Elections, Community and What I’d Like to Say to You

Voting?Well, it’s Election Day. I’d like to add a few comments to the pile of political discourse surging through the online experience these days.

To the Uninvolved: You gotta vote. You just gotta.

Community is a word thrown around far too easily these days. We talk about being community, finding community and promoting community. And yet we write off whole aspects, important aspects, of our society as not worthy of the attention of our community. The laws, guidelines and authority of our land are nothing if not first the basis of our ability to live together in community.

And don’t tell me you have no opinion. I’ve yet to meet a person without opinion. If your ballot is big, bad and long, at a bare minimum vote where you do have opinion and skip the rest. In fact, this is the only time your opinion will even matter. Have enough self pride to do something with it.

To the Cynic: Not all politicians are idiots.

This argument is too often made as an excuse to mask the embarrassment of our ill informed minds. I am of the opinion that it is the unengaged and distracted public that has reduced our political exposure to sound bites and 30 second attack commercials. We simply cannot tolerate a well thought out discourse and so our opinions can be swayed and bought by a headline alone.

This election season, I have been working with a client who is running for re-election for a local office here in Florida. As we strategized how best to build the public awareness of his accomplishments and philosophies on important local issues, he had this to say:

I know my message has to be short and sweet. In this ever increasing techie world, the sound bite is now in today’s political realm, requiring communications to be catchy and short to be effective. This is a challenge for me. Issues are complex and deserve greater description. But “it is what it is”.

If we do not like how politics are discussed in our world, in some ways it is the fault of our own impatience for wise thought and discussion. There are real men and women behind the flyers in the mail who are going to have great influence in our society. Learn enough about them to know who is worthy to be given such power.

To the Doomsayer: Government is not evil.

Dare I say, government is divinely ordained? Show me a country without a stable, just government, and I’ll show you a society in chaos and a people without hope. Like all things taken in excess, however, government left unchecked will swallow us alive. Yet with all its flaws, I for one, am honored to live in a land with an established and, for the most part, working government.

To the Overinvolved: Government can’t save us.

Perspective is refreshing. Let’s inject a little perspective here. I do not feel we are called to redeem society. Society is an extension of many individuals living together in community.  Therefore society becomes a reflection on what is in the hearts and minds of those individual people. Change the hearts and you change the morality of society. Try to legislate a change in morality and you’ve done nothing to the hearts of the people. If our government permits acts that are morally wrong, I still have the choice to participate or not participate in that act. In other words, the government cannot force me to act immorally. That’s all on me.

Good, just laws should be desired. Raising our moral voice is critical. But at the end of the day, if I had to choose, I’d rather turn the hearts of those in my community than scream in outrage at the politicians. They are people too, and they can’t save us.

In short, be thoughtful. Take a measly 15 minutes to at least minimally inform yourself. Participate to the best of your ability.

Agree? Disagree? Is this how you live?

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7 thoughts on “Elections, Community and What I’d Like to Say to You”

  1. I followed the link you left in the allume newbie facebook group and asked for comments. Great thoughts for each group. However, I do want to point out that not voting doesn’t necessarily equal apathy. This election season has been a real eye opener for me. Because I am an independent, who isn’t voting, I’ve been insulted, called names, and even had my salvation called into question (and this is for a person who very rarely enters into political discussion at all). The bottom line for me is that I feel both parties both uphold and reject parts of God’s word. Some say that we should choose the “lesser of 2 evils” and vote anyway. However, God’s word calls us to avoid every evil thing, so I don’t feel that I can in good conscience vote for either side, since it would be voting for (and therefore supporting/endorsing) something that I believe is against God’s word.

    • Crystal, Thank you for your comments! I too have been giving thought to if there is a role as a Christian to play in this process at all. My feeling is that, like science, like education, like economy, like media, like health, like military, and like family, government is also a human institution created by fallen mankind. And as such, it will reflect the result of our human brokenness. Just as I choose to “expose darkness and reveal light” in all those other areas, I am seeking through my own small part in the government process to do the same.

      I am so sorry you have been treated so badly during this season. It angers me, truly, that honest informed discourse is absent around us, just as you describe. I hope you did not feel condemnation from me.

  2. Great points, Karena! I had the chance to vote early and when I went I realized how truly uninformed I was. I had put so much attention on the presidential campaign that I completely disregarded the importance of those running in our local elections. Next time, I will make sure to spend a little extra time informing myself on all the elections, not just the ones getting the most media coverage. It was great to meet you at Allume! 🙂


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