Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Since I reached voting age, five presidents have been elected: Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush. None had any experience in the Senate. Doesn't that seem strange? And yet, it's understandable. It's hard to run for the presidency after serving in the senate. There is too long a trail of votes left behind--votes that probably made sense at the time but that are easy fodder for a national election. It seems to be easier to come from a governorship (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43) or from appointments like ambassador to the U.N. and director of the CIA (Bush 41). I know this: most churches have a lot of different perspectives on how this election should turn out. Is that surprising? Don't we have differences and variety in every other way? Can we disagree kindly and not make this a test of fellowship? Can we hold strong opinions without writing one another off? Will we become something over this area of life (politics) that we despise when we see it in other areas of life? The way we use the stewardship of our vote is significant. But . . . our hope is never in one election or one country. Our hope is in the quiet, forcework work of the inbreaking kingdom of God!


  • Best thing I've read on the election yet! Thank you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/06/2004 09:52:00 AM  

  • Ditto - thanks Mike.

    By Blogger kenny, at 10/06/2004 10:23:00 AM  

  • But...but...but there's no way you can be a Christian and vote for...
    Kidding, of course. I am (a Christian), and I plan to vote for (the "other" guy). It's amazing how hard today's message is for some Christians!

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 10/06/2004 12:49:00 PM  

  • Other than voting, the single most critical thing we can do concerning this election is pray! Pray for the candidates, pray for the electorate and pray that God's will be done. He is in control of this election... but we need to remember He may be using us to accomplish His purpose. At least that's my thoughts! Blessings! SkipD

    By Blogger SkipD, at 10/06/2004 01:18:00 PM  

  • First, five presidential elections? Man, you really are old. Second, I agree with your sentiments here. Someone was asking me about political yard signs the other day and I thought, I like the ones I have. There is a cross on our front porch that I made out of a walking stick when we needed one in a pinch in the 2nd grade class at church. There are bicycles, a basketball goal, a worn spot in the grass which serves as a pitcher's mound. There is a well-used swing often occupied by various family and friends. These are signs of life rather than signs of nonsense and I like 'em.

    By Blogger Val, at 10/06/2004 02:21:00 PM  

  • Ah, Val. You're speakin' to my heart, my friend. Those are yard signs I like! And, it's even worse than five presidential elections. Since Reagan and Clinton were re-elected, there have actually been SEVEN presidential elections since I turned 18.

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/06/2004 02:45:00 PM  

  • Rom 13:1 Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. (CEV)

    God's will be done!

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 10/07/2004 05:19:00 AM  

  • Great minds think alike! A wrote on this same issue recently. Since 1922 there have only been two Senators elected President: Harding & Kennedy.

    There are a number of explanations.

    First is the fact that the Senate gig , surpassed only by elementary school gym teacher, is the best job in the country. You only have to run every six years. You have enormous power. You have no responsibilities, unlike a Governor or a Mayor who has to run day-to-day operations. It's simply a great job.

    Of those who have run and lost, the answer may be that Senators are in a high profile position where they have to take highly partisan and extremely parochial positions to defend the special interests who reside in their state. For example, a Senator from Nebraska has to support farm subsidies. It's really a non-issue for the Governor of Nebraska, or the mayor of Omaha. But the U.S. Senator must step up to the plate, visibly. And some of those votes may come back to haunt a candidate, especially in the primaries when the voters are partisan and skewed to the extremes of both parties.

    Likewise, there is only so much money in a budget. Senators develop long records of votes, and, as John Kerry is seeing, while some of those votes may have seemed logical at the time, in a 15 second sound bite seemingly contradictory votes can appear ridiculous. Thus the " I Voted for the 86 billion before I voted against it...". Sometimes you have to vote against a weapons appropriation bill because it's too low, not because you are against the military. Sometimes you vote against a clean water bill, because there is no pork for your state. It gets complicated, and it's hard to defend.

    Third, while a governor can take hard stances on issues, especially those which don't affect his state, a Senator sometimes has to go along to get along, which can leave a cloudy record of where he or she stands.

    Finally, the ultimate truth is that the Presidency is an executive position, and the public seems to instinctively equate governorships and the Vice-Presidency as the minor-league equivalents of the Presidency. Thus we have seen Governors Carter, Reagan, Clinton & Bush, and Vice-Presidents Nixon & Bush make the jump, while Senators Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale & Dole fell short. (Vice-President Gore lost to Gov. Bush, but it could be that he lost points because he was a Senator before he was VP.)

    But perhaps more telling than who lost in the "Super Bowl" is the list of powerful Senators who didn't get through the "playoffs", the primaries. There is a long line of Senators who lost in the primaries, some very early, most because they couldn't gain traction over their Senatorial records: Bayh, Gore (until the Vice-Presidency), Harkin, Biden, Kennedy, Simon, McCain, Scoop Jackson, Sam Nunn, Bob Graham, Orin Hatch, Bill Bradley, Phil Gramm, Eugene McCarthy, Alan Simpson, Bob Smith, Joe Lieberman, Ed Muskie, Frank Church, Byrd, Hart, Alan Cranston, Fritz Hollings, John Glenn, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey, Lugar, and on and on. For a history of recent primary campaigns.

    Kerry is finding that his position as Senator is weighing increasingly heavy around his neck. Today the road to the White House goes through the governor's mansion, or the Vice-Presidential residence. Senators need not apply.

    By Blogger A Red Mind in a Blue State, at 10/13/2004 04:30:00 PM  

  • Yes, God is in control of ALL things. As His children we seek to do His will in everything we do. That being said I would certainly find it difficult to vote for a candidate that believes abortion and homosexuality is acceptable in this life. I do not feel God leaves this open to our opinion. I pray we do not compromise His will. On a personal level only Satan wins when we compromise our God and His word, even in voting.

    By Blogger Larry, at 10/15/2004 02:35:00 AM  

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