The book and it's cover.
You don't have to hold an advanced degree in political science to understand the truth about political systems, campaign maneuvering, or election processes. The slick blather invading our living rooms right now isn't the tipping point for most of us. No, there's more than what the marketing gurus reveal in their screen shots, fades, graphics, and strategic musical background. It's not complicated either, not one of the hidden mysteries of exponential times. It's what our mothers taught us as children---don't judge a book by it's cover. Or, dozens of equivalents: beauty's only skin deep; all that is gold does not glitter; don't just scratch the surface; looks are deceiving; and many more. Truth is, only when we look past what bubbles to the surface in campaign advertising will we discover the true merits or flaws of candidates, parties, or political operatives. And, that's a trouble spot for many voters. You see, superficiality is the curse of our age. Shallow is easy. We'd prefer the first impressions system.
Looking beyond the obvious is a distinct Christian virtue. When Jesus was attacked and criticized for healing a man on the Sabbath he spoke to the Jewish critics. He said---
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
John 7: 24, ESV
He knew their usual quick measure of people and situations. Their religious system sized people up and judged others by what was visible in their actions. When they were ritualistic and prideful in the mechanics of prayer he told them to go deeper in their assessments, to consider what happened in the quieter, less visible prayer closet. One day the Jewish legalists were prepared to stone a woman accused of adultery. Jesus took a step back and drew in the dust, then challenged them to examine their own lives. He told them, "...Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone" (John 8: 7). He taught that their judgements and decisions should move beyond first impressions. You know, the book and it's cover.
Candidates and political parties want to press our hot buttons by showing us glimpses of the ones seeking office. But, you know there are many truths about those people that cannot be depicted in a one minute advertisement. Our challenge is to go deeper, to examine more than the shining elements of their candidate or the raw edges they portray of their opponents. First impressions don't always reveal truth.
May I suggest a much more efficient deeper view of the parties and candidates we're considering in election 2020? The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine Decision voter guide is a brilliant and biblical assessment of the choices we'll make on November 3. You can access their article 2020 Election Guide by clicking here. It is, of course, as assessment attuned to the Christian worldview and provides a deeper look into our voting decisions in this election. It is much more than the book and it's cover, and provides us that deeper assessment of where the parties and candidates stand on issues of concern in the election we'll decide in 19 days.
The book and it's cover is no way to elect a President, Senators, Congressmen, and others who will lead our nation, states, and communities at every level of government. The book and it's cover just won't do in election 2020.