Written by Scott Neumann & Richard Huston.
We have the awesome responsibility of selecting the leader of the world’s lone superpower. People clamor (some rebel) for the opportunity to vote in their country. Others, who aspire to be U.S. citizens, but are not yet, yearn for the opportunity to vote here. Multitudes around the world have little hope of affecting the direction of their country. We cannot take lightly the privilege of voting. So, you should vote in the upcoming election, for the following three reasons.
- Christians are to be a leaven in society. According to Christian activist organization Sojourners, “Christians have a moral and civic responsibility to participate in the political life of society by prayerfully measuring the proposed policies of all candidates against Christian ethics and values” (sojo.net/election). Jesus used analogies such as salt and light to describe his anticipation for the kind of influence Christians would be in society. We are to apply Biblical teaching not just to our own, personal lives, but to our extended community. To abandon voting is to abandon our neighbors. It is to give up our Christian duty because we are too apathetic to be informed.
- Voting guides our nation. You have a civic responsibility to take part in our government in this way. It may sometimes seem that such guidance is counterproductive, that it leads to bad decisions. In a sense, this is true – democracy tends toward a certain mediocrity, a lowest common denominator result. But it also tends to avoid the extreme disasters of other systems. Your vote helps keep the nation from disaster. To not vote is to acquiesce in bad decision making. Voting and democracy are also a very effective means of establishing the legitimacy of the national system. Voting is part of the process by which we create and embrace our nation as an extended community. One of the worst things that can happen to a people is to lose the sense that their state is legitimate. That way leads to rebellion, civil war, disaster, and malaise. To give up voting is to give up on much of the community in which we live. Cast an informed vote. For many people, the “informed” part is the rub. To cast an uninformed vote may be to make bad decisions for the nation, to mislead the community. Often, we hear students explain that they won’t vote because they aren’t informed. But this is a cop-out, the attitude of the lazy, and not up to the standards of a Greenville College student. In the first place, it is easy enough to gather information about the candidates and the parties. If nowhere else, look online at Project Vote Smart, where there is a wealth of information about the positions of the candidates. With that minimal effort, it should be possible to cast an informed vote. Even if you don’t have confidence in particular candidates, you can vote on the trajectory of the parties. We know what the parties believe in and what they have done in the past. We know where they stand on important issues that concern Christians, like abortion, social justice, creation care, or the traditional family. You can vote for candidates based on what you know of their party affiliations.
- Vote now, so you set a pattern of voting for life. For most of you, this election will be your first chance to vote. You are setting patterns now that will follow you the rest of your life. Sound money management, faithfulness in relationships, discipleship, time management, and responsibility are a few of the life skills you are in the process of developing, at this stage of establishing your independence from your parents. Taking the initiative to vote now increases the chance of being politically active later.
How to Register to Vote:
- Check out the “Walk the Vote” display near the main entrance of the library.
- Look for Vernon Gee’s voter registration booth. Both provide information from the following three sources: