I’m A Privileged White Guy, So I’m Giving Away My Vote This Election

I’m A Privileged White Guy, So I’m Giving Away My Vote This Election July 16, 2016

Stimmzettel in Wahlurne

It’s the height of election season in Americaland. While many of us probably already feel over-saturated from an election cycle that lasts waaaaaay too long, the intensity of the election is about to hit its final stretch as both the Republicans and Democrats kick off their conventions this month.

While I enjoy staying up-t0-date on the election, and the various issues that are being debated, I have felt somewhat liberated to approach this election differently, as I do not vote. My abstinence from voting is a religious one– I am an Anabaptist, and while we do not all agree on this issue, I am part of the Anabaptist wing who holds the theological conviction that we should not participate in this act.

We have various biblical and ethical reasons for this. Speaking for myself, I feel called to abstain for several reasons.

First, as one committed to nonviolent enemy love as a foundational aspect of my faith, I could not in good conscience vote for a candidate who would annihilate our enemies. Since this is America, and we love our wars and violence, this position I hold automatically rules out everyone.

Second, I believe that the Bible calls us (Christians) to live as immigrants and exiles (1 Peter 2:11) in a nation that is not our native home. I believe this is an invitation to detach from some of the secular political debates of our host country, since this is not our home. Instead, one would simply seek the peace of the place they find themselves in (Jeremiah 29:7), with a mindset not of a loyal citizen, but as a missionary who has been sent far from home to influence that culture in other ways.

This is my religious conviction, and it sits deep within my conscience– and for that, I make no apologies about being faithful and true to my sincere convictions.

Over the course of time however, people have pointed out that for me (and those who share this belief), our privilege in society is a factor in being able to abstain from voting. Essentially, for us to abstain is far less of a sacrifice than it would be for a member of a marginalized group– undocumented immigrants, the poor, LGBTQ, people of color, etc.

And on this point, those voices are entirely correct. While I don’t believe I should abandon my religious beliefs because I am a person who was born with privilege, I do recognize that my privilege certainly makes abstaining from voting something that is unlikely to come back to haunt me. While I am not rich or even middle-class, I have a host of other privileges that will follow me regardless of who is, or who is not president.

I am white, and I am a cis male, so that right there has given me a massive leg up over just about everyone. I have a modest, predictable stream of income. I have healthcare insurance I earned from my pre-Anabaptist days when I was in the military– insurance that is sound, inexpensive, and that I will have for life. I also have access to many, many resources that so many others do not have– a critical factor to consider when considering issues of privilege.

Bottom line? My life probably would not change that much under a President Trump or a President Clinton. Life will probably just go on as normal– and the privilege I enjoy is the precise reason for that.

While I did not ask to be born into privilege, and will not engage in self-loathing for that fact, I do believe that how I use my privilege matters. I can use it for myself, or I can use it for others who do not have it– that part I am entirely responsible for.

So here’s how I have decided to be faithful to my deeply held religious beliefs while also recognizing how easy my privilege has made that for me:

I’m giving away my vote this year. In fact, I’ll probably be giving away my vote from here on out, because it strikes me as the right thing to do.

What does that mean?

It means I’ll be sitting down with someone from the refugee community I have worked with here in my home state of Maine– someone who is a non-citizen, unable to vote, and whose life will surely be impacted greatly by the policies and decisions of the next president. It will likely be a refugee from Somalia, since we have a large population here in Maine, and because even the Christian refugees in our community have a larger portion of privilege than our new Muslim friends.

Surely, a Muslim refugee from Somalia, people of color who are poor, non-citizens, and who belong to the religion we most fear, will be impacted by this election infinitely more than I ever would.

To give away my privilege, I’ll be sitting down with this individual and together we’ll talk through the candidates, the issues, and the referendums on the ballot. When we’re finished, I’ll be making a list of their choices on each of the various federal and local candidates, and each of the referendums being decided. When I walk into that voting booth on election day, I will not be walking in to vote myself– I will be taking their list, and voting their personal choices faithfully.

I’m giving away my vote this year.

No, I didn’t ask for all this privilege that makes abstaining from voting so easy, but I believe that I am responsible for how I choose to respond to this privilege– and how I choose to respond to it this election cycle, is to give away my vote to someone who needs it far more than I do.

What about you? How can you use your privilege for good this election season? I’d invite you to join with me, in giving away your vote this year to someone who does not share the same privileges in society that you or I do.

It strikes me as the right thing to do.

unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.

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  • I love this! I think it’s a brilliant way to both maintain your convictions (which I whole-heartedly share) and also empower someone who does not have the privilege to abstain from voting. This strikes me as an incredibly Christ-like thing to do. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m not yet registered to vote in my state, but if I do, this is what I will do as well.

  • Bill Burchard

    Very commendable. My proxy vote is based on conversations I’ve had with others, both those who are conservatively inclined and progressively inclined.

