03 November, 2008

A Vote Is Affirmation, Not Against Someone You Do Not Like

In my years of voting, I have heard EVERY presidential election this line: 'This is the most important election of our lifetime.' To that I say, 'yeah right'. This line is just a way for Republicans to scare us into voting for their candidate out of fear that God will not be pleased with us if we do not vote Republican.

A vote is not something that is negative. A vote cannot be made against someone. A vote is a vow that you are making in support of the name you put forward. On November 5th, please remember that we are not voting against someone, but voting FOR someone. A Christian's conscience must be clear when putting a man forward- otherwise it is sin to us.

Here is what THE Dictionary defines as vote:

{dag}1. A vow; a solemn promise or undertaking. Obs.

1533 BELLENDEN Livy V. x. (S.T.S.) II. 182 Nochtwithstanding {th}at {th}ai made solempne vote to appollo, {ygh}it {th}ai tuke mare regarde of ony vthir thing {th}an to..fulfil {th}e said vote. 1536 {emem} Cron. Scot. (1821) II. 141 King Hungus..maid solempnit vote, that he and his posterite sall use na ansenye in times cuming..bot the croce of Sanct Andro. 1715 M. DAVIES Athen. Brit. I. 152 A Temporal Religious Pensioner, or what is vulgarly call'd a Galloping-Nun, without any Votes.

{dag}2. a. A prayer or intercession. Obs.

1626 B. JONSON Fort. Isles, Song Wks. (Rtldg.) 651/1 All the heavens consent, With harmony to tune their notes, In answer to the public votes, That for it up were sent. 1633 COWLEY Constantia & Philetus 146 Now at last the pitying God, o'recome By his constant votes and teares, fixt in her heart A golden shaft. 1656 J. PRIDEAUX Euchologia 226 Here may be taken in those interchangeable Votes of Priest and People, which are interposed, ‘O Lord, arise, help us and deliver us for thy Names sake!’ 1664 FULLER Triana & Paduana in Wounded Consc., etc. (1867) 223 Being assigned but three hours of three several days, for the begging of the votes of mankind to help her in her extremity.

{dag}b. A petition, a request. Obs.{em}1

1645 Unholsome Henbane betw. two Fragr. Roses 1 A most humble Vote, and serious desire to our..Assembly of Divines.

{dag}3. An aspiration; an ardent wish or desire. Obs. (Common 1630-60.)

a1626 BACON Hist. Gt. Brit. Wks. (Bohn) 498 Queen Elizabeth..carrying a hand restrained in gift, and strained in points of prerogative, could not answer the votes either of servants or subjects to a full contentment, especially in her latter days. 1640 HABINGTON Edw. IV, 169 Nothing was more in the vote of the English; then to preserve King Lewys safe in his estate at home. 1656 SANDERSON Serm. (1689) 541 The Glory of God, is to be the Alpha and Omega of all our votes and desires. 1667 Decay Chr. Piety v. {page}29 To breath out Moses's wish, O that men were wise; or if that be too hopeless a vote, O that men were not so destructively foolish.

II. {dag}4. a. Sc. A formal expression of opinion by a member of a deliberative assembly on a matter under discussion; a decision or verdict. Obs.

1533 BELLENDEN Livy I. xiii. (S.T.S.) I. 76 Quhen {th}e maist parte & nowmer of senatouris war foundin of {th}e samyn votis as {th}e first has schewin,..it is accustumyt [etc.]. 1562 WIN{ygh}ET Wks. (S.T.S.) II. 76 Quhat..wes the woceis and woteis of al [the bishops in council], bot that the thing quhilk wes techeit of auld suld be haldin? 1581 BURNE in Cath. Tract. (S.T.S.) 154 Thair is na ressoune quhy he sould follou rather the voittis of your ministeris, nor ye the voittis of his bischopis.

{dag}b. Sc. in one vote, with one consent, of one accord, unanimously. Obs.

1546 Reg. Privy Council Scot. I. 28 Tha all in ane vote conselit and consentit that my Lord Governour suld cause the said hous to be deliverit to the said Lord Maxwell. c1550 ROLLAND Crt. Venus II. 494 All in ane voit set thair Felicitie On future thingis, and Predestination. 1582-8 Hist. James VI (1804) 81 They all in ane voite [1825 voce], voittit, declarit, and testified, that [etc.].

