The Vote Is Our Voice

Elections imply the people have freedom to choose leaders, policies and direction. In a nation that respects its citizens, the privilege of voting is more than civic duty, it is our voice. After the fund-raising campaigns are done, after political action committees, Super PACs, and dark money, after constant villainizing of opponents and extraordinary resources are spent to influence public opinion, we get to be heard. Our leaders and policies reflect the people’s will as we speak by way of election. In a tangible way, our vote is our voice.

In some countries, elections are fixed, but staged. Outside observers are sometimes sent in to witness a sham. America exerts great effort toward election integrity. Yet our history is shamefully abundant with instances of people being denied their right to vote by device, deceit and violence.

Some declare the 2020 U.S. election was rigged. They cast suspicion, even after great resources and dozens of court cases proved those claims are false. Some are actively working to legally rig future elections in their favor! Tearing the fabric of our union, it is destabilizing. This democracy is in danger.

If you are one of those awakening to facts, where people you trusted disappointed, and you made poor choices as your beliefs were misinformed: don’t stay bound to such persons, party or sources, especially when you were lied to. If you know better now, it’ll take courage and determination to wade out of those sweeping waters.

One man who worked in a number of White House (Republican and Democrat) administrations told me, “First, and foremost, you need to understand, they are all liars.” The problem is not just one group.

Bible believers are taught to pray for all in authority, that we may live quiet, peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty. Some of us try to remain apolitical, to vote candidate, conscience and issue. But after political organizers married their agendas to religious associations, using outrage, reward and manipulation, it feels as if enablers sold their sacred office and lost their prophetic voice. People are easily rallied, misled and understandably confused by such malpractice.

As to parties, one group I once thought more highly of has so thoroughly discredited itself, that in my view, they have utterly disqualified themselves from any consideration. But they did it to themselves. Want to find credibility again? After you unpretentiously own it before God, start with two things: only speak what is true, and always use the same measure for yourself, for your opponents and every other.  Some may find a credibility reset and actually become trustworthy.

After decades of this nasty, divisive, zero-sum, scorched-earth practice of treating those of differing views as one’s enemy, to be reduced to only us-versus-them, I want to remind all of us, we are in this together. Really.

What has so vehemently divided us? What enemy has whispered in our ear and rehearsed discord, daily?  What has caused us to fear our neighbors, permitted us such disrespect that we devalue, demonize and dismiss the other? Who does this serve and who profits from it?

At a Republican State Convention in 1858, Abraham Lincoln said, “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”  In this speech, Mr. Lincoln famously quoted Jesus, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Today we should acknowledge: this house can collapse.

In Acts 27, Paul was on a ship to Rome, a prisoner. On that ship, there were levels of power and class divisions consisting of an owner, sailors, business interests, and the government’s interest, consisting of soldiers and prisoners.  These parties voyaged together on the same ship. The welfare of one was tied to the other, regardless of rank, wealth or position. What carried one, carried all. What endangered one, endangered all. 

In this case, a fierce storm drove the ship aground near land where two seas met. As violent, crashing waves tore that ship to pieces, business interests were already lost. Food was gone. Hope seemed lost. What remained were the people. Look at those class distinctions again: owner, sailors, soldiers and prisoners. Of all, the prisoners had least power, and the soldiers planned to kill them. Even so, as the ship fragmented, all on board could have perished.

The Roman centurion prevented soldiers from killing any prisoners and commanded all on board who could swim to jump overboard and swim to shore. Those who could not swim, were told to grab a board or a floating part of the ship and get to shore.  All of them survived the shipwreck.

Across class and power, democracy’s survival, our welfare, yours, mine and theirs, is necessarily connected. Regardless of anyone’s plans, we’re in the same boat. Even when violently threatened, our present and future are linked together. Value and hope are in that connection. I urge you to speak that same value and hope into our future. Our future. The vote is our voice.

By Frank Robinson

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