Why Campaign Clutter Irks Me

Our church serves the community on election day as an official polling station. Which is great, a natural opportunity to reach out to the people around our building.

Still, it irked me today to drive by and see all those campaign posters like flamingos preening on the lawn.

For months we’ve heard candidates offer up “solutions” to all our problems, explain away the thornier parts of their pasts, and point out the weaknesses of others. We’re familiar with the slogans, even the primary colors on their signs.

Maybe it’s a necessary evil, but all of this advertising disgusts me. I see millions of wasted dollars and hours upon hours of wasted energy. I see cliches and pat answers to difficult questions and I wonder how in the world we ever decided this was the best way to choose a leader.

In two years we’ll vote again, this time for a president, and the process will likely be the same but worse, competing voices filling up all available space, yelling louder and louder to be heard, until our landscape is overrun with buttons and signs and posters and t-shirts and all sorts of other campaign crap.

Is choosing a national leader an important process? Certainly. Far too important to be done this ridiculous way.

Thinking about our church lawn and about those yard signs, I wished for a second that we could hang a huge banner that said “Vote for Jesus!” or some other kind of pithy slogan that might put things into perspective, but then immediately I realized it wouldn’t work. Because God doesn’t do campaign posters. Or buttons.

His truth absolutely cannot be contained in a slogan. God is complicated and the Bible, His book, would be a campaign manager’s nightmare. Imagine the soundbites. Here’s one from Jeremiah: “Drink, get drunk and vomit.”

I prefer the way God “campaigns.” He serves. His people love. And while He talks, He doesn’t talk a lot. His message isn’t watered down. It doesn’t “target” certain groups.

You might say, “Yeah, but God doesn’t have to get elected.” And you’d be a little bit right. But also wrong. Because God cares about being received. He wants human beings to choose Him.

But He wants us to choose Him, all of Him, not some simplified, palatable picture of Him.

Too, He wants more than a check on a ballot. He wants allegiance. And if we Americans know anything we know this: Just because you voted for him doesn’t mean you’ll follow him.