In the US, this year, we’re having elections all over the place. Primaries and General Elections
Whether we feel inspired or discouraged, the main issue isn’t whether we’re feeling inspired or discouraged. As people who care about the world we live in and hope to find ways to help, the real issue becomes whether we’re going to do what we can to help. The real issue is whether we’re willing to try with what we have.
The ballot box is one way of trying. Even if we don’t see many good and wonderful options in that ballot box – the issue becomes whether we’re willing to try to do what we can with what we have – or in this case – with who we have.
When we go into the ballot box, we’re not just saying “my vote counts”. We’re also saying, “I matter” – “I count” We’re saying I am one person and I matter in this world, in this nation, in this state, in this county and in this community. I matter. I touch this world. I am here. I am alive. I matter.
Granted, We may not be saying this aloud to anyone. More often, we don’t even realize we’re saying it within our own self. But, we are.
If we believe that as individuals we can have value by being alive, then we count as an individual alive in our world, right now.
Some may ask me, “Jodie, if you know the future or know who is going to win, why do you vote?” My answer is always – because my opinions, my thoughts, my ideas, my feelings have value – maybe not to “you”, but they do to me. And I’m going to express them. I matter and all of that which is within me matters. The other answer is that peoples’ freewill choices can change.
Someone once asked me who I was voting for and I told him. He said I was throwing my vote away, because that person couldn’t possibly win. But, I voted for the person who I WANTED to win, not for who I thought could beat the other person. I voted for who I wanted in the office – not for who I thought had a chance to win against the other person.
To me, I wasn’t throwing my vote away, because I voted for the person I wanted to hold the office. Others have the strategy of voting against “the other person”, whomever it may be that could beat “the other person”. I wonder how many people don’t vote for who they want to hold the office only because they don’t think this person could win. Instead, they vote for someone else because they vote against the other person – thinking this person could have a chance to win. This type of vote is common and it’s focus is – voting against a person, rather than voting for a person. They vote for who can prevent someone else from winning.
We all vote the way we want.
Final thoughts: John Adams once wrote (paraphrasing here) “Either wise men will come forward to run for public office, or others will.”
I add this: “Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser’s” also means contributing in our own way to being a part of the government system that we have accepted in our nation. When wise men and women don’t come forward to run, we are left with those others that do run and get elected. Being part of the citizenry, we still matter. Our vote still matters even when we are called to do the best we can with who we have – those that run.
PS. Someone else (I don’t remember who) mentioned a comment that (paraphrasing again) “when the younger generations [or any of us for that matter] don’t get involved, don’t run for office or don’t vote, this becomes a statement saying to the world, ‘we want rich, white old men determining the direction this country should be going’ [and all it’s policies.]” Obviously that’s a lot of generalized negative opinions, but it is a noticeable comment, nonetheless.
Jodie, very interesting post!
What you wrote strongly reminded me of the following case from Liao Fan’s Four Lessons:
What is ‘big goodness and small goodness’? Once there was a high ranking official named Jung-Da Wei, who was led into the spirit world to be judged for his good and bad deeds. The judge ordered his records of good and bad to be brought out. When the records arrived, Jung-Da was astounded at the courtyard full of his bad records and at the single scroll, which contained his good deeds. The official then ordered the two to be weighed. Surprisingly, the bad records, which had filled the courtyard, were lighter than the single scroll of good deeds, which was as thin as a chopstick. Jung-Da asked the judge…
Jung-Da: I am barely forty years old, how could I have committed so many wrongdoings?
Judge: When you give rise to a single thought that is improper, it is considered a bad offense there and then, it does not have to be carried out through action to be counted as a wrong. For example, when you see a pretty woman and give rise to improper thoughts, that is considered an offense.
Liao-Fan: Jung-Da then asked him what was recorded in the single scroll of good deeds, which outweighed the bad deeds. The judge replied…
Judge: Once the Emperor planned to build a great stone bridge but you proposed against the project due to the hardship and toil it would cause the tens and thousands of people needed for the work. This is a copy of your proposal to the Emperor.
Jung-Da: I did make the proposal, but the Emperor dismissed it and began the project anyway. My proposal had no effect on the matter at all. How can it bear so much weight against my numerous offenses?
Judge: Although the Emperor did not accept your suggestion, that one thought of kindness you bore for the tens and thousands of people was very great. If the Emperor had listened to you, then the good performed would have been even greater.
Liao-Fan: Therefore, when one is determined to do good for the benefit of all people, a small deed can reap great merits.
Thus, if we truly send our one small vote to the best and most moral candidate (whose policies can benefit hundreds of millions or even the whole world by extension), then even if he or she loses by a massive margin, your merits can still be very great! If he or she wins, then your merits will certainly be without compare!
Sorry, but “render unto Ceasar” means quite the opposite. No surprises there, everyone interprets the Bible to fit their own agenda. Jesus replied “render unto Ceasar” when asked how should the Children of God respond to the taxes and oppression of the Romans. What he was really saying is that there will always be these corrupt politicians to bully the people, and it is incumbent upon Christians to love ALL as you love yourself. You must somehow allow the bullies to have their day, and continue with your Christian mission is the meaning. You must shrink from the political way, for it is evil and sinful.