As people are pondering about how, whether, or why they should vote in the presidential election, I’d like to share a Facebook comment I posted to a friend of a friend who, like I myself have done, referred to voting for Romney as “the lesser of two evils.” You may not agree, but here is my response to her:
“I understand your sentiment, but I, for one, find it very unhelpful for concerned voters to continually refer to voting for Romney as the “lesser evil.” In the context of this election choice–imperfect as it is–a vote for even the possiblity of greater fiscal and moral sanity should warrant, at a minimum, a rating of “better.” If we hope to influence for the good of the country we should try to light a light, not just curse the darkness. No disrespect intended, and not to single you out (we are all guilty of this at times), but just to remind us all that words are influential and have consequences. Do they work for the outcome we hope for?”
Then, another friend posted a response, pondering the “lesser of evils” in the context of Romney being a Mormon. He came to the conclusion that perhaps Mormons and others considered outside the Christian protestant traditions are possibly the real deal, despite questionable theologies. Therefore Romney is a “better” choice–even a “good” choice.
My response was, “For me the issue is really not Romney’s faith, it’s about the relative leadership capabilities and moral integrity of the two candidates (rather than charisma, which is a toxic junkfood for American celebrity worshipers). I’m not voting to establish the Kingdom on earth. I’m trying to exercise my Christian responsibility to “seek the welfare of the city” where God has placed me, as God in the scriptures told the Jews [who were] in exile. To vote for status quo [–or to abstain in protest–] would seem to ensure the further deterioration of our country. In that sense, the choice I have [personally] made would seem to be for the greater welfare of America. Not perfect. Better.”
Just for fun, I googled “Voting for lesser of evils, Mormon” and got quite an eyeful! I felt as if I had stumbled upon a secret meeting of the Westboro Baptist Church or a group of armed-to-the-teeth survivalists packing ammonium sulfate fertilizer into a rented U-Haul truck! Blowing the country to hell was, for a large percentage, preferable to admitting that America is NOT the kingdom of God, but rather an injured, bleeding victim who’s been beaten, robbed and left by the side of the road to die. Will we be the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan to America…to our neighbor? Will our legacy be neglect and disdain or mercy? (Luke 10: 30-37)
If the best we can do is discourage, malign, and add to the weight of hopelessness in our society, we’d best be quiet about it. All choices in this upside-down world are going to fall short of the ideal, because the Ideal has not come yet. Would Jesus, however, include our stewardship of “seeking the welfare of the city” as part of our “rendering to Caesar” and just as important in “rendering to God” by loving our neighbor and expressing a candle of hope for the world which, though in darkness, He very much loves and labored to redeem? I like to think so.