Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Voting Local

    November 3, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    It is easy during this presidential election to forget that there are other items {and people} being voted for on Tuesday. Local elections are often overshadowed by this crazy thing called The National News. The National News gives the impression that big cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are what really matters. Occasionally New Orleans matters, but only if the news can get a lot of drama {and therefore a lot of viewers} out of the deal.

    The National News doesn’t care a whole lot about my backyard…or yours.

    But everything starts small. Just as the family is the foundation of the entire society {we know this because of Genesis where God creates the foundational First Human Relationship–that of marriage}, local government is the foundation of the entire extended government.

    Ideally, the Constitution has this worked out through the fact that local government has actual control over things that matter, and the money to express that control. But this began to go downhill way back in 1913 when the 17th Amendment was ratified. This was one of the breakdowns of the Republic.

    However, local government still has power, often in ways we don’t fully recognize or think about. For instance, where do you think all these US Senators come from? Well, unless they are filthy rich {like our governor here in California, for example}, most folks start local. They might be a mayor of a town or a member of the state assembly. These folks run in local elections for many years before they reach the national level.

    So if you think who you vote for in the local election doesn’t really matter, maybe it would help if you think of it as a nomination process. Not only will these people make decisions in your stead concerning local issues, but there is a chance that they will eventually run for national office.

    And that means that who you vote for in your local election out there in the Midwest just might eventually have an impact on my life over here on the Left Coast.

    And then there are all the propositions! Every election gives the voters a chance to increase their debt load at both the local and state levels. Here in California I would say that we spend money like water except that we don’t have much water and many of us actually try to conserve it, so I guess we just spend money like…well, like someone seems to have, seeing as there are so many defaulting on loans these days.

    Did you think I would say “spend money like the rich?” Then you need to think again. Rich people do not get rich spending money frivolously. Usually the conspicuous consumers amongst the rich are those with what we call Family Money, which is far different from the rich who worked hard for what they have.

    Moving ever onward.

    California is the fifth largest economy in the world. However, we can’t seem to balance our budget, and we never have enough money. In fact, the money came close to running out last month, but we were rescued by other loans. Some propositions might be good ideas, others might be bad, but they usually have one thing in common and that is this little thing called a dollar sign. Propositions are often nothing but a chance to issue bonds that will be paid back at some hazy date in the future. Bonds are also known as debt.

    And California pays these debts, by the way, by borrowing additional funds into one gigantic, unfathomably large debt snowball.

    Debt is debt whether the cause at hand seems good or bad and there really is a sense in which we are mortgaging our children’s future.

    And then there are the moral issues. Take Proposition 8 here in California. This is, I think, as significant an issue as Roe v. Wade was in its time. If you live in California, at least go vote for Prop 8. Proposition 8 matters on a couple levels. First is the people’s relationship with the Courts. Here in California, a law was already passed, but the Court overruled the people by discovering a new right hidden within the California State Constitution. Proposition is very much an act of the people overruling the Court once and for all. This will finally set some sort of precedent for holding the Courts accountable.

    The Courts generally hold us all hostage because they wield power without any accountability. We were intended to have checks and balances in this nation, but I have never heard of the executive or legislative branches attempting to balance the unchecked power of the Courts.

    In 1828, Noah Webster offered this definition of marriage:

    The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

    I have heard some Christians say that changing this definition doesn’t really matter. A common refrain is that “it won’t affect my marriage.” Besides the fact that this sounds quite selfish and unconcerned with marriage in general and the marriages of others in particular, it is also quite unconcerned with our own offspring. To redefine a word that defines the foundation not only of our culture, but of all culture is to make this a very different world {locally} in which to rear my children, and in which my children will rear their children.

    But as Christians, it is also important that we not allow {as much as it is in our power} for black to be called white. We are told that our faith is expressed through marriage, that marriage is a picture of Christ and his Church. If we lose the definition of marriage, we lose the meaning of many passages of Scripture {over time}, as well as the power of this essential Scriptural metaphor.

    This is not just about a word, and don’t let anyone tell you that it is.

    Of course, if it is just about a word, as some say, then someone needs to think up another word because to say that A and not-A can be described using the same word is a violation of the most basic logic.

    Not that California is often accused of being logical, but I digress.

    So get out and vote. Remember that your local election matters because your own town matters, because your elected officials might someday wield greater power and you have the power to discourage or encourage their rule, and because your local election might just set a precedent for the nation.


    Prop 8 death threats against a Fresno pastor and mayor
    Resources on the Theology of Church and State

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

    No Comments

    Leave a Reply