We have been given the gift of democracy through the hard efforts of our national founding fathers and the generations of Americans since then. We sometimes get complacent with this gift because it has always been there for us. However, if we are to be stewards of the gifts given to us we must take the responsibilities of democracy seriously. Always vote.
All of us are profoundly affected by who takes office. We are affected by who is president, by who sits in the Senate, House of Representatives, state legislatures, local and state courts, city government, and school board. Always vote.
Some think that all politicians are crooks and it doesn't matter which party gets the vote. There are days I might agree with you. But the candidates for any office are never identical. Vote for the better candidate if you can. Vote for the less worse if that is all there is. Always vote.
I've seen Christian voter guides that rate candidates based on some criteria. This isn't one. I won't tell you who to vote for. I won't tell you who I'm voting for. Instead, I'll describe what principles - Christian principles - that guide my decisions. They aren't what one normally sees in Christian voter guides. These are some of the things I look for:
* Does the candidate stress cooperation, a sense that we're all in this together, that we are responsible for each other? I will choose that person over one who shouts fear of the other.
* Does the candidate have compassion for the poor and look for ways to help the less fortunate improve their circumstances?
* We have inherited a vast array of jointly owned property and institutions, from national parks, roads and highways, water and sewer works to libraries, hospitals, schools and universities, museums and concert halls, and public services willing to help anyone who needs it. Is the candidate willing to maintain and improve our shared resources or let it crumble into dust?
* Does the candidate talk about how taxes maintain our jointly owned property; fully fund the education of everyone - including the poor; pay police, firefighters and teachers a respectable salary; and provide a public safety net? Does he or she mention responsibility along with freedom? Or does the candidate insist that any tax is offensive?
* Does the candidate look for ways to protect the average person from the greed and recklessness of the powerful?
* Does the candidate consider the health of all, including the poor? I will choose that person over one who only considers what profits can be made through the health care industry.
* Does the candidate look for ways to protect and improve the health of the environment?
* Does the candidate value science or dismiss it?
* If the candidate talks of the unborn, does he or she also talk about quality of life after birth?
Vote with compassion.
Vote for community.
Vote for health.