Mama, I tried to wait until after the election and its aftermath to tell you about this. But I couldn’t.
After leaving Kentucky in 2008 to seek my fortunes Nashville, I was emotionally puppeteered by no less than 3 people. The manipulation was rampant. Business, Emotional, Religious……everyone was able to remorselessly manipulate. By the time I finished with that particular boxing ring, I was a pulsating, infected, open emotional wound. I vowed never to let anyone under my skin like that ever again.
Some friendships were born in that place – what I call the Bible Belt Buckle – that continue to enrich my life to this day. For that reason, I can say I don’t regret those 2 years. They were not a waste. And I’m not a waste either.
Tell Bible Thumpers God’s Law is to Vote.
The biggest issue I had with those 2 years in Nashville is that so many people in positions of authority and power were perfectly comfortable (and even thought they were being kind, I imagine) informing me I was insignificant.
I lived in Nashville during the last election cycle. You remember, mama – I told you at that time I was nervous I couldn’t find my polling place, so I did a dry run drive-by to be sure I didn’t miss my shot at voting on THE DAY. [I did the same this year, by the way.]
Anyway, one of my closest friends at that time was trying to fill my head with all this silliness about how a single vote doesn’t count and all politicians are evil so it doesn’t matter how you vote anyway…he claimed the Bible said to “give to Caesar what is owed to Caesar,” which means listen to government but don’t feed into it more than you absolutely have to. Obey “the laws of man” but don’t get sucked into the bureaucracy of it all. Being Christian meant we were above all of this political somersaulting.
But you know? I told him this and firmly believe it today: If the teaching is to obey the laws of men insofar as they do not obstruct obeying God’s law, our law says
(1) to elect our leaders from amongst ourselves. Nothing ungodly about choosing our own leadership.
(2) To monitor and correct our leaders. Nothing ungodly about occasionally serving as the conscience of our fellow human.
(3) And to maintain our vigilance regarding our leaders. Nothing ungodly about holding our leadership to the same standard we hold each other.
Given these points, our government is a reflection of OUR desires. Do we, then, desire a moral-void, arrogant, bureaucrat-serving government? Yes, I just defeated of the religious argument against voting.
A Vote for a Third Party Still Counts.
People think our only choice is between the Democrat and the Republican. It’s a lie. People say if we vote for any other candidate, we’re throwing away your vote. It’s a lie. Well, maybe a vote for Roseanne Barr is a throw away. But even that vote communicates spite for a system that is clearly broken. The Green Party has been a growing force in each election cycle. If we threw our support behind the candidate that represents our views, the competition would be as fierce as the NFL. Refusing to vote on some ethical ground is just apathy by a different name. There is no way to hipster an election. We have to exist and vote in the moment.
Put another way, if we choose not to vote, we choose to support whatever our leaders choose to do. It means we DID vote, by not voting. It means for every vote that is passed upon, each vote that is counted, in fact, counts for MORE of the public opinion. It means if we ALL choose not to vote, who is left to make the electoral decision? THE “LEADERS” and the cronies who cushion them.
Take the concept of “election” away from “who is president” and apply it to “who is sheriff” “who is judge” “who is county clerk” “who is attorney general”….the list of elected office is long. Imagine if we had no opportunity to choose any of the leaders of our local government? We’d throw chairs, shake the walls, knock teeth out and march down Main Street. So we CAN’T give up the power to have our desires for a government of the people and BY THE PEOPLE to go on record. How can we oppose a decision when we staple our mouths shut? Don’t give these lads & lassies the opportunity to speak FOR us – we have to raise our voices. Or we have ourselves to blame for being ignored. There. I’ve just defeated the “vote doesn’t count” argument against voting.
Mama, I’m not going to wade back through the historical reasons why voting is something I can’t miss. We both know my views on that. I’m going to vote tomorrow. And I know it will count. My vote will be stacked along with every other individual’s vote in the state of New York and the United States of America. I’ll voice my opinion and I know you plan to voice your own.