2016 | Week of September 26 | #1170
Are you excited about the upcoming election? I didn’t ask you if you are excited about the candidates. I asked if you are excited about the election—the opportunity you have to voice your values through your vote? If you’re not, then I hope you are by the time we’re done.
Consider first that as an American Christian citizen, voting is not just an opportunity or a privilege; it’s a responsibility, a duty. Duty doesn’t always excite people, but maybe it should sometimes. In the case of voting, duty is something we do because we enjoy a privilege—the privilege of being an American citizen.
That citizenship isn’t a right. For most of us, we did nothing to become citizens. We were just born here—and that in itself is a privilege. The privilege of living in a country with a representative form of government, in our case a Republic, comes with some responsibilities—one of which is voting for those who represent us. Surely we can muster some excitement about an election and our duty to vote when we consider where we could be living had God not chosen that we live in America.
And what about what your vote means? When you cast your ballot in this November’s election, what does your vote say? It should say a lot about your values. It should be a significant way in which you voice your values. We have the opportunity in an election to vote for candidates whom we believe most closely reflect our values. That’s exciting. We don’t get to vote on everything, but we do get to vote on who represents. We have a say even if we don’t win. Having a say beats not having a say any day. Not voting means your values don’t get a voice in the election; it means you lost a say in your government.
Does “we the people” mean anything to you? If it does, then you should be able to muster some excitement and enthusiasm for an election. We are the government in this country. Those aren’t just nice-sounding words in the US Constitution. They convey a powerful truth. We’re not a monarchy. We are not a dictatorship. We aren’t an oligarchy. We the people, the citizens, are the government. We elect from ourselves to govern—not rule—ourselves. Voting is part of being “we the people,” and it’s powerful. As the artist who created the beautiful mosaics in our state capitol said about Liberty Guarding the Ballot Box, “Under a republican form of government, the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
It’s easy today to be cynical. It’s especially easy this election cycle to be cynical. We need to guard against that. We need to get prepared to vote by knowing the candidates and the issues, asking God to show us His mind as it relates to the candidates on our ballot, and then voting knowledgeably, responsibly, and prayerfully.
Important to remember is we are not voting just for president. In Wisconsin we have a statewide race for US Senator, all 8 of our US House of Representatives, all 99 of our state assembly representatives, half of our state senate (even numbered districts), numerous partisan county officials, and many will see at least one local referendum for their school district, municipality or county. Much is at stake from top to bottom on the ballot.
Maybe I’m overly optimistic this cycle that I can move people from cynical and not excited to optimistic and excited. I realize where we are as a nation is unprecedented. There are no easy answers, no really simple solutions. I know the rule of law is shaky, our liberties are precarious and our society is morally more and more corrupt. But, we still have an incredible framework for our government. We still have more freedom than anywhere else. We still have some excellent people running for office—not all, to be sure—but in Wisconsin we definitely have some. We still have the right to vote—to voice our values through our vote. And most importantly, God is still in control. He is still working His divine plan to perfection—and we are still part of that plan. That plan includes our having the privilege of being American citizens complete with the duty of voting in our elections. Now to me, that’s downright exciting. I hope it is to you too—so exciting that you’ll make plans now to vote and to urge others you know to join you.
For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed. for lack of knowledge.”