Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Personalities and Parties and the stewardship of kingdoms in conflict

The culture today does not like binaries, but like it or not this election is a binary situation: Biden vs Trump, the Dems vs the Repubs, Progressives vs Conservatives. You can’t get away from it, and you can’t honestly deny it.

Yes, you can refuse to vote—which I think is a failure on your part to exercise your stewardship. Or you can vote for a third party or write-in candidate, which can be a legitimate, Christ-honoring decision. At least you are voting your conscience.

At the end of the day, however, the result is an inescapable binary: Biden will win, or Trump will win. No matter who you vote for, or even if you refuse to vote, your stewardship of your earthly citizenship is going to be a factor contributing to whomever wins or loses. You are playing a part in the outcome: it’s unavoidable.

There are personalities on the ticket: Biden/Harris, Trump/Pence. A significant portion of the voting public will use their vote to express their like/dislike, respect/disdain for the personalities on the ticket. Character counts.

We pause from our regularly scheduled post for a personal confession: in 2016 I voted third party because I could not bring myself to vote for a character as offensive as Donald Trump. I wrote posts against Donald Trump, because I believed (and still believe) that character counts. My vote four years ago was a considered exercise of the stewardship of my Christian responsibility to engage with this fallen world. This year, however, I will pull the lever for Trump. My reasons will become clear as you read. It has far more to do with worldview than with Trump, Republicans, politics or power. More on that in a minute.

Character does count. The character of our leaders provides a (hopefully) good model for our kids. It creates (or destroys) the president’s credibility with not only world leaders, but our own legislators. It signals to the society at large what sort of behavior is going to be considered acceptable. Character is vital.

But in a presidential election, character is not the only factor; sometimes it isn’t even the most urgent factor. When we are electing a president, we are also electing a party along with its platform and its historic trajectory.

A party’s platform is comprised of its stated intentions in a variety of different areas, typically including things like fiscal priorities, domestic priorities, foreign policy, defense, entitlements and so forth. Usually some portion of the platform is successfully implemented during a president’s term while other portions wind up getting blocked, depending on who controls the Congress.

Everyone knows about platforms, but what about trajectories? Trajectories have to do with where a party has taken the country in the past; in other words, what the party has actually accomplished. The trajectory of a political party is the best, most reliable indicator of where it is going in the future. Trajectory reveals the direction and speed of momentum, regardless of the personalities on the ticket. Presidents come and go, but the momentum of the party tends to continue along the same basic lines it has established in the past.

You can look back fifty years and observe the trajectories established by the two major parties. The Republican party has stood for a conservative, originalist interpretation of the Constitution, conservative moral values, the sanctity of life, support of the family, parental sovereignty, educational choice, freedom of religion, limited government. The sins of the Repubs are many, and I have written about these. Crony capitalism, fiscal irresponsibility, graft, corporate welfare, plenty of examples of high-profile hypocritical moral failure—its all there in the Republican party. But with all its failures, the overall trajectory of the Republican party has been to stay the course and stick to the Constitution.

Over the past fifty years the trajectory of the Democratic party has been very different. While there have been good things produced by the party, the historic path has been a full-bodied support of the sexual revolution, a non-negotiable fanatical support for virtually unrestricted abortion, a growing love of socialism and redistribution, a growing hatred of America and its history, a diminishing of parental sovereignty and the importance of families, limitations on educational choice, encouraging dependence on government, and viewing the Constitution as a “living document” that can be interpreted in whatever way the culture demands.

This momentum in the Democratic party, especially with regard to the LGBTQ+ movement in the last 15 years, has been breathtaking. It is accelerating rapidly, to the point that our country in four years probably will not bear a great deal of resemblance to the America of 2000.

Perhaps you prefer the path on which the Democrats are taking the country. Perhaps you prefer the Republican’s path. Whatever your preference, the trajectories are undeniable—and the party you put in power with your vote will continue its trajectory regardless of the particular personality at the helm.

I published a novel in August, 2016, entitled The Candidate. It was about a fictional character, Henry Marshall, who found himself an independent candidate in a presidential election. Many who read that novel contacted me to say they wished they could vote for Henry Marshall. So do I. But we can’t. Marshall is not on the ticket. The binary possibility is Biden or Trump.

Given the quandary this election presents, I believe that a straightforward vote based on the candidate is not necessarily the wisest decision—in fact, it might be rather short-sighted. Far, far more important in this election is the fact that we are choosing between two well-established, undeniable trajectories. One is aggressively hostile against Christianity, against families, against moral sanity. One is not. When you are presented with the difficult choices this election represents, I am suggesting that what Christians should vote for is trajectory, not personalities.

Many people are not voting FOR as much as they are voting AGAINST. In other words, some Christians are not voting FOR abortion when they pull the lever for Biden (though some are), they are voting AGAINST Trump. Other Christians are not voting FOR Trump (though some are) when they pull his lever, they are voting AGAINST the established Democratic trajectory that threatens the moral sanity and well-being of the country. In fairness to one another, when we disagree we must not accuse each other of moral compromise, because most Christians caught in this Gordian knot will be honestly voting their conscience. But we are going to have to live with the extended consequences of our vote.

My goal is to persuade your conscience that this year, in this difficult election, the weightiest, wisest consideration is not the character of the two men involved (important though that consideration is), but the trajectories their respective parties have established. Given the established record of the past, where will the winning party take the country in the future? Do you really want to live there? Do you want your children to live there?

When you vote for a trajectory, you are voting for a worldview. In my next post I’ll give evidence of the deeply hostile, aggressive posture of the progressive movement (to which the Democratic party is beholden) toward biblical Christianity.

1 comment:

  1. I have thought often over the past months about Henry Marshall, I too wish his name was on the ticket!

    I appreciate this post, and look forward to the next.