Don’t sit out the election. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES [file]
A few days ago Paula and I were having dinner in the Caf with some first-year students, one of our favorite pastimes. It was great. While eating, Paula asked, “How many of you are voting?” Everyone there said they were, and already some had voted by absentee ballot. I would be remiss if I did not underscore the importance of voting.
An exercise of democracy
Some of you students might look at the two leading presidential candidates and wonder, “Is this really the best we can do?” You might be tempted to sit out next week’s election out of protest or perhaps out of apathy. On one hand I do not blame you. On the other hand, in spite of the mess of it all, I urge you to still vote.
The democratic process is not perfect, but it is powerful. As citizens who vote, we have a say in who occupies positions of power on the local, state and national levels. Do these people represent our interests and our ideas about what is best for society? Will they help things become better or will they make things worse?
Whether it be the taxes we pay, the immigration or criminal justice policies that affect our communities, or the state and federal laws that even this year have the potential to dramatically affect places like Biola University, politics has bearing on our lives.
Freedom from cynicism
Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, recently wrote in an email to leaders of Christian colleges: “Nothing will affect the missions of our precious and invaluable institutions more than what our federal and state governments will legislate or courts will rule.”
Hoogstra went on to argue that we cannot afford to let cynicism keep us on the sidelines of this election.
“Like it or not, the outcome will have tremendous impact on our country, especially for those of us in Christian higher education, and so a vote (or a non-vote, as the case might be) should not be given lightly, whether at the national or local levels,” Hoogstra said.
A relevant and redemptive voice
Students, I hope you are registered to vote—if you are eligible—and I hope you are planning to vote Tuesday. Do your research beforehand and consider not just the candidates but also the propositions. If you are registered in California you will be voting on no fewer than 17 ballot measures, including initiatives on the death penalty, education, taxes, marijuana and more. It can be daunting to stay informed on all of these things, but I hope you take some time in the next few days to consider these issues and how you will vote. Talk about them with friends, family and faculty members. And then vote. I hope to see many of you wearing those “I voted” stickers around campus on Tuesday. I will be.
If our mission at Biola is to impact the world for Christ, and if we see our faith as something that is for the common good of communities, states and nations, we should not be apathetic about politics. Our participation in this process is one important avenue by which we as Biolans can carry out our vision to be a “relevant and redemptive voice in a changing world.”