Saturday Night Live opened this past weekend with a skit in which Alec Baldwin interrupted his portrayal of Donald Trump to say he was tired of the rancor. Kate McKinnon (who has been portraying Hillary Clinton) agreed. They ran out of the set hand-in-hand and went around New York hugging people and smiling. They were united and happy. It was fun to watch. At the end, back on stage, they said it’s not their job to tell us who to vote for, but to encourage us to vote.
My stance, as a leader of a congregation, is similar. I hope you will vote, but I wouldn’t consider telling you how.
That’s not to say that Jesus wasn’t political. He was and his followers are. We are concerned with matters that affect the polis, the community. We rightly get involved in policy advocacy and supporting people who will advocate for what we believe is closer to what Jesus has in mind for us. I hope Jesus is on your mind when you vote (and when you do every other act you’ll do today and tomorrow).
Even so, having Jesus on our minds doesn’t mean we will all vote the same way or come to the same conclusion about a policy matter. There are too many issues under consideration and too much brokenness involved to declare, “Jesus would vote for (insert the name of whoever has your vote or the issue that animates you).”
Still, voting is important because it is an opportunity to stand among neighbors and show we care about the present and future state of our community and nation. Hopefully we take the time to be informed about the candidates and their positions and consider how they align with what we think is best for our society and our interplay with the world. Voting recognizes that we have a stake in what is to come and some ownership of what we will become together.
So, please vote, then please leave the “Don’t Blame Me, I voted for (whichever)” stickers off your car. Blame won’t help us move forward. Washing our hands of the process because we didn’t get our way won’t help. What we need is less cynicism and more engagement in order to seek the best for our community, state, nation, and world. Let’s start today (or at least by Wednesday).