For those engaged in the political process this piece from Ben Witherington is a short, worthwhile read. Witherington is the Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. Witherington does not tell you who to vote for, thankfully, but offers some helpful guidelines for Christians evaluating both candidates and carefully discerning for whom they should cast their vote.
Witherington speaks strongly to his readers, saying:
There is really no excuse for laziness when it comes to being an informed voter, especially when we now have such a wealth of information online, and through other viable sources of news about candidates. Do not use the ‘cop out’ of ‘they’re all just the same’, or ‘no politicians are trustworthy’ or ‘I don’t have time for this’. If you have time to enjoy the freedoms you have in this country, then you certainly have time to become an informed voter. Period.
This November Witherington encourages us to do our homework, vote even if we are frustrated, avoid being a one-issue voter, consider character, prioritize the issues, and to think and pray before casting a vote. He doesn’t break down either McCain or Obama issue by issue–he doesn’t need to. Others have done the work. We just have to tap into the resources.
I would fall in to the category of “frustrated voter.” This comes after watching the debates, reading plenty of print material, and intense discussions with friends about the issues. I’m particularly frustrated that an $850 bailout bill was passed by Republicans who said that the $700 billion proposal was too expensive, and am miffed that a bill which was around 3 pages when initially proposed expanded to a 400 page document in a week. If any incumbent voted FOR the bill in my district, which I need to check in to, then they may have lost my vote. I don’t see our next President addressing the outlandish fiscal policies which have guided Washington in recent years, likely because our elected officials are benefitting in some way. Obama and McCain have too much at stake to offer strong words and a solid plan for how our finances are and should be managed, likely because that would ruffle the feathers of their most wealthy political supporters.
I plan to vote in November. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think it stinks to be part of American democracy right now.