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Why the election turned out like it did

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 5:50 pm | Randy Thomasson

SaveCalifornia.com provides this solely for educational purposes
and does not support or oppose candidates for public office.

Did enough moral conservatives turn out in the June 3 California primary election?

On the one hand, there were just enough conservatives to propel statewide Republican candidates to the first or second slot in every statewide race, except in the nonpartisan state schools chief race.

On the other hand, with only 18.3% voter turnout statewide, it’s evident that a lot of otherwise right-thinking conservatives stayed home. If they had voted and voted wisely, the deceptive Prop. 41 would have been defeated and strongly conservative candidates would have won, not lost, their primary elections.

Why did conservatives not vote in droves? It’s frustrating, because when there are no big campaign issues (Jerry Brown and the Democrat-controlled California Legislature have banned all voter-initiated ballot measures from primary elections), I still expect moral conservatives to care much more about God’s values and about what’s best for children than liberal voters.

But the last few years have taken their toll on the psyche of California conservatives. The overturning of Proposition 22 and Proposition 8 on marriage licenses, the failure of moral referendums to achieve the ballot, the power of the pro-Democrat union machine, and the 2012 elections giving Democrats 2/3rds control of the California Legislature — all have had a depressing effect.

So today, in California, the average conservative thinks like a loser, because so much has been lost. But this mindset, while understandable, is not a mature, wise, and principled perspective, but is more akin to the mindset of a frightened child or a defeated animal.

Deep down, what’s really been lost is critical thinking and the commitment to love God and love people no matter what. This is the perspective that rises above the dust and ashes and sees the truth about God, the truth about me, and the truth about evil. It’s a responsible understanding of life that goes forward in faith, hope, and love, rather than cowering in fear, self-centeredness, and despair.

Consider that if critical thinking were popular among California’s conservative voters, they would realize that, in candidate-oriented contests, their votes indeed matter and that more good votes from others will do even more good.

And what if most conservatives had not just thought about avoiding personal pain of disappointment (a main motivation for not voting), but they had done the math? For, in low turnout elections like this one, a person’s vote carries more weight mathematically. For people who want to make a difference, this election indeed was their opportunity.

Why was this critical thinking not done by conservatives this election? I believe it’s because of the emotional grip of fear. If I’m scared and depressed, it’s easy to focus only on my painful emotions and my misshapen identity. And if I don’t think of what God wants (or perhaps I confusedly think God is the cause of evil government, which is not at all biblical and is completely antithetical to God’s holy character), then I will never break through my depression, or step into the light, or gain perspective on what’s really going on or how I should really be thinking.

For every person who calls themselves “moral” has a moral code that springs from the God of the Bible, whether they know it or not. And that moral code is basically this: to do what’s right in God’s sight, and to avoid and even oppose what’s wrong.

Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, explained God’s greatest commandments in the New Testament: “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

Jesus’ Love Commandment is directly applied to our modern-day voting like this:

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
U.S. Founding Father Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

“The Church must take the right ground in regard to politics. The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics … God cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God … God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.” Charles Finney, leading U.S. evangelist (1792-1875)

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” James Garfield, 20th U.S. President (1831-1881)

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and patriot under Nazism (1906-1945)

Ultimately, if we love God and love people, we will vote and vote wisely, and do even more than that. But if we don’t vote or we vote carelessly, our love is weak. Because love is a definable word, choice, and action, the election lesson is clear: most Californians don’t truly love God or truly love people.

Love is needed so much, in order to fight the good fight and pay the price of freedom in our land. Will you rise up and get uncomfortable for the sake of liberty? Otherwise, you’re sentencing your children and grandchildren to even more uncomfortable futures.

Listen to my post-election SaveCalifornia.com Minute

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