Odds and ends of interest.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Vote My Conscience

We have all heard folks telling us to "Vote Your Conscience" in the upcoming Presidential elections.

CONSCIENCE. You know, that little voice you sometimes hear in your ear, the back of your mind, or in your heart. Some call it "gut-level instinct" or "the inner voice". There are literally scores of similar descriptions.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (THE authority of definitions of course) says this:
  1. the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or        character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good
  2. archaic :  consciousness
  3. conformity to what one considers to be correct, right, or morally good :  conscientiousness
  4. sensitive regard for fairness or justice :  scruple
Now here are some thoughts about CONSCIENCE based upon the definition:
That sense of moral goodness or blameworthiness (moral good or bad) has to be based on something we have         
learned along the line somewhere.
  A toddler has a toy. It is not automatically wired into that baby's brain and emotions to share that toy. As a  
  matter of fact, it is natural for that youngster to NOT want to share it, and the Mommy has to teach them to share it.
  The child may remain selfish thereafter but now has a conscience and knows he ought to share.
So we, as a parent, teach our very young children to share or not to share, to be truthful, to tell "white lies" (or outright lies), and a multitude of other things, and the child adopts these things into their minds in a collective thing called conscience. If we reread the Merriam-Webster's definition of CONSCIENCE, then think about what parents have taught their children, and then add in the part about "conformity to what one considers to be correct", you can see that following your conscience may not always be a good thing.

Our CONSCIENCE consists of an accumulation of the things we were taught as children, things we learned as children and teens from others (called Peer Pressure), and as adults from adult peer pressure and what we hear and accept by way of personal contact with others, the news, and even social media influences. It is NOT necessarily a special mechanism placed into our minds by The Creator as a fail-safe moral compass.

In The Old Testament there is no specific Hebrew word translated into CONSCIENCE. It was a concept that describes an aspect of a human being's self-awareness and part of a person's internal rational capacity. It was NOT, as popular lore sometimes suggests, an audience room for the voice of God or of the devil. There are many passages addressing the concept, and many are not particularly pleasant to read. The Book of Judges has a number of references to "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." And in every instance the reliance on that ended up in sin and judgement.

The New Testament has quite a bit to say about CONSCIENCE:
Strong's Concordance 4893 syneídēsis (from 4862 /sýn, "together with" and 1492 /eídō "to know, see") – properly, joint-knowing, i.e. conscience which joins moral and spiritual consciousness as part of being created in the divine image. Accordingly, all people have this God-given capacity to know right from wrong because each is a free moral agent (cf. Jn 1:4,7,9; Gen 1:26,27).

So while there is certainly a God-given element, the spiritual compass, it is influenced by the individual's "moral" (or mortal) compass which, as I have stated above, is the sum total of everything we have learned and picked up along our way through life. If we could rely only on the God-given part we would be in great shape. But if our CONSCIENCE is in any way influenced by what we have 'learned' in life then we need to be very careful about allowing our conscience to be our guide.

If you are going to vote according to your CONSCIENCE in the upcoming election then you ought to at least examine it, think about it and pray. Od all elections in the past century THIS will be the most important. Racial tensions, economic crisis, global terrorism and the next three generations of judicial policies hang in the balance. To say this is a very important election is to grossly under state it.

Honesty, Integrity, Leadership and Character are the focus of this election.

Hillary Clinton is not nearly as Progressive and Left-Leaning as the majority of her party, and has demonstrated she is more than willing to promote the causes of virtually anyone in order to gain their vote. After listening to her speak to different audiences no one could be faulted for believing she might attempt to regulate the Second Amendment out of existence, or that she simply wants better controls in place without undo restrictions on gun owners. It simply depends upon WHO she is speaking to. The Clinton Foundation, using two different sets of eyes, can be viewed as a great move in using influence to garner donations to help those in need, or as simply a move to influence the wealthy to personally enrich herself. Hillary Clinton is the Politician of Politicians.

Donald Trump is not nearly as Conservative as even the centrists of the Republican Party, has never been a politician and has yet to learn how to doublespeak like one. He has led an overall successful business enterprise. People negotiate for real estate, for construction and for the cost of toilet paper. You negotiate from a position of strength, you add for fluff and ego, shake hands and move forward. Our history is full of failed businessmen who became Presidents but rarely the other way around. They are just two different worlds.

Anyone who has ever been in the real estate development and construction business knows it is like negotiating through a mine field with victories and defeats. There are disagreements with vendors, subcontractors go broke and hard feelings prevail. The business world is vastly different than the political world. In construction projects go over budget for many reasons and the developers have to work out a solution. In government, when there is a cost issue, the solution is to simply run up a deficit and print more money. Business and Government exist in separate galaxies. Government needs money and it either raises taxes or prints money. Business people operate by making a profit or they go out of business.

Both candidates are leaders, and both have giant egos. Hillary sold influence. Donald bought influence. Hillary the Politician measures every syllable and word while Donald speaks often before thinking (or so it appears). As in the case of the weekend bombings, both candidates said almost identical things. Hillary was praised for her words in the media while Donald was crucified for his. The difference? I do not know.

What I DO know is that I cannot use my conscience to cast my vote but must set personal feelings aside and examine the cold, hard facts. I would, and have, driven back to a store to return money when a clerk accidently gave me too much change when I bought something. And I think Donald would do the same. But there are thousands of reports of small low-income Hillary donors who have been over charged or double charged when they have made under $100 dollar donations to her, and her campaign people refuse to deal with it. The banks are making the excess charges right with the donors. But it really makes Hillary look bad.

I have heard media reports that Donald has contributed little to his non-profit charity, and that maybe he is not as generous at giving as he says he is. I have also heard reports that Hillary's non-profit charity used under 10% of it's income for charitable causes while spending lavishly on facilities, staff, salaries and further fundraising efforts. There are also reports that foreign donors also somehow ended up with political favors and access to important people. To compare one to another is like a Blue Whale swatting at a gnat.

Donald has been embroiled in questionable mini-scandals for years. He bought some slum housing with the intent on tearing it down and building a hotel on the site. After the property purchase he was accused of being a slum lord. Then he was accused of evicting poor people from their homes. And even though all was done through the watchful eyes of local government, and despite the projects being a part of community redevelopment plans, all with permits in place, paid for and approved, he was still the evil one who actually did the project.

Hillary has been entwined in scandals since she was fired from her job working on the Richard Nixon Watergate investigation. There was Whitewater, The Rose law firm, records and files lost (then found in her White House closet), Travelgate, this gate and that gate. Bengahzi, deleted emails. People who were getting ready to tell what they knew about her scandals who seemed to have untimely illness, accidents, suicides or other strange deaths. The list seems to be endless.

Setting my CONSCIENCE aside, the actual facts (without spin) make me think Donald leads in Honesty, Integrity, Leadership and Character. Donald opens his mouth and whatever he is thinking pops out. Hillary opens her mouth and the truth is down the road somewhere. With Hillary we think we know what we will get and Donald is an unknown. The FACTS tell me who I ought to vote for.

If you want to rely on your conscience to vote go ahead. But PLEASE check the facts... all of them./... as well.

What my CONSCIENCE say?

It's telling me to vote for Donald as well.

Agree? Disagree? Please let me know. I will post most replies, but reserve the right to edit out words, phrases or thoughts that, in my sole opinion, are offensive, prejudicial or in otherwise bad taste. Ideas, opinions and words used on this site are not endorsed by any Church, organization, business or individual listed on this website.

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