In this short post, I want to give one more reason as to why I will not be voting in this election. Here it is:
Point #9: This election is a gross misrepresentation of politics in action.
I realize that this point will likely be quite controversial. What I'm getting at, however, is the difference between using political rhetoric and giving political speeches and actually engaging in the political process by doing something substantive. Of course, I'm not suggesting that either the Obama or Romney camps are apolitical. But let me just give an example of how I see each group talking the talk but not walking the walk.
Many folks have pointed out that in terms of finances, this election is already in the books as the most expensive one ever. To date, it is suggested that the Obama administration has had nearly $7.55+ million in election funds come through the door while the Romney campaign has had about $7.10 million come in. That's about $15 million or to be precise, a total of $14.65 million. That's right, we have seen nearly $15 million dollars pumped into this political race.
But here's what gets me: Economists and relief organizations have projected that extreme world poverty could actually end with just $40-60 billion. Here, "extreme world poverty" is defined as those who live on LESS THAN $1.25 per day. In other words, we are talking about many of my dear friends in Ethiopia and much of Africa. We are talking about people without access to daily bread. We are talking about kids having to be sold or often times leased out to the military or sex trade/child trafficking so that they can get their next meal or their family's next meal. When we eradicate extreme world hunger, we also begin to eradicate things like the child sex trade, prostitution, child abandonment, HIV/AIDS, etc. There is a domino effect here.
As a Christian, it makes me sick to know that while so much of the world goes on living in extreme poverty, the American presidential candidates are pushing millions upon millions into an election. $15 million could go an incredibly long way in putting a dent in this world crisis. It is beyond absurd and it is beyond having gotten out of hand at this point; honestly, it is simply unjust. Sure, we could all do more to help the crisis and I include myself in that. But in my household we have adopted a child from Ethiopia and we sponsor three children who live in some of the most destitute places on earth. Even more, we do this while my wife is the bread-winner and the only one with a full-time job. I am a full-time student without a job! We also participate in a ministry whose main function is to get family's sponsored and to bring job skills to women in Ethiopia. We are trying to do our part.
Why? Because this is our call as Christians. This is following the example of Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve. So, when I look at the 2012 election and then I look at the world poverty crisis, I cannot help but see discontinuity, injustice, and hypocrisy. I simply refuse to participate in this election that is a bunch of talk and no action. Oh yes, candidate Ryan, you can force your way into an Ohio soup kitchen for a photo-op of yourself cleaning already clean dishes, but I don't buy it. If you were really interested in the poor and poverty, if your running mate were really interested in such matters, and if the current administration were really interested, why not quit wasting all the money on lavish trips around this country in your padded jets and buses, and instead, base your campaign on something more noble and honorable and just, something that is actually in line with Christian values? So, there you have it, just another reason I will withhold my ballot from this year's election! But remember, I don't do so out of spite, rather, I do so as a witness to the world around me that as a Christian, I will not participate in this injustice. My silence at the polls is not a silence altogether (thus, I'm using my voice here on this website even!), however, rather it is a form of standing up and speaking out against rampant political double-speak and corruption. As a Christian, that is my conviction!
Other posts in this series: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6, Pt.7, Pt. 8