Election season. Specifically the 2016 Presidential election season. All the Christians around me barely hiding their panic.
I’m surrounded by talk of intercession and following the Holy Spirit’s leading when you vote. This sounds really good. In fact, those two things are the actual solution to this political dilemma. Except that I can feel the spirit of fear which is motivating much of the intercession. Christian people and leaders around me talk of voting with the Holy Spirit’s leading, but in the next breath remind anyone listening to “not throw away their vote.” Listen to the Holy Spirit, within the parameters of voting for one of the two major parties. There is no way the Holy Spirit would lead you to vote for someone other than Clinton or Trump! Cause it would be impossible for the Holy Spirit to prompt you to do something that seems illogical. (*intense sarcasm*)
I’m not about overthrowing the two party system. I understand the complexity of switching such an ingrained tradition and the confusion created by a multiparty system. But in the mid 1800s, if the United States citizens had listened to the fear tactics used to argue against any third party, the Whig Party and Democratic Party would have retained leadership of this country. Do you understand that the Republican Party was viewed as an extreme third party?! They took a bold and unpopular stance on the abolition of slavery. IT was basically them and the Quakers up against the rest of the country! That wasn’t a middle ground position which would appeal to a wide spectrum of voters. In many ways, the Republican Party’s platform was saying they were willing to fight till death for slavery to end.
The Republican Party started out as a third party. People had to be bold enough to defy the two party system and leave the Whigs (or Democrats), in order for it to gain enough traction to really influence elections. Do we realize that if the US citizens of the 1800s hadn’t been bold enough to do that, Abraham Lincoln would never have been president?! Study his presidential race. It is miraculous. He never should have won the primary. He was an unknown to the country. His state knew him. That was basically it.
If we as a people continue to let fear dictate our political decisions, we are dis-empowering ourselves. I’m surrounded by people who discuss constitutional government and have vision of how our nation was designed to work, and who are also disappointed in the two major candidates of this election because neither really shares that full vision. But they feel trapped into voting for “the lesser of two evils.” How are we supposed to change anything if we live so trapped by fear??
I’ve studied government and history, forming my opinions of what I am looking for in any political leader based on my ideals, spiritual principles, and the truths about government which America’s Founding Fathers tried to encapsulate in the Constitution. I cannot reconcile any of these things which I must have in a leader with either Clinton or Trump. After looking over the plans they have both presented for the country and their stances on various issues, I knew my spirit would not be at peace with me voting for either of them. So I researched third party candidates. How can I stay with the “Whig” party when they no longer stand for the ideals I must see in government? When I read Evan McCullin’s stances on the political issues, it was like a breath of hope was released into my home (https://www.evanmcmullin.com/issues). Here was a candidate who boldly stood for all the things myself and the people around me had been crying out for in our government.
I refuse to let fear – fear of a potential future, fear of wasting a vote, fear of empowering the “greater evil” – decide who I vote for. If I had lived in the mid 1800s, I hope I would have joined the Republican Party as soon as their platform showed they were standing for what is right. I pray that myself and all the citizens around me can be bold enough to do the same today. We live in a representative democracy. The only way to change our country is to stand for our principles, even if we feel like we’re too small to change anything. Stand for what you know is right and pray for others to join. We are never stuck with only two options.