Politics, Fear, and Third Party Canidates

 

When I told Bryan I was thinking of writing this post he was surprised. “Should I not do it?” I asked. “No, I think you should, I just didn’t think you had the guts.” He replied. “Neither did I.” I laughed.

That little bit of conversation gives you an idea about how nervous I’m feeling writing this post. I don’t really like conflict. I am not very political and honestly I don’t usually understand how fierce people can get over politics. Maybe part of why I didn’t understand it is that I don’t really agree with the fiery people around me. Maybe it’s partly because the issues people get fiery about aren’t usually the same issues I really care about. Maybe it also feels a bit pointless getting fired up about something when you really are quite powerless.

When it comes down to it, I feel like I didn’t have much choice. I always felt like my vote had to go to one of the two main parties and neither of them really resonated with me all that much.

In every Presidental election I’ve participated in my deciding factor when it came time to check one box or the other was this, “which guys better than the other?” Which is the “lesser evil”? But, honestly, is that really a good way to pick the person who’s going to run our country?

I consider myself relatively informed, especially in the last few elections, but I still would say that at the end of the day I didn’t vote for someone because I really supported THEM and their party and their stance on important issues, but instead voted for them because I thought they were better than the OTHER GUY. I didn’t vote FOR a candidate I voted AGAINST a candidate.

And when it comes down to it that’s how I’ve voted in all the elections I’ve participated in. I voted out of fear instead of conviction. The fear may have been different depending on where I was at in life and different influences. The boxes I ticked may have been different, but the fear was the same really.

Bryan and I try hard in our personal lives not to be driven by fear and not to make decisions out of fear. I don’t think I should turn around and decide who I’m gonna vote for now out of fear. This election I really wanted to vote FOR someone, instead of just AGAINST someone.

So, when a friend posted about isidewith.com on facebook I was intrigued. Here is a site where you can take a quizz and it will tell you which candidates you line up with best. I was intrigued. But, I was also skeptical.

I didn’t feel like I fit in any party. But, I also don’t really feel like the democratic party fit or always emphasised the things I really care about. I knew there were third party options, but knew very little about them and assumed they were mostly just extreme options that wouldn’t fit me either. So, I took the quizz, completely expecting to get a really mixed answer with low percentages across the board.

I was first surprised to find how thorough the quizz was. It covered a lot of issues and policies and even had a way for you to designate which ones were most important to you. And then I got my results: 88% Jill Stein, green party.

I was surprised. 88% is a pretty high percentage. It means that my views line up with Jill Stein and the green party view a vast majority of the time. After getting over my surprise that there actually is a party out there that for the most part fits with my opinions, my next thought was “I don’t know anything about the green party, well, apart from the whole Nader thing.” In fact as I thought about it all I was taught about the green party, and third party candidates in general, was that they aren’t good because they pull votes away from the main party candidates.

So, I started reading about the green party and was surprised again. Overall, there was a lot that resonated with me in this party that emphasized environmental stewardship, social justice, and equality.

Ok, I have to stop right here for a moment and tell you what happened when I got to this point in writing this post… I sort of freaked out internally. I set the post aside. I started rethinking posting this, but more than that I started really debating in my head the merits of voting for a third party candidate. I started feeling fear. And I started asking myself, why the heck am I writing this post and telling the world all this anyway? But, I worked through all that and I’m back writing again.

When it really comes down to it there’s two things I want to share and these two things are why I’m writing this post:

First, I hear a lot of people bemoaning their choices during elections, saying that they don’t really like either choice, but “this guy is better than that guy”. That really is no way to pick our leaders. Or at least I don’t think so and I don’t want to vote like that anymore. And really I’m realizing that our choices are only limited if we allow them to be.

As long as we vote that way and continue to buy into the two party system nothing is really gonna change. Third party candidates won’t be taken seriously and won’t be given a place at the table until people start to step out and vote for them. Truth be told voting for a third party candidate probably won’t change much in this election, but it could start changing things for the next election and the one after that. Because if they can get just 5% of the vote then people may start taking them seriously and including them in debates.

And really how bad would it be if either of the two main party candidates this time around won? When I try to rationally answer that question, well, not that bad or at least not that different.

Perhaps this is part of why the big parties promote such fear (and even terror), because if people believe that it’ll be “the end of the world” or something equally terrifying if the other candidate wins then they won’t risk “throwing away their vote” on a third party candidate. If they believe that the worst will happen if the “other” candidate wins then they will vote for the main party candidate closest to their views even if they don’t really agree with them.

Which leads me to my second point…. I don’t want to live in fear. And I don’t want to vote in fear. And I don’t want to be inundated by the opinions of those who do.

I’ll be happy when this whole thing is over. Because, whoever wins, God will still be on the throne after this election and at least all my feeds won’t be inundated with politics anymore (or at least not as much).

Rejoicing in the journey,

Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

A Leadership Mosaic

This month’s synchroblog is on leadership, an appropriate topic for today. But, as I thought of what to write I realized that so much has already been said on the subject and so much more will be said… So, today I want to give you a little mosaic sampling of what has been said on leadership and what others are saying on leadership today. I hope that you find it thought provoking.

“When kings the sword of justice first lay down, They are no kings, though they possess the crown. Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things, The good of subjects is the end of kings.” – Defoe

“We may please ourselves with the prospect of free and popular governments. But there is great danger that those governments will not make us happy. God grant they may. But I fear that in every assembly, members will obtain an influence [leadership] by noise not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls… There is one thing, my dear sir, that must be attempted and most sacredly observed or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect, and veneration introduced for persons o authority or every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way.” – John Adams

“He seeks information from all quarters and judges more independently than any man I ever saw.” – John Adams speaking of George Washington (those are traits that I personally look for in a leader)

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” – Celtic saying

“To lead people, walk beside them… As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear, and the next, the people hate… When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” – Lao-tsu

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.” – Admiral James B. Stockdale

“Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry Truman

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” – Max DePree

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Here’s what other people are saying about leadership today:

Jonathan Brink – Letter To The President

Adam Gonnerman – Aspiring to the Episcopate

Kai – Leadership – Is Servant Leadership a Broken Model?

Sally Coleman – In the world but not of it- servant leadership for the 21st Century Church

Alan Knox – Submission is given not taken

Joe Miller – Elders Lead a Healthy Family: The Future

Cobus van Wyngaard – Empowering leadership

Steve Hayes – Servant leadership

Geoff Matheson – Leadership

John Smulo – Australian Leadership Lessons

Helen Mildenhall – Leadership

Tyler Savage – Moral Leadership – Is it what we need?

Bryan Riley – Leading is to Listen and Obey

Susan Barnes – Give someone else a turn!

Liz Dyer – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Polls…

Ellen Haroutunian – A New Kind of Leadership

Matt Stone – Converting Leadership

Steve Bradley – Lording or Leading?

Adam Myers – Two types of Leadership

Kathy Escobar – I’m Pretty Sure This Book Won’t Make It On The Bestseller List

Fuzzy Orthodoxy – Self Leadership

Sonja Andrews – Leadership In An Age of Cholera

Tara Hull – Leadership & Being A Single Mom

Beth Patterson – Leadership: Being the River

Bill Ellis – Spiritual Leadership and the re-humanizing of our world

Joe S. – Leadership: This election and social justice

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.