I got involved in a little conversation elsewhere yesterday about whether or not Christians should vote --- at all. Yes, there are people out there today who will not be voting --- because of conviction rather than laziness. They include our Old Order Amish neighbors here in the south of Iowa.
This is a philosophical thread most clearly evident in the anabaptist tradition, of which the Amish are today the most obvious expression --- where separation from the "world" is a tenet of faith. Rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's generally includes obedience to law --- although some anabaptists still collide now and then with the non-anabaptist majority over issues ranging from pacifism (and passive-ism) to the merits of septic systems. But to vote is to actually participate in government, and that is forbidden.
I can admire this in the Amish because their religious and social outlook extends into every corner of their lives and disengagement is a part of that. Otherwise, the approach seems disingenuous --- sitting on the sidelines feeling morally superior perhaps while others are out there doing the dirty work of advocating and electing.
Which is the long way around to saying everyone eligible should have voted or should vote today --- Democrat, independent and Republican alike.
I've read quite a bit of history and still have my nose almost daily, now digitally, in back issues of old newspapers. One thing you learn doing that is that today's political campaigns are neither more nor less angry, divisive and loud than U.S. political campaigns always have been. In part because of that messy process, many of the previously disenfranchised --- black people, women, native Americans --- now are full participants. We're just so totally wired nowadays --- unless you turn off some of your devices now and then it can become a little overwhelming.
Much of the reading lately has been in the teens of the 20th Century, when the God squad and others had decided that alcoholic beverages were the ultimate source of evil in American society --- and were busy passing laws and constitutional amendments outlawing production and consumption. That didn't work out well, just as targeting 21st Century scapegoats --- LGBT people --- will be acknowledged as a great mistake as the years pass.
The bloody, bloody Civil War came about in part because slavery was a cesspit of pure evil built into the foundation of America --- but also because the political process was short-circuited and angry words escalated into killing. I doubt we want to go there again, so remember what can happen.
I've heard lots of people lately talking about how weary they are of all the rhetoric and posturing involved in the 2012 election cycle, how anxious they are for it all to be over and done with.
Me? Not so much. I've learned a lot about all storts of stuff. But it is time to make those decisions. We can pick up the conversation Wednesday. But it is important to vote.