This post is not about endorsing anyone, but even for curious Democrats who plan to vote Democratic, it is about our responsibility as citizens to know what all candidates stand for and what their aspirations are if one of them does get elected.
If you don't plan to vote Republican, you probably won't be interested in anything the Republican candidates have to say in this debate tonight, aired from Florida by Fox News and Google. It's also interactive, with youtube getting in on the action.
If you are an independent (a.k.a. swing) voter or a staunch Republican, it is equally important that you watch, listen, and calculate which candidate most nearly mirrors your own values and ideology. All of these candidates fiercely want to become the next U.S. president, and all bring different things to the table. We've seen what President Obama stands for, so it's important to find out which of the Republican candidates is the best choice for leading this country in 2012.
The political pundits are all over the page regarding the Republican candidates. Will Sarah run? Will Gov. Christie run? My question is this: who will be the best candidate to lead this country out of its current woes? Don't give me "Well, I don't know much about politics," or "I don't keep up with presidential candidates" or "I probably won't vote, anyway" baloney. And it's a bit early to rely very much on the polls--they can change overnight. Good citizens take presidential elections seriously, and our country is in a serious situation right now.
The 2012 election will have long-term consequences, and it behooves us as citizens to do our part by informed voting. What are their positions (and these are in no particular order) on the economy and jobs, immigration, federal spending, big government, entitlement reform, abortion on demand, foreign policy, and many others. I happen to feel strongly about the aforementioned items, and I'm doing all I can to determine which candidate is best, in my humble opinion, for this country.
For whom will I vote? I honestly don't know right now. I'm watching, listening, and researching past experience, their stand on the issues I believe are important, and evaluating who will be best, not only to lead our great country, but to handle the global stage in today's shrinking world.
And, last but foremost, I've been praying for wisdom from God. That is of utmost importance in choosing the right leader for America.
Millions of Americans have been laid off or terminated from their jobs, and it is distressing.
Today, this situation was brought home to me: my brother, who has worked at the same corporation for more than 30 years, received word early this morning that their entire office was closing TODAY. All employees are going home today, and are not coming back. Now that's hard to digest--you mean that they are to pack up their personal belongings, go home, and will not be working tomorrow?? That's right.
He told me that one of the employees has worked there since 1970, and that this employee's wife has terminal cancer. There are untold millions of these personal stories across America. My heart--and a prayer--goes out to all of them.
The only way to make sense of any of this, as a Christian, is to recognize that God is in control, and none of it is a surprise to Him. Years ago, our pastor at the time often said, "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God? He already knows whatever you are going through." That is obvious--we don't have to inform Him of our troubles, sorrows, or difficulties--He is aware of them, and as the saying goes, "If He takes you to it, He will take you through it."
One of our sons-in-law was without a job for two years. Through it all, he and our daughter trusted God, allowing Him to guide and sustain them. It was difficult, but it gladdened our hearts to see their shining testimony as they waited upon Him. Do they know why God allowed them to wait for the door to open for that length of time? No--but they do know that God does not make mistakes. They also know that God took care of them and their children during that time.
I have found that, if I ask Him to help me through a difficult situation, He does so. Sometimes, He has placed me where I would learn something I might not have learned any other way; in others, He has taught me to trust Him in a greater way, or shown me, through that situation, that He would never leave me or forsake me. Bad things happen to all of us, but at the time, it seems that we alone have hardship. In acknowledging that many have it much worse than I do, in difficult times I seek God's guidance in how I can grow and learn from the situation. When I was younger and a new Christian, I would try to run away from the problem. Did that help? Not at all. Face difficulties head on, and with His help, circumstances that seem unsurmountable CAN be handled.
I've suffered two miscarriages in early pregnancy: one before our first daughter, and one before our second daughter. I had difficult pregnancies, and was ordered bed rest with both daughters as well. Although those times were heartbreaking, difficult, and sad, we knew that God was with us in our loss. He gave up His only Son for those who accept Him, so my heavenly Father knew our sorrow. And for each child we lost, God gave us a wonderful, beautiful, and cherished daughter. Now, as adults, I consider them my best friends. We also know that we will meet those two unknown babies in eternity!
The hardest part for many Christians is to trust God's heart when they seemingly don't see His hand at work in such things as losing a job. Does that mean that God isn't working when we don't see evidence that He is? Can you hear me shouting a resounding NO? Sometimes He is working "behind the scenes" to create the circumstances that we need at the time. We've been through job loss ourselves, and it isn't easy. But I do know that things ultimately do work out--maybe not always as we had envisioned--but we have to trust Him to show us the way.
Pray for wisdom in these trying times. I personally want all the wisdom I can get, even for mundane things. Small decisions can balloon into large problems, so it's always wise (no pun intended) to seek God's unswerving guidance. He desires that we call upon Him. The human condition is difficult at best--and this "boot camp" called life is designed to season, strengthen, and change us to be more like Him. Our part is to understand that sometimes difficult situations arise, but it is our reactions to them, not the situations themselves, that help us to grow and mature as Christians.
God has reasons for everything that happens in this life, but He is not obligated to explain Himself. Parents of very young children have to act fast sometimes to prevent those children from harm. Children do not understand why their parents did what they did--they are too young and inexperienced to know the dangers. In much the same way, God the Father is keeping us from harm or is arranging circumstances to work out for our good. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV)
Have I had pain in my life? Of course. Have I wondered "why" certain things happened as they did? You bet. But through it all, I've come to realize that trusting God is THE way to go. My only other choice would have been to NOT trust Him, and that was far worse than any situation in which I might find myself.
"I don't see why it would be a problem to have voters produce photo ID to prove that they are (1) citizens, and (2) are not using someone else's name when showing up at the polls. This action could go a long way in eliminating, or at least reducing, voter fraud."
Since the 2012 election campaign is already gearing up, I posted the above statement as my Facebook status recently--and I received a torrent of comments! Nobody disagreed with my statement (or, if they did, they didn't have the wherewithal to comment):
1) I agree. I worked the polls for years and many people asked why we didn't ask for picture IDs.
2) We always have to show ID when we vote in WV.
3) I agree 100% with you and I'm infuriated at the argument that requiring a state- or military-issued ID is a voting "tax." We're talking about a $10 ID/driver's license that is valid in NC for 8 years. C'mon now!
4) Why not issue the id for free if that is the problem.
5) I totally agree - I have to show mine and sign 2 different things here in TN.
6) In NC, you just have to tell them your name! Anyone could use another's name since they do not require any kind of verification. That needs to change, and it is NOT SUPPRESSING PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO VOTE. It's suppressing voter fraud!
7) I just don't get THAT one! Yes, even banks require ID if they're not familiar with you.
8) I agree.
9) I agree.
10) The most recent time I voted they couldn't find my name, and I just leaned over the table and pointed to my name on the printout. I could have said I was ____________, and I think I would have gotten away with it.
11) I think a photo ID is a good idea any time the activity has restrictions. If it is required, there is no question of "picking on" anybody for any reason. What I would love to see is enough restriction on the people working at the polls so that they wouldn't have people working who can't find the names on the lists!
12) Here in FL I try to show my ID and voter registration and they never look at them. We SHOULD be required to identify ourselves. Of course, then the dead can't vote as easily in Chicago.
13) At this rate, what's to stop illegals (or anyone else) from voting several times and in several districts?? Maybe that's one of the reasons behind the outrage over requiring ID!