How to vote.

Tomorrow is the day when Americans will decide who will become our next President.  It is an important choice and one that should not be made flippantly.  Here are six points to consider when voting for president.  Once I scraped away all the bias and punditry, these six issues formed the core of how I made my choice.  I hope they are helpful to you.

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1.  The character of the candidate.  This may be the most important and yet difficult issue to nail down.  A person’s character is the map they use to navigate every decision-making intersection they will encounter.  Here is a question that may hit home the weight of this issue, “Which candidate would you feel most comfortable entrusting the raising of your children in the event of your death?”  As extreme as this question may seem, it cuts to the heart of the issue of character.  I do not agree with every decision my brother makes, but my wife and I trust his character enough to place the future well being of our children in his hands if we die.  Which candidate gives you greater peace regarding this question?  Most likely then, his is the character you trust.

2.  Global awareness.  We live in an unbelievably connected world.  Whomever we choose as president can no longer afford to place the wants of America singularly atop the pedestal of decision-making.  America casts an enormous shadow across the world and is therefore more responsible than ever for the choices it makes.  Incredible, persistent and wise leadership will be needed in the years to come.  In many instances, the right choice may not be the choice that is best for America in the short term.  Those sort of hard decisions must be weighed beyond the scales of national politics and rather be made with the understanding of America’s enormous potential for redemptive leadership within a global context.

3.  The sanctity of life.  Whether that life is enveloped in a woman’s uterus or clothed in the fatigues of a soldier on the battlefield, all human life is sacred.  The President of the United States is charged with protecting both.  This is not an either or issue.  Too often those who stand against abortion are all too ready to see military engagement as a first option.  Like wise, those opposed to war and its inherent loss of life seem capable of enormous philosophical backflips when accepting the obvious loss of life at the hands of abortion.  Life is sacred, whether in the womb or on the front lines.  A President can ill afford to consider one as more important than another.

4. The responsibility of government.  At the core, the difference between our current two-party system is whether or not the national government is charged with protecting you from yourself.  You must decide if personal responsibility trumps government decision making, or if federal oversight is needed to protect us from ourselves.  Certainly it is not an easy decision.  It is not as cut and dried as the pundits would have us believe.  Are our circumstances most often the result of our personal choices?  Yes.  Are there however many people living in situations not of their own choosing?  Yes.  How you meet the needs of those situations reveals your view on the responsibility of government.

5.  Personal faith. Our faith is the filter by which we determine our worldviews.  Life, death, love, sacrifice, service and our views of family all turn on the fulcrum of our individual faith journeys.  To choose a President without considering their personal faith is like ordering Escargot without knowing you’ll be eating snails.

6. Leadership.  This is the ability to translate a vision into reality.  Anyone can have a vision for the future, but unless that person can lead well, such a vision will never be realized.  Unrealized visions are dreams and we need a president that will do more than dream.  A leader will be able to work backward from the vision and create specific strategies for implementation.  The President must be able to lead people from differing ideologies toward the realization and implementation of specific goals.  If he cannot, then he has no business holding that position.

Though this election season has been contentious and stressful, let us not forget that true power lies in the hands of the King.  We must not place our trust and peace of mind in the hands of a fallible earthly candidate.  Our peace, our joy, our future and hope rest in the nail scarred hands of the One alone who is worthy.

I offer you then this beautiful hymn written in the early 1800s by Edward Mote.

“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand”

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