Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Who should I vote for?" or "Does it really matter?"

With Election Day only 3 weeks away, the rhetoric is soaring to new heights for this election cycle. Expect more mud slinging, more dirt, more snippets from the past of the all four individuals involved (as well as their families in some cases), more denial, more deflection, and more cries of "foul". In the end, someone will win their bid for the White House, and someone will lose. Democracy will win out once again, as the will of the American people is enacted.

Around the country there will be lots of sad people on November 5th. Many will complain about the winner and see it as an opportunity to proclaim that things are going to get worse than ever before. We will see a new crop of bumper stickers with the clever quip, “Don’t blame me…I voted for _____________” (whoever loses this one). But in this election – just like 2004 – there is no way that any of us actually wins. What we will end up with is a different manifestation of the same old crap: bigger government, more socialism enacted, and the continued demise of capitalism.

When it comes to this election and who to vote for, the question is, “which guy is not quite as unpalatable as the other guy?” Is it the guy who will hit us square between the eyes with a socialist agenda that is completely undisguised; or is it the guy who will let it creep in slower? Is it the guy who wants massively big government from day 1 and will mince no words about it; or is it the guy who says he wants smaller government while voting to expand governmental authority into an increasingly larger portion of the private sector? Is it the guy who favors all abortions; or is it the guy who favors only some abortions? Is it the young black guy with an old white guy at his side; or is it the old white guy with a young white girl at his side? Is it the guy who has questionable relationships with some shady characters in his past who were terrorists; or is it the guy who has questionable relationships with some shady characters in his past who defrauded tens of thousands of people out of their money? Is it the guy whose wife has said some very unfavorable things about the USA; or is it the guy who began dating his wife while he was married to another woman? Is it the guy who will say anything to get elected (I’m raising taxes, but nobody will actually be affected); or is it they guy who will do anything to get elected (Sarah Palin for VP???)? Will you vote for Barack Obama, or will you vote for John McCain?

The rhetoric swinging around Christian circles right now about which candidate to vote for is somewhat humorous to me. People (some good people, by the way) are actually contending that there is no way that a Christian can vote for Barack Obama and still maintain a right relationship with God! In other words, the only option for the Christian vote is the McCain / Palin ticket…..this is so laughable that I actually chuckled out loud when I typed it out! Now the logic goes something like this, “God certainly wouldn’t want a Christian to vote for Obama – he wants to make all abortions legal, for goodness sake! So we have to vote for McCain so that Obama doesn’t win.” Now the only issue I have with this “air tight logic” is that one is left with the notion that God would want us to vote for McCain – in other words, we have managed to put God in the position of endorsing John McCain and not Barack Obama – both wicked men with lies, deception, and half-truths carefully woven into the very fabric of their advertising campaigns and stump speeches. I think we’d better be careful before making assertions that a vote for Obama is essentially a mark of defiance toward God.

So the question of this blog entry is, “Can a Christian vote for Obama?” My short answer is….“Why not?” I for one am choosing not to vote for the Obama / Biden ticket. But I’m also not voting for the McCain / Palin ticket. I’ve got major quibbles with both of these choices. Frankly, I don’t know enough about any Third Party candidates to make an informed choice there, so I’ll be exercising my option to not vote at all this election. When it’s all said and done and all the smoke has cleared, we’re all going to wake up to a new President who can’t possibly make us any worse off than our current one has. The sun will still rise, we’ll still be able to go to church and preach the Gospel, and the politicians will all still be what they are. In the meantime, let’s not presume to be able to judge another’s spiritual condition by their vote this election.

19 comments:

Shannon Adams Callahan said...

