Faith Column: A difficult choice
To vote or not to vote — this has been the question for many in this year’s presidential election.
I have participated in and followed closely every presidential election since I was able to vote in 1980. This presidential election cycle has proven to be, for me, the most difficult election I have experienced in terms of for whom to cast my vote.
Some elections in the past, especially closer to our founding and some of our earliest presidential elections, afforded Americans a wonderful conundrum; for which of the good and capable candidates should I cast my vote? Who is the best among all the good options? Not so this time around.
Watching the 2016 presidential debates — for as long as I could, enduring with active gag reflex — I am struck with the sad reality that we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils or the least deplorable as it were.
I have been struck in amazement at three things as I have watched this debacle unfold.
1. Wanton economic ignorance — on both sides
Neither candidate has the semantic understanding needed for a debate on taxation. Hillary cannot raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and Trump cannot lower anyone’s taxes. We are talking about raising or lowering the tax rates that determine what filers pay.
Both sides seem to forget that adjusting tax rates has an effect. It can’t be said, “I am going to raise or lower the rate or percentage of tax rate that determines how much you pay and therefore I am raising or lowering the amount of taxes you will pay.”
These rate changes have consequences. If your tax rate were raised to 100 percent, you wouldn’t go to work — why work if the government is going to take everything you earn? Some already feel this way. If you increase the tax rate on segments of our population, that segment will make economic decisions accordingly and by raising the tax rate or percentage paid on your income, Uncle Sam may actually end up collecting less tax revenue from that segment.
Conversely, if you lower my tax rate and free up more of my net spendable income, I may invest more and end up making more money, paying even more in taxes (amount) even though you lowered my tax rate.
Sadly, both candidates belie their economic prowess with regard to tax rates and actual taxes paid simply with their choice of semantics.
Additionally, corporations don’t pay taxes. They recoup their expenses from the customers or clients from whom they derive their revenue, including taxes that the corporation pays. Raising taxes on corporations effectively raises taxes on us, the consumers.
2. Wanton hubris, arrogance run amok
We have a billionaire arguing with a multimillionaire about who empathizes more with the average American and their economic plight.
They argue about who has worked harder and more admirably at creating the wealth they enjoy, while remaining altruistic — hand me a puke bucket, please.
The billionaire who had silver-spoon family resources at his disposal, wonderfully generous tax codes and bankruptcy laws that have helped to shield much of his wealth or the multimillionaire for whom wonderfully unimaginable good fortune has befallen — leaving the White House “broke,” her word in 2001 — and asking all of us to support financially her husband’s legal defense fund, then less than two decades later commanding a net worth in excess of $150 million, receiving six figure speaking fees and publisher advances. All while serving in public office, sacrificially.
Don’t forget the $1,000 that became $100,000 in very short order due to great investment advice from a “friend” many years ago.
3. Wanton immorality, or lack of ethics, at best
We have two candidates who have proven repeatedly during the last 30 years that they are unethical opportunists masquerading as noble, self-sacrificing wannabe philanthropists.
Did you really need the existence of a more than decade-old “locker room” interaction with Trump to know that he is a sexually aggressive egotistical womanizer? If men are pigs, Trump is a giant Javelina — “skunk pig” — riding an impotent, wounded and confused elephant. Making America Great Again means more for Trump, and maybe the rest of us — if we are lucky.
Do you really need 11th hour “new” evidence of crimes related to the treatment of email communication and sensitive matter responsibilities of high ranking government officials to know that Hillary lies, obfuscates and does whatever she wants, says whatever she needs for the moment, for her own self-aggrandizement? She is all about advancing women, unless she is representing a man accused of rape, defending her husband’s deplorable actions toward women or receiving foundation money from countries who treat women in a way she says she condemns.
But I digress…
I have focused on selfish issues related primarily to our standard of living that we enjoy in this great country and some of the lack ethics and morality we are witnessing in this presidential election campaign. Time does not permit to delve into some of the spiritual aspects created in this campaign.
This is however a “Faith Column” so I leave you with this.
The monumentally difficult voting decision for the genuine and humble Christ follower is overshadowed by our mission post-election: pray for, submit to and be thankful about, as well as accept as God’s will the result of the election.
1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior…
Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Daniel 2:19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.
Pastor Len Browning, The Journey at First BaptistPastor Len Browning, The Journey at First BaptistPastor Len Browning, The Journey at First Baptist
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Marijuana was the topic of discussion last week for a number of city officials.