Since the middle of summer I have been suggesting that it is a good option to not vote for either candidate in this year’s presidential election. I have not changed my mind.
However, I have paid careful attention to the campaign for the past year and a half and I do have some observations to make. I will strive to be an equal opportunity offender so if you make it to the end of this article without being offended you might want to reread it because you might have missed something.
First, I have noticed there seems to be three groups of people who support Donald Trump. The first group, and perhaps the largest, is those who hate Hillary. This group has been organizing and planning for two decades, and I’ll be honest, I have never understood the hate and vitriol they possess. These folks will vote for anyone else but Hillary, regardless of the character, qualifications, or politics—Trump has proven that to be the case.
There is nothing that can be said or done to change their opinion. If God Himself wrote with his finger on the side of the Lincoln Memorial and told us to vote for Hillary, these people would not do it. The only way for these people to be happy is for Hillary to lose the election and disappear from public service. However, since it appears this is not going to happen, we are in for at least four more years (or possibly eight) of anger.
The second group of Trump supporters is those who tend to be single-issue voters and that issue is abortion. Trump is the only candidate who is opposed to abortion, although such was not the case just a few years ago. Their hope is that a pro-life President will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate abortion.
However, these folks need to put a little more thought into their position. It is time to reevaluate the idea that government and the legal system is going to solve the abortion issue. I wrote about this four years ago and you can read it here if you wish (nothing has changed). This is a complex issue that has been around a long time and there is no reason to believe that Donald Trump is going to contribute to clarity or resolution.
The third group of Trump supporters is those who are angry. They are angry with the way things are, the economy, their life, the political system. Their anger is very real and they express it rather loudly. Trump has tapped into that anger and fanned the flames. These folks simply want change and will support anyone who promises to bring it about. They are especially attracted to an outsider who will shake up Washington.
This same desire for change helps explain the popularity of Bernie Sanders among Democrats. Although he is not an outsider, he provided a strong critical voice against the way Washington works and had a plan to make changes.
I must admit, I too believe change in the way Washington works is necessary. Eight years ago when Obama was first elected, the Republican-led congress announced the primary goal was to oppose everything he tried to do. That is exactly what they have done for 8 years and it has contributed greatly to the belief that Washington doesn’t work. It doesn’t!
However, the reason I am not a part of this group is because I don’t believe in change for the sake of change. Even though change is necessary, not all change is positive. Changing a clogged up pipe for an open sewer is not progress. Consequently, I find Trump a poor choice to make good happen. On top of that, his character is just a little bit short of acceptable (by that I really mean far short).
Since I can’t support Trump you might assume I’m a Hillary supporter. If so, you would be wrong. Having confined myself to the number three when speaking of Trump let me also offer three reasons not to support Hillary.
First, she represents politics as usual. Electing her will do nothing to correct the flawed system. In fact, it will continue the gridlock since many Republicans have already stated they will work to thwart her plans just like they have with Obama. Another four (or eight) years of government paralysis might put our nation in a serious bind.
Hillary is a master at politics, adopting whatever position is necessary at the moment in order to accomplish her goal. Is she for a particular trade agreement or not? Will she work to limit the influence of financial institutions or not? Does she want to go to war or not? I have no idea. Whether you like his politics or not, one thing you could say about Bernie Sanders, you always knew where he stood on an issue.
A second problem I have with Hillary is that she has turned her political influence and position into millions of dollars in personal wealth. I can remember when the Clintons were leaving the White House years ago and there were conversations about the fact they were not wealthy people. Neither came from rich families. They did not have property, or businesses, or any other substantial asset.
They left the White House with nothing but political influence and now they are extremely wealthy. They didn’t create a product or employ workers or reap the reward of investments. They made speeches, lobbied for others, nudged politicians, and all the other stuff that politicians do for a big payday. She really is a shining example of what is wrong with American politics.
The third reason is the constant scandals that follow her around. Although there might be some truth to the notion that Republicans have created some type of “Right Wing Conspiracy” against her, there are numerous things she has done that give the appearance of wrong doing. You know the old adage, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” In other words, she’s not guilty of everything she has been accused of doing, but neither is she innocent of everything. She has enough baggage to suggest we can do better in selecting a President.
So, where do we go from here? Honestly, I don’t know. However, I do have a suggestion. First, let me say that I’m sick and tired of hearing the comparison of one of today’s candidates to King Cyrus in the Old Testament. All this talk about how God used an evil man to accomplish his purpose does not provide any insight into how we should vote in this election.
God can use a cardboard box if He wants to, but that doesn’t mean I should be willing to vote for any piece of trash that’s on the ballot. I think there is a much better example in the Old Testament that provides insight into how God selects kings. It is found in 1 Samuel 16, the story of how He chose David to be the next king.
The prophet Samuel was instructed to go to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king. When he arrived, the proud father brought out his oldest son, assuming this had to be God’s choice. It wasn’t. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
He proceeded to go down the list of sons; all seven of them, but God chose none of them. Finally, sounding exasperated, Samuel asked, “Do you have another?”
Sure enough, there is the youngest, but he’s out tending the sheep and has nothing to offer. But, the prophet wouldn’t rest until he saw the young David. As soon as David entered the room, God made it clear this was His choice to be king.
Perhaps there is an application we can make from this story. Here is a candidate with the correct position on abortion and promises to make it right once and for all. Or, another candidate who will protect our borders and make us safe. Or, another candidate who is qualified to fix the economy. Or, a candidate with a plan to repair the broken political system. Or, a candidate who knows how to get medical care for everyone. They all sound like the kind of person God could use; after all, He used evil King Cyrus.
However, remember what God said to Samuel. People judge by outward appearance, but He looks at the heart!
Here is my biggest concern. Christians comprise the largest voting bloc in the nation. That is certainly not obvious by the kinds of politicians we elect. I’m not talking about people who parade their Christianity like old time politicians kissed babies. I’m talking about candidates who are set apart because they are pure of heart.
Don’t tell me I should vote for someone who advocates certain political positions in spite of a heart filled with greed and sex. Don’t try to convince me to give my vote to a candidate whose most notable quality is dishonesty and deceit. Stop trying to defend these people claiming they will be good for the country. And for goodness sake, if you are a pastor, responsible for the spiritual care and leadership of a congregation, please stop encouraging them to get behind an evil King Cyrus as if it were their spiritual duty. And if you attend a church where the pastor does this—go somewhere else.
Our nation’s political mess will not be fixed quickly, especially in the next two weeks, and probably not in the next four years. However, it is time to begin moving in the right direction. It is time to begin the search for the person with the heart for God. Obviously King David had his flaws, but ultimately he is remembered as a man who was after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). That would be a candidate I could support.