Oh, Henry!! You know where I stand from our emails back and forth. McCain was dead-last in all possibilities for me. I liked Ron Paul, who is a true student of our Constitution -- something that we're so very far from these days, takes a strong stand on moral issues, with little government interference. I didn't like ALL about him, but most. There IS something to be said for voting for the 'lesser of the two evils' -- ALSO a quote that's floating around in Christian circles. I am voting, mostly, to keep the more evil (according to his voting records on moral issues vs. what the Bible has to say) OUT of the White House. Don't be discouraged out of voting altogether. There is a clear choice when you look at their records (www.afa.net -- not the bunk they spew during commercials and debates). So, why not vote for the punk who's record you think would MOST please God? Yes, McCain was unfaithful to his wife, is regretful of that, and blames himself completely for the breakup of his marriage, but he's not out voting FOR 'infidelity'. And, yeah, I find myself having to 'play politics' -- my vote will cancel someone else's vote for the other guy. Sigh. Sad state we find ourselves in. All in all, well written, but I hope you reconsider your decision on voting, dude.

Ellis Murphree said...

Shannon....I'm shocked that you remember my first name :) I'm fairly certain that you're the first one to call me Henry in any of the many internet chats I've been involved with over the years....you earn 3 points for that. Nicely done!

"Vote for the one whose record I think would MOST please God"? This line of logic makes me uncomfortable, Shannon. Throwing out the "God card" in election times just isn't a very safe bet, IMO. I suppose that McCain's record of not supporting most abortions is morally better than Obama's record of supporting and endorsing nearly all abortions, but does that qualify McCain for the "god vote"?

For what it's worth, my choice of not voting has nothing to do with being discouraged....it's based in the fact that I'm in no way comfortable with either of these guys. On some levels, I'm pretty indifferent about who ends up winning this thing. If Obama is as radical as everybody thinks, he will last one term at the most (if that) if he ends up winning. If McCain wins, he will end up working as closely with the Dem's in Congress as Obama will....in the end it's all the same.

Hannah W said...

Ellis. . .interesting post. I don't agree with all of it but I don't have to. The one thing that I would caution is that one of the men who could be elected will begin to start taking away Christian freedoms. I think that Christians need to be informed about more than just politics in this world. We have to be willing to stand up against those who want to enforce another religious way of life in the US of A.

Shannon Adams Callahan said...

Ok, so you give me 3 points for calling you Henry, and then you yank them away for thinking logically! =) You must remember the emotional basket-case I was at one time, so that should have only given me MORE points. I'm sorry that you're uncomfortable with my making choices that most please God. That is how I view this thing. I am uncomfortable with both men also, just a little more uncomfortable with one. Ok-- a LOT. I try to live my life -- entertainment, choice of words, places I go, how I dress, people I vote for -- in a way that I feel that God would be pleased with. I can't see how I can separate my Christian walk with my choices. All of them. C'mon now. Are you suddenly an old order mennonite, amish, JW?? I think that we as Christians should not just roll over, but take a stand for (OR AGAINST, in my case for this election) what standards would most align with Scriptures -- just like all the other choices I have to make in my daily life. If for any other reason but to keep OBAMA from choosing liberal Supreme Court Judges, since we all know that they're the ones who rule this Land anyway. (and, quite unconstitutionally, I might add!!) All my opinion, of course. Hey -- YOU STARTED IT, Henry.

Ellis Murphree said...

We'll just have to disagree, Shannon. Frankly, policy matters in an election - social policy, fiscal policy, education policy, the roll of government in our lives..... - McCain and Obama both fall way short.

Politically, both of these guys are dangerous (admittedly, Obama is more dangerous than McCain). By the way, if I were going from a purely political perspective, I would vote Obama as a referendum on the Republican Party - they have failed their conservative base at every turn and in the last 5 or 6 years, and we're coming off one of the worst Presidency's of my lifetime....

Btw, I don't mean to beat you up too badly for your logic....I'm just uncomfortable with it. I can't say with a straight face, "God wants me to vote for McCain" anymore than I can say, "God wants me to vote for Obama". And for the record (addressing one of your humorous lines above), I think that the choice of some religious groups to separate themselves completely from the political process is not without merit. How much time, energy, and ink do Christians waste in their constant endeavors to prove their case for a political choice? Does it really matter? Do things ever really change?

