I know it seems redundant to say it is Election Season when it officially started six months ago but now is when the electorate, at least those who vote in primaries, really start to engage. Now is also when the endless TV and radio commercials begin. Also, the mail pieces start to hit in January. It can make a person want to scream sometimes! But please do not tune these things out.
What, you may ask, is the purpose of all this? Well, it is all part of the vetting process. The vetting process is the number one best way to pick good candidates, especially at the state and local levels. Sadly, most people never start to pay attention until thirty days before the general election when the candidates have been reduced to just one from each party. The primary candidate pool gives us real choice and that is when we are most needed to engage.
We need to change our thinking regarding election seasons. Instead of being annoyed by all the commercials and mail, we need to actually start keeping our eyes out for key phrases used that can tip us off to their real motives. The candidates running today are set in place so all we can do is pray for discernment as we closely monitor what they say and do.
However, to be proactive we need to start thinking ahead and begin recruiting today for the next election. Start by identifying men and women who would make great leaders at each level of government – local, county, state and federal. This is an ongoing undertaking in order to always have good principled candidates.
We must have candidates filled with honesty, integrity and uprightness of heart who possess the heart of a servant leader. Once these are identified and they express an interest in running for office then we need to dig a little deeper to find out their process for making decisions on issues of importance. What we look for are those who make decisions based on principles found in the Constitution and Bible. Finding out where they stand regarding education, budget/spending and growth of government can tell you whether they can be trusted to listen to their constituents and really make a difference or whether they are more interested in fitting in with the leadership.
There are a lot of candidates who profess to be Christian but once elected they do not vote according to their purported religious beliefs. These we can call campaign Christians. People pleasers make poor representatives at any level of government as do those who are out to advance themselves with more and more power. There are elected representatives in our state houses who are only there for the perks – retirement benefits, women, money, alcohol etc.
One of the reasons that Donald Trump is gaining so much traction is because people believe his wealth insulated him from being susceptible to being bought or influenced by special interests. We have learned the hard way that money buys influence and those representatives who can be tempted with money will be bought off regardless of campaign promises. So it is always good to follow the money and find out who is financially backing the candidate.
We are facing the most important election ever (I know this is overused but it really is true this time) and we must take the time and effort to engage during this process. Just like Christmas decorations etc., the presidential election cycle starts earlier and earlier, last spring the first candidates started talking about running and announcing their intentions. This actually provides us plenty of time to do research on the backgrounds of those with the best chance of winning. All but three have voting records that reveal how true they are to conservative principles or if they can be easily manipulated.
My best advice is to do the research. The internet has made it so easy that we really have no excuse. We should pick the candidate for president that best reflects the ability to meet the need of the time and our values. And it just might be that the one we need is not the most spiritual.
Next Week: Continuation of the Election Season
Dinner Table Discussion Question(s): Reflect on times when you may have not voted because you didn’t like either choice. What was the end result of that decision? Discuss ways you and your family can research the candidates. One option might be to assign one candidate to each person, especially if you have teens. This is a good civics lesson.