No, I Really Don’t


… have to vote for one of the major party candidates come November.

I’m going to take a break from not posting anything political. I haven’t stayed away from political posting because I think politics is bad and Christians shouldn’t be involved. I welcome the involvement of everyone in politics. For me, it is a matter of priorities. I choose to post about the gospel and about dialogue, especially but not exclusively among Christians. I’m still not going to tell you how I will vote, but rather about how I make the decision.

I have been registered as independent, not a member of either major party, for about 28 years. I honestly can’t remember (and have no records), whether it was 1986, 1988, or 1990 when I changed my registration from Republican to Independent, but it was one of those. The reason was that I could not accept being counted as a supporter of either of the major parties. I could say that my hope was to get the two parties removed from their privileged legal position. I do wish that, but “hope” is too strong a word. I have been told that I have given up much of my ability to influence the course of politics by this decision.

I have been told that I have given up much of my ability to influence the course of politics by this decision. I’m told by the same people that my one “vote” in changing my party affiliation is no sufficient to be meaningful. I find that oddly contradictory.

Each presidential election I have been told that I need to vote for one or the other of the major candidates, because one of them would become president (or holder of some other office), and indeed this is right. In all the elections in which I have voted, one of the major party candidates has won. In most cases, I voted for one or the other of them, though I have voted for other candidates on occasion.

And you know what? One of the major candidates won, no matter what I did. That was expected. I probably had an impact on that by taking away my vote from whichever major party candidate I would have voted for had I not voted third party or independent. In each case, I fully accepted that result.

The reason for all this is that I don’t belong to any of the political tribes into which we seem to be divided. I would never pledge to support the nominee, whoever that is, in either major party. I cannot call myself a conservative, a liberal, or even a libertarian, though I have some affinities for positions held by each.

Let me illustrate.

I am strongly opposed to foreign military intervention in almost all circumstances. I think that trying to occupy other countries and do “nation building” is especially unproductive—no, make that destructive—because for some reason other countries are not as enthusiastic about being made into the nation we think they should be as we are about “building” their nation. There simply aren’t enough troops out there to occupy all the countries where terrorists might hide and be overlooked by the local government.

At the same time, I favor a strong national defense, with the emphasis on intelligence, special operations, and technology, especially developing new technology to detect and deal with 21st-century threats.

I am fundamentally a capitalist, not pro-business, but capitalist. That means I oppose subsidies, corporate bailouts, protectionism, and governmental barriers to entry, such as most licensing laws.

At the same time, I believe in a safety net. The problem with our existing welfare system is not that it gives too much money to people who need it, but rather that it is so complex and unwieldy that it requires a good lawyer to sort out the requirements and an army of bureaucrats to manage it. And I do mean by this that we should not have children starving, we should not have people depending on the emergency room for their medical care, and we shouldn’t have people involuntarily in the street. Of course, there will always be some that we cannot reach, but those that can, should be helped.

I am very conservative in my lifestyle and in my personal ethics and morals.

I am libertarian about what choices others should be allowed to make.

I could go on and on and doubtless bore you to death. Every candidate will, if elected, do things that I consider wrong. When I vote, it’s not a matter of finding a candidate that agrees with me, but of choosing which wrong things I think should take place.

I don’t find this very surprising. That’s politics. I often have the same problem in church. That’s how living as a community, even a fractured community, works. What I refuse to do is tie myself to any party, and I wish more people would do so as well.

Don’t become disengaged, but at the same time don’t feel that you have to support everything because you support something, or nothing, because you can’t support everything. (I put that sentence in there to test your parsing ability!)

I will vote. After I vote, things will happen that I don’t like. That’s also part of living in community.

But I may vote for someone that has no chance of winning. Friends will tell me I threw away my vote. Some of them will think I hurt one major candidate, some the other. Then during the term of office to follow they’ll explain to me that one shouldn’t support any of the minor parties because they didn’t get enough votes.

Well, they got mine.

(Clipart source:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.