  • Lauren Norford

    I agree with you on most things, but I have to say, I find this peculiar and somewhat ridiculous.

  • Wendy Cameron

    While I applaud your intent, if the person decides that you should vote for a right-wing ideologist who stands for everything you are against, you will cast that vote? Do you not, as does everyone, have a responsibility to stand and support what is ‘right’ (though I know people have different definitions of what is right). A lack of action to stop evil basically supports evil.

    While I expect that a person you chose would be unlikely to support Trump, by chosing that person you are essentially chosing who you would like to have in power. That said, I think it is better to cast on behalf of someone who has no say then to not cast a vote at all…especially in this election.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    If you are not going to vote yourself this is a sensible thing to do, but I am puzzled by the logic by which you consider it wrong to vote yet OK to enable someone else to do so. If voting is wrong, are you not encouraging another to sin?
    If it is only wrong specifically for anabaptists to vote, and OK for the rest of us mere mortals, are you not in refusing to dirty your own hands with voting participating in the same holy elite vs unsaved masses dichotomy that yoi rightly denounce us utterly contrary to the message of Jesus?

  • Dan Tucker

    Your logic error is in thinking that not doing something because of ¨religious convictions¨ is a sin. It is not. Therefore, none of you points are valid. For example, if I choose not to eat meat because of my religious convictions, is it a sin for others to eat meat? No. This being so, Dr. Corey´s action on voting for another is very Christ-like (as T.C. Moore says below). His hands are not dirty and he is not acting contrary to the message of Jesus.

  • Hi Iain–

    I don’t teach that voting is a sin, and I do not tell others it would be a sin to do so. I simply acknowledge that my conviction is that I believe God has called me to abstain, and that I have biblical reasons to support my conviction.

    I see it as the meat sacrificed to idols that Paul dealt with in the NT. He recognized that for some, its a sin. For others, it is not. I do not judge the others who feel for them, it is not a sin– I can only be accountable to God for my own self, and must honor what I feel God has asked me to abstain from, whether it is meat or voting.


  • James Quinn

    Care to share with us why? It’s one thing to say, “That’s so stupid!” but is far more enlightening to say, “I think I disagree with your points, let me explain what I believe…”

  • Lauren Norford

    Well to me it seems similar to saying “I am a vegetarian and I have this strong belief but I realize it is white privilege that gives me choices about what to eat. How about if I defy my belief and eat something that you would like to eat poor immigrant. Let me have this steak on your behalf.” It seems to me that a belief that you shouldn’t vote is a belief that you shouldn’t vote. If you use your body to vote for someone else, you are still voting. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding something?

  • otrotierra

    A great followup to Dr. Corey’s post would be an entry featuring answers given directly by Muslim refugees and other poor, marginalized voices among “the least of these.” U.S. evangelicals have, for several months now, filled blog comment sections such as Patheos and RedLetterChristians to support/defend/excuse/deny Trump’s hate-filled gospel. Dr. Corey could provide some digital space to hear from those who are deliberatly and systematically silenced. He’s done so already with a couple guest entries relating to the sex traffic industry, so this could be a real possibility.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Fair enough, that makes more sense.

  • Cliff

    How did you come to be in Maine/U.S.? Did you choose to travel there from a far country? Or, was that choice to live in the U.S. made for you by your forebears? Your position truly defies logic. Cute, but convoluted and provocative. Is that what you intended? But that’s OK. Anything one claims to believe in the name of a religion is just that, and who is to judge?
    YOU, as a registered voter, will be voting, or not, just like everyone else. Pretend what you will.
    You call Maine/U.S. your home (“here in my home state of Maine”, yet deny it in another statement: “:….since this is not our home……”) Which is it? Does anyone have a “home” in your sense of the word?
    Every Christian, every human being,, not just Anabaptists, is a sojourner here on this Earth until we are returned to our true home in the Cosmic God upon the event of our Earthen death.
    We are born and we live and we make choices; but some choices are made for us, of course. You are pretending that you are allowing another to do this for you.
    We are all sojourners for a blink of time……..but an action taken today may have significance for others and into the future. Enjoy the trip!

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Dr Corey has replied explaining that he regards not voting as a decision personal to him, a particular calling, which is fair enough.
    If one is refraining from doing something out of “religious convictions” this is meaningless in itself: it will either be because it is a spiritual exercise or calling personal to yourself in your particular circumstances, or because you believe it is wrong in general. If the latter then yes, if your religious convictions lead you to believe something is wrong then you will think it is wrong whether it is you or someone else doing it.

  • kaydenpat

    Why not just vote your conscience? Interesting but I don’t quite get this “giving away my vote” thing. Vote for the Party which will be more empathetic to refugees, the poor, and the oppressed.

  • Dan Tucker

    Would it be OK to say my ¨religious conviction¨ is the same as a personal decision for me? I don´t think refraining from doing something out of religious conviction is meaningless. It is clear also, as Dr. Corey replied, that what one does or does not do out of ¨religious conviction¨ is not a sin for others. Cheers!

