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Miniblog #138: The Three Reasons Why I’ll Be Turning in A Blank Ballot This Election

by Carson T. Clark on October 26, 2012

This election I’m going to the polling station but not casting a vote.1 Why? There are three interrelated reasons. First of all, one must know thyself. The plain reality is I’m unwilling to, and incapable of, keep(ing) this decision private. It just ain’t gonna happen. The last time I tried back in 2008 it resulted in an estrangement from my only brother that continues into the present.1.That is, I’ll be turning in a blank ballot. Second, it’s about obeying my conscience. My calling is envisage renewal and communicate it in a manner that’s forthright yet measured, transparent yet discerning, irenic yet challenging, rigorous yet gracious, passionate yet charitable, critical yet encouraging, realistic yet hopeful. For me keeping quiet would, in some very real way, be an act of direct disobedience to my Lord.22.I’m not suggesting this is or should be the case for most people. This is a description, not a prescription. Lastly, let’s cut the crap and be honest about the repercussions. No matter who I’d vote for it will cause division among most, infuriate nearly half, and put a stumbling block before the Gospel for many.33.I’m especially sensitive this right now since I’ll soon be ordained and helping start a church. Yet with my approach accusations of apathy are untenable, as are those of failing to do my civic duty.4 It’s an active, principled stand rather than a passive, embittered and/or disillusioned slouching.4.That isn’t to say people won’t still attempt to level that criticism. No doubt a few contentious people will still give it a shot. My hope is that, in some small way, it will serve as a prophetic subversion of the rampant conflation of cross and flag, Kingdom and country, Scripture and Constitution. I bear the scars of this tragedy. So help me God, I will not knowingly be a part of its further propagation.

  • Derek Rishmawy


    I think knowing yourself in this area is important, especially as a man about to be ordained in the church. Keeping my mouth shut about my vote, the particularly silly things on politics I see my students or people in the range of my care saying is really difficult. The only thing I’ve allowed myself to do is comment on the theological level of how they are approaching the election, their opponents, etc. still even that is proving tough. Say something, don’t say something and you’re likely to get some kind of reaction. All that to say, I get it. I’ll be casting a vote, but that’s part of how I’m trying to model responsible citizenship for my cynical students. Sometimes you gotta have that guy out there who does something different.

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