How to Vote

We finally made it to the month that my Daddy talked about most in his last three years on earth: November – specifically, November 6, 2012, Election Day.

Seriously, Daddy sent daily e-mails to a large list of family and friends in a passionate plea for us to watch and pray for our country. Though I only read a few of those e-mails and rarely forwarded any, I must say I admire how he stuck to his convictions. In fact, I admire all those who live their convictions – who do their homework and know what they believe and why. I admire those who dig for truth and don’t give up until they find it, even when the truth is on the opposite side of where they started.

That was my Dad. He researched before he decided and wasn’t afraid to be wrong. But while I didn’t like some of those doomsday-type e-mails he would send, I loved to hear him speak his heart. You see, my Dad was a quiet man, and he was all but silent when it came to politics. I grew up knowing only that he and Mom were Republicans, but not why they chose that party.

Thankfully, I adopted my Dad’s habits to do my own research. In the early years, I would simply settle on the candidate who agrees with my issues and ignore the condescending, truth-stretching, mud-slinging, well, you know.  I was determined to exercise my privilege to vote, but I hated the incessant barrage of hateful ads and the underlying feeling that I could never really know which candidate was who he said he was.

Not so anymore. Daddy also taught me to pray for our leaders. He taught me that God decides elections, “It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall.” (Psalm 75:7) Still, the Lord gives wisdom to those who ask for it and answers those who pray. This year I’ve been praying a lot.

I watched the debates and closely observed how each candidate handled the questions and reactions of their opponent. One thing is clear: this election is different from all the rest. Never before have I seen such diametrically opposed visions for the direction of our great nation. Never before have I seen so many people gobble up the emotion-driven rhetoric and become so catatonically mesmerized by distracting stunts, rumors and sound-bites – no wonder Daddy couldn’t keep quiet.

The most important habit Daddy taught me was to measure my decisions against the standards and principles of the Holy Scriptures. The more I read it the more I am amazed at how its timeless advice speaks so directly to our society – and how many passages practically spell out tomorrow’s headlines!

This, then, is my personal formula on voting: stay objective, listen, research, measure the candidate’s words against their actions, read what God has to say in His Word, pray, and trust Him for the outcome.



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