Did You Vote? Judgment Day Has Come!
What you are about to read are my reflections and mine alone. This is my personal blog and should not be perceived as representing in any capacity the congregation I serve as pastor.
Now for my thoughts: It is being said that this is the most consequential election of a lifetime. That may very well be. When it comes to the Presidential election there are essentially two choices—the incumbent Donald Trump or his challenger Joe Biden. In many ways, this is a referendum on the Trump presidency, especially his handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I voted early for Joe Biden. I believe he is not only more capable of serving as president, but unlike the incumbent, he has the moral capacity to bring a divided nation together. He may have his flaws, but he also has a sense of compassion for others that is completely lacking in the current narcissistic President. Enough said about that.
As for voting. I personally believe that it is not only a privilege but a responsibility to vote. It is the primary way we participate in the governance of our communities and nation. The system is not perfect and the persons who fill the offices to which we elect them are not perfect people. If the people in office are not capable of fulfilling their responsibilities, then we have recourse through our votes to change our representatives.
I voted for the first time in 1976. I was eighteen and this was the first Presidential election to be held after the 26th Amendment to the Constitution was implemented. I’ve voted in every Presidential election since then. In that first election, I cast my ballot for Gerald Ford, while many of my friends who now are voting for Donald Trump voted for Jimmy Carter because he was the “Born Again” candidate. I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, though I almost wrote in Gerald Ford. After that, I switched parties and have voted for Democrats since that time.
I titled this piece “Did You Vote? Judgment Day has Come!" Knowing that many reading this had voted early in some form and aren’t going to the polls this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that is surging once again, I simply wanted to encourage those who hadn't voted to make their judgment on our system known. As a family, we ordered our ballots, went through them, put it in the proper envelopes, signed them, and then delivered them to the dropbox conveniently located at City Hall here in Troy (unlike in Texas there is more than one dropbox per county—we have four in a city of 82,000 people). So, the vote is in and now I wait to see how things work out.
Waiting is the operative word. We’ll need to be patient because it may take time for the results to be revealed. It’s quite possible, perhaps likely, that we won’t know with any certainty until tomorrow at the earliest. Though, we may see trends emerging that tell us how things might turn out. But again patience is required, especially this year, with so many votes cast early and by mail. I believe the system will work if we let it.
My greater concern is voter suppression and intimidation. Court challenges are being initiated that are designed to prevent votes from being counted. Then there’s the possibility of intimidation at the polls. Here in Michigan voters can bring their guns to the polls. It’s one of the reasons why my community moved precincts out of the schools to churches and other facilities where children aren’t present. If you go to the precinct and see people with guns on their hips, do you feel safe? These are important questions, which is one of the reasons so many voted absentee.
Now, the Presidential election is important, especially this round. But down-ballot races are just as important. Control of the Senate is at stake, which is why I voted for Gary Peters. Then there’s Congress, and I voted for Haley Stevens for re-election in a district that was designed to elect Republicans, but she was able to flip the seat in 2018 (along with Elisa Slotkin in the neighboring district). She's done a great job. Then there’s the State Legislature, where my friend Padma Kuppa is running for re-election. She flipped a seat that had been traditionally held by Republicans in 2018. And she's tenacious when it comes to doing her best for her community! All three of these individuals are capable and honest representatives of the people. I hope they are all reelected. Then there’s a millage (a property tax assessment) to provide for the local library. If it goes down the busiest library in the county will close down (and Cheryl will be without a job).
So, did you vote? If not, there’s still time, at least until the polls close!