  • Blerg

    This is very interesting. I’ve been involved in a church that also discouraged voting, but were never really clear about the reasons. I think I might give my vote to a felon who cannot vote. It is one of the more peculiar voting restrictions to me. Are you no longer a citizen if you commit a felony? Of course not.

  • TJ

    Wow, thank you so much for this perspective. I love hearing ideas from people who put a lot of thought in their decisions. My wife and I have recently become involved with a refugee family from Syria who just arrived in America two weeks ago. If I can help my new friend learn enough English to discuss politics by November I would love to join you.

  • Scott Harrison

    Fascinating, thank you! I appreciate your lucidity and honesty, so refreshing. I do have one question: would your anabaptist position have meant a withdrawal from political engagement in apartheid-era South Africa? I was a white, privileged conservative evangelical back in the late eighties, and feel a great deal of disquiet over the disengaged stance of many Christians during that time: it was the WCC – World Council of Churches – which in the main (though not exclusively) took the fight as it were to the Pretoria regime. I lean toward quietism, yet paradoxically resist it. I would be interested in your thoughts if you care to respond! Blessings, Scott, Johannesburg

  • Guy Norred

    I think it is more like a vegetarian preparing a steak to another’s specifications and serving it to that person.

  • John Carothers

    I’m sorry, I usually love your posts, but this one bordered on the insane. Your insistence on the perfect or you will not vote is a vote for evil, not abstinence.

  • Interesting, and I respect your desire to vote for someone else who can’t. No matter what criticisms people have, your heart is in the right place. :)

  • Jane Silva

    Curious why you were in military?

  • Noah

    I think you missed the part where he IS voting. Just not for himself.

    Definitely far from insane. Candidate doesn’t have to be perfect, probably just a pacifist. There’s plenty of one issue voters.

    Plus, there’s the biblical aspect of it.

  • Noah

    It is a bit of an odd one. Maybe just a moratorium, based on the crime. At least that way there’s still some constitutional rights not being trounced.

  • Noah

    Go back to the ‘love your enemies’ reason.

  • Noah

    Yes, his home is Maine. Literally. Spiritually speaking, it is not. It’s a fairly clear delineation.

  • Noah

    I don’t think anything he said suggests ‘not doing something’ is a sin.

    ‘I don’t teach that voting is a sin, and I do not tell others it would be a sin to do so.’

  • Noah

    Yea, I see that a bit.

  • Noah

    What Guy said. His vote(s) are literally the choice of another person.

    The privilege bit is only to show that he’s unlikely to be affected much by voting against his own interests.

    I’m not sure if there is a good analogy, but it’s doing something that hurts you, but benefits others.

  • Noah

    Before becoming a pacifist.

    Though, I do wonder how he ‘allows’ himself to benefit (for life), with his family, from an organization he’d prefer didn’t / didn’t need to exist.

    Maybe a bit of an allowance as it is super helpful – and that was the deal for his service.

  • Dan Tucker

    Agreed. I got that Idea from Iain´s comments.

  • otrotierra

    As Noah explains, Dr. Corey embraced a theology of non-violence after his military service. As for why he joined (and why he accepts the earned benefits the government owes him), I don’t imagine that’s especially important to Dr. Corey’s fascinating blog entry.

  • Realist1234

    So Ben, you dont believe it is right for you to vote in a political election which chooses the person whose policies will dictate the running of your country for a few years, but instead you vote ‘on behalf of’ another less fortunate person than yourself, presumably because you still think their vote counts? In effect you are still voting for those things you think are important, like immigration policy. I find your position illogical.

  • Realist1234

    That is illogical. In using the meat analogy, you are in fact saying that you are quite prepared to eat meat sacrificed to idols, even though you yourself believe it to be sinful. You are not abstaining from anything!

  • Realist1234

    It is an illogical position – he is still voting however you look at it. To use his own analogy, he is eating meat sacrificed to idols, which he believes is sinful, on behalf of someone else. But he is still eating the meat!

  • Realist1234

    In reality you’ll be voting for someone whose policies reflect your own. Lets be honest about it.

  • Hillary Allen (aka Canuck)

    I think it’s a good idea.. just be sure that you get several people to check when you discuss ‘issues and what will happen if either candidate wins”… so there is no bias (intentional or otherwise) is the ‘choices’ you give to a newly arrived immigrant. Of course, in my humble opinion, all you need to say is “If it’s Trump, you’re outta here”… and see what they say.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Not necessarily illogical: as he has explained it he personally does not feel able to vote but he does not think it a sin generally.

  • ZackBop

    An interesting idea, but have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll hardly be “fair” when presenting both sides to your voter-of-choice. Even though you don’t personally vote for yourself, you seem to loathe (or at least greatly dislike) conservatives.

  • otrotierra

    Dr. Corey listening to Somalian refugees seems to threaten you. Wonder why that is?

