The Trump Presidency opened with Russian interference. It wasn’t long before such claims were substantiated and further colored by more international collusion. Sending Congress into an investigation, foreign collusion was not the only stain on this Administration’s record as numerous sex scandals ranging from paid sex to pedophilia surged across the internet. If this weren’t enough, the very rhetoric and culture of this Administration has been buttressed by racism and the resurgence of white supremacist hate groups. To make matters worse, this President has refused to denounce racism, and was complicit in the violence inflicted in Charlottesville and around the country.
Election Day: The Most Important Day of the Year
During the tenure of this President families have been torn apart. Children stripped away from their parents. Parents deported never to see their children graduate, never to walk their daughters down the aisle. There is an untold cost to deportation. Furthermore, women at the U.S. southern border have had their reproductive organs illegally removed. Police brutality has escalated. Now, more than ever, the American people feel the weight and importance of participating in this year’s election. In fact, according to The Atlantic “Polling data and early-voting levels, along with turnout and registration numbers during the Trump era, all point to a surge at the polls unseen in decades, election experts say.” The Pew Research Center backs up this claim declaring “there are some early indications that overall turnout could reach a record high this year.” Making today, Election Day, the most important day of the year.
While the pandemic has caused great uncertainty with many voters, thousands turned out to vote early, and still others are currently waiting in long lines to make sure their vote is counted. Here are some things you want to consider if you’re a Christian participating in Election Day.
1. Vote with Compassion and Integrity
Paul writes in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done [not even voting my emphasis] through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Put simply, voting is where we engage our civic duty not just for ourselves but for others. The decisions we make at ballot boxes have a tangible impact on the lives of people. When you fill in your ballot consider whether or not you are putting the interests of others above your own.
2. Vote with Patience and Persistence
According to CNN, “More than 96 million Americans have voted nationwide with one day left until Election Day. These votes represent more than 45% of registered voters nationwide. Eighteen states and Washington, DC, have seen more than half of their registered voters cast ballots already.” Many believed such early voter turn out would cut down on the long lines on Election Day. Not in cities like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where polling places are still burdened with long lines. In fact, voters like Oshay Columbus tried to vote early but was turned away because of long lines. Now, she’s voting day of praying the pandemic and the lines don’t turn her away again.
In other words, don’t give up. Be patient and be persistent. Don’t let long lines deter you. Make sure you have comfortable and warm clothes, shoes, your mask, snacks and a bottle of water. These lines are not going away, and voter suppression is real. Vote with patience and persistence.
3. Vote with Safety and Security
We are very much so still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, we’re seeing an increase in cases again. So you want to be cautious as you vote today. Make sure you wear your mask and that it covers your nose. Bring hand sanitizer with you. If possible, do most of your waiting to vote outside. Practice social distancing. Consider even going to vote during times where there’s less traffic. For instance, according to CNN most people try to vote before work, after work, or during lunch time. So try going between 9a – 12p or between 2pm – 5 pm. You may see less lines and thus come in contact with fewer people.
Unfortunately, voters have more than just COVID to be cautious of. Reports show that states like “Georgia, Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have the highest risk for militia activity before, during, and after the November election.” In fact, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) looked at states where armed militia have developed relationships with the local police. They assert their findings should not be read as a guaranteed outcome, but instead a possibility that calls for cautious awareness. While there is no guarantee these right-wing groups will inflict violence on voters in the identified high risk states, there is still a possibility.
If you have to vote alone text a friend or family member when you go to vote along with your polling location.
Therefore, I encourage voters in that area to vote with someone. Do not vote alone. If you have to vote alone text a friend or family member when you go to vote along with your polling location. While voting do not share your political stance, beliefs, or who you will be voting for. If you see militia-like personnel do your best to remain calm and focused. Get in and vote. And get out and home.
Your Vote Matters
This is a scary time. Our anxiety is through the roof trying to consider the outcome, the pandemic, and the threat of militia violence. But do not allow such realities to discourage or deter you from voting. Your participation has always been critical to the political outcomes of our nation. But now more than ever, your vote matters. For this reason, I close with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from his speech, “Give Us the Ballot”:
“And those of us who call the name of Jesus Christ…there is something in our faith that says to us, ‘never despair; never give up; never feel that the cause of righteousness and justice is doomed.’ There is something in our Christian faith, at the center of it, which says to us that Good Friday may occupy the throne for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the drums of Easter.
There is something in our faith that says evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy the palace and Christ the cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the name, the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. There is something in this universe which justifies Carlyle in saying: ‘No lie can live forever.’ There is something in this universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying: ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.'”
We have been entrusted with the ballot. May we never allow the gloom of our condition to inhibit us from using our vote to crush every lie so that truth may rise in the Earth again.