Thursday, October 13, 2016

Option C

I've not been a fan of Trump or Hillary from the beginning. With Hillary, it's been the pending trial - I already have one president with "postponed" investigations (approx 783 of them, to be specific) and I don't want a second. With Trump, it's been his character and demeanour - from the get-go, he's struck me as a populist and demagogue, the likes of which I used to see every election in South Africa or a neighbouring country.

Now, courtesy of my South African upbringing, I am not overly close-minded to minor political parties. After all, at least one new party is formed every election back home. In previous years, I had dismissed third parties as a trivial waste of a vote, especially when there was a candidate I didn't mind voting for.

I watched in horror as Dr Carson, Rubio, and Kasich, the three Republican candidates that I, as a conservative-leaning moderate felt able to vote for, fell before the steamroller that was Trump. I admire Kasich for his conviction and unwillingness to step down - his tenacity spoke volumes about his character and, as more came out about him, I continued to be impressed, but I digress.

Seeing the Trump/Hillary split, I began researching third party options. I was only familiar with the Libertarian and Green parties and so, settled on Johnson as my choice for president. Now, yes, I've heard the arguments from Trump/Hillary supporters that "A vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary/Trump," and I happen to disagree wholeheartedly. Yes, electoral college muddies things up, but a third party vote is not a vote in favour of "The Opposition"; it is a vote in favour of that specific third party. Consider the following opinion:

Like the Redditor I've quoted above, I'm of the mindset that too many people vote Republican or Democrat over their personal convictions because they're afraid that everyone else is going to do the same. If everyone who was considering voting for a third party did so, there would be a massive disruption. Would the GOP or Dems probably still win? Perhaps, but it wouldn't be a clean, near 50-50 division. Instead, I wouldn't expect either party to get above 40%, let alone reach 40%. Can you imagine the effect on the political climate if neither Republicans nor Democrats obtained higher than 35%?

Back to my story.

In the last month or so, I became personally convicted over my view towards presidential candidates. My old view was very pragmatic - I didn't care if they were pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-anything-opposing-Christianity. None of that I deemed necessary to run a country, so I simply voted on policy and capability. I looked down sometimes on Christians who would rather vote for a pro-lifer whom I thought was a poorer choice for the country as opposed to a better-qualified pro-choicer. Gary Johnson, in my opinion, was one such choice. I disagreed with his platform on many areas, but I was willing to vote for him as the best of three options.

Then my perspective was changed.

I don't remember what prompted the change, but I had a priority shift. Part of my realisation, you see, was that it was of greater importance to honour God than to pick my choice of what's best for the country. After all, Ahab was an excellent king by the world's standards. He conquered territory, forged treaties, and maintained Israel as a prosperous nation, but because he would not honour God, he is considered a terrible king. Conversely, David was nobody's pick to be king. He was the youngest son of a small shepherding family, but he sought to honour god to the best of his abilities and God gave him what he needed to rule effectively.

That realisation coincided with a post from The Gospel Coalition. The fact that there is a Christian Democratic party in the US that seeks to honour God through the planks in their platform blew my mind. I thought most Christians, like myself, just tried to make do with unpalatable options, but we don't need to. Someone else, fed up with the lack of God-honouring options, decided to make their own party in the mid-late 2000's. Now, do I agree with all aspects of the ASP's platform? I wouldn't say so - I tend to lean a little more fiscally conservative than they do - but I do agree with their overarching goal, vision, and motivation enough that I am willing to throw my lot with a young, small party. I can vote for a candidate whom I trust will seek to honour God and have faith that God will give what is needed to run this country.

This is my Option C. What's yours?