  • ZackBop

    Your knee-jerk reaction says more about you than you think my comment does about me. I couldn’t care less who wins this election. I’m not voting. Just commenting on how this idea seems noble, but it’s not exactly coming from an “unbiased” source.

  • RonnyTX

    Benjamin, I can respect your right, to let someone else have your vote; but just personally, I couldn’t see doing the same myself. Why not? Well, some background. I didn’t grow up being taught this by my parents; but by some other family and local church members. Taught what? That the Republican Party was the party of God and when I voted for such in a primary, I knew I was supposed to vote for the most conservative Republican candidate. And I did that, for years on end. Then I quit voting, 12 to 16 years ago. Why? Because I came to see, that on the Republican side, they really weren’t what they claimed to be. And or, when they were in power, they really didn’t do much of anything, to protect unborn children. And it was because of the issue of abortion, that I most disagreed with the Democratic side and would not vote for them. And then there was the issue of my growing up, being gay and becoming a Christian, by the mercy and grace of God. And with my being gay, I was taught to believe from 12 years old up, that such make me the scum of the earth. I believed that for a long, long time, until God showed and taught me better. :-) Then I realized I could no longer vote Republican, because of how anti-gay, so many of them were. So, on a personal level, these are my main reasons, why I can’t personally see voting, for either a Democrat or Republican candidate.

  • otrotierra

    By all means, tell Dr. Corey and the rest of us all about your prized “unbiased” perspective that evidently only you are privileged enough to have in your possession. Because Somalian refugee experiences just don’t compare to ZackBop’s superior, unbiased opinions. Good luck with your crusade of self-convenience.

    Yep, those Somalian refugees sure are threatening–better work hard to shut them down before ever being heard. Keep up the good work, ZackBop.

  • John

    This just seems like the latest over-reaction to a culture war issue. It is not really helpful, but plays well to the sensitivity crowd that must find ways to address an issue. It certainly is not in the spirit of reserving voting privileges to citizens and treats the responsibility to vote rather trivially and is more about making a point than really contributing to a solution.
    I can best help in this election cycle by using my vote to support candidates who are making an effort to bring unity and justice to our society. That way the refugee may be a citizen by the next election cycle and can vote for themselves.

  • ZackBop
  • apoxbeonyou

    How is it illogical? He is taking himself out of the equation. There is no guarantee that the other person will want to vote for all the things he would vote for.

    Also, he has said several times in the comments that he doesn’t think voting is ‘wrong’.

  • Lauren Norford

    No serving it to another person would be like finding a way for that refugee or illegal to vote. By voting himself he is ‘eating the meat.’

  • Realist1234

    In reality he is not ‘taking himself out of the equation’ as it is still Ben who physically goes to vote in person. He hasnt changed bodies with anyone else. In truth, he is voting for the candidate who best represents his own way of thinking, which also reflects what many (though not all) immigrants think, and which many Christians would agree with. I very much doubt if Mr Corey sat down with an immigrant who actually believed in Trump’s policies, he would then go to the polling station and vote ‘Trump’. Lets be honest about it.

    As for ‘wrong’ he clearly said that he believes scripture has taught him that he should not vote- ‘.. we should not participate in this act. We have various biblical and ethical reasons for this’. In other words, in his own eyes, it is indeed ‘wrong’ or at least inappropriate.

  • There are other parties. :) You might really like the Green Party’s stance on things–other than abortion.

  • Guy Norred

    This may be the letter but not the spirit of what is represented. To vote is to make one’s voice heard. This only requires the physical act of entering the poling place and pulling the lever or filling our the form because we are limited to that path in this regard. He is finding a person to whom even this path is unavailable and being their proxy. Another thing to compare it to would be the paying of someone else’s debt. Think about it. Say there is a person who has a debt but no way to pay it, and someone else who has a means to do so comes along and pays it. The liability of the debt did not transfer to the person who could pay it, but the debt was cleared all the same.

  • Considering his whole point is to allow someone to vote their mind who normally wouldn’t get the chance, I’m sure Ben will vote as they wish, even if it were for Trump. That sounds to me like the point of giving your vote away.

  • Jerry Lynch

    That you would choose this group of people to “give away” your vote is your own vote, and still a worldly action I feel is contrary to your conscience. The result is the same: 1. ” a candidate who would annihilate our enemies. Since this is America,
    and we love our wars and violence, this position I hold automatically
    rules out everyone”; and violates 2. “Instead, one would simply seek the peace of the place they find
    themselves in (Jeremiah 29:7), with a mindset not of a loyal citizen,
    but as a missionary who has been sent far from home to influence that
    culture in other ways.”

  • Lauren Norford

    That analogy would only work if the first person was philosophically and spiritually ‘against’ paying debts.

