By now, you’ve probably already decided who you are going to vote for in this year’s election. You probably already knew four years ago. Such is the nature of American politics—such is the nature of the New Americana, the narcissism. Our desire to self-identify, to raise up some as more important than others, and to defend the rights we believe are necessary cause us to choose candidates we believe will work out best for us. We believe a president or governor to be a good public servant if he or she stands for what we believe at all costs. This year, the identity politics of the left are in a fierce standoff against the power ethic of the right—and I hate them both. Honestly, my conscience will probably not allow me to vote for either major party this year, but I have not decided. I am not telling you what to do. I cannot. You must vote according to your conscience.

“Don’t vote for the person, then,” they say, “vote according to the platform.” Platforms are meaningless. As soon as the election is over, things happen, new difficulties arise, and the platform merely guides whoever is elected according to the preferences of the people. What if that platform dictates a decision that hurts more than helps? Look at this mess around us that has been caused by platform voting—which is nothing more than a form of legalism or works-based righteousness.

My mind always goes back to Scripture. In the Chronicles of the Old Testament, Ezra was reasoning with the nation of Israel by observing the nation’s history. History was important because it taught pitfalls to avoid and wisdom to repeat. Ezra reasoned with the Israelites as they returned from exile in Babylon. They needed to rebuild the nation. They needed to choose leaders. Ezra desired they do so in a way that actually benefitted the nation rather than hurt it. In 2 Chronicles 1:1-13 Ezra identifies God as the one responsible for exalting Solomon, enabling him to strengthen his hold or establish himself over his kingdom—the kingdom he inherited from his father, David. After he praised the Lord, the Lord asked Solomon what should be given to him. Solomon asked for wisdom to judge God’s people justly. God promised to give not only wisdom, but knowledge, riches, wealth, and glory to Solomon because Solomon sought wisdom. Ezra highlights a high point in Israel’s history. When the nation sought understanding rather than success or confirmation, it did well. When she had a king who judged justly instead of giving the people what they wanted or seeking self-glory, God blessed the nation. During times of revival, revitalization, or reformation, we consider Ezra’s reminder and seek to follow national and ecclesiastical leaders who seek first wisdom and knowledge—especially pertaining to God’s kingdom and righteousness.

In our time, this type of wisdom is a radical concept—not because it is new but because it has been lost. We no longer desire wise leaders who will judge justly. In fact, we have made “judge” a cuss word even though just judgment works out for our good. We prove to desire the opposite of just judgment from our leadership by chasing preferential platforms, self-identity, and gross partisanism. We desire people who speak before they think, who force their (or our) agendas, and who jump on every cultural bandwagon simply to secure votes. Biden has quickly joined the identity politic and social justice movements. Trump, early on, identified as an evangelical because he knew he could get them to vote toward a conservative platform; Ironic as it was, Trump also claimed he had no reason to repent because he does nothing wrong—which is anti-Christian. But, that’s the state of popular evangelicalism today.

In the 400s BC, Ezra recognized the importance of seeking a wise leader instead of one who would seek after other stuff or stand on some nationalistic platform. By recounting Israel’s history, he reminded the people that it was counter-productive to seek primarily to make their country great again by means of self-glory, riches, and wealth. Those things are God’s to give, not ours to seize. The elephant in the room is not the only sinner, here. The donkey riding the elephant’s back also seeks self-glory and wealth through welfare and identity. Both parties exhibit a false humility before tearing one another to pieces. It is contrary to wisdom and the opposite of seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. This nation is sick, sick with oppression, the new racism, identity politics, sexism, nationalism, and self-righteous pride—a new Babylon. We’ve grown so great and powerful that pride grips us and will yank us down to the ashes. We have achieved such a level of liberty for all people that we are now tearing down that liberty in favor of safety, identity, and power. John Locke would be so proud… Perhaps there are a few, a small remnant, seeking wisdom who desire national leaders who will take advantage of our great nation’s republic liberties and serve for the good of the people, not the good of a political party or self-advancement or some ill-defined preference.

As I was mulling over the condition of our nation and the political culture being produced in our land, I was listening to one of my favorite stations on Pandora (a music streaming service).  An ad for Black Lives Matter came on. There I was simply trying to enjoy good music by people with, I’m sure, every color of skin, and an ad aired that promoted only people of one skin color—insisting that their voice was more important to hear because their skin was darker, not the content of their character or even their content in general. Well, I did not care to hear that sort of racism as I was simply trying to enjoy good music and cognate. So, I contacted customer support. At least other companies give me the option to block ads I find offensive, and I have. Here is the transcript from my conversation with the Pandora support representative:

Not only did the Pandora representative concede that racism was within company guidelines, but he encouraged me to purchase a premium subscription (as if I would ever intentionally fund that sort of racism). We are going backward in time. All of the social activism of the past 200 years is being undone. We are a nation that has gone from demanding equality, dreaming that people are measured by the content of their character, back to glorifying one skin color over another. Organizations like Black Lives Matter have the liberty to do that kind of thing because we have the liberty to freely express ourselves in the United States. When politicians make that a sort of identity politic, it becomes oppression. Dissenting voices are suppressed. The very liberty of the free expression we had becomes more and more limited. That’s the natural result of identity politics—the oppression and suppression of those who don’t identify with the powerful. We don’t have the right to think critically and make decisions and, therefore, are not afforded the opportunity to grow in our wisdom—to be adults. We become a nation of children tossed by every wind of cultural precept rather than a nation seeking truth, discerning, and making good adult decisions. Once you recognize this, you won’t be able to unsee it, even down to public school systems, mayoral campaigns, and the way some pastors manipulate church congregations.

