Yesterday, I reflected on the idea of a “relational vote.” Before I went out to vote, I asked a bunch of people who they think I should vote for to be the next President, and why? I received some interesting responses. I also placed the question as my Facebook status but asked them to keep it short and stay away from slandering, and I received many replies very quickly. I also asked my wife what she thinks is best for our family.
Here are some of my favorites [I cannot (and will not because I don't have the time) verify everyone's statements as factually true, and also to protect privacy I did not include the names of the persons, save one]:
- Tim told me to vote for whoever I felt was best. Thanks, Tim – no help at all. He still thinks everyone already asks others who they should vote for and why. Poor, Tim.
- An extended family member told me I should vote for McCain because s/he feels that he’ll be better for the poor economy
- I had 2 people suggest that I vote for them. Sorry, I didn’t. In all fairness, one of those people told me to vote for life over money.
- “vote for obama- he cares and he genuinely wants to heal this country. even though he’s young, risky and radical- isn’t that what we need? don’t we need to see things like social security and health care reformed? don’t we need to see college made more affordable? don’t we need to see tax savings for the middle class? the working poor? don’t we ..“
- [Same person later wrote] “voting for one or two ‘hot topic’ issues such as abortion or questioning patriotism is archaic. i agree with [#7]- ‘who represents the policies and issues that are the best for most people’. vote for what’s really important and what really matters because when everything is said and done it’s not really about you or me, it’s about all of us.”
- “Hey Ev hope this helps Im voting today based on Spiritual conviction… the sanctity of LIFE, the sanctity of MARRIAGE (one man, one woman), sanctity of my Christian Freedoms! Also I do know and heard straight from Obama’s mouth that he has been to flag burning ceremony’s, he believes in partial birth abortions and will not wear an american pin because he ‘doesnt want to take sides’. Hey I dont think that either canidate is good for the job but Mccain def fits more of my beliefs than Obama does…”
- “Even if you think Obama is going to win and how cool it will be to have our first ‘black’ president, showing we do love and accept all peoples in our country, you need to vote your conscience, who represents the policies and issues that are the best for the most people? That is who you should vote for, Evan. Who is that to you? You are free to pray, ask God’s direction and then do what you have to live with whether is will be what the majority wil decide by tonight!”
- “Bob Barr. He doesn’t advocate big government and has more realistic plans for reforms…”
- [Same person later wrote] “I think there is more than one person who posted here [Facebook] that needs to recognize that legislating morality is harmful to the spread of Christianity (or simply Judeo-Christian values for some) because it galvanizes those who oppose it. The point really is that people won’t stop having abortions and people won’t stop living in homosexual relationshipsunless they are changed by the Holy Spirit who works through people on the earth, not legislation. Also, legislating morality leads to a more socialist government because it gives the government too more power. (i.e. if we defined marriage as man-woman in the Constitution, then it opens the door for future generations to change the constitutional definition of marriage. Why not give them civil unions and be done with the issue?) Why don’t we keep the power to govern ourselves and act as Christians are supposed to by interacting with people who don’t believe in order to change them?”
- “if u havent made up ur mind by now dont vote. i voted for mccain because not only is he the most experienced, but he also is pro life and against gay marraige. he also respects my rights to own guns”
- “there r some 200 candidates to choose from. I got my application in late so when i went to vote there wasn’t anyone to vote for. so I abstained from the presidential vote. although i did vote for state level positions. so vote with your heart Ev.”
- “i refuse to be a two issue voter. Are those issues important? Yes, but I won’t let abortion and gay marriage dominate who I vote for. So what if we were to vote someone who is pro-life, anti gay marriage, but has no clue how to run the country? Then where would we be?”
- “The day I take a real, vested interest in voting is the day when my county or township gets together, decides on issues and goals that matter to us, and then a candidate comes in and tells us how he/she will accomplish those goals. Our system is backwards.”
- “So Ev who are you voting for?!?!?! haha”
So, I carried these statements and about 8 or 9 more on my conscious as I went into the voting booth. I took my community (Facebook and others) with me as I struck my vote for President.
Here’s what I learned – it’s easy to talked about people as “them.” You know, “Them, democrats.” “Them, McCain supporters.” But I think for the first time in my voting career I actually saw good dialogue between “all of us,” people of my community, attempting to persuade one to a particular candidate that they feel is best for me, themselves, and the rest of us. Then, my vote matters because only then am I making a decision for my community of friends and family knowing full-well that I could hurt or protect them with my vote. That’s a lot of responsibility. But it’s a good one.
Really, what I learned is that talking is possible. We can dialog. We can have conversations. We can be in community together and learn from one another. We can disagree, but we can talk.
Yeah, I like that this talking thing.