Vote or shut up
I have done my civic duty. I have voted in Tuesday’s election even though it is not yet Tuesday. I will be on a plane much of Tuesday so, thanks to absentee balloting, I have done my small but necessary part in the democratic process.
For the most part, I have voted in every election from the time I was eligible to cast a ballot. In 1972, I was near the end of my tour as a U. S. Marine and voted for Richard Nixon for President. In the aftermath of Nixon’s scandals, I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976. I, like many people, was looking for a change. When the Carter years brought the wrong kind of change (in my opinion), I voted for Ronald Reagan. Over the years, I have decided that I am a conservative, pro-life, Independent. I vote those values, whoever is running.
It is estimated that less than 50 percent of registered voters will make their voices heard in the coming election. If so, that is a shame, whatever their political leanings.
Many years ago, I was in a group of men listening to a political discussion. One man was especially passionate about the ills of the country and how the powers that be were failing the citizens. One man asked the passionate individual, “So, who did you vote for?” The outspoken man replied that he had not voted in many years because it really didn’t matter.
The man who posed the question said, “Well, h***, you don’t have a d*** thing to say about it then,” and turned and walked away. With that, the discussion was over and the group dissolved.
That’s my thought about people who don’t vote as well. If you don’t vote, then just sit down and shut up. You had a chance to make a difference, however small, and you chose to ignore the opportunity.
It is the experience of most pastors with whom I am acquainted that the people who gripe and complain the loudest in church are usually those who have the least investment. Not always, of course, but usually.
Those who invest their time, their efforts, and their tithes are normally those who are eager to see the church succeed and are among the most positive about the ministry and the future.
Those who rarely attend, never volunteer, and padlock their checkbooks are often among those who attend annual business meetings and bemoan the fate of the church.
I suspect the same is true in politics. The people on both the left and on the right are passionate ... sometimes to the point of being obnoxious ... but at least they are engaged. They are doing something about what they perceive to be the problems. They are not sitting on the sidelines letting someone else always carry the ball and then griping when a player on the field fumbles.
In every election, we have an opportunity to have an influence. If we don’t like the results, we have an opportunity to fire those in office and replace them with someone else the next time around. As has been said, “Elections do have consequences.” We really do get who and what we asked for by electing people to office.
Or, we sit home and let someone else make those decisions for us. Those who vote have done their part. Those who don’t just need to shut up.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]