Friday, October 03, 2008

How To Vote In The Federal Election - Part 1

I was interviewed by a reporter last week who asked my thoughts on how Christians should vote in the upcoming federal election. I think it's a great question and one that I'm glad he asked. The financial crisis in the USA combined with their election in November means that our election is even more important than usual.

There are several characteristics that I think need to be considered before casting our ballot. The first is the integrity of the candidate. Integrity speaks of wholeness and internal strength. It's actually an construction term that describes the ability of the structure to withstand the pressure it will be exposed to.

If I've learned anything in the last year, it's that politicians live with incredible pressure and demands. There are certainly the political expectations that come along with the job, but there are also demands that come from family, constituents, schedules and their leaders and colleagues. Politics is a challenging and difficult environment and succeeding requires an extra measure of integrity.

The challenge with integrity is that you can't measure it during the election campaign. You might hear a lot about it, but integrity can only be measured through an examination of the candidates track record over time. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking as you prepare to vote? If you don't know, ask someone who does, or better yet, ask the candidate themselves? You might be surprised at their response.

1. How have they conducted themselves?

2. Have they demonstrated stability and strength over the long haul?

3. How have they handled difficult situations in the past?

4. When they have made mistakes, how have they responded?

5. Has adversity caused them to crumble or to be renewed?

6. What lessons have they learned through hardship and how does that understanding affect their world view?

Next time, we'll talk about wisdom.


Anonymous said...

Tim, I was appalled at the conduct of some of the leaders of the political parties at the Leadership Debate. Some of them acted like children (you know when mommy is talking & the child keeps on trying to interupt to get mommy's attention ). These so called leaders acted more like "hecklers" rather than Leaders & really did not want to hear what was being said. I found it very difficult to hear one leader in particular because of this heckling. It was very clear to me who to vote for. I do not want a heckler as the Leader of Canada but somebody that quietly & methodically listens to the electorate & then with integrety leads the country as the PM.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. My wife and I listened to both debates. One of the debate participants was particularly obnoxious. It shows in his attitude in so many ways. He alone has the perfect platform. The newest particpant to this debate, who entered under questionable circumstances, showed her true colours in not adhering to the debating rules and went overtime and had to be reined in by the moderators. Nevertheless, debate is healthy as long it is not used to attack. The target of almost all the attacks was Stephen Harper, but he handled himself very well.

Anonymous said...

Tim - I totally agree with the aforementioned coments.
That is exactly what it was, hecklers. I admire Stephen Harper for keeping his cool.

Anonymous said...

Tim,thank you for getting Scott B. to pass this along.I must say i agree with the comment about the hecklers.Yet for my family, more disturbing was when the leaders(in all fairness 3 of the 5)were asked a question from a voting citizen from different areas within Canada they spent the majority of thier time alloted to badjering S. Harper.I can not speak for all Canadians,Yet for my family and friends we would have preferred to hear what the leaders party would do for the people in that area based on the question asked.Do they think canadians are so clueless,to say that Harpers plan will not work ours will vote for me.HOW CHILDISH.NO ONEPLAN WILL EVER SOLVE THE NEEDS OF CANADIANS.People in most of western Canada are living in a good thriving economy at the present,Ont.,Que.,not so great,and the list could go on.The point i'd like to make is - STOP THE SHOW,in the future each leader should get equal time on prime time to hear and answer concerns of CANADIANS,'UNINTERRUPTED'.We have wouderful technology to view and or listen to these segments,and our vote would make it clear who will govern our country.I'm tierd of the views of the media,polling ferms and celebritys clouding peoples choices.I understand that most of us including me need clarification on certain matters and education about issuses that effect Canadians.So do i have the answer,sorry no.But if we Canadians must watch another debate with the leaders from our national parties,could it be held at a local park.Seat the leaders at the sand box and share the laughter with the world,perhaps they then would be humbled-AND START TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.

Tim Schindel said...

In defense of the leaders, the point of the debate from their perspective is not to have an intelligent discussion about an issue but to score points with the electorate by making the PM or their closest rival look bad. The optics of the debate are that they are childish and immature. They are all brilliant and intelligent people who want to serve and make a difference. As unbecoming as it may appear, the bickering that you see is just part of our political system for better or worse. If people didn't watch the debate or made it clear that attacking and 'slagging' an opponent would cost a party votes, things would change in a hurry...