After weeks of leaning back and forth, I have finally come to what I believe is an informed and well reasoned decision in my vote for US President in 2008. I realize that this can be a controversial subject. I realize that this will go against some in my church community. I realize there is just as much brow beating and proselytizing in politics as there is in Christian theology. But I think it is important for us to be able, as a community of believers, as followers of Christ, and as citizens, to openly discuss our views and to openly accept as valid the views of those with whom we may disagree. In that spirit, I want to lay out why I have decided to vote for McCain-Palin and why I won’t vote for Obama-Biden.
At the start of all this, I really wanted to vote for Obama-Biden. In fact, earlier in the year I would say that this ticket had my vote. Probably, as recently as two weeks ago, I was still leaning in their direction. Over the last 2 months I have found myself wavering back and forth between the two sides, sometimes a couple times a week. I was seeing good things from both sides of which I wanted to be a part. Because of my wavering and because of my genuinely feeling like I was mostly unsettled on which candidate to chose, I upped the intensity of my search to understand each side in depth. I’ve read more print. I’ve watched more news. I’ve looked at more websites. And I have intentionally tried to expose myself 50/50 to both more liberal sources and more conservative sources. It is this search that has allowed me to come down solid on the side of McCain-Palin. And it really does not have much to do with the “traditional” conservative or Christian issues of abortion, stem cell research, same sex marriage, blah, blah, blah. It has much more to do with a fundamental difference between the two sides on the way they think about the US.
I’ve looked at plenty of sources from Christian guys whom I respect such as Brian McLaren who have openly stated their support for Obama-Biden. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Christians who are openly supporting this camp. I think it is good for there to be room in Christianity for that which is other than “right wing” Republican. Most of these guys cite reasons for their support that center around justice for the poor, concern for the environment, a stance that uses force as a last resort in the world, and a recognition that US imperialism is not necessarily a good thing. We are not God’s “anointed nation” in the world, therefore justifying everything we do in the world as “God’s work.” I agree with all that. These are very critical issues, and I believe in all of them. I believe that we need to work on all of them. And I follow right along with Obama-Biden on the importance that they place on them. But I still won’t vote for them.
Now I am not voting for McCain-Palin because they have all the right answers to these issues. They don’t. But I do believe that they understand that these issues have critical importance to us and our world. I do think that these issues are on their radar in a big enough way. And I don’t think that John McCain is just another George Bush. President Bush has done a lot of good, especially on Home Land Security, but he has also struggled big time in several areas not the least of which is Irag. But Mr. McCain is a smart, solid, honest guy who understands where President Bush made mistakes and will work like a dog to correct them. But while I do feel the Senator McCain is a solid guy, I wouldn’t say that he is my ideal candidate, and I do think in some ways that my vote is more against Obama-Biden than it is for McCain-Palin. So why?
In short, Senator Obama is trying to bring about socialism. Plain and simple. His confession about “wealth redistribution” reveals what he truly thinks. And I don’t believe that socialism works on a large scale. I fully understand that early Christian communities were basically socialist in many ways, and that it worked well for them. And in small groups, I am willing to consider that socialism may even be a better way. But there are plenty of examples, even in small groups such as the first Plymouth colonies, where socialism was tried and abandoned because of failure. And in large groups, while I am aware that there are examples of socialism working as a form of government (some Eastern European countries for example), there are also plenty of examples of socialism leading to wide-scale human atrocities (Lenin, Stalin, Marx for example). Many would even say that socialism is just the first step towards communism, and that is certainly something of which I want no part as a form of government.
I have wondered why people in high places of government would want socialism. Is it because they are truly genuinely concerned about humanity and believe that this is the best way to get at the common good? I suppose that could be their motive. That would be the right motive. And I think that is what most of the outspoken Christian leaders have as their motive. But honestly, I think they are being fooled by the Obams-Biden rhetoric. I think they are believing in a hollow promise. I think the rhetoric is a sham. Government types want socialism because it brings them power. More power than they have now. And the thirst and lust for power is just as strong as the thirst and lust for money. So the saying goes, “How much is enough? Just a little bit more.” Socialism in government brings power to those in charge. And I am not willing to give them that much power. I don’t trust them with it.
So why else am I against socialism. I am against socialism because it removes individual responsibility. The government has all the power so it is the entity that becomes responsible. Socialism allows people to live on an excuse. It allows us to say it is not my fault. It removes our incentive to work hard and get better and fight against the injustice. It allows us to say that we don’t have to work hard to get better. It allows us to say that there is no value in the struggle. It falsely tells us that we can live without struggle and without pain and without effort. Socialism brings the false hope that it is a panacea for all that ails us. Those things are in this world, and they will always be a part of this world until its Creator brings it to rights himself. We can and should try to make it better. But I don’t think socialism is the best platform from which to start.
I fully realize that capitalism is not a panacea either. It has a tendency to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It tends to kick those that are already down. In a lot of ways, it fosters consumption and greed. It can take our focus off the environment because we see it as a tool to use rather than for which something to care. It can bring about injustice for the sick and needy because of the fallacy that maybe they are getting what they deserve. But our current system also fuels ingenuity and hard work and personal responsibility. And I think that is a better foundation from which to tackle the issues that have been named above.
In closing, yes we have problems in the US and in the world that are very complex and that need novel global solutions from a collaboration of all of us. But we need to be careful and cautious about how we approach those problems and solutions because while those solutions may in fact fix the current problems, along with those solutions will come a whole new set of problems. Both McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden are aware of the problems. Neither side is refusing to see them. And both are offering solutions. And in the end, I feel that the Obama-Biden solution package is just too dangerous. The new problems that would potentially come from their set of socialistic solutions have way too great a cost.