Deciding Your Vote in the Presidential Election

As I write this post, we are 43 days out from the Presidential Election of 2016.

Although this is not a political blog, it is a blog about citizenship.  It is a post that affect the direction of our lives and the legacy  of our children and our grandchildren.

A hare-brained idea popped into my mind when I was in church this morning. What if — instead of debating on TV, our candidates had a problem solving session instead?

Fanciful and naive as it may sound, it would be refreshing if our political leaders could work together to solve the problems of this great nation.

Maybe they could focus on just one topic and come up with a plan that a large majority of citizens would be willing to back.

Human nature being what it is, that is never going to happen.

Folks cannot even have a civil political discussion among themselves over a drink at the bar without getting into a brawl.

It is a subject which is not discussed at a ladies’ tea unless you know that you are among kindred souls. What if someone got offended?

Even the audacity of my posting on a political subject is treading on dangerous ground.

Amidst all the media hype, the posturing by candidates, the wooing for votes — amidst the cries of frustration and the tears of hopelessness within our borders and around the world — it often seems like we are talking at and over each other.

We try to see who can shout the loudest, or who is a better debater, who draws the biggest crowd, who leads in the polls, who can win!

According to David Cantonese, Sr. Politics Writer for US News & World Report:

“Monday’s first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump at Hofstra University in New York will mark the most important event of the 2016 campaign to date and likely draw a massive number of eyeballs that will shatter viewership records.”

Should you decide with whom you place your vote the same way you bet on a football game or a boxing match? So, on what basis should you cast your vote? The average working citizen often does not take time in a busy work-a-day life to respectfully consider the candidates who are running for various government offices.

From the pulpit this morning I heard that “Our lives proclaim the Truth that lives in our hearts.” Those words spoke to me on a number of levels, and one of them had to do with the election.

First, there are four presidential candidates and numerous state and local races.

You can watch the debate, and I definitely will. But, does a good debater make a good President? How does all the talk translate into action? History has shown us the sad truth that what politicians say and what they do are often vastly different things.

I am doing my own research. I want to see if I can find out what the accomplishments of each candidate’s life tells me about what their Truth is. How do their lives proclaim the Truth that lives in their hearts? What do their lives tell me that helps me consider my vote — what have they done that warrants my vote?

I will not be looking at titles, awards, and positions they held but instead will be looking for what they achieved in those positions to benefit society.

Their titles and the fact that they served in a position does not tell me that they served well.

The fact that a candidate spoke out about this or that issue is not an accomplishment. We all do that! It doesn’t make us the leader of our nation!

No matter how you look at it, all of the candidates have lived full lives and are at a point where the impact — the results of what they have done with their lives — should be evident and telling.

I want to know what positive impact each candidate has already had on the lives of their families, their friends, and the citizens of this country.

Then, based on my own values, I will be in a better position to cast my vote.

Second, as a citizen you have the right to vote.

If you want to continue to live in a free country, it is your duty to be informed and to vote. I really don’t want to hear any crap about how your vote doesn’t matter!

Forty-eight years ago, I was 20 years old and desperately wanted to vote in the 1968 presidential election. I did not have that right, as the legal voting age at the time was age twenty-one.

Many of my friends and relatives were fighting and dying in the so-called “Vietnam Conflict.” (We dared not call it a war, as that would require an Act of Congress).

I checked the mailbox regularly for letters from my brother who was in the heat of battle in an Army artillery unit.

 

Surviving in the war zone of Vietnam is PFC Robert Buchanan
Surviving in the war zone of Vietnam is PFC Robert Buchanan

I also received heartfelt letters from a lonely and frightened young soldier. His name was John. He was my first cousin. We had gone to school together. We grew up together. And he was risking his life — his whole future — somewhere near the DMZ.

Many questioned the escalation of war and asked: “Why were we in Vietnam in the first place?” Why were our young men dying?” “What was the imminent danger to our nation that we needed to protect?”

John had no voice, no right to vote.

He had only the right to die for a divided nation in a cause he did not understand.

It was his responsibility as a man of fighting age. It was his duty, unless he wanted to dodge the draft and flee to Canada leaving family and friends behind, maybe forever.

John came home from Vietnam after only a few months — in a body bag with his remains so brutally destroyed that neither his young bride nor his parents could recognize what was left of him. The casket was closed at his viewing.

The correction of this injustice was brought about in the reduction in the voting age to eighteen. It is a right and a responsibility that young people enjoy today even though they are no longer subject to the draft.

Just last week, a young man named Christopher told me that he could not place a vote for Gary Johnson in this upcoming election even though he really wants to. The reason? — because he is not registered to vote in Missouri. I checked it out. He can vote.

It is not too late to register.

If you have not yet registered, you still have the opportunity to do so. The deadline varies depending upon the state in which you live but the time is getting short.

If you are a U.S. citizen over the age of 18 prior to Election Day, you can register at many public libraries. Or you can use handy online voter registration tools at www.vote411.org, at commoncause.org/register-vote or at rockthevote.com

No matter how the election turns out, I have confidence that God will work all things according to His Divine Plan. So I am not fearful and I don’t worry.

My control over what happens here and around the world is very limited. But, I can try to be informed and I can vote. And I am very grateful that I have that privilege.
I would like to hear what you have to say. Have you made up your mind how to vote and how did you decide? Scroll down and leave your comments in the reply box below.

One thought on “Deciding Your Vote in the Presidential Election”

  1. You are so right regarding the obligation to vote. It wasn’t that long ago, in fact, my Grandmother could remember voting for the first time she was allowed, that women could not vote. I have always insisted that my children vote. I told one of my daughters boyfriends that if he didn’t go vote not to even slow down in front of our house and it worked ! Naturally, there have been times that I regretted stressing this duty of citizenship. More than once I have found myself saying to which ever kid “You voted for that s.o.b. ?” I have even heard one of my children remark about their Grandfather’s role in World War II, and I said to that kid “Did you vote last time? If not, you have no business expressing your pride on his actions in the South Pacific.” As for Viet Nam, that whole dreadful chapter still cuts too close to the bone, suffice, to say, we both have our names on the wall. My husband who hasn’t stepped into a church except for the kids’ weddings, has always maintained that voting is sacred.
    Keep up the blog, I always enjoy it and I always find something to think about when I read them.

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