Now Is the Time for Courage
It is the strangest and hardest day of a very strange and hard 2020. Today I cast my ballot for Donald Trump, knowing full well that lawless people are staging to riot in cities across America; knowing that if Trump wins, innocent Americans will lose livelihoods, homes, even their lives. It is one result I can fully expect to come from my vote. I shudder at the thought; I could almost get physically ill over it.
The blame for what happens will not be mine. If angry people act out their upside-down views of right and wrong, that guilt falls on them alone. I cannot cast off all responsibility for my choice or its effects, though. One must put all expected outcomes in the balance, when making a momentous decision like this.
That means I have to take that responsibility seriously; to bring it as close to home as I can. The best way I know to do that is by asking what I would think if the results came literally to my home: What if these rioters, looters, destroyers came my way?
Is the Difference Worth It?
Rioters will aim some of their attacks at specific targets if Trump wins. But I expect much more of it will be random. I very much doubt anyone will target me or my family. (They’ll at least want to ask themselves first, How viral do they want this column to go?) Random is random, though. So I must think what it could mean if riots reached me and my home; or worse yet my wife, my son or daughter, or their spouses. I love them so very, very much.
And whoever suffers tomorrow, I know it will be people who are loved the same as I love my family. So is it worth it? Is the difference between Trump and Biden worth loved ones’ deaths? Would it be worth me or my own loved ones dying?
The question is sobering. The answer is both hard and easy. Hard, in that I cannot imagine the pain; easy, in that there is no doubt of the right answer. Yes, the difference between Trump and Biden is worth it.
Freedom at Stake — Freedom for Which Many Have Sacrificed
My son-in-law is serving overseas with the Army right now. He has made a very conscious decision: Freedom is worth it. His wife, my daughter, chose to put herself at risk of losing him that way when she married him. They know that freedom is worth sacrifice.
Our nation’s Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to build a land of freedom. It was worth it. Their sacrifice led to the greatest country the world has ever known.
Granted, we have been slow to work out all that this greatness should mean. The left twists that fact badly, though. They say we were never great; that we’ve been a land of oppression since 1619.
Their confusion is plain to see. The left tells us the path to real greatness is through the path of white shame, but shame is never great. They say the path to unity is through the divisive fragmenting they call intersectionalism. They say the path to racial healing … is a road to nowhere. Healing is forever impossible.
As obvious as these errors are, they still have a grip on the nation. Worse yet, perhaps (if worse is possible), they think it is and ought to be in their power to invent new rights. The smoothest, slickest path to destroying our Creator-endowed unalienable rights is by inventing new “freedoms” to compete with them. Already sexual liberty has upended our most basic freedoms of speech and religion.
A Call to Faith and Courage
The left threatens America with violence. Its partisans will bear all the blame for it. The rest of us must decide in the meantime to move forward with courage, the trait by which a person will choose to do what’s right, even if it’s dangerous, costly, or difficult.
Courage is born in confidence, the sure faith that God presides in justice and in grace, and that He will pay back to us what we may sacrifice for what is right and true. Courage can go nowhere, however, without a solid grip on what actually is right and true.
Some of us are clear enough on that — enough at least to guide basic decisions we must make — through serious study of Scripture, history, philosophy, society, and the like. Others will throw up their hands and say, “I don’t know!” To them I say, it’s not too late. You can search it out, in fact, you must.
For we are not just facing a day, a week, or even a month in which faith and courage will be required of us. This won’t end at Trump’s second inauguration, if that day comes. And it really won’t come to a quick close if Biden wins. The battles will be harder, not easier.
These are sobering days. We face dangers of a sort that no one imagined before. Lives, property, and above all, liberty are at stake. This is a time for courage. It is a time for truth. It is above all a time for faith in God, who alone can guide and empower us for what will come.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.