Handling the truth
It's one of my favorite movies lines, Jack Nicholson's "You can't handle the truth" in the movie A Few Good Men. What is more, it's become something of a cultural cliche, what author Terry Pratchett explains---"cliches...are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication". Still it's a accurate observation about human nature, our allergy regarding the facts. We'll rely on scenarios and speculations to give us sway when grappling with important matters. The election of 2016 is no exception.
In my humble opinion, after some months of study, prayer, and the counsel of others, there are five significant truths that will guide my vote. Let me comment on them---
1. A Democrat or Republican is going to be elected President.
Unless something cataclysmic occurs either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump will
occupy the Oval Office in January, 2017. The presence of three additional
candidates and the potential of write-in votes will have little effect on the
outcome. One of the two party nominees will be elected. There's been
additional speculation about the abandonment of the two party system and
the formation of third parties. This will not happen to materially affect this
election and may be impossible even in the long run. There are so many
factions and special interests that finding common ground has become more
difficult. I would support a new party if it reflected my core values. But, the
truth for now is that either a Democrat or Republican will be elected.
2. Their administration will be predictable.
A direction and mindset of the two parties can be predicted with accuracy.
Their party platforms are basically consistent with their prior positions on most
issues. A Democratic President will continue and expand the policies of the
previous administration while a Republican government will promise to curb
government growth and restore Constitutional integrity, among a long list of
reforms. We can invent all the scenarios we want. But, the next administration
will, of a truth, govern this nation along predictable party lines.
3. Supreme Court appointments are a significant election issue.
This has, of course, been a major talking point in the media, among political
scientists, and in social media. That there will ever be another Antonin Scalia or
Clarence Thomas is doubtful. But, there are more conservative potential legal
minds than Chief Justice Roberts, and more liberal ones that Justice Ginsburg.
A Democratic President can be expected to appoint a more liberal choice, while
a Republican President would most likely select a more conservative or
moderate appointee. All the speculation about how the candidates will handle
this enormous responsibility does not alter this truth: Supreme Court
appointments are a significant election issue.
4. The depth of our moral precipice is on many Americans election syllabus.
In the last eight years the family, marriage, sexuality, submission to authority,
standards of common decency, and the integrity of the Constitution of the
United States have weakened the moral fabric of the nation. This election may
deepen this moral precipice or reduce it. The truth is, however, the moral
climate will be a major election theme.
5. This election cannot solve all of our troubling issues.
We're not electing a savior who can redeem us from our moral and
government ills. Only two things can move the nation in another direction.
a. A national spiritual awakening. As a conservative evangelical my prayer is for
our citizens to become Christians and pursue a Christian worldview.
However, knowing our pluralistic landscape, even a resurgence of spiritual
awareness among the religious demographics in our population could
restore "one nation under God". The truth is that an election will not restore
our moral compass.
b. A Convention of States as prescribed by Article V of the Constitution of the
United States is the only promise for reigning in this mammoth, growing
government. Washington is out of control. Our founders wisely provided a
means for "we the people" to monitor and guide the mechanics of governing
the nation. The truth is only a Convention of States can accomplish the task
of reversing the invasion of government in the lives of the American public.
There's another truth. Every single vote matters. Many analysts have downplayed the importance of the one vote in this election. Therefore, many have decided to stay home on November 8 and still, many others have decided to cast votes that won't equate in the final tally. Each to his or her own conscience is the real deal. Say what you will, however, and rationalize as you like, but every vote matters in this constitutional republic. Our founders designed it that way.
I'm not a political scientist and don't grasp every important truth about these times. But, these are truths that are guiding my election decisions. How I handle these truths, and the many others that have escaped me, is the issue in 2016.
How about you?