  • gimpi1

    The best thing I can do with my privilege is to take the responsibility to cast an informed vote – to not be influenced by mindless fear, hatred or divisiveness, to do my best to uncover facts and to fearlessly follow where they lead, and to then vote for the person who my research has led me to think is the best. Not perfect – because there is no such thing, not what I would prefer – because I may not have that option, but the best choice I have.

    I understand Ben’s convictions. I’m in a similar situation financially, except for health-care. If the ACA is repealed, I may lose access to health insurance.

    I have an expensive condition to treat – rheumatoid arthritis – and my employer is no longer offering health insurance. I have insurance through my husband right now, but he’s looking to retire soon. He qualifies for Medicare, but I still have several years to go. Those facts make me feel strongly about exercising the very little control I have over this situation, through my vote.

  • Anne Fenwick

    I find it interesting what you say about the ‘spirit of an immigrant’. As a lifelong perpetual and rather nomadic real immigrant, I would say that not being one is also a privilege. I didn’t vote until my mid-40s which is how long it took me to find a community where my always fragile sense of ownership and belonging became strong enough that I felt like a potential participant. I got lucky then: in the last vote I participated in, less than half the adults in my circle were eligible. Our interest group was brutally disenfranchised, consequently our interests were disregarded and my home, my savings and the ability of my family to stay together were all thrown into question. The world is dominated by settled people, just as much as it is dominated by cis- straight white men. Settled people do indeed very often hate people like me and want us not to exist. When they can, they act against us, in their voting and elsewhere. I now believe that the more we feel disenfranchised, the more we should vote, but here I am again, fighting that battle that says ‘you’re not a participant, just a guest and you’d better see to it that you stay welcome. Your job is to shut up and take what you’re given’.

    Anyhow, I applaud you for engaging as seems right to you. It would be interesting to learn how your political discussions with refugees go.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    I will not give away my vote. I also am a privileged, white male, but as an American citizen, I believe I must vote as best I can, taking into account what is best for my nation, my community, and myself, and further my understanding of the candidates, their policies, their character and the current situation as a whole. This is my duty, my responsibility, and my right.

  • David

    I totally agree with Ben on this. I have not voted since 1996 and never will again for the following reasons:

    1. I can vote to give away my freedoms but I cannot vote to take away yours. Voting is an act of aggression. If our rights are God given and unalienable (non transferable) then they cannot be usurped by a voter and yet that is the crux of all voting.
    2. Voting is anonymous. Voters are never held accountable for their actions. They can vote to harm others with no consequence to themselves.
    3. Voting is an act of cowardice. It allows people to do by way of proxy to others what they otherwise cannot or would not do such as steal, kill, agress, etc.
    4. Voting does not make a difference. There has never been a single election I’ve participated in that my vote or lack thereof was the decider.
    5. Those elected are never held accountable for the debt they accrue on behalf of those they represent and the resulting economic harm. The worst thing that happens is that they are voted out of office with a full lifetime pension.
    6. Voting is an act of consent. I don’t choose to offer my consent. When you vote you agree to abide by the rules of the game and accept the outcome. By voting, it is clear that each voter endorses the governmental system under which he or she lives. By the act of voting, each voter is saying: It is right and proper for some people, acting in the name of the State, to pass laws and to use violence to compel obedience to those laws if they are not obeyed regardless of the morality of those laws.
    7. Voting is an act of presumptive violence because each voter assumes the right to appoint a political guardian over other human beings. No individual voter or even a majority of voters have such a right (see #1). If they claim to possess such a right, let them clearly explain where that right comes from and how it squares with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, [and] that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable “Rights” of “Life, Liberty,” and Property.
    8. Is there an obligation to vote to preserve my freedoms and rights? If so, then my rights aren’t in fact unalienable but rather conditional, a privilege bestowed by the state. This is totally contrary to what the founders wrote and spoke about.
    9. To participate in electoral politics by voting is to be part of the “divide and conquer” process that government thrives on. It’s us versus them. Just turn on the TV tonight and watch the republican rhetoric. Or next week when the democrats have their little party.
    10. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil. If we vote for a bad candidate, we will be held partly responsible for the harm done by that candidate. This is true even if our sole intent was to defeat a worse candidate. One evil does not justify another. It would have been better not to vote at all.

  • Realist1234

    Given your views, how can you ‘totally agree’ with Ben given that he is going to vote?

  • Realist1234

    Indeed. The whole point of voting is to try to get the policies you agree with to come to fruition, for the good of the country. In the UK we have the NHS. It is far from perfect, but at least everyone without exception can go to a GP or hospital for treatment. I hate the ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality of many Americans.

  • David

    You know, you’re right. I went back and re-read the last few paragraphs. He won’t punch the ballot for either despicable character himself but he’ll do it on behalf of someone else. Of course he’ll never be held accountable for the innocent lives that a president Clinton or president Trump will inevitably take. It’s pretty cowardly.

  • gimpi1

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. There is no perfect health-care delivery system, or any perfect system for any purpose.

