Dear young American conservatives,

I am a recent graduate from college who has only just begun my professional career, and like other young conservatives today, I have been restless as we approach the 2020 elections. Whether you will be a first-time voter in the election, are a recent college graduate, have started your first young professional job, have recently married, or are nearing 30, I invite you to consider your role and responsibility in the election this fall.

Many of you plan to do one of three things this election: vote for Trump because you actually believe he is the best option, vote for Biden because you don’t like Trump, or completely disengage and not vote because you are “conflicted” and feel like you are having to choose between the lesser of two evils. For some reason, passivity has become commendable and ignorance has been deemed bravery when it comes to politics this election season. However, we are fools if we truly believe that our inaction is more beneficial then our action.

When conflicted on whether or not to stand up against Hitler during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer chose to take a stand because he was convicted that, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” We have been given a stewardship and a trust with our vote as citizens of the United States of America. This is why Elizabeth Stanton in the suffrage movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement fought for the right to vote.

The United States of America is a constitutional republic, which means that power belongs to the people and they choose who is placed in positions of authority and government. As noted by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist paper 22, “The fabric of the American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.” It is not for authority to be passed down, but to be passed up.

Romans 13 is clear that ultimately, God is the one who places individuals in positions of authority. Because God places them in positions of authority, Paul commands everyone to, “be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (v.1). When we vote, we are giving our power into the hands of another and charging them to lead our nation under God. Citizens are to seek God’s wisdom and ask for discernment as we nominate, endorse, and vote for these roles.

Because we the people hold the power to elect various officials, we must steward our vote intentionally. We are not just voting for party, personality, or how presidential they look. When we vote, we should vote for policies and platforms that uphold justice, life, family, religious liberty, and representation of the people. Through my personal conversations and from observing social media behavior, it is clear that numerous young conservatives are choosing to become recalcitrant this fall. The attitude has become, “Lets bad mouth and crack jokes about the candidates and platforms.” In terms of actually participating in the political process, it has become popular to disengage—to make smart remarks but fail to engage in the civic duty of voting.

Do not get me wrong: elections can be frustrating, politics can be strenuous, and policies can be exasperating, but these emotions—though real—should not lead us to conclude that disengagement is the best response. When we make the choice to throw away our votes, we are choosing laziness over responsibility, passivity over action, naivety over wisdom, immaturity over courage, and selfishness over the republic.

I do not believe that it will be helpful to tell you stories of times when men and women decided last minute to vote and their candidate won by one point and this moment changed their whole perspective on voting. These stories have occurred, but this is not why we vote. We vote to preserve the values and virtues that our Founders fought and died for. The future of our nation is dependent on who you vote for, because for better or worse, they will be the sword bearers of power and the leaders of our nation.

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave because George Washington decided to leave his home at Mount Vernon and lead the fight in the Revolutionary War, because young men left their homes to fight on the beaches of Normandy, because Martin Luther King Jr. chose to reject inequality and fight for civil rights. You only have your vote today because of the blood, sweat, and tears shed to retain it. It is a slander on our nation, on your character, and to God when good men and women do nothing and squander our stewardship.

To vote or not to vote” is not the question. Voting is your duty! To consider more reasons why young conservatives, especially Christians, should be politically engaged, go to frc.org/engage.

Your fellow patriot,

Molly Carman