5. a. An indication, by some approved method, of one's opinion or choice on a matter under discussion; an intimation that one approves or disapproves, accepts or rejects, a proposal, motion, candidate for office, or the like.
casting vote: see CASTING ppl. a. 2.

c1460 in Liber Pluscardensis (Skene) I. 394 Be eleccioune chosin men of gude,..Quhilkis has the votis of al the commonis hale. 1552 in Rec. Convent. Roy. Burghs (1870) I. 3 To woit about throw that haill nowmer,..and he that gettis monyest wottis to be chosin and sworn incontinent. a1578 LINDESAY (Pitscottie) Chron. Scot. (S.T.S.) I. 18 Lyk as he haid beine suppreme magistratt apprivit be the vottis of this realme. 1596 DALRYMPLE tr. Leslie's Hist. Scot. I. 246 Malduin the fourt sone of King Donalde,..with al votis, is declaired king. 1609 SKENE Reg. Maj. II. 132 The crime being lawfully provin,..be the suffrages and voites of the estaites in parliament..he may be condemned. 1651 HOBBES Govt. & Soc. vii. §14. 119 The civill Person sinnes not, but those subjects only by whose votes it was decreed for sinne. 1681 WOOD Life 5 July (1848) 231 Both his dispensations for terms and absence from lectures were denied but by one vote. 1756-7 tr. Keysler's Trav. (1760) I. 192 A young Prussian nobleman..was very near undergoing the same fate.., two votes only saving him from losing his head. 1823 Local Act 4 Geo. IV, C. iii. §8 Where the Number of Votes upon any Question shall be equal (including the Chairman's Vote) the Chairman shall have the casting Vote. 1855 TENNYSON Maud I. VI. vi, That so, when the rotten hustings shake In another month to his brazen lies, A wretched vote may be gain'd. 1884 tr. Lotze's Logic 394 It is sometimes done by simply counting the single vote of the preferred person as equal to several votes.

b. In the phrase to give (in recent use also to record) a or one's vote.

a1578 LINDESAY (Pitscottie) Chron. Scot. (S.T.S.) I. 269 Lord Patrick Lyndsay that hes gevin the first wott. a1654 SELDEN Table-T. (1689) 6 Bishops give not their Votes by Blood in Parliament, but by an Office annext to them. 1727 BAILEY (vol. II), Voting, giving his Vote or Suffrage at the Election of a Magistrate, or making a Law, etc. 1765 BLACKSTONE Comm. I. 165 If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely and without influence. a1856 [see RECORD v.1 9b].

c. transf. (Cf. sense 9.)

1652 CRASHAW Poems (1904) 189 Twixt pen and pensill rose a holy strife Which might draw vertue better to the life. Best witts gave votes to that. 1667 JER. TAYLOR Dissuas. Popery II. I. §7. 217 But the events of salvation and damnation (blessed be God) do not depend upon the votes and sentences of men. 1746 FRANCIS tr. Horace, Art of Poetry 467 Profit and Pleasure, then, to mix with Art, T' inform the Judgement, nor offend the Heart, Shall gain all Votes. 1829 LYTTON Devereux I. iv, You run, ride, leap too, better than anyone else, according to the votes of your comrades.

d. A means of signifying choice, approval, etc.; a voting tablet or ticket.

1817 SHELLEY Rev. Islam IV. xxii, Her voice, whose awful sweetness doth repress All evil,..And cast the vote of love in hope's abandoned urn. 1838 F. A. P[ALEY] tr. Schömann's Assemb. Athen. I. xi. 129 The citizens of each tribe cast their votes of condemnation or acquittal into one urn.

6. a. The collective opinion or assent of an assembly or body of persons. to take a vote, to ascertain the opinion of a meeting by formal reference.

1582 Reg. Privy Council Scot. III. 482 To beare the chargeis of provest, baillies, eldermen, and counsale of the said burgh, not being electit thairto be commoun consent and voit of the haill inhabitantis. 1597-8 Rec. Earldom Orkney lxxix. (S.H.S.) 173 Patrik, Erle of Orkney..sittand in judgement at the head court callit the Harmanstein..befoir the haill woit of the countrie. 1624 MASSINGER Renegado Ded., With a full vote and suffrage it is acknowledged that the patronage and protection of the dramatic poem is your's. 1632 Chron. Perth (Maitl. Cl.) 33 Mr John row wes admittit master of the gramer scole, be the provest, baillies, and counsall, without consent or woatt of ony wtheris. 1667 MILTON P.L. II. 313 For so the popular vote Inclines, here to continue, and build up here A growing Empire. 1721 RAMSAY Prospect of Plenty 133 Nor can we wyt them, since they had our vote. 1821 BYRON Two Foscari V. i, Why would the general vote compel me hither? 1848 W. K. KELLY tr. L. Blanc's Hist. Ten Y. I. 76 The law of the double vote had been..an implement of war directed against the throne. 1875 JOWETT Plato (ed. 2) V. 88 One is to be chosen by lot out of ten who are elected by vote. 1884 tr. Lotze's Logic 394 A number of groups in each of which a separate vote is taken.

b. In the phrase to put to the vote, to submit to the decision of a meeting. Similarly (of a question), to go to the vote.