    The British system delivers consistently better results than the U.S. system. So do the French, Swedish, Dutch, Canadian, and many other systems. For some reason, many in the U.S. refuse to acknowledge this basic, verified fact. They often cite the problems with other systems, while refusing to admit to the problems in the U.S. It baffles me, and I hate it, too.

  • Artistree

    I vote third party, Constitution Party, and have done so for decades.
    My landlord and good friend plans for vote Green Party. Its good to have the freedom to vote conscience .

  • Obscurely

    Wow, I can’t believe I’m literally seeing the words, “You’re right” in comments for this blog — (*blink blink*) yes, they’re still there!

  • David

    It’s called dialog. Something rare in this world apparently. If I’m wrong I’m wrong. However, I still disagree with Corey on the subject of voting. It’s a scam.

  • David

    “This is my duty, my responsibility, and my right.” So will you take responsibility for the innocent lives that a president Trump takes while holding office? I doubt it. Will you take responsibility for the debt that a president Trump will accrue while in office? I doubt it.

    Your “right” to vote is only valid if you do so to give your rights away without taking mine in the process. In modern electoral politics this is impossible. You have zero moral authority to appoint someone lord and master over me against my will which is exactly what I suspect you will do when you punch a ballot. You may have the legal authority – bestowed by the state – buy you have no moral authority.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    My voting takes away exactly nothing from you. The President has never been “lord and master” of anyone – he is the head of state, the executive, and the armed forces, but he is still restrained by the laws of the land as passed by Congress, and the constraints of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
    As to responsibility, a person can only have responsibility for those actions they have power over. Should President Trump or President Clinton utilize military force, I will have no power over that decision. (I might well protest such a choice – as I have before – but ultimately I don’t have the ability to change it.)
    As to morality, I have all the moral authority I need because I say I do. Morality is a personal choice – your moral position on this seems to me absurd, but I’ll respect your decision. Just don’t try and force it on me.
    Oh, and by the by, I’m voting Clinton this year.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Tell that to the significant percentage of Brexit voters who voted “leave” as a protest vote, only to see that side win.

  • David

    “As to responsibility, a person can only have responsibility for those actions they have power over.” Then I assume you believe Charles Manson was wrongly convicted. After all, he didn’t kill anyone personally. He had no power over anyone, didn’t force them to kill Sharon Tate and the LaBianca’s.

    “…but he is still restrained by the laws of the land as passed by Congress, and the constraints of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.” Excuse me but have you read the constitution? I mean really read it? Not just the first ten amendments. Do yourself a favor and take a text version and put into a word processor. Then do a word count of those words that talk about what government can do. You will find that 95% of the words in the document pertain to what government can and shall do. A mere 5% are devoted to the rights of the individual. Article 1, Section 8 alone should scare the hell out of any reasonable person because it gives nearly unlimited power to government. The constitution is a useless screed.

    “As to morality, I have all the moral authority I need because I say I do. Morality is a personal choice…” Really? So if I think it’s moral to murder someone for no good reason then that is okay, right? Or I believe that it’s moral to steal from someone that is cool too, right? After all, morality is a moving target. Moral relativism like that is exactly why this country is doomed.

    “Just don’t try and force it on me.” Just like you are using the power of the ballot to elevate a psychopath into a place of power over the rest of us against our will. But hey, thanks for the input. It just goes to validate what I have long known, the great American experiment is almost over.

  • David

    The real question is – why were they forced into the EU to begin with? It was a democratic process where the majority exerted its will over the minority. Ya gotta love it when 51% of the people can force their will down the throats of the other 49%.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Perhaps so, but it still shows that every vote does matter.

  • Bones

    Must be why Obama can’t change gun laws given he’s a dictator and all.

    Who’s saying it’s moral to murder and steal?

    That’s just bizarre.

    I’m looking forward to the influx of US REFUGEES fleeing totalitarianism.

    We’ll put you guys on an island for a few years first….

    BTW do most people still support George Ws crusade in the Middle East?

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Manson had power over what his followers did, and therefore responsibility for those actions. Had he not issued the orders, those murders would not have happened.
    The Constitution is a blueprint for good government. It’s a tool for that end – how we use it is up to us as a nation. And yes, I’ve read it – INCLUDING the amendments, which are just as much a part of it as the articles. And I should note that the first twelve amendments were circulated for ratification at the same time as the body of the Constitution – two of them were not ratified.
    Is it moral to murder someone who has every intention of murdering you? Is it moral to steal to feed your family? Ask five people, get six answers. Moral relativism is, and has always been, the reality of the world. As long as we accept rough similarities the country is fine.
    And I’m not forcing anything on anyone. I’m making a choice. If you have an honestly better system of government, put it forward – I’m not opposed to change.

  • Larry TheKeyboardist Blake

    I’m Bernie or Bust. If he doesn’t get the nomination, I’m either voting for Jill Stein or staying home on election day. Trump and Clinton might as well be Satan and Lucifer.

