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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Enough "Just Ones"

Are you having trouble deciding between the "narcissistic, misogynistic egomaniac" and the "elitist, pathological liar"? Me too. I joke about searching on the ballot for the box you check to vote for "None of the Above," but I really don't  like either choice. And by "don't like" I mean "gag at the thought."

We grow up being taught that America has a "two-party political system," but technically that's not true. The United States has a multi-party system, and there are always (correct me if I'm wrong) more than two choices on the ballot in the race for president. So why don't more people vote for one of the alternative options?

The answer, I believe, lies in our fear of "throwing away our vote."

These days, that dire warning comes up in nearly every conversation about the 2016 presidential election.

"Well, you know, he is going to win. Voting for her is just throwing away your vote."

"Everyone knows that she will win the election. A vote for him is just a wasted vote."

"You might as well pick the lesser of the two evils. A vote for anyone else is worthless."

Now wait a minute!

To anyone who wants to give me the "wasted vote" method of candidate selection, I respectfully suggest that you have lost sight of two important concepts.

1. The purpose of a free election and secret ballot

2.  The power of ONE

The purpose of a free election and secret ballot:

The type of voting process we have in the U.S. was not designed with the purpose of "winning" or having the bragging rights to say, "I voted for President X!"

What our elections are supposed to be about is choosing the right person who supports the things we believe are good about our country, and who works to right the wrongs that exist in our country, as we see it. That is why we have an election system created with the intent that each person would be free to vote in line with their own conscience, without fear of repercussion or reprisal.

Who we vote for is nobody's business but our own. We don't need to prove that we are "good enough" because we voted for the "right" person. We don't have to vote our way onto the "winning team." Picking the winning team and "joining" them by voting for their candidate is not what an election is about. Think about it. Do you really want the "privilege" of being able to proclaim, "I helped elect President Lester O. Weevils, and I'm so proud of the way my candidate has trashed our constitutional rights, tanked the economy, alienated our international allies, and tripled the national debt. Well, no, I'm actually not, but hey, at least I voted for the winning team!"

It's time for us to grow up and get over the fear of not being on the winning team. To stop trying so hard to be one of the "popular kids" who voted for the "cool new prez." To vote, instead, for the candidate who we believe will best uphold the character of the presidency, and who we believe will work to instill that character back in the nation.

A vote which supports and expresses my conscience, my beliefs, my values, is NEVER wasted.

The Power of One:

I can hear the voices now....

"But I'm just one person!"

Of course you are. But the records are filled with the stories of "just one" who changed the course of history.

When David the shepherd boy killed the giant, Goliath, and changed the course of history for the nation of Israel, he was "just one kid" who threw "just one rock."

When she killed Sisera, the general of the Canaanite army, Jael was "just one nomadic woman" who drove "just one tent stake."

When the hungry crowd of thousands overwhelmed the local food supply, there was "just one little boy" who was willing to share his "just one little lunch", and who made all the difference.

The Apostle Paul, author of over half the books in the New Testament, was "just one traveling preacher."

Martin Luther, a key figure in the Protestant Reformation, was "just one priest" who had some questions.

Rosa Parks was "just one tired passenger" on the bus.

And on the other hand....

The Roman emperor, Nero, was just one person.

And so was Lenin.

And Hitler.

Of course, you're just one person. But so is your neighbor. And so are the five, or ten, or twenty people you work with. And the 100, or 250, or 700 friends you have on Facebook.

The Berlin Wall was not torn down by an army, or a labor union, or a political party. It was demolished by a collection of "just ones" who decided the status quo had gone on long enough, and that it was time for a change.

The city of Jericho was not overcome by military might, or political strategy, or superior espionage. It happened through thousands of "just ones" who were obedient to what they were called to do. Who raised their voices and trusted God for the outcome.

A single candle doesn't make much light. It won't make any significant difference in pushing back the darkness. But, I have seen "just one" candle, multiplied by 10,000, glowing in the dark and lighting the candle next to it, until at last they lit up the night and illuminated an entire stadium.

We have each been given some gift, some circle of influence. And we are called to use what we have, no matter how small, to go out and work toward what is right. To make a difference in our world.

When it comes to this year's presidential election:

If each one of us really researched where the candidates stood on the issues, and didn't rely on what we heard from our family, or the guy at the next work station, or the "talking heads" on the nightly news....

If each one truly voted their beliefs, instead of "choosing the lesser of two evils" or trying to be on the "winning team"—even if it meant voting a write-in....

If each of us exercised our "just one" vote in the service of our conscience, and encouraged our neighbor to do the same—even if it meant "throwing away our vote"....

If each of us shined our little light and with our encouragement, so did those around us, and those around them, and those around them....

We might find, one by one, that there are enough of us "just ones" to make a difference, after all.