Avoid the Election Day Traps! – Part Two

When Election Day arrives, so do the traps that come with it. In my previous column I examined four of them, and here I present five more. Be sure you avoid these pitfalls, and help others avoid them, too!

5. I’ll show them! — using the election to vent our anger.

Sometimes individuals or groups vote vindictively. A candidate or party did them wrong, and so they want to teach them a lesson. This may help to vent a personal frustration, but who suffers in the process? It would be far better to go to the gym and take out your anger on a punching bag, or go into a field and yell. But those you elect to public office will influence a lot of people — and unborn babies — for a long time. Look beyond your personal problems or agendas.

6. The media says…– I am swayed by what the news says about who is winning.

What people do determines what the polls say, not vice-versa. Decide whom to vote for based on who is the better candidate, and then cast that vote without paying any attention to what the news reports are saying. If you think you will be swayed by a news report, don’t listen to the news until after you vote.

7. I’ll go later…

Go to vote first thing in the morning. If you delay going to vote until later in the day, you increase the chances that you will be distracted or hindered by some problem that arises unexpectedly. You may also become busier than you anticipated, and might forget. The rule is: the earlier, the better.

8. Until next time…

At end of Election Day, don’t say, “Ah…Now I don’t have to worry about elections for a while.” No, you have to start working on the next election now. This is the best time to start. The lessons you learned in this election cycle are fresh in your mind, and now is the time to make a list of all the things you could have done if you had thought of them sooner. Plan to do them for the next election.

So it’s not “until next time…” Next time is here.

9. Overconfidence or dejection —

If the election goes the way you want, do not become overconfident or lazy. Work harder than ever to encourage and assist those whom you helped elect.

If it does not go the way you want, set your energies on doing damage control, and on challenging those who were elected to govern in a way that follows the moral law.

In all cases, keep your focus on God and on the future. There is work to do, there is no time to waste, and the truth always prevails.

As practical steps this Election Day, may I ask you to please

a) Pass this column along to others.
b) Say the daily prayer at ElectionPrayer.com.
c) Distribute our voter guides, available at PoliticalResponsibility.com

Thank you!

Fr. Frank Pavone is the National Director of Priests for Life.