BREAKING: Sojourners Launches Election Year Campaign - SojoMail 04.19.12
Sojomail - April 19, 2012
“Most people in the country are looking at everything that’s happened; it just seems to be one disaster after another after another. People are starting to connect the dots.” Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University, one of the researchers who commissioned a new poll that showed 69 percent of Americans believe that extreme weather was probably made worse by global warming. (Source: New York Times)
We have big, breaking news for you today. Sojourners is launching its election season campaign!
You may be wondering why we’re launching so early… it’s only April. A lot of voters, especially young ones, are sitting out of the elections entirely. With all the influence of big money and Super PACs, we need to make sure that Christians are the voice for poor and vulnerable people.
That’s why for this election season, a group of young Sojourners Christians created a video to start a new kind of conversation.
If you count yourself as one of the people who are disengaged, their challenge to you today is this: don’t lose hope. Don’t vote for a candidate; vote for the issue you care about. Watch the video today – and help us spread this video online.
Here is what Tim King, a young evangelical and our communications director, has to say about the campaign:
For a lot of voters, President Barack Obama’s tenure hasn’t turned out quite as they hoped. On the other side, the presumptive GOP nominee, Gov. Mitt Romney, isn’t the candidate that many voters seem ready to believe in.
Traditional political parties are in decline. In December 2011, Gallup reported that 45 percent of the U.S. population identified as politically independent. At the same time, the direction of our two parties is more and more influenced by political movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
While there is an unprecedented level of money flowing into elections from wealthy donors and corporations, social media has democratized access to fellow voters. You can spend millions of dollars buying airtime on traditional TV stations—but it is entirely possible to craft a compelling message that will reach millions for a relatively small cost.
As a young evangelical Christian, I’ve seen a lot of bad examples of how Christians engage politics. Wherever there is a lot of power, there are a lot of dangers. Seeing a lot of others get something wrong can make the task seem daunting but isn’t necessarily a good excuse not to try at all.
A politically disillusioned electorate, a huge influx of money for attack ads, and historically poor leadership from religious and political figures is a challenge to our country’s democratic processes. The danger, especially for my generation, is to tune out from political and civic engagement entirely.
The opportunity is post-candidate politics.
The mistake that a lot of voters—and young people in particular—have made is to put our faith for social change in a very narrow definition of politics. Parties, personalities, and elections will never accomplish everything that we hope they will.
Politics doesn’t begin and end at the voting booth. Politics is all the things we decided to do together. It includes, but is not limited to, the things the government does. That means that being a faithful citizen requires being both a local practitioner and a national advocate for justice.
Volunteering, entrepreneurship, being a good neighbor, building strong families — are all ways to build communities and, in a sense, are political acts.
Voting is important, not because a properly cast ballot will solve the world’s problems, but because it’s a voice for people and issues that we care about.
Many young people have felt disconnected from “values” discussions because the values being promoted aren’t the ones that they hold. That’s why Sojourners worked with young Christians to produce this video that gives voice to a broader range of concerns.
Politics, electorally and more broadly, is worth engaging. It might be frustrating to see the influence of money or a shallow focus on personality, but that won’t change unless we demand more from the system. Online modes of communication create the possibility of getting out a message that wouldn’t be heard otherwise.
Help us spread this message. Share the video and start a discussion with your friends and families about the people and issues that motivate you.
This November, vote for US.
Chip in 5 dollars to help us out! If you contribute today to help us get this video out we’ll send you a free bumper sticker so that you can promote the issue you care about this election. Choose from: End Poverty 2012, Immigration Reform 2012, Creation Care 2012, or Wage Peace 2012.
Tim King is Communications Director for Sojourners. Follow Tim on Twitter @TMKing.
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