1599 Hist. Writers to Signet (1890) 234 It being put to vote.., the maist part voteit to the said incorporatioun. 1681 in Acts Parlt. Scotl. (1875) XII. 45/2 It was putt to the vote, If the Act should be delayed or not, and was carried in the negative. 1770 LANGHORNE Plutarch V. 87 Cato, however, before it was put to the vote, ascended the rostrum. 1823 New Monthly Mag. IX. 244/1 He implored the House not to let the question go to the vote. 1857 TOULMIN SMITH Parish 58 He must then put it to the Vote whether the meeting ‘approve’ and ‘confirm’ the minutes. 1888 [see PUT v.1 22b].

c. The collective support of a special number or class of persons in a deliberative decision, election, etc. (Cf. 7c.)

1851 GALLENGA Italy 391 We must not, indeed, allow that it was the result of the Lombard vote that turned Sardinia's allies into enemies. 1884 Nation (N.Y.) 3 July 1/3 Mr. Blaine will get the following ‘votes’. The Hebrew vote, because he spoke severely about the persecution of the Jews by Russia; the Dynamite vote, because he is down on the English.

7. a. The right or privilege of exercising the suffrage; esp. in the phrase to have a vote.

a1585 MONTGOMERIE Cherry & Slae 683 (Laing MS.), Thay say {th}at wayage neuir luckis, quhair ilk ane hes ane woit. 1624 in Eng. Hist. Rev. Jan. (1913) 130 It is to be carryed by most voyces, because every Councillor hath equall vote there. 1660 R. COKE Power & Subj. 109 If every man of England has not a like vote and power in electing Members for the House of Commons, then cannot the House of Commons be the Representative of the Nation. 1686 tr. Chardin's Trav. Persia 5 Who has sufficient to drive a Trade that will bear an Imposition of Eight Crowns, has as good a Vote as he that Trades for an Hundred Thousand. 1765 BLACKSTONE Comm. I. 165 Every member of the community..should have a vote in electing those delegates. 1782 PRIESTLEY Corrupt. Chr. II. x. 229 The common people ceased to have votes. 1829 MACAULAY Mill on Govt. in Edin. Rev. Mar. 177 On these grounds Mr. Mill recommends that all males of mature age, rich and poor, educated and ignorant, shall have votes. 1835 THIRLWALL Greece I. 379 Each tribe, however feeble, had two votes in the deliberation of the congress. 1866 GEO. ELIOT F. Holt xi, He..was already a forty-shilling freeholder, and was conscious of a vote for the county.

b. A person regarded merely as an embodiment of the right to vote; also, a person possessing the right to vote; a voter.

1737 POPE Hor. Ep. II. ii. 197 That from a Patriot of distinguish'd note, Have bled and purg'd me to a simple Vote. ?a1800 Devonshire's Noble Duel ii. in Child Ballads VII. 114/2 Then away to the Parliament these votes all went again, And there they acted like just and honest men. 1806 WOLCOT (P. Pindar) Tristia Wks. 1812 V. 298 Oh! had I been a vote, a borough vote, Then Fortune would have squeezed me by thy hand. Ibid. 299 To enter the votes' houses up and down. 1852 R. S. HAWKER in C. E. Byles Life xiii. (1905) 220, I am not a vote, but a Man. The reverse is the general fact. People are not Men but votes.

c. The aggregate of voters, esp. of a certain class. (Cf. 6c.)

1888 Daily Chron. 26 April (Cassell's) Alluding to the large amount of the illiterate vote in Ireland.

8. a. A resolution or decision passed by, or carried in, an assembly as the result of voting; an expression of opinion formally adopted by a meeting of any kind.

