woman stop by my home asking me to vote for her candidate. My phone rings with pre-recorded messages from organizations urging me to vote a specific way on ballot measures.
Every citizen of the United States of America over the age of 18 should be registered to vote. Each one of us has been gifted with the honor of contributing our voice in the governmental process. Still, November (and often May) bring a few flaws in our system to the forefront of my mind. Three things stand out – and make my feel like screaming or pulling my hair out during elections.
Ads make it too hard to discover the truth. Whether it’s the positive effects a ballot measure could have or the true record of the candidate running for Congress. Most of the time, the information relayed in an ad distorts issues. A single line item is focused on and magnified. Suddenly, everything is out of proportion.
Campaign ads are just that: advertisements. Their intention is to sell. In fact, I would guess most of the copy is written by a marketing major, who looked at the polls and decided which market to target. Some of the ads are obviously aimed at middle-class working people. Others try to appeal to younger voters. It feels like they’re trying to buy my vote. Just the thought of it makes me nauseous. Is that better than countries where militants block passage to the polls, threat to voters obvious?
Politics: “activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government.” Most of the time these activities involve lobbyists and special interest groups. Or the Republicans barter their vote on one issue for a Democratic vote on an issue they feel more strongly about. Aside from the fact that they aren’t “hired” to make these deals, it leaves out an important party.
George Washington warned against political parties in his Farewell Address. He claimed they would divide the nation. A wise man he was – truly ahead of his time – but people clapped and followed the next leader: a Federalist who wanted the government to have more power.
Today, the party struggle between Democrat and Republican tramples underfoot the most important party: the American public. Our right to vote gives us a voice, but if we don’t have money to influence our “representatives,” they listen to the voice that does. Politics has come to mean “competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership.” Even Merriam-Webster knows it; that’s why this is the third definition in the list of five.
Here’s an excerpt from the constitution this church recently adopted. It states our belief about Civil Government.
“We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: the home, the church, and the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)”
Let’s focus on the phrase: “God has given each institution (home, church, state) specific Biblical responsibilities.” As I said, as a citizen I have the responsibility to vote. Unfortunately, the “state” undermines my motivation because they have lost sight of their God-given responsibilities.
Part of the problem is that government as a whole refuses to acknowledge God as sovereign. They act like separation of church and state means God isn’t invited to congressional sessions.
As the person at the bottom of this chain of command, the average voter throws up her hands. What’s the point in voting? The liberals are going to get their way. Things are going to get worse. My vote doesn’t matter.
Friend, your vote does matter.
God asks you to participate in civil government by educating yourself and voting according to Biblical principles. True polls would show that more Oregonians oppose many of the things that have recently been made into law, but because they didn’t cast their vote, they gave away their power.
Rather than going crazy this year, I’m going to do what I always do: ignore the advertisements, read the Voter’s Pamphlet and pray. Then color in the circles accordingly.
If you believe God is still on the throne, I ask you to do the same.
Up Next: Hallelujah! YOU are God’s good Work