I celebrated my 55th birthday last week and I have voted in every election since 1972. This year’s presidential election has been the most difficult for me to cast my vote that I can recall. I put off completing my absentee ballot until last Monday but it is now on the way to our county clerk. So I have already done what many of you won’t do until next Tuesday.

As I considered the four individuals that make up the Republican and Democrat tickets, I am amazed at these next few facts. Two of them clearly lack the experience necessary to serve as President, two of them are vehemently pro-abortion, one of them has called the “religious right” the problem in America today, one of them claims to be a devoted Christian but has a long time involvement with a minister who speaks remarkably like a bigot and racist, one of them has authored and supported some of the most liberal legislation ever written, and one of them is a mom with 5 children (the youngest a Down’s Syndrome special-needs child and the oldest daughter a teen walking through an unmarried unplanned pregnancy). This short list of concerns has made my voting decision significantly harder than in the past.

I realize that if I haven’t already stepped on your toes, I probably will somewhere in the rest of this blog. Some of you are probably thinking of the exceptions and excuses you may have for overlooking part of or all of my list of concerns. That’s really quite all right, go ahead and formulate your arguments; I’ve already cast my vote.

One of the most disturbing concerns for me to deal with is something that many of you may have not considered. I realize that Sarah Palin is the toast of the conservative Christian element within the Republican Party. I have found her to be a breath of fresh air in the whole “good ole boy” political arena. I am elated over the fact that she is staunchly pro-life and her own life reflects it. I am thankful to God that her daughter is bringing a new life into the world in a day when nearly 40% of pregnant women choose to abort their children. But there is something bigger here for me to contend with.

It seems to me there is a concerted effort by campaign officials to manipulate me as a voter. As a pro-life, pro-family, conservative, Christian voter, I recognize the power our voting block actually commands. Realistically, without our vote, no Republican candidate for President can hope to be elected. I’m sure that the campaign officials I referred to know this very well; they searched the country high (and maybe low) for a candidate that would draw us into their camp. Their plan seems to have worked. But think about this: what do we (the pro-life, pro-family, conservative, Christian voter) get if their plan succeeds? We get a “politically moderate,” big spending president who doesn’t have a whole lot of use for us except to get elected. Some of my friends have and some of you will say, “Well, at least we don’t get the other guy.” That may be true but frankly, I’m tired of casting my vote against the “other guy.” I have been voting against the other guy since Ronald Reagan.

Looking at both tickets I couldn’t help asking myself, have these four candidates proven themselves to be the best and brightest of the leaders our country has to offer? Or have the offices of President and Vice President become more “public relations” and “popularity” driven than substantive? Does the President really have much legislative impact and influence any more or has it all come down to judicial appointments and foreign-policy decisions. If so, then who the President and Vice President are may have little effect on how government impacts the American people.

For the last four elections I have attempted to vote my values. As Christians we have been encouraged to do so for a number of years now. We have been told that if we are pro-(biblical)family, pro-life, pro-smaller government and pro-reduced governmental spending, we should support the candidates who reflect those values. Unfortunately, neither ticket seems to be pro-smaller government and pro-lower government spending. One ticket is certainly pro-life and it also claims to be pro-family…but is it?

I happen to subscribe to a theological view that calls men to be the protectors and defenders of families. I recognize that men and women are equal in value but unique in responsibility and calling. The founding fathers of this country saw their responsibility as men to defend and protect their families, their land and this great republic. Those noble and honorable men would never have put a woman in harms way to protect or save themselves from danger. But the office of President is a position that is in harms way. The Commander and Chief is a military role that is assumed by the President. Apart from the qualification issue, where are today’s noble and honorable men who are appalled that we would intentionally put a woman in harm’s way? Are they afraid that the opposition will call them chauvinists or “femaphobic”? Or are we so fearful that we will be considered politically incorrect that we simply go with the flow and keep our mouths shut?

This is really politically incorrect for me to say but I’m going to say it anyway. I realize we have many fine women serving in the military and police agencies of this country. They are probably all qualified by today’s standards, but should we really have gone down that road in the first place? In a society that is overflowing with the destruction of families, where children are disposable and regularly disposed of, where two incomes are deemed essential for material survival, where women have bought into the lie that they can “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan” and where we believe we are entitled to the best life the world has to offer, can we afford to be without women who have an unwavering heart for the home and their children? Motherhood and being a “keeper at home” are two of the noblest and most honorable functions within any society. Women who sacrifice dearly to fulfill that calling are walking examples of what it means to be Pro-Family as far as I am concerned. In my humble opinion, Sarah Palin’s greatest calling as a Christian and a woman is to be at home with her family; it’s obvious to me that she is needed there.

In Malachi 4:5-6, God warns fathers about turning their hearts to their children. That is absolutely necessary today. By doing so, we may enable mothers to truly turn their hearts back to their children as well.

As for me and my vote, I’m ready to start casting it for someone rather than against someone. I’m ready to use the power of the “pro-life, pro-family, conservative, Christian” voting block to send a clear message to the political parties to nominate individuals who line up with all of our values or risk losing my vote. And if they refuse, I’m willing to use my vote to send a message that I will vote for what is right and good even if it means the “other guy” wins. If we don’t stand for something, we will find that we have stood for nothing.