  • JD

    FYI, there’s no such thing as the “responsibility to vote”. I do not vote. I have no responsibility to vote.

  • John

    Ok, call it a privilege, but the point is the same.

  • JD

    Voting is, by and large, nothing more than a symbolic act and has no real purpose. Heck, let’s take the POTUS election for example. I’ll use 2012 numbers for this:

    Population (approx.): 320 million
    Eligible voters (approx): 220 million

    So, starting off, roughly 100 million people in America have zero say in who the elected leaders are. Yes, many of these are children, but children are also governed by the laws that are passed.

    So, in 2012, voter turnout was approx. 55%. That means of the 220 million eligible voters, only approx 125 million actually voted. Of those that voted, only approx. 50% voted for the winner.

    In the end, we have a system where approximately 20% of the population chooses the person the POTUS for the remaining 80%. It’s a sham of a system, and only gives the illusion that the people actually have a say.

    On election day, I’d urge doing something far more productive and Kingdom-focused. Go buy food and share a meal w/ the homeless. Get to know them. Hear their stories. Build community with them. That is going to have a much more profound impact on others than will the useless act of voting. Stop rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • JD

    Sorry. I keep hearing we have a “responsibility to vote”, and it’s such a flawed claim that I had to at least point it out. But, voting doesn’t “contribute to a solution”. The solution to the problems in society aren’t going to be found by giving the keys to an inherently violent entity, as is government, to the right person. The comment makes it seem as though the solution is government-centric. It is not. The solutions to real problems can’t be found in man’s politics. They can be found in Kingdom politics, and the two are mutually exclusive.

    I’m curious, which candidate is making an effort to bring unity and justice to our society?

  • JD

    Excellent post!

  • John

    You seem to be so against voting that probably nothing I could say will suffice. Sorry you don’t feel about voting like so many others do. It is a unique privilege for a population to have that has not been present through much of history. Government is not the only solution, but it is a part of the process. To deny that is to avoid reality. Yet it is also flawed and corrupt as everything else is. Deal with it. Vote or don’t vote, but don’t claim some high road that doesn’t exist. I agree that Kingdom principles far exceed government solutions, but we live in this world too, and it is no compromise to be involved in life here and now.

  • JD

    I’m against the inherently violent entity that is government. I refuse to cast a vote for violence, and that’s what every single vote cast is. I see government as a manifestation of man’s lack of trust in God. God even said it was a rejection of Him when the Israelites demanded a king like the other nations of the world.

    What we need isn’t the “right” government. What we need is the Church to be the Church. That is how change will come. That is how injustice will be truly addressed. When we get into the slop of man’s politics, we cease looking like Christ. We begin craving power as a means of making the world look more like Christ, but that is the very same thing Christ was tempted with in the wilderness. He rejected and so do I. As Greg Boyd has put it before, and I’m paraphrasing, Jesus never seemed to be too keen on advising Caesar on how to best run his empire. That’s the example I will follow. That’s the example I must follow, because man’s politics and Kingdom politics are entirely incompatible.

  • John

    You and I see government differently and I would not ascribe to your biblical interpretation either. Peace.

  • caelin blevans

    just because you are privileged your opinion is worth no less than anyone else’s. no matter who they are. are no matter how much guilt you have about being born, you cant change it.if you believe you shouldn’t vote because of how you were born, (race, sex, etc) then you shouldn’t blog either.

  • Matthew

    Benjamin … did you get this idea from Brian Zahnd or did he get it from you???

  • Matthew

    Interesting idea, but is it really ethical?

  • Bones

    It’s funny how a lot of ‘libertarians’ are privileged white guys……

  • SamHamilton

    I think you should blog about your experiences helping someone else navigate our election process. It would be interesting.

    This would certainly be the easiest election in my short life to sit out.

  • SamHamilton

    That’s a decent point. His blog and books probably have more influence than his vote will. Giving up a vote isn’t that much of a sacrifice.

  • SamHamilton


  • Mikhail Ramendik

    I like the idea but perhaps also speak to a person who is not just a refugee but sees his or her side demonized in the media, a pro-Assad refugee from Syria?

  • Speck

    News flash – no one is pure, and trying to be so actually enables other evils to flourish. Keeping yourself in your little enclave of purity doesn’t help others – and this romantic view of spirituality and community is naive. Of course, I’m a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and my spirituality has been shaped by the inaction of fellow believers against the rise of Hitler. I’d also suggest the fabulous book by Mennonite author Rudy Wiebe, “Peace Shall Destroy Many.” My vote has made a difference in several important elections – and if more people weren’t defeatist, our votes might have an even greater impact.

  • El Dee

    his “vote” is a metaphor… I hope.
    for a vote against bigotry i.e. the GOP.

  • El Dee

    elect Trump and see how “symbolic” his executive orders are.

  • El Dee

    If you don’t vote for Clinton it is a vote for Trump – an American assoholic catastrophe. Get rid of Clinton in 2020 or earlier by impeachment.

