Whether you trust in Hillary or trust in Trump, most voters feel we’ve got a bitter pill to swallow on November 8th. I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what your leanings, you are trusting in one of those two outcomes. But what about third parties? This year more than ever, the idea of a third party seems a palatable medicine.
11-year-old Gabe: “What are you reading?”
Me: “Election stuff.”
Gabe: “I could tell. By the look on your face.”
Political discussions “produce the most delightful clashes, the deepest schisms in friends and family, the most hell-like states possible on earth.” Indeed. Four years ago I donned the voice of Screwtape, the sophisticated demon-creation of C.S. Lewis, and wrote that sentiment in a post condemning third-party votes. Back then the mavericks cast their consciences against the dreaded Mitt Romney on the basis of his mormon faith. Mitt Romney, a veritable Mother Teresa in today’s political climate. Miracle and/or apocalypse aside, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected. Polls say Hillary.
What does it look like, a vote of faith? Every vote is a vote of faith in something. The difference is the something. Of course ultimately our trust is in God to take care of our nation. In God we trust. I’m not excising God out of the equation when I say we have but two options. When you have a headache, do you trust God to fix it or do you take a Tylenol? I submit: we have a political migraine, and although I’m ready for God to sweep into the American narrative in a divine coup de grâce and make America sane again/ kind again/ great again/ mine again– God’s plan may be for me to trudge to the polls and check a box.
Some boxes require more faith than others.
Exhibit: Vermin Supreme.He promises free ponies and harsher tooth brushing laws. And he’ll fund research into time travel, ostensibly to go back in time and “kill baby Hitler with my bare hands.” Who can argue with that platform? If you find it insane Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, consider this: Mr. Supreme finished fourth in the New Hampshire primaries.
Hard as I’ve tried to wrap my conscience around a perfect, third-party candidate like Darrell Castle, I can’t move my (let’s face it, inconsequential little) vote into the realm of the theoretical. I can’t get comfortable putting my faith into that box. Here’s why: We’re all passengers on the bus about to be taken over by one of these two drivers. My moral obligation is to give my vote to the one with the least likelihood of crashing the bus. I could throw up my hands and ask Jesus to take the wheel. How many people who will do that with their vote would do that with their car? On I-71.
Because for me, that’s what it comes down to. My actions at the macro and the micro level must match up. I do take Tylenol when I have a headache, and I don’t think it demonstrates moral depravity or lack of faith. I will vote my conscience, within the unfortunate bounds of our electoral system, choosing the lesser evil, having faith that God is ultimately in control of my life and my country. Every day I drive I-71 downtown, twice. It’s harrowing. Sometimes I’ve prayed that God would keep us safe as we make our way through rush hour. But never have I taken my hands off the wheel and asked Jesus to drive.
Again this election cycle, after many an internal and external debate and prayer, I find myself begging my third-party and stay-at-home friends to cast a vote for your favorite bus driver. Or your least-hated bus driver. And if third-party is where your heart is, then by all means, get involved in the process sooner, when they have a chance of making the primetime debates, of getting their plans and values out to the masses. Make third parties a force with which to be reckoned– next election cycle.
Show me your faith without works and I’ll show you my faith by my works. – James 2:18.
Voting for the lesser evil is not a lesser action than a vote for a pure candidate who will not win.
After I check that box, I’m pretty sure life will go on.