Those of you who have been following my occasional OpEds may recognize this title. It’s one that has been used before – on my first submission here at The Edgefield Advertiser, back in May. Now that we are (thankfully) almost finished with this “off-year” election cycle, it is time to think once again about ethics, religion, and voting.
Back in May, I wrote that it is not enough to trust a candidate just because they assert that they and their family are good, Church-going folk who are more or less the same religion that you and I are. They all say that, some complete with glossy family photos. Count how many you see on television this week and next. As I stated then, we should not particularly be interested in which religion they profess, or none at all. There are excellent council members, congressmen and legislators whose political stance is like ours, even though they may be single or divorced, and their religion may be entirely different, if they mention their religion at all. The questions we should all ask are indeed ethical and moral ones, but ones which are common to all mainstream religious beliefs.
In recent elections, I have always voted a split ticket; and I urge The Advertiser’s readers to do the same. There are some heroes and villains out there, and lots of well-meaning incompetents of every political stripe; the challenge is to sort out which are which. Let’s say that I am interested by what a particular candidate has to say, and am considering voting their way. The answers I look for (and frequently that’s not an easy job!) address these questions. Do their words and their record point toward actions that indicate a real commitment to help our brothers and sisters whenever they need help? That should be a common requirement, firmly based on my own religion but common to all. If they are elected or re-elected, whether to a position in Edgefield or to office in Columbia or Washington, are they likely to enable their level of government to do a better job than we are doing now? Or have they failed at that very test, in previous terms of office? If they have failed, then it’s time to try somebody new. And which tasks are truly the most important ones? Here are the four I mentioned five months ago. Ask yourself these questions about your candidate. If they are in office, will (s)he help enable our society to do a better job at feeding the hungry? Welcoming the stranger? Caring for the sick? Becoming better stewards of our fragile island home here on earth? A candidate, whose answers to those four questions comport with my moral compass, will have earned my vote.
If you have a chance, get an absentee ballot and study it. Consider each name, and ask yourself those questions before you vote. Whether you vote absentee or in person, I hope that each and every eligible voter in Edgefield County casts a ballot, and considers well those touchstones as a vital part of the process.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.
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