Ellis Murphree said...

Hi Hannah!

It's good to hear from you....I keep wondering if you're going to be getting your blog back up and running one of these days ;-)

I would be incredibly surprised if Obama would be able to take away any of our Christian freedoms (even if he wanted to). The backlash would be too great...he would lose all power because the GOP would take over both Houses of Congress in short order. Perhaps I'm naive, but I don't view him as a "boogieman"; just a liberal with an extremely aggressive socialistic agenda.

I'd encourage you to check out the facts regarding Obama's stances on religion over on one of the three major non-partisan fact check web sites, or run one of the emails about his being some radical Muslim through Snopes. I don't want to sound like I'm endorsing him, but there's a whole bunch of misinformation out there regarding him.....

Marty Colborn said...

Ellis,

Good for you. I always feel bad when someone questions a person's salvation (or at least relationship to God), for choosing not to vote. I sometimes feel that the person who is doing that is also intimating that he is going to think less of me, and that our friendship will suffer if I don't take the same political stand that he does. The Bible doesn't teach us that we should vote, it's only the "for evil to prosper" thing that somebody famous said way back when. We are to pray for our leaders, but not run around like chickens with our heads cut off, pulling all the strings we can pull to see that McCain gets elected. Not that chickens ever pull strings, but a mixed metaphor is all that I could come up with at this time. I don't really know that things will change too much either way. We still have all the abortion things going on now, even though we have a Republican president. I know the response to that also: "It's the Democrats' fault."

I also noticed that McCain is interested in cradle to grave government involvement in our lives as well as Obama (the area of education is one particular), as if the government could fix what is wrong with us. Republicans as well as Democrats seem to be expecting the government to take care of all our problems, which must, of necessity, involve extra spending, more socialism, and fewer personal freedoms.

MC

Ellis Murphree said...

Marty,

Maybe you should have written this article instead of me....you say more with less words, mixed metaphors notwithstanding. :)

When it comes to the current two Party system, I'm more and more convinced that we will always get nothing more than different shades of the same color.

Anonymous said...

Ellis,

My beautiful wife directed me to your blog. Interesting note, and I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Both men are socialists, and both have definitely made questionable decisions. Our hope is not in these men, and as much as we like to think we effect the outcome, God is in charge.

Interesting jab against Sarah Palin, because she is in fact just as qualified for the presidency as Obama whom you have an ambivalence towards. It is a misguided notion to think that you are washing your hands of the whole thing by not voting.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122420205889842989.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

The best thing about all of this is that we can and must be united by Christ no matter what our political leanings are.

Andrew Wymer

Ellis Murphree said...

Thanks for the comment, Andrew.

I would take issue with the notion that Palin is "just as qualified for the presidency" as Obama. And I would disagree with you in two respects: first of all, Obama has been involved on the national - and international - scene for longer than Palin has been even governor. He was also in a state legislature for as long (maybe longer) than she was a mayor of a small community. From a practical perspective, Obama knows and understands national and international politics because he's been involved with them...Palin doesn't because she hasn't. And despite what the GOP contends, her "executive experience" is hardly the trump card...by their logic, she is more qualified than McCain as well. Secondly, Obama is just smarter....people take him seriously - even those outside the Democratic Party. Palin has stirred up the base of the GOP for three reasons - gun control, abortion, and her polarizing language. Besides all that, when's the last time you saw a presidential or vice-presidential candidate wink so much!

By the way, the link you reference tot he WSJ article is the main reason I would rather McCain win than Obama. Complete control by either Party is extremely dangerous, IMO.

