Voting on Principle

When I was in 3rd grade, I voted for Bill Clinton.

I don't remember why.

It's a general fact of elementary school elections, the incumbent president always wins. He wins because the students actually know who he is. They're familiar with him and he feels somehow like their president. They feel safe with him (or hopefully someday her), and trust him even if their parents are voting for the other guy.

So I can't explain why my 10 year old self voted for Clinton.

Maybe it was an early sign of a rebellious nature--I voted against Bush, knowing my parents would be voting for him. Maybe I really had a thing for saxophone playing politicians. Maybe I didn't like the sound of George Bush, Sr.'s voice.

I'm not sure.

One of my elementary school clients told me yesterday he voted for Obama in the school election.

So I asked him, "Why'd you decide to vote for Obama?"

"Well...because Mitt Romney said he would take away funding for Sesame Street because it wasn't educational anymore. And I like Sesame Street and I think it's educational. I learn stuff on it."

I was impressed with his reasoning. I don't know if it's true or not about Mitt and Sesame Street (I certainly hope it's not true because Sesame Street is awesome), but I was pretty proud of this eight-year-old choosing to vote on his principles.

It's the best any of us can do.

When it came down to this election, I was more than a bit confused.

Confused because I'm a social justice minded, libertian deregulator, pro-all-life (from conception to the grave), feminist, pacifist.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg with each of those words only capturing a small bit of what I mean when I say them.

Yeah, my political party doesn't exist. And my candidate? Well, he didn't get elected. He wouldn't have no matter what the result election night.

Four years ago, I was just as stumped.

I won't tell you differently. I was swept right up in Obamamania right along with everyone else.

But coming to a vote, something just didn't sit right with me. And something didn't sit right with me about the other guy either.

Under the influence of Shaine Claiborne and Chris Haw and the Jesus for President tour, those not-right-sitting feelings started to rumble.

Then I read an article in TIME which said something along the lines of some kings are born to be kings, some kings are born in mangers and some kings are made on the backs of movements (don't quote me on that and don't ask me who wrote it because those lines just stick in my memory and this was four years ago, people).

That was it for me. I liked Obama. I wanted to vote for him, but Obama was not/is not/will not be (and I don't think would want to be) Jesus.

With these not-right-sitting feelings on voting day, I did something super-cheesy. I didn't vote for Obama. I didn't vote for McCain. I didn't vote for a third party candidate. Instead I wrote in the name Jesus.

I called it a protest vote.

I meant to say, Today, God, he's still God. Yesterday he was God. Tomorrow he will be God. He will be God every day after that. And nobody and nothing should be more important than that fact.

I meant to say, God I believe in you and I believe you care for the least of these and for the mourners and for and for the widows and for the orphans and for the rich young man and for the adulterous woman and for the Pharisees and the Sadducees and all of us.

I meant to say, No matter who is elected, no matter what way our country is led, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Yes, it was super-cheesy, and sometimes when I look back on the decision, I feel naive and idealistic. But my thirty year old self doesn't regret the actions of my twenty-six year old self or her ten year old self, for that matter.

I stood on my principles, and you should never regret standing on your principles.


In case you're curious, I didn't cast a write-in vote this year.

I voted for the Prez/VP team I thought came closest to the iceberg that is my political ideology. But I cast my vote knowing, no matter what happened, no matter what road may be ahead for our country, God is still bigger than any political engineer.

God didn't stop being God because the wrong guy was elected. God's not going to stop being God because we screwed up and pressed the wrong button in the voting booth or didn't vote at all.

No matter what direction our country might be going in, I take great comfort in that.