  • El Dee

    That is really ridiculous reasoning. Voting is a citizenship responsibility. If you don’t vote, why would you blog here. Go back to the basement and hide while the rest of us get the country moving forward for better or for worse.

  • El Dee

    You’re gonna love Trump.

  • El Dee

    Just as stupid.

  • El Dee

    Maybe you should try dictatorship as an alternative to a democratic majority? You suggest what? President for Life Trump?

  • El Dee

    Actually the Constitution is designed for an upper-class patriarchal slave economy – see “land holding men” and a southern “states rights” senate.
    Our government structure needs to reflect “the people” not “the privileged”. Get rid of the Senate and gerrymandering in the House. Switch to a Parliament that isn’t paralyzed by partisan obstruction.

  • El Dee

    The Trump damage is done. International ridicule and embarrassment. Putin wins no matter what. We deserve a Trump holocaust to punish us again (see Civil War) for our inert racism and greed.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    And get a parliament that is paralyzed by partisan obstruction, PLUS a power struggle between a Prime Minister and a President over who holds executive power. No thanks.
    Take a closer look at your history. It was the Westminster style parliaments that were designed to ensure power stayed with the wealthy and privileged – unlike the US system, which had universal free male suffrage from the start, Parliament was designed around the idea of landowner suffrage at best.

  • El Dee

    You must be quoting FOX News and Hillbilly Education Today.
    That’s a lie. 1790-Only white male adult property-owners have the right to vote.
    Only land owners voted in the U.S.Constitution – not eliminated until 1850. It was a slave Constitution for a slave country. Your lie still doesn’t excuse the bought off right wing zealots of the American oligarchs. The Senate is a hangover from the southern States slavery rights protection. It was erroneously characterized by my history books as a “small state’s rights” protection – Garbage! and we all know now that “state’s rights” is really just a euphemism for old fashioned racism in the states.

  • JD

    Who said the EO’s are symbolic? The act of voting is symbolic. Trump or Hillary, doesn’t really matter. Neither possess Christian worldviews. Both are warmongers.

  • El Dee

    Who needs “symbolic” votes? You can do that in your bathroom. Voting is real. Elect Trump and find out what a satanic candidate can do for you.

  • JD

    I’m a Christian. Neither Trump or Hillary hold worldviews that are remotely compatible with my faith. So I won’t go through the futile and meaningless exercise of voting, and instead spend time on Kingdom issues today.

    I’m not going to be controlled by the fearmongering and base my actions out of fear. No matter who is elected, Christ still sits on the throne. No matter who is elected, the US government will still kill all around the world. No matter who is elected, people will still be marginalized and oppressed. The only difference is which group. But, if you feel the need to go through this exercise, by all means. I will have no part of it though.

  • El Dee

    You convinced me. Where can I find “Kingdom issues”? I want to know the way to the throne of Jesus. Please help me.

  • Bones

    Meh I wouldn’t be too worried …

    We elected a far Right PM over here and he was ditched after a year as he was a complete and utter disaster.

    I’d just enjoy the ride and do something good with your life.

  • Matthew

    Can a U.S. president be sacked after only one year? Trump would have to do something really bad for that to happen … no?

    That said … it´s the polarization that always concerns me. The U.S. is so divided. Both major parties think each other are the greatest threat to America. Conservatives and liberals throw stones at one another. Just look at this blog´s comment section sometimes. Unbelieveable. I even get caught up in the nonsense sometimes. Shame on me.

    Yeah … I know … I don´t have to be here, but the good the blog does for me outweighs the bad … for now at least.

    Lord have mercy. Your kingdom come.

  • JD

    The Sermon on the Mount is a great start.

  • David

    I see. Okay, so a person by choosing not to vote loses their right to speak freely. Is that your contention? Your civil rights – those given to you by government – are more important than my human rights if I am understanding you correctly. I assume then based on what you wrote that a person who doesn’t vote also loses their human right of self defense (the 2nd amendment). They lose their right against against unreasonable search and seizure (the 4th amendment). They lose their right against self incrimination (the 5th amendment). I mean really, if a person loses their right to speak freely (the 1st amendment) because they don’t vote then they should lose all other human rights, right? They should not be allowed to possess property even if acquired morally through a voluntarily transaction. If a person doesn’t vote they should lose their 13th amendment protections against slavery and be relegated to a plantation somewhere. “Voting is a citizenship responsibility.” What a bunch of nonsense. The only responsibility I have toward anyone is to not agress against them. But hey, thanks for your valuable input. It just validates what I’ve known for a long time which is that most people are clueless about what real liberty is.

  • Bones

    Ben…..Trump was elected because many good people refused to choose the alternative or vote at all..

    For evil to prosper it requires good men to do nothing……

    “Bottom line? My life probably would not change that much under a President Trump or a President Clinton. Life will probably just go on as normal– and the privilege I enjoy is the precise reason for that.”

    I hope so…….