Your last statement is an important one, brother. And that concept is the catalyst that motivated me to write this article in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Who am I talking to here? It sounds like Katie Couric's or David Axelrod's talking points? Are they paying you to keep the fundamentalist vote home? ;) I would strongly disagree with you about Palin's readiness for the presidency. You cite two reasons why Obama is more experienced, and I think both are liberally skewered in the favor of Obama.

Time-served. Obama has been in elected office longer than Palin. True. What did he accomplish in that time? Have you seen his voting record? Let's just say it is a horrid mess. Besides being a liberal activist, he voted "present" one hundred and thirty times. Just because Obama has served more time than Palin does not mean that he is more prepared to be president. Look at what he did in his time in the Illinois senate. I think it is safe to say that it was merely a stepping stone to something bigger. He was putting in his time. Name to me one example of leadership which he displayed.

Intelligence. BO is smart. His educational pedigree is top-notch; however, you are discounting Palin's intelligence merely because it is not Ivy League. Those within the elitist left would like you to think that an Ivy League education is far more superior than the University of Idaho (or wherever she graduated from. I am here as an intelligent, booksmart person to tell you that this is not the case. I don't have to tell you that there are different kinds of intelligence. Palin and Obama have two different unique brains. All I care about is what they have done with their brains. Even someone toeing the liberal line has to admit that BO has done very little with his supposed genius while I would propose that Sarah Palin has done a heck of a lot more. Sure there is a certain degree of intelligence needed to be president, but I am more interested in someone's drive and ability to employ their intelligence to lead. That's a word which is not in BO's vocabulary.

So, you may keep toeing the liberal talking points if you so desire, but know that there are many intelligent, educated people who disagree with you and the liberal media.

On the winking. It's Palin's way of connecting, and it particular irritates sexists. I am not necessarily saying you are one, but the only people bothered by it who I have read articles by are def. sexists. Now, maybe you prefer Biden's way of connecting. It's called lying. Secondly, Palin has stirred up a lot more things than those three which you mentioned. So, one more way in which you are falling into the liberal agenda against her.

People take him seriously? I take Obama seriously. He wants to change the very basis of our nation. He wants to turn this country into a socialist country. So, yeah I take him seriously. I know a heck of a lot of people who take Sarah Palin seriously. Maybe you don't know any of them, or maybe you watched biased and skewed SNL one too many times?

You say you want McCain to win, but you aren't willing to vote to accomplish that? Are you thinking about what you are saying?

Okay. Ellis I don't even know you. I know that you are my brother in Christ, and I love you for that. If you don't want to vote that is your choice... I do hope I can convince you to vote, and I am thankful you live in Kansas which will go McCain whether you vote or not. I am merely trying to encourage you to think about some of these things. I just know that an uncast vote is not merely a blank ballot with no repercussions. I would rather you vote for Obama for the right reasons than to not vote at all.

Andrew Wymer

Anonymous said...

One more comment I heard in reference to BO...

"Barack Obama loves the future; it's where all of his accomplishments lie."

Ellis Murphree said...

Andrew,
My desire is not to simply regurgitate the liberal talking points. I'm not a liberal - I'm quite conservative. BTW, we've met once or twice back when you and your wife were just "friends" :)

I'll address a couple of your points here:

First of all, my point about Obama's experience is a purely objective analysis. Regardless of his voitng record (or lack thereof) he's served to elected offices for longer than Palin. Not only on the local and state levels, but also on the national scene. His policial experience in matters of national and international policy is greater than hers - that point cannot be denied.

Regarding intelligence, I don't mean to insinuate that Palin is lacking intelligence. However, Obama's Ivy League credentials and his passing of the bar exam are significant. That's not meant to be a criticism of Palin's educational accomplishments, just (again) a matter of fact. Obama sounds like the most intelligent guy in this race right now - granted, it's just words, but that's an observation I've made.

