If you vote for x, you’re really voting for y! You have to vote for candidate y, otherwise the country is going to come to an end! Yes, candidate z if imperfect, but certainly better than candidate w! If you vote for x, you’re throwing your vote away! If you vote for x, then you’ll be the one responsible for candidate y winning and the disaster their administration will be!
These are just some of the reasons I have been told as to why I have to vote for either Clinton or Trump. Just fill in w, x, y, and z with candidate names of your choice. It really doesn’t matter who you fill in – the logic given is the same. I’m amazed that I have that much power that I can defy the laws the math with my vote. Apparently my writing in a name for president has the power add a vote to both Clinton’s and Trump’s vote tally. And at the same time, I’m told that I’m wasting my vote. Amazing. I must be superman in order to do two opposing things at the same time. Or maybe this is just a really Lutheran election. Lutherans love to live in paradox. We talk about being sinner and saint simultaneously. Maybe this is the Lutheran election – my vote matters, but I’m throwing it away at the same time.
To all those who use any of the sayings at the beginning of this post, I have some questions for you. These questions are really pertinent mostly for Christians who make these arguments. Everyone else is off the hook here.
Since when did it become acceptable for Christians to live in fear or to vote based on fear? We hear this fear from both major campaigns in their arguments – see the statements above. We hear it in the arguments from supporters that if you vote for a third party candidate or write in someone, you’re actually voting for someone you didn’t actually vote for. Yet the question remains, when did it become alright for Christians to live in fear? Not just acceptable and alright, but fully embracing this kind of fear and rhetoric.
We claim a Christianity and a faith that is not based on fear. Rather, Jesus told us not to be afraid, yet we hear plenty of voices that shout aloud the opposite of what Christ said when it comes to elections and voting and other areas of life. And from people who claim to be Jesus’ followers.
So what is it fellow Christians? Do our ideals and beliefs matter? Or should we just pitch them and admit we’re full of shit and instead be honest with the idea that while we like wearing the label of Christian (except for the cross thing), we actually believe that our salvation resides in a different savior – one who we elect? If that’s the case, we don’t follow the same religion.
How would this clinging to and speaking words based on fear be any different than the throngs who greeted Jesus at the gate of Jerusalem with palm branches? They believed that Jesus was going to be a military or political leader who was going to bring political and military freedom – throwing off Roman rule through revolution. They believed in Jesus as savior in a similar way that it seems that we as a society believe – that our salvation comes in the form of a political leader who will bring about political change through the established system.
I’ve got news for you – That’s not what Jesus was about.
Living in this type of fear and speaking about the election in this manner are not the Gospel. This is not voting in a Christian way as far as I can tell. I refuse to live in fear, or vote based on fear. I hope you’ll join me in doing that – regardless of who you vote for. Please, oh please though, don’t insult my intelligence by throwing contradictory arguments at me. I’m not interested. You want to have a conversation about the election, great. I’m willing to do that. I’m not willing to sit and listen to you throw fear around as a good reason to vote for your candidate. It’s not a good reason. And our salvation doesn’t reside in your candidate.