That, of course, is the now famous question Hillary Clinton asked of the Senate committee investigating the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. Clinton was arguing that it did not matter whether the attack occurred in response to an anti-Moslem film or for other reasons.
That is open to debate, but now I’m posing the question about a different matter. What difference does it make what happens in this presidential election from here on? Does it matter how the contest goes or what we do about it? Now that the Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump and the Democrats will shortly nominate Hillary Clinton, does it matter what we do?
At this point in the process, conservatives have already lost. Neither major party offers a candidate who in any way represents the values of conservatives, Christians, people who care about the Constitution, about freedom, truth, or about what used to be called “common decency.” Barring some incredible, last-minute, third-party miracle victory such as America has not seen in all its 57 preceding presidential elections, the next president of the United States will be a person devoid of integrity, moral principles, regard for the truth, or fear of God. It only remains to be seen which one.
So, if you care about those things, why pay attention to the rest of this sorry spectacle? We’re all tired of it, tired of seeing and hearing the major-party nominees, tired of the acrimony, tired of the hypocrisy. Why not forget it then? Why am I even writing another post about it?
I’ll tell you why. It does matter what we do. There may not be any moral difference between the major-party presidential nominees, and I suspect there’s not as much policy difference as some would like us to believe, but it will make a big difference what we choose to do about it.
We must not choose either Clinton or Trump. The choice we face amounts to a massive temptation of American Christians–almost a sort of moral trap. We’re presented with two clearly immoral choices and exhorted to choose one to save us from the evil designs of the other. We must not do it.
I doubt any of you reading this will be tempted to choose Clinton, but we’re all going to suffer cajoling and browbeating to vote for Trump. Voting for Trump would mean embracing evil. It would mean giving the lie to everything we ever said about the importance of virtue, or truth, or the family. We would be as bad as Democrats when they called Bill Clinton’s behavior “reprehensible” but refused to hold him accountable, as bad as feminists (one in particular comes to mind) who kept supporting Bill Clinton politically even though they knew of his ongoing abuse of women. And if we voted for Trump, we’d be doing it on the basis of the vain and entirely unfounded hope that he might do something good and the entirely naive confidence that he couldn’t be worse than Hillary. He could.
Certainly in this difficult time Christians should do what they can. What they can do is show their respect for truth and righteousness by showing their disapproval of both candidates. Both are equally unacceptable. Vote for a moral third-party candidate, or cast a write-in vote, or leave the presidential line blank if that’s the only thing left to do. Identify and vote for solid, moral, pro-Constitution conservatives in the down-ballot races. We’ll need senators, congressmen, governors, and state legislators who are ready to resist the agenda of the next president.
If Christians vote for Trump, they will be completely giving up their influence in politics. They will be confirming the obvious belief of the Republican Establishment that it can put up any candidate, no matter how depraved and vile, no matter how contrary to everything Christians say they believe, and Christians will still vote for that candidate because he has an “R” after his name and because they’re afraid of the candidate with the “D.” After that, how much consideration do you suppose they’ll give our concerns about issues like abortion?
If Christians vote for Trump, they would be confirming the suspicions of society around us that Christianity is really just an arm of the Republican Party and Christians are not really interested in the Bible or its teachings but only in gaining power for our party.
If we are going to make any difference in politics, we are going to have to show the parties that we really do believe the things we say we believe–and believe them enough to act on them. If we are going to make any difference in our society, on the world around us, we’re going to have to trust God and walk in His ways.