Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Trump or Biden?

 Dear Friends,

In America, about 83% of us are Christian believers and many of us are passionately concerned about the state of our Nation today and are fearful about our future. But who should we vote for? According to the liberal media (L.A. Times, CNN) President Trump is a racist white supremacist who hates all minorities, is misogynic (hates all women), is personally responsible for the 214,000 (to date) deaths from the coronavirus and is mentally unstable. The media reports that if he is reelected, our country as we know it will be destroyed and about 60% of us good, church-going Christian believers are fervently praying that Trump will be reelected for four more years. 

According to the conservative media (Fox News) Joe Biden is a senile old man masquerading as a moderate liberal when we all know he’s just a pawn of the radical left. The media reports that once elected, Biden will declare himself unfit for the presidency (or a democratic congress will) and under progressive, socialist President Kamala Harris, our country as we know it will be destroyed. About 40% of us good, church-going Christian believers are fervently praying that Biden will be our next president. Some believe that neither candidate is qualified to be president and that’s why I think my cat, Sean McDougal, has a good chance as a write-in candidate. (Ask me if you’d like some yard signs)

As a church pastor, I cannot endorse political candidates and wouldn’t if I could. That needs to be your thoughtful, prayerful decision based on sound reasoning and without the influence of the media or influence of the people in your life. Both campaigns and social media have done a wonderful job at manipulating our feelings about the candidates and have created a passionate anger that’s divided our Nation. The only way that liberals and conservatives can manipulate your vote is to manipulate your emotions. If you hate Trump you’ll vote for Biden; if you hate Biden/Harris you’ll vote for Trump and even the most devout Christians have been caught up in an unrepentant and sinful frenzy of hatred.

What might be helpful for us to consider as we darken that circle on our ballot, is whether personality or policy is most important for us. Based on how the mainstream media characterizes Biden’s personality, he gets my vote for the nicest guy in this dustup and the majority of Americans agree. A Gallup poll conducted at the end of September and released last week, reported that 66% of us believe that Biden is likable and only 36% say that Trump is. Are we shallow enough to vote based on a person’s likeability?

German and American political researchers conducted studies that showed likeability actually plays no factor in elections but “personal attractiveness” does. A politician’s personal attractiveness can actually raise his or her electability by as much as 11%. (My handsome and likeable cat is the only perfect candidate! Vote for Sean!)

If the “likeability” factor skews toward Biden, “leadership ability” skews toward Trump. In that same recent Gallup poll, 56% of us believe that Trump is a “Strong and decisive leader” while only 46% say that description applies to Biden. According to the same poll, nearly half of us in America believe that Trump displays good judgement in a crisis and is managing the government effectively. The other half of our country believes that Biden will also display good judgement and manage our country well if elected.

So how do we set aside the daily drama and high hysteria and know who to vote for? Let’s get right to the bottom-line. Twelve years ago, President Barack Obama promised that he would bring change to America and through his executive actions, made some of the greatest changes to our Nation and culture that we had seen in our lifetime. Four years ago, President Trump reversed those changes through his own executive actions and took our country in a completely different direction. The recent Gallup poll revealed that 56% of us believe that they are better off today at the conclusion of Trump’s four years than they were in 2016, and 32% said they were better off at the end of Obama’s term than they are now. 

We make our choice less about personality and more about policies when we ask ourselves the same question that was asked in the poll. “Would you say you and your family are better off now than you were four years ago, or are you worse off now.” If you agree with the 32% and believe you and your family were better off in the direction that Obama took the country, then you should put personality aside and vote for Biden. If you agree with the 56% of our Nation and believe that you have been better off under a Trump administration, then you should put personality aside and vote for him. It’s really that simple. Ignore the hysteria and hyperboles. Think. Pray. Vote.

Then chill out. The most disturbing thing about politics today is that it’s tearing apart families, friendships and even churches. Those of us devout Christians who sit in the blue-colored pews or the red-colored pews, are now yelling back and forth across the aisles, cursing each other on their facebook pages and “canceling” each other for supporting the “un-christlike” candidate. We’ve seen Christians viciously attacking each other for their political beliefs. That’s why we need to settle down, take a deep breath and consider my paraphrase of Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, there is neither Democrat nor Republican; there is neither liberal nor conservative for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Can you say “Amen” to that?

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