Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

fireworks
When it comes to Independence Day, most people think of picnics and fireworks, yet having grown up in a military family, this day has a deeper meaning. When I was young, my father was away for almost a year serving in Vietnam as an Air Force Navigator. My grandfather earned a purple heart during WWII when he was wounded on Omaha Beach, my father-in-law served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and my lineage can be traced all the way back to the American Revolution. Suffice it to say, the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served and paid the ultimate price for the freedom I enjoy is personal to me.

We live in a strange time where the culture has shifted from serving a greater good to serving ourselves. I find myself getting caught up at times, but then something happens and I remember where I come from. I was having dinner with a friend when her son-in-law (twenty-something) casually said, “I don’t think I am going to vote in the next presidential election, because I don’t like any of the candidates.” I tried to calm my visceral reaction ready to come out. I swallowed down my feelings, and realized I could say the same about our two presidential options and might have made the same choice, if not for my upbringing.

What started as a potentially rough dialogue, turned into a great conversation as I shared about our responsibility to be a good steward of the freedoms we are blessed to enjoy and that we dishonor all of those who have died when we deny our privilege to vote. I agreed with him, in that voting would mean (and usually does) selecting the “lessor of two evils.” As believers, we long for our leadership to embody integrity, honesty, and Christian world view. Sadly, these qualities are not often represented in those running for President.

However, abstaining from voting, doesn’t make a point, but it has the power to impact the outcome. For example, if all of the Evangelicals who couldn’t vote for a Mormon had chosen to vote anyway, Obama would not have won. Depending upon who you favor, this may have resulted in a positive or negative outcome. The point is, one candidate will win and everyone should have their say.

I would never tell you which candidate you should vote for, but I would ask you to use the precious gift we all have to take a stand. I know it doesn’t feel like one vote makes a difference, but it does- especially, when we have healthy debates about why we are voting and encourage others who might have rather stayed home and avoid voting altogether. That is why I’m writing this blog. I see the results of policies made and how they trickle down into our courts, colleges, and school rooms.

For me, the litmus test is: what type of justices will the next president put on the Supreme Court? The checks and balances put into place by our founding fathers have gotten out of balance. The original role of the Supreme Court, to simply interpret the U.S. Constitution and decide if judgments were consistent with our fulcrum, has gradually expanded to setting policy and trying to change the culture. This approach is shredding the very document that made this country great. For someone else, they may not agree. This is why voting should never be seen as “optional”, especially by Christians. Even now there are those who would like to silence our point of view; all the more reason to stay in the fight.

So, while you cook your hamburgers, and lay out your basket in anticipation of the stunning firework display to come, take a moment and remember those who have served, suffered and died so that you may live in freedom and enjoy the day off. Then, take the time to find even one reason to vote for the candidate of your choosing. Then whatever comes, you will know you have done your best to participate in this great process where every individual has a say. For this is America. Not without issues, but still the greatest county on Earth.

Finally, I want to give a shout out and special “thank you” to all of those who have served, are serving, or support those who do. God bless you and happy 4th of July!

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