My regular readers will note that I don’t write about politics very often. I might mention a political point in passing, but it’s hardly ever the main topic. After watching the Democratic National Convention a couple nights this week, however, I cannot avoid making it my main focus.
It’s always difficult for me to get fully enthralled with the political world simply because I love and follow a God who deliberately stated His kingdom was “not of this world,” (John 18:36). Since my focus is on His kingdom, I don’t have much time to focus on this kingdom I live in. Jesus sums things up well in Mark 12:17, “Render to Caesar the thing that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Let the worldly kingdoms have their worldly things; but give the Source of Life all of the life that He gave to you.
Do not get me wrong: I am not, in any way, saying it’s okay to focus solely on God while being completely ignorant and oblivious to the world around us. C.S. Lewis is famously quoted, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Jesus’ presence in our hearts and in our lives is meant to cause this internal change – a change that has a deliberate and intentional influence on the world we’re surrounded by.
William Wilberforce fought for years to end the slave trade not because he wanted a respectable reputation from his peers, but because it was an overwhelming desire which he believed came from God. He learned to love like God, which means he learned to love so much that it hurt. Wilberforce’s political career came about partially because he was a great debater, but mostly as a byproduct to his overall goal: Serving God.
In modern times, though, such activism isn’t brought about by any Presidential candidate, which has often made me wonder why it is important at all to vote. I’ve always believed that a no-vote is better than a non-educated vote. I mean, if your sole reasoning for voting for a particular candidate is because he (or she) looks cool or they gave a great speech that one time in that one place, then you’re cancelling out the voter who spent an hour or two each night looking into each candidate and the validity of their claims. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that a partially-educated vote is also better than a non-educated vote.
Most people don’t really have the time to do their own research into Presidential candidates. Be it a job, school, a family, or even daily errands, the average person has enough going on to keep them from doing any serious studying of those running for office. So keeping up with the TV shows, newspaper articles, and especially the Facebook/Twitter rants and raves is all kind of out of the question. And yet, the President and his/her decisions can greatly effect where and how we live.
So it is important to at least be aware of what’s going on in the political world – maybe even enough to take action. No, I’m not talking about jumping onto a candidate’s campaign hype, but I am talking about making as much of an informed vote as one possibly can. I’m talking about reading articles regarding the election and each candidate and deciding for oneself which person is the best fit for President of the United States. I’m talking about asking friends what their thoughts and views are as to gain perspective. Elections aren’t about drawing lines in the sand between political parties and simply having verbal arguments left and right. They’re about choosing the most capable person for running the country.
What we choose to do today will affect our children’s lives tomorrow, no doubt. So even if we feel no side effect from the next President; our kids will. Considering them, we must cultivate a country today that is better than how we received it from the generation before us.
After watching much of the Democratic National Convention and bits and pieces of the Republican National Convention, there is something we must watch out for. As often happens within human societies, various leader-like figures are talked of in such a way that one would think that they are a god among men. All of their good deeds and ethics are talked about so much that they almost become some fictional character come to life to save America. Hope is often placed into these candidates as if it came from them in the first place.
As one friend of mine on Facebook pointed out, hope will not be found in any politician. They might find crafty ways of stirring it up – or they might be really good at giving the illusion of hope – but true hope is found in only one Person: Immanuel. And as I mentioned earlier, His kingdom is much higher than the one we live in. And yet, His kingdom is already here; being lived out through the lives of His church, not perfectly, but overall, purposefully.
No President is perfect. And while nearly every one of them may claim to believe in God, they won’t always make decisions on behalf of His kingdom. Why? Because America is not God’s kingdom. Not everyone believes in God – so whichever President is voted in this year, they have to consider the entire nation, not just the Christians.
Presidents’ interests, assuming they actually do believe in and love God, are divided. They’ll always be. What I think we ought to do as followers of Christ – again, I could be wrong – is to vote in the candidate we deem most able not only to bring about substantial, constructive change, but also to learn from his/her mistakes and to make any and all necessary adjustments.
As you might guess, I’m going to read more on this year’s election. I may not have the time to do full studies on either candidate, but I’m going to try to be as informed as possible. My future family deserves it; they’re future families deserve it; and their future families after that deserve it, too. And it all begins with cultivating a solid walk with Christ.