My knock on taking Palin seriously has to do with the fact that she seems to have been selected for purely politically expediant purposes rather than any qualifications she might have (other than her ability to deliver a line). Palin has yet to demonstrate (in the few interviews she's been allowed to give) that she can go toe-to-toe with a tough interviewer. Obama, on the other hand, went toe-to-toe with Bill O'Reilly and managed to come off pretty well. Palin got destroyed in a Couric interview that wasn't even tough!

My negative feelings about Palin are not based in the shallowness of political satire; they are based in the shallowness of her. The argument can be made that Obama is also fairly shallow, but he's managed to hide it more convincingly than she has. The facts regarding the two are that Obama has made a meteoric rise in the political spectrum based on his own strength. Granted, it's had much more to do with style than substance, but he's made a name for himself through hard work. Palin, on the other hand, is a national figure because McCain needed something that could garner as much excitement as "the black guy". Call that a "liberal talking point" if you wish, but I'll never be convinced that Palin would be on this ticket if the Democratic ticket would have been Clinton/Obama, Clinton/Biden, or Obama/Clinton. Any respect I had for McCain left the day he chose her.

Andrew, I respect your feelings that you would rather me vote for the wrong guy for the right reasons than for me to not vote at all; however, I just don't share that conviction. I grow more and more apathetic about the political world as the two Parties continue to look more and more alike. At this point, I could really care less who wins, but I certainly cannot justify endorsement of either one of these tickets (that's what a vote is - the ultimate endorsement).

You're certainly more passionate about this than I am, brother! I'll give you a word of encouragement.....if the "worst" happens and Obama wins, you can look at the bright side. His Presidency will closely resemble that of Jimmy Carter (who you probably don't remember). His talking points match Carter's almost to the letter and his Presidency is likely to be every bit the failure. I can't imagine that Obama lasts more than one term. After that, the Republicans should get three to four terms in the oval office. Hopefully those terms are filled with Presidents cut out of a similar cloth to that of Reagan rather than that of Bush or McCain....

Thanks for your interaction here, brother. You're making my think!!!

Hannah W said...

Would you vote for Palin if she ran for president?

Also, just wondering where you are reading most of your news? I don't think that you and I are reading the same news articles. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a "worst" here... I believe that verse in Daniel which says God raises up kings, and he takes the down.

Well, we will have to disagree on Obama's readiness and qualifications vs. Palin, and I still think intelligence is only as valuable as that which it accomplishes. Also, Obama's selection as Democratic nominee is largely due to his "ability to deliver a line"... His speeches are what carried him over Hillary. (With a little help from ACORN...) The only reason he is even the nominee today is because of the liberal media.

My respect for McCain jumped a lot after he picked Palin. That took kahunas. I don't think it was purely political any more than Obama's choice of Biden to cover his complete lack of foreign policy experience. They both chose people who complimented them well.

Your last paragraph is so true! My cousin is the media relations guy for a senator in D.C., and that's his spin on the whole thing. If Obama gets elected he will be a one-termer, and the country will be Republican for twenty years. However, it could take twenty years to undo all that he will do. That's not even talking about the hit he will make on the judiciary system.

I can't say I blame you on the apathetic attitude toward politics. I was in the same boat until I started doing some research on Obama. The image which he gives to the mainstream public is false and covers up a very dangerous man. McCain is nothing special; however, I think Palin will be. Are you familiar with Margaret Thatcher's rise to power? It is kind of similar to Palin, and I think Palin will be the next "Iron Lady".

I was worried earlier that I might have offended you, and I don't want my political leanings to ever alienate me from another Christ-one. May Christ's peace be with you.

Andrew

Ellis Murphree said...

Hannah - I read mainly Fox and MSNBC. Those are also the two networks I watch witha bit of CNN mixed in for good measure.

Andrew - no offense, brother. When it comes to politics, thick skin i s required if one chooses to embark on a conversation. These discussions can sometimes get uglier than a discussion on the merits of Calvinism with a bunch of Wesleyans! I admire your passion on this topic and (for the record) I don't disagree with what you say in your criticisms of Obama (for the most part). I'm afraid I'm coming off as an Obama apologist here and that is certainly not me desire. I think he's certainly the most dangerous of the two men running for this high office.

