Election is Always Controversial

31 Jan

We had an election in Florida today. Apparently more Republican voters in this state think Mitt Romney is most qualified to become President. The word election is a funny word. It is used in the Scriptures to describe a situation when God takes someone who is completely not qualified and chooses them for a task. In Biblical election, God qualifies us Himself through the atoning work of Jesus, but election, at its core, is the process of taking something that is unworthy and putting it forth as worthy. Based on what I hear from people, that is what many voters believe we are doing. Nevertheless, voting is the process by which we elect someone to be President.

Among the myriad of complaints that none of these people running for President were good enough for the task at hand, I found myself asking, “Would anyone be so?” A friend of mine whom we affectionately call “The Slacker” said that George Washington was the perfect President because he qualified yet hesitant, whereas today we have unqualified leaders who are most described by some crazy desire to be President. I think many people would echo Slacker’s sentiment, but as I consider it, we really have a wonderful system in place.

Consider that you do not become the President just because you were born into an elite family (Adams and Bush notwithstanding). You do not become President just because you have the best military behind you (Washington and Grant, notwithstanding). You could be a poor man who makes something of himself and gets elected to the position. How wonderful is that? And the only thing you have to do is convince a country that you are the most qualified man for the job. Ah, but there is the rub. What does it take to be “qualified” enough so that you get voted to actually be qualified?

My uncle wrote a persuasive piece on whom you should vote for for President. I love that he said, “The winner and the loser isn’t my primary concern; my primary concern is to be a good steward of my vote…we must understand that, like a dollar, our vote is an issue of stewardship.” While I may not always agree on whom to vote, I can say unequivocally that he always does vote for whom he believes is the best candidate. Doing so in a general sense, however, involves at least two areas where disagreement easily arrives.

First, what is the proper position on an issue? While I believe that some issues have an absolutely obvious correct position, I think the vast majority are open to interpretation. That does not mean that I am wishy-washy on them, just that I believe reasonable minds can differ. If we cannot all agree on things as important and obvious as the proper timing of baptism, then how can we ever agree on whether the Welfare of a country is benefited or detrimented by a particular military position. Yet, let’s say that two people agree on every single issue that exists (which seems relatively far-fetched), that only solves half of the issue.

Second, how important is that issue relative to other issues? This is where we get into voting. You see, it is seldom that any candidate agrees with us on everything. So now we have to quantify our beliefs. In this valuation, we are lead to a concept called the economics of voting. I think everyone agrees that my father would be the best President this country has ever seen. Yet noone writes him in, largely because he has no chance. There are other candidates who are good, though not as good as my Pops. The question then comes as to which set of variations from one’s beliefs are more important than others. Here you could have two people who agree on every individual issue but disagree as to which person better represents that belief system based on which priorities each person values. To some people a reasonable chance of a favorable outcome is a huge issue while to others it doesn’t matter at all.

I have been known to say that when you vote for President, you are voting for more than a bundle of ideas. I have been known to vote for Congressmen and Senators who agree with me on issues, but I find them to be personal jerks. Legislation is, after all, their jobs. However, when voting for President, ideas are important, to be sure, but the execution of those ideas is also important, because administration is, after all, his job. To some people this is not important, but I think it is akin to promoting to manager the best salesperson who has no idea how to lead. This is where we determine how to vote. You see, voting is the process by which you choose which set of flaws are more acceptable. Whether you’re voting on your favorite chair, your favorite restaurant, or your favorite candidate, we recognize nothing is perfect. However there are certain imperfections that we perceive to be worse than others.

Now is about the time, when you point out that while I claim to not be as interested in politics as I once was, I am continuing to write about it. I guess I am guilty, except I am not going to try to convince you of voting a certain way in this blog. I am going to say that if our system determines a man is qualified for President by getting more votes than other men, I hope that whoever is elected walks worthy of that determination. But more importantly, I hope that you find the election that Scripture teaches, and that you walk worthy of that election. Largely because the results of a Presidential election are temporal, but the results of the Scriptural one is Eternal. Make sure you keep your priorities correct!


One Response to “Election is Always Controversial”

  1. Jenni May 11, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    You bounded toward a beautiful finish there. Also, I think I might write Dad's name in this year. Also, you should link the phrase "reasonable minds can differ" to the blog where you disagree with me about Esther.

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