Praise report: Election season is almost over. I’m sure the next one will pick up steam quickly, but I’m ready for this one to go away.
In the meantime, I have some advice for us:
Vote early, vote often.
Of course, I don’t mean we should commit voter fraud. I’m not for cheating or fudging numbers or anything like that. What I’m advocating is that we live out our votes today, Tuesday, next month, and next year.
When we vote we are communicating what kind of world we want, what kind of world we believe in. Our votes declare what is important to us, but our votes are not restricted to the ballot box.
We vote every time we spend money. We vote when we post something online. We vote with the way we use our time. We vote in our daily conversations.
Our words, our wallets, our free time all tell far more about our worldview than our preferred political platforms.
So please, vote early, vote often.
Whatever issues motivate you to support a candidate or show up at the polls should be important to you beyond a Tuesday in November.
For example, do you vote for pro-life candidates? Live pro-life.
Are we doing anything to support pregnancy centers? Are we working to decrease the number of abortions sought? What are we doing to support single parents, poor parents, foster parents, orphans?
These are things that demonstrate a pro-life ethic and work to see it implemented. More than checking a box we should be volunteering, donating, mentoring, fostering, adopting, educating, and more. There are plenty of attitudes and actions we can participate in beyond November if we are truly pro-life people.
Do you think our country should be more welcoming to refugees?
Get involved with refugees already here. Walk alongside them, help them secure jobs and insurance, partner with resettlement organizations.
Think we should first support our homeless veterans? Get involved with people doing just that. Make it happen.
Do you vote for those who prefer diplomacy over war? Work for peace in your family and neighborhood and on Facebook today.
Do you think the uptick in racially or religiously motivated hate is a problem? You can vote for candidates who agree with you on paper and still not do much to help the problem.
Make friends across religious lines. Read and share stories of people not like you. Resist the urge to polarize and dehumanize. Have dinner with a political opposite.
For me it is easy to sit behind my computer or phone and list my opinions on the internet. This may be helpful in some (very rare) instances, but this isn’t the solution.
It is also fairly easy for most of us to show up at the local voting booth and check a box. This may be helpful in some cases, but, again, it’s not the solution to the problems we face.
Outlawing abortion tomorrow will not solve the issues surrounding unwanted pregnancies.
Welcoming every refugee in the world will not solve the problem of war, poverty, and complications that come with relocating to a new country.
Raising or lowering taxes, shifting spending, negotiating trade are all things worth having an opinion on but how are we spending our days?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote toward these ends. I’m saying we should do a lot more than vote on Tuesday. Voting is great but only scratches the surface of what is necessary.
What matters to you? Not what do you say matters – how do you actually live? How do you talk? Spend? Give? What do I do that shows where my values lie?
The life we live will be far more indicative of what matters most than all the ballots we ever cast. And I believe will have far greater impact.
The world changes more when we live and give and share and laugh than when we fill in a bubble for congresspeople and presidents.
So please, vote well. Vote early. Vote often.
Vote in word and deed, online and in person. Vote with your attitudes and by being a good neighbor. Put your money and heart where your vote is. And whether your candidates win or lose, we’ll change the world for better.