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02 November 2018

“The most important election of your life,” it’s not.

And not just because people say this every election.

Election Day in the United States is this coming Tuesday. I confess: I still haven’t yet read my state’s propositions. I’m gonna, ’cause they’re the most important thing on the ballot. Not the candidates, and that includes the people running for governor and mayor. The stuff in the propositions directly affect citizens’ lives in a significant way on a consistent basis.

Our elected officials? Yeah, they can affect us in a similar way. Like when they wanna radically change things, and that’s the platform they’re running on. Or when they have no such agenda, but they’re fools who lack self-control. It doesn’t like we have any such people in the current crop of candidates, other than the third-party folks who seldom poll well and rarely win. True, partisans are claiming the opposition party’s candidate is one of those radicals or fools, but that’s an old political tactic meant to put fear in the voters and rile up the base.

But once again, this election is being touted as “the most important election of your life.” Because we have to get out there and vote. If you’re Republican, it’s because it’s vital to keep control of the Congress. If you’re Democrat, it’s because it’s vital to kick out the Republicans and finally make the Congress a real check and balance against the president. And if you’re independent… we all know you’re fully in support of one party or the other, but like to depict yourself as above it all or smarter than partisans—and you’re not fooling anyone.

Me, I’ve spent the last 30 years hearing partisans insist no, this is the most important election ever. I mean, the previous one was a big deal, but this one is for all the marbles. So vote!

Meh. I’m not saying don’t vote; by all means do. (Especially if some of your elected officials are suppressing your neighbor’s votes; go vote on your neighbors’ behalf.) But the most important election? Even one of the most important elections? We don’t know that.

Because history determines which elections were the most important. Which elections had the biggest impact on the United States, and the world outside it. Which candidates changed America the most for the better, or worse. Which laws helped or ruined the most people. We don’t know any of this stuff till after the fact. We can guess, but we’ve no idea.

Not that prognosticators don’t insist they know.

In my teens and 20s I listened to the Christian Right warn me about all the terrible, ruinous stuff that was gonna happen to America if the Democrats won. Believed it, too. Thing is, I have a better-than-average memory. When the Democrats won, and none of their dire predictions took place, I stopped believing in the Right’s worst-case scenarios.

Oh, the Left does it too. And when I started to read some of their warnings about the brutal totalitarian regime the Republicans supposedly want to call down upon us, I knew from experience Republicans don’t think like that. So I don’t believe them either.

Various prophets claim they have an idea, ’cause God told ’em stuff. I have my doubts. Way too many of ’em are filtering God through their partisan beliefs, not through Jesus. Same as all the preachers who don’t claim any prophetic insight, who are entirely sure God’s going to bless America like Jerusalem in Solomon’s day, or condemn America like Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day. There’s way too much civic idolatry blended in with their beliefs. Too much trust in their party and their system, instead of Jesus.

I’m not saying the United States isn’t messed up. Nor that we don’t have buffoons in government leadership; we’ve always had dangerously stupid or blind people in offices for which they lack the character and temperament. But we did kinda rig the system so these people will be hindered by people with either more sense, or opposite views. And, every two years, we get to kick a lot of ’em out if necessary.

Assuming we vote. Which is why we gotta vote.

But I don’t pin my hopes in the vote, the system, the government, the people of the United States to make the right decisions, nor anything that thinks totally messed-up humans—or a party of them—are our salvation. I pin my hopes on Jesus overthrowing all of this, setting up a monarchy, and making everything truly right-minded and fair. Till then, everything is second best. And a rather distant second it is, considering.

Till then, vote for people of good character, who actually prioritize people in their agendas, and who are actually willing to stand up to evildoers and evil deeds in their own party. (That includes both the politicians and the donors, by the way. One’s donors better not have bought their silence.) Vote for people who don’t just say they’re in favor of stuff, but who currently, actually do things to promote it; there are enough hypocrites in office as it is. I don’t care how much you agree with their positions: If they lack good character, you can’t depend on their positions. This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how often partisanship blinds people to the fairly obvious.

And lastly: If your candidates win, don’t be a jerk about it. Keep loving your neighbors. Politics is no excuse for forgetting or refusing to do this.