This election season, much like those in the past, is a struggle for me. I am the type of person who tries to look genuinely at all of the candidates and party platforms before making a decision. Before I talk about who I might vote for, I thought it might be good to say some things about the office of president.
- Despite what some may try to say, the U.S. President is not a king. Even in recent days, President Obama has been overruled by Congress. We live in a nation that is not ruled by one person but was instituted as a democratic republic, whereby a democratic people are represented by many elected officials, not just one.
- When we vote for a president, we do not only vote for a person who will have some authoritative power, but we also vote for a platform and a party. No matter what candidates have done in the past, they are bound through their party to the stances of the platform that the party as a whole has agreed upon. This is why, most of the time, candidates now seem to hold a different view than what they have had in the past: because in most cases they have to adopt and promote the platform of the party, not simply their own opinion.
- This being said, there is room for a candidate to have an opinion and to, to some degree, lobby the American people and their own party to adopt it as policy.
- Policies developed by a presidential candidate will always change once that candidate is elected. Even the ACA (Affordable Care Act) went through many revisions and much debate. It is coined “Obamacare” only in vision and name, because it is not President Obama’s original plan and it now has the signature and the input of many other people. Again, the president does not have all power over the direction of the country. Any policy the president develops will be examined by Congress, and Congress can override the presidential decision in most cases. So, it is not wise for us, the American people, to vote for a president because they promise to enact certain policies. In fact, it is not wise for a candidate to promise to enact certain policies as they are: only to lobby for them.
- Ultimately, the office of president (much like the office of governor, principal, superintendent, and even pastor) demands a true bi-partisan outlook. Once a candidate becomes president, he no longer can focus only on what is best for a single party, but truly what is best for the American people. Thus, we need someone to fill that office who brings people together and who is good at working out compromises where they are needed. A candidate needs to show that this is possible before being elected.
- In my opinion, any blatant attack on another candidate’s views or character is a disqualification from the office of president of the United States because those candidates prove that they are not interested in doing what is best. They are only interested in claiming victory on their current platform.
- This is why I grow so distraught with the political campaign season during most political seasons.
- As an individual who is in a position that requires some political prowess, I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that much more is accomplished when I try to bring people together rather than lobby for my preferences or the preferences of a single group. I can also say that if I were to lobby for the preferences of one group, I would not be able to genuinely consider what is best for all groups together; and the same is true for the office of president (only on a much grander scale).
At first glance, and in light of these thoughts on the office, our choices for President of the United States seem dismal. Clinton seems to be a liar, a controversy creator, selfish, not concerned with the American people or freedom. She seems to treat everyone that does not agree with her as either unintelligent or deplorable or part of a hate-group. On the other hand, she is intelligent, knows how the system works and respects it, and says she wants to solve the problem of poverty and social injustice. I can’t, though, in good conscience currently support the Democratic platform. While it promotes some good things like equality and religious freedom and higher pay for workers, the means by which those things are accomplished are questionable and may result in higher taxes, favoritism (instead of equality) toward minority religious groups, and may cost freedoms that can currently be enjoyed in the interest of whatever definition the party assigns to the word “equality” up to and following the election.
Trump seems to be a liar, a controversy creator, selfish, concerned more with taking rather than giving. On the other hand, he is an experienced and successful businessperson, who does know how to create jobs. While Clinton only seems to speak about closing the ethnic gap (By the way, there is only one race of people. What we are experiencing is not a racial divide, but an ethnic divide, which causes what we have termed ‘racism’), Trump has actually taken the time to visit African American communities. Telling those communities that he wants to fight for them and bring jobs to them helping those who are in poverty to escape it. He is not good with words and he cannot control his tongue, but he is the only candidate who actually took the time to meet with even the Mexican president. Clinton is strong in speech while Trump is strong in action. The republican platform is an easier platform for me to support. The republican party hopes to reignite commitment to the constitution, wants to restore equal opportunity to all Americans (not only minorities but including minorities as equals), and it wants to reform the American Government so that America can experience a resurgence and thrive to a greater degree. These pursuits could also have some negative effects. The removal of policies that need to be removed or weakened could (though not necessarily) lead to the removal and weakening of policies that actually enable equal opportunity for all Americans. Fighting to restore the American Dream could result in the inability of the government to help provide for some who are genuinely in need.
These are not the only two platforms, though. There is the Libertarian Party, which desires to limit government and give more freedoms to the people: including the freedom to purchase marijuana, and the freedom to carry a firearm. This party, though, does not promote any sort of moral commitment: only that they support the greatest degree of freedom for the greatest number of people, even if some contradictory measures are taken to ensure that. I cannot support this party in good conscience because there is no bearing on what is right or wrong.
The Green Party has built a platform on ‘going green.’ Other than this, it is difficult to tell what the party’s platform actually is. Just because there is a lack of information, this is not a platform that I can support in good conscience.
The Constitution Party is a conservative party that holds views very close to those of the Republican Party and is a party I might be willing to support if it had a chance against the two major parties. What we should realize, though, is that if an independent party does not have a chance, our vote almost means nothing in the current two-party system (a system that was designed by our founding fathers).
There are other parties too, but these are the most prominent.
In all honesty, my decision has not yet been made and I do not openly endorse any candidate. Too many times we are over-zealous in selecting the candidate that we will support. I will be watching the upcoming debates. I will be attentive to the statements of the parties (major and minor). My hope is that those reading this will realize that we do not just vote for a person, we vote for a party and a leader who should ultimately be bipartisan. In our current climate, both candidates are more divisive than not. It may be the case that we need to vote according to platform instead of according to the candidate: which means also examining the vice presidential candidates, congressmen, and congresswomen that we will be voting for on a national and state level (which we should do anyway). Whatever the outcome, we can say that we have been faithful to God’s conviction in our lives and continue to live sacrificially to serve one-another.