This is Pastor Tim’s weekly newspaper article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Nov 2, 2o2o.
In case you have been living under a rock for the past year, I would like to remind you that tomorrow is election day. I am not going to say anything about either of the candidates because I am relatively confident that most of you who are going to make up your mind already have and the rest of you don’t care.
This is my 7th time to vote for a president. The very first election I got to vote for was for the 1996 election. I was a Junior in college and, just like it has been for every 4 years since then, the competition was fierce. It was Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole, with Ross Perot was running as a third-party candidate.
Perot had also run as a third-party candidate in 1992. He didn’t do quite as well in 1996, getting less than half the number of votes in 1996 as he did in 1992. But 1 of those 8 Million votes Perot received was mine.
My first time out, I wanted someone outside the system. In 1996, participating in my very first election, I was already tired of the Republican vs. Democrat argument. Given that there was no internet, no email, and, even though we did have 24-hour news, back then CNN actually reported news. Fox News launched as the election was taking place in October of 1996, so the hard extremes of bias on both sides had not been cemented like they are today. We could all tell the difference between opinion and news. That feels like I am making a joke today, but in those days, that is really how it was. I am sorry for the Millennials and the generations since who don’t even know what news is because everything is bias and slant today.
Given that the world was so different, I am trying to figure out what it was I was so fed up with that I voted for Perot in that election, because I knew even then that I was throwing my vote away. Clinton’s economy was so strong, and he had such charisma, especially standing next to Bob Dole, that his re-election was just a formality.
Thinking back to that time in my life, I didn’t understand the difference between the two parties. I didn’t know that the Republicans were about people being in control of the fruit of their own labor, fair wages and low taxes. They wanted limited government intervention in the lives of ordinary people. The Democrats wanted to make things fairer from a legislative standpoint. They want more rules and guidelines so that we can all live together in a peaceful society. This does lead to higher taxes and more government intrusion, but it is also absolutely necessary because we wouldn’t be able to live in communities without some standard of behavior that can be enforced.
Both of these perspectives are necessary, and this is what makes our government great. We the people get a chance to hold our elected leaders accountable to the standards we set. Those of you who don’t like Trump get just as much of a say as someone else who believes that Trump is the man for the job. No more and no less and that is exactly how it should be.
I voted for Perot because at 21 years old, I wanted all voices to be heard, even if they were outside of what had always been. I wanted to hear from Ross Perot because I didn’t want the conversation limited to two sides. That suggests that our world is black and white, and I already knew then, and I know much more now, that the world has a whole lot more gray in it than that.
Today, I want to remind you that no matter what happens in the hours, days and weeks after you read this article, the reason we have this debate every 4 years is because we can. We live in a country where you are free to agree or disagree with anything you want. How many people throughout the history of the world lived under a system where they had no voice? You don’t live in that system. That means you will occasionally hear things that you don’t like, and no one can force you to go along with it. Our leaders get to lead by the will of the people. You can hate the mudslinging, the lying, the doomsday talk and all the drama there is over this election. The bottom line is all of us are free to express what we feel and that is a beautiful thing. God bless the USA!