On Tuesday we must vote through the filter of the morals and values by which we live.
We all know the issues in this year’s election:
The economy. Jobs. The ongoing and multifaceted threat of terrorism. Abortion policy. Health care and what role the government ought to play in it. Whether same-sex marriage should be legalized nationwide. Immigration.
There is no shortage of deeply held, passionately articulated opinions on these matters. You talk about them with your friends and family. You see, read and hear them discussed and debated. Right now, as you’re reading this sentence, someone is being polled on some aspect of one of them.
But when you step into the voting booth on Tuesday, what “they” wrote or said shouldn’t matter as much as what you think, feel and believe. With our right to vote comes a responsibility: to look inside our hearts and identify what we hold most dear, then check the box, punch the card or tap the screen next to the name of the candidate who most closely aligns with our values.
That’s where the real challenge comes in: Chances are neither candidate will earn a perfect score when you go through this exercise. There is no way that every decision they’ve ever made, every bill they’ve ever supported or opposed, and every sound bite they’ve ever contributed to the 24-hour news cycle is going to line up exactly with your core beliefs. Some things the candidates have done or said might disappoint you.
So your decision will come down to this:
Which man most closely stands for what I stand for? Whom do I trust more, based on his public record and personal convictions, to lead the nation in the direction I hope to see it go?
Note that “values” do not equal “religion”; while for many of us, it is indeed our religious faith that informs our values, we must remember that we are electing a president, not a pastor, priest, rabbi, imam or elder. It is a civic, not spiritual, position with secular, not sanctifying, duties.
What is of paramount importance in selecting an occupant for such an office is not whether he or she attends the same house of worship as we do; it’s whether he or she adheres to a moral and ethical code, rooted in natural law rather than doctrinal purity, that we believe offers a better vision for America.
Wall Street Journal columnist and former presidential speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, might have said it best:
Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls.
We must show up.
We must vote.
And we must pray.
NOTE: This was adapted from a previously published editorial in the Washington Post.