When Election Day arrives, so do the traps that come with it. Be sure you avoid these pitfalls, and help others avoid them, too!
1. I'm a nobody -- I only have one vote, and my vote doesn't count!
This trap overlooks the lessons of history that show how elections can be decided by a single vote or a handful of votes. Remember the 2000 Presidential election! Less well known, perhaps, are these facts:
A shift of less than one vote per precinct in a handful of states would have defeated Woodrow Wilson in his bid for re-election in 1916. A few votes per precinct in Illinois and a couple of other states and then Vice President Richard Nixon would have defeated John F. Kennedy in 1960. In 1974, Congressman Louis Wyman was declared the victor in the U.S. senate race in New Hampshire, after a recount, by just two votes.
Election history provides many similar examples.
Yes, your one vote counts, and you can also influence many other votes!
2. They're all bums! -- No candidate is worthwhile!
This is the trap of looking for the non-existent perfect candidate. But your vote is not to canonize the candidate; it is to give him or her temporary power to do some limited good. If both choices look evil, try to see how one may be better than the other. This is not "choosing the lesser evil." Rather, it is choosing to limit evil, and that is a good.
3. I can't be a single-issue voter!
First of all, most people are. It is usually a "single issue" that motivates a person to rally around a candidate.
But if you don't want to be a "single-issue" voter, at least you can be an intelligent one, and realize how the many issues are related. At the foundation of them all is the right to life, without which no others are possible. If a politician can't respect the life of a little baby, how is she supposed to respect yours?
4. The election doesn't matter. -- We can't put our trust in worldly power. Those we elect whom we think are on our side disappoint us anyway.
We don't put our trust in earthly power and government, but in the Lord. Political involvement is not our salvation, but it is our duty. It is God Himself who gives us the opportunity and wisdom to shape our society according to His laws. Surely, any human leader can disappoint us, and many do. But we are not responsible for predicting or controlling the future, nor are we capable to do so. We are responsible for analyzing the positions of the candidates and choosing those whose positions correspond to the moral law and the common good.
I will discuss several more Election Day traps in my next column. In the meantime, please
a) Pass this column along to others.
b) Say the daily prayer at ElectionPrayer.com.
c) Distribute our voter guides, available at PoliticalResponsibility.com