Ted Cruz told delegates, “Vote your conscience”, and the four-letter-word hit the fan. Given the reaction, you would have thought he said “Vote for Hillary! She’s better than this clown!” Never mind that Cruz often ended his campaign speeches the same way on the trail, or that it is good advice in general.
Cruz came to our little town in the cold of winter to give a speech at one of the local restaurants. His wife introduced him. He held one of his little girls on his lap while he waited to speak. I have never heard a speech like that, especially not in-person. He was articulate, passionate, and he said everything I had been waiting to hear. He shared his faith and talked about the importance of adhering to the Constitution. An old farmer asked about Cruz’s lack of support for “alcohol”. I was totally confused, but Cruz figured out that he meant ethanol and explained where he stood. He patiently laid out his reasons for not supporting government subsidies. It was an inspiring and informational evening. Up to that point, I was not at all sure which one of the seventeen candidates would get my vote. I took a Cruz sign home and never looked back.
Now look where we are. Trump vs Hillary. How did that happen? My brother wants me to vote for Trump to keep Hillary from choosing Supreme Court justices. My 90-year-old mother, who still watches Faux News, thinks Ted is a slime-ball. I thank God that my dad’s dementia is far enough advanced to protect him from this election cycle. If he endorsed Trump, I would not be able to stand it. In fact, one of the reasons I like Cruz is because he reminds me of my dad. (The video where he called Trump a “sniveling coward” made me cry for just that reason. No one would DARE attack our family when my dad was younger.)
“Vote your conscience” means just that. Unfortunately, many Americans vote their wallet, as in “what’s in it for me”? Why do you think Bernie Sanders has so many supporters among the college crowd? Free college for everyone! Do those students give any thought to the size of their first paycheck, minus the exorbitant taxes Bernie would deduct? Never mind that free college would be a disaster. No investment, no return.
If you’re a Christian, “vote your conscience” has meaning. It’s your responsibility to do your research, know your candidates and their positions, and vote according to principles. If you’re not a Christian, it means the same thing. Maybe it’s time we put our country first and our pocketbooks second. If that means not voting for Trump or Hillary, that’s okay. At least you will be able to sleep at night.