I’ve been asked a lot by people to discuss my thoughts on the upcoming elections, as well as my thoughts on local issues. So I figured a post like this would help sum up my thoughts, and hopefully help us all put some thought into how we use the power we’ve been given to direct our country.
I have 3 Primary Criteria for any candidate for leadership positions to meet in order to receive my vote. These criteria are especially important to me in the Presidential election, because I believe the leader of country is much more important than simply a Commander in Chief with signing power for laws.
- The Candidate must be a man or woman of God and prayer. I’m not simply referring to checking the label “Christian,” in religious preferences. I need to know that the candidate prays, and relies on direction that he or she receives in prayer for their decisions. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with every decision, but I have to know that they are truly a follower of Christ, and depend on a daily personal relationship with Him to lead.
- The candidate must be passionately pro-life. I’ve seen many candidates become less hard-core on this as public sentiment has shifted. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make that baby any less alive. I have to see some evidence that the candidate I’m voting for not only believes in the rights of the unborn to live, but will take every opportunity they can find to ensure that fewer of them are killed each year.
- The candidate must be a defender of personal freedom. I’m a big believer in phrase, “The more offensive the speech, the greater the need for it to be protected.” Indeed, our own beliefs as Christians have been labeled offensive in recent years. This road goes both ways – a free society needs the rights to express your thoughts freely, and without being silenced into submission by the government. Along these lines, they also must be a believer in a government that is very limited with its oversight in our private affairs. Gun ownership, religious beliefs, and the right to pursue any dream or business we want with limited interference or regulation by the government is a must. I believe most of society’s problems are solved with greater freedom, not less. A Government that empowers people to improve their own lives and supports them with low-costs, low taxes, and low-regulation ways to make their own money will lower crime by solving the problems that cause people to turn to crime to begin with. Hope for a better future is a powerful thing.
If those 3 criteria are met, then we can go on into less important matters of personal opinion on politics and laws. This isn’t a party-based criteria. It’s simply my criteria. Unfortunately, I only see a couple of candidates who meet these criteria on either side. But that’s two more than we had during the last Presidential election.
On local matters, which I believe are many times more important than national votes, I have only a couple of thoughts:
- I generally vote “No” on anything funded by Sales Tax. Arkansas is not a state with tax-free groceries, and Crossett has the notoriety of having one of the highest sales taxes in our area. Sales Tax is, in my mind, a deeply regressive tax. If a parent spends $100 on groceries for their family, and then has to pay $11 in taxes, it hurts the poorest among us the most. That $11 is the cost of several meals that a single mom could spend to put food on the table. A middle class family doesn’t feel that sting as much, and a well-off family doesn’t notice the $11 at all. When things need to be funded locally, I’m typically in favor of a property tax, which allows the poorest among us to keep costs low, and allows those better able to afford the tax to bear more of the burden. In general, however, community projects should have SOME business model to generate their own income to remove the burden from the tax payer. If the Zoo had been run with this mandate, it wouldn’t have ended up in the situation we found it in a few months ago.
- I generally vote “No” if we’re spending money with no clear benefit for the community. Some things cost money, but increase the standard of living in the area in indirect ways. A new school, for instance, is not only an investment in our kids, it makes Crossett more attractive to people who may want to move here, which benefits our economy and grows the city. We get in trouble when we run the government in a way different than we would run our own finances. We need to be able to pay for things, and have a reason to spend the money.
Most of all, I attempt to apply my own criteria to myself, and be led through prayer for the right way to vote on these issues. Many votes in Crossett have been determined by only a few dozen people – so our vote matters. As Christians called to be salt and light to the world, this is one way that God has blessed us to help lead our communities into a better place. It’s our duty. However, we shouldn’t simply vote on personal principles, or on party lines – but really seek to put the people who will fight for the causes of God in office, whether that’s local, state, or national.