The Personal Reflections and Confession of a First Time Voter
Here is my confession… I am a 33 year old woman who has never voted. Gasp! I know. I know. It’s a sin and a shame. I’m sure many people would seek death by stoning as my punishment. Before casting your lot with them, please allow me explain. Growing up, there was never any talk about politics. I’m not entirely sure about how I know that my Grandmother (aka Gran, the woman who raised me most of my life) is a Democrat. It may have come up somewhere throughout the Clinton years possibly but that is the extent of my political knowledge relating to my family. (Oh, and of course that everyone in my family expect me voted for Obama.)
My family was not big on talking about world or current events. My Gran would watch the evening news but I wasn’t invited into any related discussions. I only watched the news to know the weather. My worldview was shaped by what I saw on a daily basis. My family life shaped my worldview. Political talk was nonexistent. Nobody talked about the President or the economy in my circle of friends either. We talked about what made sense to us.
Taking an U.S. Government class, like many of my classes in high school, was basically a waste of time. I passed with maybe a “C” (I was an average student at the time and proud of it). I wasn’t interested in politics in any way. I went into my adulthood with this way of thinking. Political parties, elections, national debt, war, etc. just wasn’t relevant. It wasn’t important. The only reason I had a voters registration card when I was 18 was because they offered it when I and signed up for my driver’s permit.
My first real conversation about politics came about around the age of 21 or 22. I was a new Christian living away from home for the first time. I lived with a sister from the church I was attending who had very strong political views. She was vastly different in her understanding about life than any other member of that church. That included politics. It was around the time when George W. Bush was running for his first term and she was dead set against him winning. I remember her attempting to take me to Baltimore County to vote only to find that since I had become a city resident I had to vote there and it was too late to switch. That was the closest I had ever come to a voters ballot in my entire life.
However, the controversy that followed in my church behind that event is what kept me from wanting to vote ever again. The pastor of that church was so upset with this sister’s talk of politics that he preached a whole sermon on the “evils of the polls”. As I thinking about the ideals and beliefs on many subject of the people in that church I can see how ridiculous it was. At the time however, I made a decision that took a weight of responsibility off of me that I didn’t want to have. You see, before that well-meaning political sister took me to the polling place and told me why she was so passionate about voting, I had no sense of personal responsibility for the state of this country. I didn’t see myself as a participant one way or the other in any part of politics.
I was blind to the reality that I had not only a right but a duty to voice my opinion about the direction of my world. That preacher, I believe, did me a great disservice. He taught me that I didn’t have to care. I went from not caring about voting in ignorance to having a reason not to care. Now please, don’t hear me bashing the church or preachers. Hear me saying that this man was wrong in the teaching of his personal beliefs about voting. As a result I was further misled in my misunderstanding of politics.
It was in 2009 that I left that church. I was delivered, I should say from that church. (Politics wasn’t the only misguided teachings.) After leaving I found that my view of the world was even smaller than before attending. I found a good church home with sound biblical teaching. My journey to spiritual health had begun. Along the way my mind began to be challenged by reality through the lens of the gospel. All of my decisions to “do” or “not do” were confronted with “What would Jesus do”.
My worldview has been or is being transformed by the truth of the gospel. Politics are relevant because of the gospel. I have a responsibility as a citizen to care about who is in political office. It is my duty to pray for that person. It is also my duty to help select the best person for the job. As I reflect on the privilege to participate in the election process, I am comforted to know that no matter who is elected God is in control. I am also appreciative to God for the ability to think beyond a tiny bubble. I am using that ability to cast my very first ballot on November 6, 2012.
I’ll let you know my thought afterwards. Until then, stay healthy