Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Wasted Votes"

I first posted the following reflection on Facebook, but it occurs to me that it's basically a short blog post, so I'm reposting it here.

This will be a very rare political post from me.

I find myself increasingly frustrated by post after post imploring folks like me not to "waste my vote" by voting for [candidate of choice]. It happens at least once a day now. Two of my top three candidates have already suspended their campaigns, so I already feel that my options are limited, and the person I plan on voting for is not my ideal candidate. And of course, you have the same right to try and sway my opinion as I have to try and sway yours. I am now going to exercise that right.

If everyone votes only for the "electable" candidates and not for the person they truly most wish to see in office, if everyone votes against the candidate they hate most, rather than the candidate they like best, all we are doing is playing into a broken system. The American people will not end up with the leader they really want by voting this way. Party leaders will look at the percentage of votes that their candidates receive, and they will see a distorted picture if too many voters choose Candidate A when they really wanted Candidate B or C or D.

Voting this way does not bring about the reform that the system so desperately needs. My vote for the candidate of my choice is not a wasted vote. Rather, it sends a message about the type of person I wish to see in office. If everyone votes for their true first choice, that message will be clearer. Like any other worthy endeavor, reforming American politics requires courage and a long view. I believe that God is ultimately in control, and that no one party or candidate holds the key to bringing about either heaven or hell on earth. In fact, it seems to me that putting one's trust for the welfare of our nation solely in the hands of one person or political party might just be idolatrous. So this election cycle, I refuse to vote from a place of fear. I will be voting for the candidate I like best (out of those who remain). And in November, I will do the same, probably with even less appealing options. I hope you will join me.

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