1641 Jrnls. Ho. Comm. II. 230/2 Resolved..That these Votes shall be printed; and attested under the Clerk's Hand. 1648 Hamilton Papers (Camden) 192 The distempers of the Houses (to see their former votes eluded and Presb[yterians] lately excluded now so numerous to carie all votes with a high hand) will grow suddenly to a great fire. 1682 A. MUDIE Pres. St. Scotl. ii. 26 The Prerogatives of the Crown are great, as Power of..giving the Votes of Parliament, the Authority of Laws. 1713 STEELE Englishm. No. 2 {page}7 That's the Gentleman who gained the first Vote [in the Senate] against Hannibal. 1724 SWIFT Drapier's Lett. Wks. 1738 IV. 62 Several smart Votes were printed. 1809 Med. Jrnl. XXI. 170 Pursuant to a Vote of the House of Commons, passed in the last Session. 1855 in Blaikie Livingstone ix. (1881) 185, I need not say that the award was made by an unanimous and cordial vote. 1874 GREEN Short Hist. ix. §9. 700 Marlborough was..charged with peculation, and condemned as guilty by a vote of the House of Commons.

(b) vote on account, a resolution at the close of the financial year to assign a sum of money to a government department as an advance payment before its full annual expenditure is authorized by law.

1859 ERSKINE MAY Law of Parl. (ed. 4) 531 Votes on account. The entire sums proposed to be granted for particular services, are not always voted at the same time, but a certain sum is occasionally voted on account of such grants. 1910 W. S. CHURCHILL Let. 11 Mar. in R. S. Churchill Winston S. Churchill (1969) II. Compan. II. xiii. 992 The Vote on account is the most powerful and the most simple Parliamentary engine by which the House of Commmons is assured of its influence upon the Executive Government. 1963 Economist 24 Feb. 71/3 Part of the central government's expenditure, as recorded in the ‘vote-on-account’, is simply of a transfer kind; it includes, for instance, not only such personal payments as family allowances but also grants to local authorities made out of the central tax pool. a1974 R. CROSSMAN Diaries (1977) III. 332, I am worried about this year's Vote on Account.

b. Const. of. vote of confidence, a resolution showing majority support for a government, policy, etc. Similarly vote of no (or want of) confidence. Also fig.

1837 DICKENS Pickw. xiii, Then a vote of thanks was moved to the mayor for his able conduct in the chair. 1846 G. BENTINCK in Hansard Commons 8 June 182, I should certainly have preferred an Amendment which took the shape of a direct vote of want of confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers. 1863 H. COX Instit. I. vi. 44 Subsequently in the session a further vote of public money has been required. 1870 LD. RUSSELL Sel. Speeches I. 154 Institutions..whose ministers resign on a vote of want of confidence. 1881 Sat. Rev. 30 July 125/1 A majority, if it is good for anything, may be relied upon to reject a vote of censure. 1955 Times 10 May 14/4 The Government are asking for a vote of confidence. 1962 Listener 13 Dec. 1002/1 Why is it that grown men and women, no less than teenagers, are registering this unmistakable vote of no confidence in a society which has in so many ways improved their physical and material conditions of life? 1963 Ibid. 14 Feb. 281/2 The government survived..a vote of no confidence in the Parliament. 1976 Glasgow Herald 26 Nov. 1/8 Derby County's Scottish manager, Dave Mackay, was dismissed last night after three years at the Baseball ground. He had asked the club's directors for a vote of confidence.

{dag}9. a. A declaration or statement of opinion. Obs.

1634 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. 206 [China] is by common vote, reputed the greatest Empire in the Orient. 1650 BULWER Anthropomet. 228 The Vote of the Proverb, for a handsome Woman, would have her English to the Neck, French to the Waste, and Dutch below. a1680 GLANVILL Sadducismus I. App. (1681) 179 That a thing should be, and yet not be anywhere in the whole Universe, is so wild and mad a vote..that it cannot be said by any man in his wits.


Esteban Vázquez said...

I emphatically agree with your wonderful point that a vote constitutes an affirmation and not a negation (many thanks for this reminder!), but take exception to your argument from semantics: that the word "vote" can carry the meanings under headings I and II does not imply by extension that it means both things simultaneously in all its uses. This is the fallacy that James Barr has called "illegitimate totality transfer."

Droll Flood said...

Interesting word history where the sense has changed here and there in its usage. That Scotsman's Jive is quite thick!

Jared said...

Nathan, thanks for the post. I agree with most of it. I want to challenge, though, the idea that a vote is a vow. As you know, the Westminster Confession has a lot to say about vows and oaths (ch. 22)...and none of that seems to fit with the idea of voting. An oath (and vow) is an act of worship where we call God to be the witness to a promise we make. Voting is not a promise nor an act of worship, but a civic responsibility in which we are certainly beholden to God for how we choose. But I would want us to stay clear of the idea of a vow...mostly because I don't want (and don't think I have to carry) the responsibility of the actions of the person I vote for after they take office.