I understand what is happening because I took some basic advertising classes as part of my graphic design degree. In advertising, you learn to blow up cultural movements because people will give you their business if you seem to be fighting for what they support. Walmart and McDonald’s support needy children. Celebrities become philanthropists. Big companies hang rainbows and black fists from their signs or take public hard stances against some movement of whatever decade. Why? Free publicity, resulting in more customers and a higher revenue stream. Remember my conversation with the Pandora representative? He made it seem like a company simply purchased ad space. No. It is manipulative advertising. Pandora even published articles advancing this new racist cultural agenda because it is what people want:

Pandora is peddling the new racism because it wins the company business from angry people. They are not respecting or celebrating black culture but marketing it to their own ends. That’s offensive. They put it right out there–they want to fight political policy in order to tap-in to younger, naive, audiences. It’s free publicity, and they’re not the only ones who have caught on. It’s the norm. Instead of getting a spicy sandwich at Chick-fil-A because it is a quality chicken sandwich, I’m now getting it because Truett Cathy took a hard stance on a biblical definition of marriage. Do you remember that? Protesters picketed the business and, as a result, the company had its highest revenue day in its history. I’m not making a statement about Cathy’s motivation. I’m not telling people to boycott Pandora. If you like it, use it. Boycotting is not usually rational. I’m glad Cathy took the stance he did. I simply mention these things to illustrate my point. Trump is all too aware of these advertising tactics. He built his brand with these tactics. He won the presidential election four years ago by playing on people’s anger. Now, Biden is doing the same thing. Let’s figure out what people are angry about. Let’s play their emotions. Let’s keep them from reasoning. Let’s manipulate them into a vote like corporations manipulate people into buying a four-hundred dollar pair of ripped jeans by having a scandalous fashion show challenging male sexuality and gender identity. That’s the game of our time. I could win an election pretty easily by knowing what the majority is angry about and playing their emotions. Colleges are teaching students to do that through advertising. We’ve seen these sorts of leftist identity and rightist power politics even in the #maskup movement. The left played on people’s fear for safety to manipulate people into signing over their constitutional liberties. The right played on people’s fear for liberty to manipulate people into being unwise. No one took the time to provide accurate information to the public, encourage people to think critically, and ask people to be wise as they ran their businesses and lived. The results: mass depression, anxiety, higher rate of divorce, worse abuse toward women and children, mass unemployment, closing of small businesses, increasing racial tension, higher level of child abduction and sex trafficking, and probably more. But, parents are being forced to disciple their children again–something that was almost lost to the state. Companies and candidates are playing on the heartache of the nation to advance their own agendas. Pay attention. It happens every time there is a shooting or act of violence that can be politicized. Manipulation advertising only accomplishes the goal of the advertiser. When governments begin using that tactic, we can know that the government is no longer by the people or for the people. Government officials are no longer public servants but CEOs, businessmen, and position-mongers.

There is only one piece of advice I can give. Biblically, Christ is the absolute king. Whoever we elect is not. I cannot encourage people to vote for the lesser of two evils because I don’t think we should have anything to do with any evil as far as it depends on us. I cannot say, absolutely, that anyone should vote Republican or Democrat. Both parties and their nominees are built and maintained by sinful, depraved people. Our forefathers new this; They knew about humanity’s wretchedness. Just read the Declaration of Independence. Human wretchedness is the reason they designed a democratic republic and our two-party system even before the constitution was drafted and ratified—they provided the proper checks and balances for wretched people because the two parties are accountable to each other and to God. One is not a Christian because he or she votes republican or democrat. One is not an anti-Christian for voting republican or democrat. The two-party system is based on the Christian value of accountability, and neither party is to have control—that’s why we have the various branches of government. But, I don’t have to tell you this. I assume you paid attention in your high school civics class. Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. Please do not vote based on your emotions, fears, current cultural movements (they will be different next year), experiences, manipulative advertising, news commentary, or because you’ve always voted a certain way. Instead, be wise; Practice discernment. Gather accurate information, not hearsay. Watch the debates with an open mind. Stand against injustice perpetrated on both ends of the political spectrum. Then, after you have done enough research and thought critically about the implications of your vote, vote according to your conscience. If you can’t vote for a major party, don’t. We do what we believe is right, not what we believe will get us the most—Jesus has liberated His people from the success syndrome in every arena of life, even human politics. We vote for the best public servant, not the one who has promised to fulfill our hearts’ every desire (that’s usually not good for us). Follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. Remember, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We do not have to constantly question whether or not we voted correctly. God is working all things together. We seek first His kingdom and righteousness, not our own.

Here are some links to get you started:

Donald J. Trump
Joe Biden
Jo Jorgensen
Howie Hawkins
Kanye West