Your comments on Thatcher are interesting.....I'll have to do some reading there. Perhaps you're right about Palin, but I don't see it yet.

I appreciate your spirit, brother.

Slinger said...

Hey Ellis,
So what are you smoking? must be some good stuff... I miss our chats at church, I found a much better church that has a real worship service. I agreed with most of your post but not about the voting part. In the OT God chose Saul to be king because that was who the people wanted. What would have happened if some strong, Godly men and women would have stood up and said no to Saul or even having a king? It would have made a big difference and the nation of Israel would not have the problems that it faces today. Edmund Burke said it so well "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing". Our problem is that as Christians we are content to watch from the sideline, be brainwashed by fox(which isn't that conservative), cbs,abc or whoever, and are too lazy to find a third-party candidate that holds their beliefs and values. By the way, our founding fathers didn't have all the media crap and they did just fine. We need leadership that will stand up and say enough is enough that Obama and McCain, just like Saul, isn't good enough. There's not much we can do about this election but we can start building for the next one. Just like our founding fathers faced the tyranny of the British, we face the same corruption and abuse of the constitution in the political system. Its time for change, it's time for a third-party, it's time to dig our heads out of the sand. Freedom is not cheap but earned with a steep price. That freedom can disappear in hurry with a tyrant as president and majorities of Dems in the House and Senate. It's a slap in the face to the many who have sacrificed and died to not use the freedom that they have given us. You don't deserve the freedom that has been given you if you don't use it and vote. If our generation doesn't do something now the future that we leave our children will be very bleak. Hope this wasn't too harsh, this stuff kind of fires me up. You and family need to come to Clay... I'm sure I could find some steaks to grill...
Love my freedom
Andrew Slingsby

Ellis Murphree said...

Andrew,
Good to hear from you, brother...but you know, we haven't spoken for months and you open up the dialogue by accusing me of smoking crack and slapping our troops in the face?!?! :)

Listen man, I'm all for a Third Party candidate, as soon as there is a viable one again. We haven't had a viable one since Perot in '92 - (by "viable", I mean having a chance to actually win). No Third Party candidates that I'm aware of runs with the goal of winning, rather they run with the goal of taking votes away from the Party that they most closely identify with.

Regarding your assertion that I don't deserve freedom if I choose not to vote....that's just ridiculous. I take advantage of, and am very grateful for, the freedoms I have on a daily basis. This year, I'm extremely grateful that I have the freedom to abstain from voting. :)

Saul is an interesting study, but I think you misspeak when you assert that Israel wouldn't have the problems they have today if it weren't for Saul's reign. God had promised that Israel would have these sorts of troubles several times early on in Genesis. All problems we see in society today and throughout history have their root in basic sin and disobedience to God. Men are corrupt, and they behave wrongly. No system of government will work perfectly every time, simply because men are involved. Goodness, Israel was a mess in the OT regardless of the system of government.

Now, you say that our problem is that Christians "watch from the sideline". On this we agree...sort of. I'm not really sure how involved in politics a Christian needs to be. It's distracting and it stirs up passions and emotions that end up being misplaced. However, if Christians were more involved in society as a whole.....if we were taking care of the widows, homeless, poor and needy - if we were showing Christ's love to others on a consistent basis daily.....well, perhaps the country as a whole would be better off, and politics wouldn't be such a big deal.

BTW, don't tease me with steaks unless you mean it!!!!!

Hannah said...

Ellis,

With the election only a week away I think about your blog post almost every day. I recommend that you check out www.drudgereport.com for some real news. Also, another good website is Act for America. It is a website dedicated to informing Americans how the Islamic religion is taking over our culture and country day by day. Hopefully, you will give a little more thought to election and change your mind to vote!