I have come to the place where I dread the Presidential election years. Before you rush to judgment, walk a mile in my shoes. I live and pastor a church in one of the few communities in America that elects the President. The winner of the Central Florida area wins the election. I get tired of the continually campaigning, ads, phone calls, rhetoric, and disinformation. I also pastor a church that is probably made up of 50% blue and 50% red voters. It can make for a turbulent time with a lot of heavy small group discussions. Jonathan Haidt has proven that the strongest prejudice in America is over politics. It is rare for the two parties to mix with one another in any setting. Regardless of my dislike, the election year is here and I am going to tell you for whom I will be voting.
First, I am a platform voter while most people are personality voters. Haidt proved in his book, The Righteous Mind, that the majority of Americans vote for the person with whom they identify. Most voters connect with the candidate and allow the candidate to educate them to know why to believe what the candidate believes. The best educator tends to win the Presidency. I believe that every voter is motivated by their morality. However, their morality is informed and adopted because of the candidate with whom they identify.
I do not listen to the candidates first to get my information. I read the platform of the party that they represent to discover which agenda this candidate will be implementing. The Democrat platform will be pro-choice and for abortion. The Republican platform will be pro-life and against abortion. The Democrat platform (DP) will seek to appoint judges who construct new law from the bench. The Republican platform (RP) will seek to appoint judges who interpret the laws in existence. The DP views homosexuality as an immutable quality like race and will seek to establish law that persecutes anyone who sees it otherwise. The RP will implement an agenda that does not view homosexuality the same as a person’s race and seek to establish laws that respect the religious freedom of churches and schools to believe otherwise. Democrats are for government regulations, government control, and government intervention in virtually every industry except the abortion industry. Bigger government serves to protect the citizenry from abuse of employers and businesses. Democrats promote righting the inequalities in the society through government. The Republicans are for smaller government, less regulations, less intervention, and less control. Republicans promote individual freedom, equal opportunities, free markets, and personal responsibility. The DP emphasizes diplomacy and less intervention in threats out of the county. The RP emphasizes American strength, leadership, and intervention in an effort to thwart foreign threats before they impact us. These have been platform mainstays for many years and will not change this year. These platforms represent very different visions for the country.
I have never voted for someone who celebrates abortion. I will not start this year because all of the other freedoms protected by government are irrelevant if you never have the opportunity to see the outside of the womb of your mother. This is more than simply a policy decision for me. My grandmother had my mom out of wedlock in 1938 as a teenager. Abortion was not an option for her. Thank God that it was not. I may have never existed. If we devoted our energy to helping mothers carry their children to term and finding suitable homes for the ones that choose adoption, our society would be much better and millions more like me would have the opportunity to live.
Second, I look at the character and competency of the candidates. Character counts and candidates count. Candidates have to articulate the vision and message of their Presidency. Is the candidate trustworthy? Voters already distrust both of the candidates this year. Both candidates have very high negatives. I have little trust for either candidate. Hillary Clinton has already served in government and therefore has proven how she would perform with the trust of the people as an elected official. Her record is more than concerning including recently lying to the American people concerning the illegal and irresponsible use of her email as the Secretary of State placing the nations secrets in peril.
Third, I remember that we do not elect a king but a presiding officer over one branch of the United States government. Change can not come by just one person or one election, even the Presidency. The President must be able to lead people and Congress to accomplish an agenda that exalts the nation, punishes the evildoer, and rewards those who do good (1 Peter 2:14). “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Therefore, the party they lead matters and the agenda that they seek to implement makes a difference long term. Unfortunately, we award the Presidency to a great campaigner and not to a great leader. This is more than just a decision about one person. Your vote will be for an entire philosophy and agenda.
The campaign will matter this year. The winner will be the better educator, the one with whom people identify, and the one who convinces the most people that their party’s agenda is best for the country.