question judgements, not motives

“Never question someone’s motives.  Question their judgement.”

This is a paraphrase of something Sen. Joe Biden said at the end of the vice-presidential debate last night, and it struck a chord deep within me.  These past few weeks I have been surprised by the strong views of people on both sides of the political aisle.  Many of these people I respect and care about, and it’s been a struggle for me to reconcile their views with my own personal strong political views.  Even stranger to me is that I often seem to have been able to find something about which I agree with the liberals, and that I often seem to find something about which I disagree with the conservatives.  It’s all very confusing.

I wrote earlier about how living here in uber-liberal Northern California has given me a different kind of wisdom compared to what I gained growing up in the conservative midwest.  Biden’s words tonight succinctly put into words something that I was trying to say but didn’t know how to say, and I appreciate that (even though I disagree with him on most of his policies).  Nothing is cut and dried in politics anymore.  I may agree with Candidate A on one thing, but disagree with him on something else, while the reverse may be true with a different candidate.  Which do I choose?  I feel it is important to vote, as God has placed me in this country at this time, and he wants me to be a good citizen of my country.  But there’s really no clear-cut answer.  And I don’t believe voting for a 3rd party candidate is the best answer, either.  I certainly don’t condemn a person’s motives if they choose to do that, but I don’t believe it’s a wise choice, especially when you remember that Bill Clinton would likely not have been elected if it hadn’t been for Ross Perot siphoning off conservative votes from George HW Bush in the 1992 election.

I’ve heard it said that sometimes the best you can do is hold your nose and vote for the least-offensive candidate.  Yet, I readily acknowledge that people will have different criteria for deciding who that least-offensive candidate will be!  Even among Christians, there can be honest difference of opinion.  For some people, moral issues, such as abortion and homosexuality, are the deciding factors.  For other people, economic principles will be the deciding factor, while other people will be swayed by miliary issues.  I think there are legitimate cases for all of these being the deciding factor.  I was brought up believing that one should base their decision on moral issues, but I don’t know if I completely agree with that anymore.  The lines certainly are not as clear-cut as it seemed to be when I was a child.

So, in case there are liberals and/or Democrats, especially Christian ones, who read my blog, I want you to tell you that I echo what Sen. Biden said: I may question your judgement, but I never question your motives.  I know that we all want what is best for our country and for our own families and lives, although we often disagree about which is the best path to choose.

And may God bless us all as we try to make a godly decision regarding this election!