Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights. A gift gets attention; it buys the attention of eminent people. The first speech in a court case is always convincing—until the cross-examination starts! You may have to draw straws when faced with a tough decision. [Proverbs 18:15-18 (MSG)]
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. [Edmund Burke]
Here in the United States, we enjoy political freedom. We have free and fair elections, competitive political parties, and the candidates we elect actually do govern. The opposition isn’t powerless and plays an important role in government while the interests of minority groups are represented. That level of freedom is not enjoyed by most of the world. According to the independent watchdog organization Freedom House, only 45% of the world’s nations are considered “free,” 30% are “partially free,” and 25% are “not free” at all. Tomorrow we have an opportunity to exercise our freedom by voting. In less than a week, we will honor those who fought for us so that we can have this priceless opportunity. Let them not have fought in vain.
Regardless of how you stand on the issues, I suspect many of us are disillusioned by the whole political process. The amount of money spent on advertising has been astronomical. $244 million has been spent on the Illinois governor’s race alone! It’s not just TV ads; both our snail mail and email mailboxes are filled with propaganda and we’re hesitant to answer our phones because of all the political robocalls! I have yet to see or read any ad, from either party, that hasn’t been negative, accusatory, and misleading. The issues on both sides have been blurred and distorted and it’s not easy to find the truth.
Some people may have clear ideas about the many candidates and issues on the ballot while others may still be confused. Here in Florida, with multiple county, state, and federal candidates and twelve proposed amendments, we have the longest ballot our voters have seen in twenty years. Throughout our nation, many voters may feel like their choice of candidates is between dumb and dumber, bad and worse, or crook and crookeder! Nevertheless, our vote matters. The people we elect and the decisions we make today will have an impact on our environment, economics, health, education, safety and quality of life for years to come.
Some choices we have to make are so tough that we may be tempted to take Solomon’s suggestion in Proverbs 18 and draw straws. Nevertheless, while easier, simply drawing straws or flipping a coin is not the way to preserve our nation. I would hope that, instead of letting luck guide us, we prayerfully will ask our Father in Heaven for some much needed political wisdom. Come Wednesday morning, regardless of who is elected, let us all start praying for our leaders.
Father, guide us as we cast our ballots. Help us see through the slick advertising and empty promises to the truth. Let your Holy Spirit show us how to apply our Christian principles when making choices in the voting booth tomorrow.
Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressman and government officials, but the voters of this country. [Martin Luther King, Jr.]