Tomorrow is an election day so let me ask you this… how will you vote? You might be offended that I would even dare to ask such a deeply private question. But, don’t worry. I’m not going to make you tell me. You know why? Because in a democracy you have the freedom to vote however you want to vote. In fact, that’s the whole point!
The reason I am asking the question is because it is the same question I ask myself. How will I vote? How will I choose which candidates I want in office? How will I decide which ballot measures I support and which ones I don’t support?
I could make my decisions based on the opinions of my favorite political analysts, the mainstream media, or what my friends and family are saying. My choice could even be determined by whichever candidate is better looking, or younger, or older, or more eloquent in a debate. Judging by the stack of campaign literature piling up on my dining table, it seems that some folks are hoping I’ll vote for whoever sends me the most mail.
Even if we take our responsibilities and privileges as citizens very seriously and strive to learn the truth about the candidates and the issues, we can’t avoid using filters to reach our decisions. Our filters can be a political party, an ideology, or our own values regarding a specific issue. We can even use common enemies as a way to choose which side of the fence we want to be on. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?
Filters are a natural way of narrowing our choices until we land on who and what we will choose to support. Even so, there is one filter that concerns me and it is this: If I am only looking at how the candidates and issues directly affect me, and no one else, then I am in BIG trouble.
I want to be careful in this election, and in every election, to think beyond myself. Democracies flourish when we consider the rights and needs of others, not when we elevate our own selfishness above morality and ethics. For freedom to be freedom, it must be freedom for all. Otherwise, we are nothing but hypocrites.
When we vote, are we going to vote to maintain only our own pet freedoms or are we going to stand up and fight for the inseparability of freedom and justice for all? It is no secret that the federal government has become corrupt. Yet, what about the corruption of our own souls? When we “vote our conscience” what is behind it?
Freedom isn’t freedom if it suppresses a single person. Real freedom requires that we resist all that is evil, beginning with our own selfishness. Only then can we hope to see true freedom manifested in every corner of our nation. Until then, we have a lot of work to do, so let’s get to it!
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke