There is Just One Issue in This Election

Tomorrow's election is a big deal, but then again. I happen to think all elections in America are a big deal. No, I don't think "the country, as we know it, will end if we re-elect Obama" (thanks Glenn Beck). But I do think it's an important election. I have some clear beliefs--but I despise the extremist ideologues on both sides. Talking heads like Sean Hannity and Chris Matthews are equally maddening to listen to. But the shows I enjoy are those that feature a strong conservative or committed liberal who actually can admit the strengths and benefits of the other side.

Some of my friends are well-educated on issues, yet believe something quite the opposite of me. But I still enjoy talking with them because they engage the discussion respectfully and intellectually. Other people enjoy coming up, poking you in the eye, and then running away with a cocky "you-are-stupid" attitude. I try to avoid all political conversations with them.

I've given a lot of thought to how I'm going to vote on Tuesday. You might be surprised as to what is important to me (and what isn't) in this election.

These are issues NOT impacting my vote...

  • Abortion — I'm sure this won't make me popular, but there is nothing on the table that either candidate is going to do to change America's stance toward abortion in the next 8 years. America will not be going backwards on this issue. These fights will need to happen at the State level. So the abortion issue is not impacting my vote for president.
  • Homosexuality — I don't think the federal government is (or should be) involved in issues of sexual preference or marriage as an institution. Although one candidate very closely represents my views, it's a non-issue for me in the Presidential election.
  • War & Peace — Obama has had virtually the same exact foreign policy that Bush had. He is no less likely to take us into an unnecessary war than will Romney. While Obama has bungled some foreign policy decisions (Libya), Romney has ZERO foreign policy experience. This area is neutral as far as this election goes.
  • Trustworthiness — I don't buy the flip-flop lines about Romney any more than I bought that Obama went from liberal to centrist in the last election. It is the nature of elections. In the primary, you must win your base. In the general election, you must win independents. I don't like it, but it's the nature of politics. For me, Obama and Romney are on even ground. I can trust Obama to lead according to his beliefs and values. And the same for Romney.
  • Health of the Planet — another non-issue for me. Neither one is going to hurt the earth (you can't get away with that in today's world), and if this were an issue for me, the nod would go to Romney as he would include economics in decisions about the climate (rather than take them off the table like Obama did with the Keystone Pipeline).
  • Vice President — I'd be scared to death if Obama died and Biden became president. I do not have the same fears about Paul Ryan. However, this is also not the reason I'm voting.
  • Party -- I'm not registered with either party, and I won't be voting a straight-line ticket.

I should repeat: I'm not saying these issues above are not important to me. I'm just saying they aren't the reason I'm voting in this years' election.

There is one issue driving my choice tomorrow: Economy. Jobs. Financial Peace. This must get fixed. We may already be too far down the road for a turn-around, but I'm voting based on my belief that it is possible.

Because of that, these are the topics on my mind when I enter the voting booth on Tuesday:

  • Hope — The presidency includes a bully pulpit that is real. Kennedy used it to take us into space. Reagan used it to give America hope again after the inflation and energy crisis of the late 70's. An economic recovery is not entirely psychological, but having a leader who can speak hope into the country again is very important. In my opinion, only one candidate has been talking this way in recent months.
  • Track Record — One candidate has had a long history of large turn-arounds. And they have been convincing. I realize the country is the largest enterprise on the planet. And it may not work. But I put my money on someone who has actually had success in turning around failing institutions--rather than the one who has not.
  • Bipartisanship – Nothing will get done without working with both parties. One candidate in this race has done that. The other has not. Nothing of substance will get done without working together. It is vital. A weak leader walks away from difficult conversations and attempts to subvert and undermine. A great leader finds a way to bring people together.
  • Sound Business & Finance Skills — Because of the mess we are in (from decades of poor choices), we need an expert in the white house. We need someone who can roll up their sleeves and find solutions. We need someone who isn't over their head with the economic issues facing our country.

Let me be clear. I think both candidates love America. I think both candidates want what's best for this country. I just believe they have very different ideas of how to get it done, and different visions of what America should look like on the other side.

Conclusion: I don't share my thoughts to convince you to vote for my candidate of choice. But I do want to convince you to vote. Think, pray, study and then show up on Tuesday to cast your vote. Many father's and sons and brothers and uncles died on the battlefield to win your freedom to vote. Don't treat it lightly.

I didn't write this post to debate any issues, so I'm turning off the comments for this post and just ask you to prayerfully consider what you will do on Tuesday.

Tim Stevens