We vote the primaries in North Carolina on March 15. I dread it. I have no more idea of who I am going to vote for than before any candidate decided to run. I look at my sample ballot and all it does is fill me with confusion. I hate that feeling.
It brings back memories of when I was in college and the presidential election was upon us. I had a conversation with a classmate whose opinion was that our world would go to hell in a handbasket if Reagan was elected. He was passionate and convincing. He confused me terribly. It was the first time I ever dealt with such strong political opinions of the negative variety. Before I had just heard the positives…why people were voting for a political candidate. This was the first time I really thought about why you would vote against. As a new voter, it added a new dimension. As someone who took voting very seriously, it added some pressure. It made me remember that how I voted could change the lives of the people around me. Could change the lives of my friends and family.
I’d love to pass on voting in this primary. Had I changed my voting affiliation to “Independent” as I had planned, I could pick an easier primary to vote in should I choose. Honestly the only reason I haven’t is that I suspect an “Independent” status would mean twice the number of political phone calls. (Does anyone really change their mind based on those calls? Do people really listen?) So no….I have to vote in my “chosen” party’s primary – which really doesn’t represent who I am as a person. At the moment none do.
Our local elections are a bit easier for me, though I feel a bit less prepared this time than I have in a long time. I feel like I monitor the impact of their offices easier than the candidates whose work is a bit farther away from me and more difficult to directly observe. Because really….how do you judge a president? Oh yes, you can judge by their overall views on specific issues. But the impact of their presidency? So many factors are at play and the results of their presidency impacted by so many others. Much of the impact is seen not while they are in office, but long after their presidency is over.
I will vote on Tuesday, because I believe it is a privilege and a responsibility, though I suspect that it may make me queasy. More media has not helped the process. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Truth from rumors? Good opinions from bad opinions? The sincere from the liars? I don’t feel that I have mastered the process. I know I look at voting differently than most people. I feel no strong party affiliation, and I try to remove the opinions of the self proclaimed “those who know best” from my perimeter. Those who find voting to be too easy are not necessarily those to whom I want to pay too much attention.
I’ll vote for some people, I will vote against others. At times I will vote for people whose views may not be my own, because I think they have a voice that needs to be represented in the political system. I will think and I will pray. I will take it seriously. But I will try to keep it in perspective. And when this primary and subsequent elections are over I will respect those in office because they are our chosen leaders. Even if they are not the leaders I chose. Because in today’s times so many don’t and I can’t see how the total disrespect helps the process. It makes a mockery of the “United” States. “Together we stand, divided we fall.” I still believe it.
God allows leaders to become leaders, both good and bad ones. There are reasons and there are consequences. Ultimately, I believe God is bigger than not only our leaders, but bigger than the will of our people. In that I find comfort. So while I don’t believe in any of the candidates, I do believe in God and that is my highest affiliation. So I will vote with no fear, but with trust in our future, because I am God’s.