A Word on Politics and the 2012 Elections

The following is a glimpse into what’s been going through my head recently:

On Election Day and Freedom: As you all know, today is a very important day in America’s history. Election Day! A day of decisions, a day of responsibility, a day of freedom. Freedom–one little word–one very vital concept.  So many around the world have no say in their nation’s leaders. But we do! And it’s not something to be taken lightly. We recently celebrated the 100th birthday of a sister in Christ at our church. One hundred years ago, women didn’t have the right to vote! Can you imagine all the things she’s lived through?! It makes me very thankful to be alive in the age and nation that I am.

On the Electoral College: Tonight, we have some friends coming over for a soup night. We’ll turn on the television and watch the results unfold. They’ll keep track for you, or you can download this interactive map from Elizabeth Perry’s Flickr account (permission given on her site to print for personal use) and keep track yourself. You could even have everyone color in their predictions and see who’s closest at the end of the night, if you wanted. But then, you do need a prize for the winner.

There’s another interactive map on CNN that helps you see what happens depending on which way the swing states go.

Not quite sure how the electoral college works? I found this description of the electoral college and this description of the electoral map at “Congress for Kids” that seems to be fairly helpful (though not updated since 2008). Each page has a link for a “Show What You Know” quiz at the bottom. And here’s one more video from History that gives some more info.

On Changing the Day of the Election: Did you hear that they wanted to change Election Day because of Hurricane Sandy? Well, as Mike Opelca of The Blaze quotes The WSJ’s Naftali Bendavid, “It would take an act of Congress!” Congress is not currently in session. And history sides with keeping the National Election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. If war and terrorists threats won’t shake Congress to change the election date, I have my doubts that a storm will.

On Voting Third Party: Everyone is given the right to vote for whomever they wish, regardless of whether or not the candidate is in one of the major two parties. I personally believe you should vote for whichever candidate aligns best with your core values. There are several sites that can help reveal that, and it’s okay if it ends up being someone other than a candidate from the Republican or Democratic Party. One site that I particularly like is VoteSmart.org. Vote for each of the major issues, and rank how important it is to you, and it will give you a percentage of how aligned you are with each of those on the ballot. If everyone voted their conscience instead of party lines, we might see some very different outcomes.

On Politics and Social Media: I hope you did vote. I truly do. But I’m not so sure everyone wants to know every time one of their acquaintances did so. And now there are ads for various politicians, links to find your precinct, and so on, built right into your social media site. Kevin Cirilli of Politico said today, “People are tweeting nearly 3,000 tweets per minute that they have voted, with the most Tweets coming from Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, Twitter said this afternoon. And as of 2 p.m. EST, Twitter averaged 13,000 Election Day-related tweets per minute….” And it looks like they’re running behind the scenes polls if you mentioned who you were voting for too!

On Complaining: One thing that bothered me today was that I saw several posts or tweets either 1) complaining that they had to wait in a long line to vote, or 2) rejoicing that no one was at the polls in their precinct. While I understand that long lines in cold weather is uncomfortable and inconvenient, people DIED to give you the right to vote. Please don’t blatantly disrespect their legacy with your complaints. And if you fall into the second category, please understand that if the polls are empty, people are also indirectly dishonoring our veterans by showing a spirit of complacency and/or apathy. Also, if you don’t vote, please don’t complain about the outcome. I found the following cartoon appropriately relevant:

On Christians and Politics: Chris Anderson recently posted a one-page PDF to his Church Works Media site, entitled “Gospel Meditations for Voters.” I encourage you to read it…before your polls close. (ahem!) And, yes, God is still in complete control, regardless of whether or not your candidate won (or even made it past the primaries).  So, pray for His will and wisdom as you go out and participate in being a part of the answer to that prayer.

In Conclusion: Some are calling this election the most important one in over 80 years! There are so many moving parts and important fiscal and international policies in play this time around. Do you really want to not take part in a momentous occasion?

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