Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Respond to the Election Results

It's hard to believe the election is already a month behind us. Harder still to believe I'm just now getting around to this post, the last in my post-election series.

To recap what I've already written: Based on the analysis I did in The Candy Store Generation, I made election outcome predictions for the House, Senate, and Presidency that were mostly spot on. I based these predictions on 1) the Baby Boomers were not going to vote for those who would close the candy store on them, and 2) the Had Enough Generation, whoever they are and whether they were going to show or not, were not strong enough to overcome the Boomers. I was wrong in the Senate, where personalities seemed to reign more than ideology, and idiotic statements by two candidates pulled others down. At least that's my view from flyover country.

One other conclusion I draw, which I posted about, is that the true divide in this country is not by party or ideology, but by urban vs. non-urban. Or maybe that should be location drives ideology.

Now, how do I respond to this? My predictions were not in my self-interest, nor did they reflect who I wanted to win. I called it as I saw it, based on my generational theory and the data I pulled in from various news sources. By the day after the election I was so sick of politics I didn't want to hear it any more, and felt like withdrawing, and hoping the Had Enoughs show up in my lifetime, in time to turn the country around.

But is withdrawal the right response? Is it the Christian response. Part of the debate that's going on, not so much in the mainstream media but among individuals I know, is how does the devout Christian respond to this? How does the devout Christian engage in politics?

My first thought is that I'm not a salesman for any political party, nor for any ideology. As an evangelical Christian I am a salesman for Jesus Christ. My main job is to see the greatest possible number of people get to heaven, and to get there marching triumphantly, not limping along. Anything I would do that would lessen my ability to do that is counter-productive, and something that I shouldn't do.

But meanwhile I'm in the world, working a full time job, a member of a community, resident of a state, citizen of a country. I live in a land where any individual citizen has a voice through the ballot box and through the First Amendment. I should always avail myself of those opportunities to have my voice heard, rejoicing in what country I live in, and using my voice in a way that glorifies my Savior.

But that doesn't mean I should be an outspoken advocate for a specific cause or policy. For example, in Arkansas we voted on legalizing medical marijuana. Believing this action doesn't glorify Christ, I voted against it. But I did not advocate against it. The reason: my life is not affected, so far as I can tell, if some patients smoke it and some potheads pretend to be sick so they can smoke it. I will continue to refrain from using such drugs, and will work to convince others, as individual opportunities arrive, that they shouldn't use them either.

In fact, most of the policies that seem to unite evangelical Christians against other groups are the sort of things that, in my opinion, will be harmful to society but won't really affect me. Why should I be outspoken about them, when to do so will only alienate someone who I might be able to influence positively for the kingdom of God?

This post is too long and I'm only half done. Look for more in another post.


vero said...

Politics and political ideas can become very divisive. Unity is what Christians are called to, not division.

We will not agree on all things, but lets agree to walk in unity and love.

I enjoyed this post. I look forward to the next.

David A. Todd said...


Thanks for stopping by the blog. Glad you enjoyed the post.