On Not Two Options

You've likely seen it. You're scrolling through Facebook and a liberal friend, let's say she's pro-Bernie, has a new post up. She's suggesting that since it’s clear Bernie won't get the nomination we have to vote for Hillary because #neverTrump. Then you scroll down some more and a conservative friend has a post about how terrible Hillary is, that she's a war-criminal and that Trump, as terrible as he might be, would certainly be better than Hillary. The narrative, it would seem, is that there are only two options. We can only ever vote for either the Republican candidate or the Democratic one. That’s it. To do anything else is to take votes away from the lesser of two evils and thereby ensure that the greater of two evils becomes president. We're trapped. These are the only options we have and we have to do the best we can. It isn’t as though we can vote for anyone else, is it?

But maybe things aren’t so bleak. Or, more to the point, maybe they are, but we can change them, slowly. That’s why I’m calling on all Christians to vote with their conscience this year.

Especially in this election cycle it should be painfully obvious that we have no good options. For the Pro-life side (from womb to tomb in particular) we have no good options. Despite what Trump says, I have no doubt that he will do nothing to put an end to abortion or to make the necessary changes in our economic system to help remove some of the reasons that make women feel abortion is their only option. He’ll also likely send us to war at some point. Hillary too will bring us to war.

For those who want to see economic change, whether you’re a Distributist like myself, a Catholic Worker, Christian socialist, or something else, you won't get them from either candidate. Hillary is a bought and paid for candidate. Trump, who claims he can’t be bought, seems to have left out the fact that he is big business. Making him president would take what has been hidden and overt and bring it to light (which might not be a terrible thing if it made us change), but it would still mean politicians being in the pocket of big business, which most of us can agree is a bad thing.

So perhaps this year is finally the year we all stop party loyalty. Perhaps this is the year for Christians to band together and show that neither party can claim us. After all, our citizenship is in heaven and we await a savior from there and his name is not Donald, or Bernie, or Hillary, or Jeb, or Mitt.

Now, hear me clearly. While I do highly recommend not voting for Donald or Hillary, I am not telling you explicitly not to do so. Rather, I am calling on us all to vote with our consciences. If your conscience tells you that Hillary or Trump would be the best possible candidate from all the American citizens aged 35 and over, then by all means vote for them. But please, for the love of God (and I mean that truly) do not let yourself be scared into voting for someone you find reprehensible. (Yes, it’s likely that, even if we all vote with our consciences, either Trump or Hillary will still become president.)

We won't fix the problem this year. And depending on who comes into power it will go harder with some more than others. My family will be in trouble if Trump becomes president and succeeds in repealing Obamacare (I'd want a single-payer system, but since I'm poor, Medicaid will have to do for now). Hillary will likely be bad for religiously affiliated institutions who do not want to provide abortions or contraceptives on religious grounds. Whatever happens, we’re almost certainly guaranteed a hard four years. And in that time we cannot be lazy, we must raise up, and possibly become, the kind of politicians for whom we can vote. And, of course, we must remember that, while we are to work toward the goal of revealing the kingdom of God here amongst us, we will not accomplish that task this side of the parousia. Nevertheless, let’s cry out, not with one voice, but with thousands, that we will not be satisfied with the lesser of two evils, that we will not be scared into voting for people we find reprehensible, and that we are willing to work to effect real change in the world.

David Russell Mosley 

David Russell Mosley blogs at Letters from the Edge of ElflandHe has a PhD in theology from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and is the author of On the Edge of Elfland, a faĆ«rie romance published by Wipf and Stock publishers