March 8, 2012

Election Woes

The up coming elections has been a topic on my mind for quite a while now.  I have had many a discussion with many of my friends about who to vote for and who not to vote for.  With the Super Tuesday VA primary come and gone and the inevitable Romney victory in the bag before the polls even opened, the discussion has change from "who do you vote for" to "can you vote".

Let me recap.  Prior to the primary season, we had a whole field of candidates running for president, Cain, Bachmann, Perry, etc.  We had different people with different view points and a real choice.  As the primary season got closer, the news media and the polls had a new flavor of the week.  If I recall, Donald Trump was the front runner that could beat Obama many moons before the election season really got going. Then Bachmann became the front runner, then Perry, then Cain, the Newt, then Santorum. All the while Romney was the established "front runner" that everyone was campaigning to beat.  It was comical watching the news and all the hoopla that each candidate created.  If you don't think the whole thing is rigged by now, well son, there is no hope for you at all. 

In the very beginning I chose my candidate, Michele Bachmann.  I think she would have made the best president.  She is prolife, pro limited/small government, pro national defense, anti amnesty, pro domestic energy, and an all around pro America person.  She was one of the original TEA Partiers.  I stood with Michele Bachmann and literally hundreds of thousand Americans at the early TEA Party rallies demonstrating and protesting Obama Care.  She was a lady that I could cast my vote for! But when she left the race, my hopes for an easy choice were dashed.  

Since the departure of Michele Bachmann, I began an epic debate with a great debater, ie myself, and had to figure out my next choice.  All the while, I'm bouncing my ideas and arguments off family and friends and other people I trust, hoping they would give me insight into what and who would be the moral choice.  I have argued and argued and argued and argued.  And what is my conclusion...I simply cannot vote.  

Let me explain.  Voting is a moral choice since I am the one voting.  The action of voting, in my opinion, is just like any other moral choice, a choice between good and evil.  When trying to figure out who I can vote for, I appeal to Catholic social and moral teaching to guide my decisions.  I do not take civic or morality lessons from Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Mark Levine, Ann Coulter, or any other "conservative" talk radio or news pundit.  I will not relinquish the right (and duty) to think and I will certainly not trust these intellectual degenerates to speak the truth.  When examining the field of candidates as it presently stands, I have a choice between the Dems and the GOP.  Obama is undoubtedly not an option.  So I'm left considering the GOP candidate.  

I hear from the conservative talking heads the mantra "ANYBODY BUT OBAMA." Sadly, I've even heard this from a lot of good Catholics.  And while its an intellectually appealing thought, it is certainly incorrect.  Obama is evil.  How is it better to have someone just a little less evil?  That person is still evil and will undoubtedly do harm to American society. Case in point, John Boener.  He is the GOP Speaker of the House and holds the power of the purse to defund the Obama destruction.  Instead shrinking government expenditures, he and the other House Republicans are racking up trillions of dollar debts and not doing a bit of good for the country.  America's destruction is just taking a bit more time with the Republicans in charge.  The "Anybody but Obama" thing just doesn't pass muster.  There has to be a better standard to guide our voting.

Another argument that has been presented to me for my consideration is the "lesser of two weevils."  The long and short is "lesser of two evils"  is NOT a Catholic moral principle.  Nowhere in Catholic moral teaching does it say we are allowed to choose an evil.  If Wikipedia is to be believed, "Lesser of two evils" comes from 1950's cold war foreign policy.  American cold war policy is a far cry from St. Thomas Aquinas.  

The correct Catholic principle that ought to be employed when deciding who to vote for is sadly the "principle of double effect." I say sadly because, politics was once a great and noble vocation that has been so bastardized by modern politicians that we, the voting populous, are left to tolerating evil, and sometimes very great evil, but I digress.  The principle of double effect is Catholic and has been given to us as guiding principle   to help us make correct and informed moral choices.  The principle of double effect is clearly laid out in Humanae Vitae and reads as follows:
"Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general." Humae Vitae, Pope Paul VI
When considering the topic of voting, one must understand that his vote is for a particular person.  By voting you explicitly or implicitly give consent to that candidate to govern according to the principles and promises he has campaigned on.  Of course, there will never be a candidate that you will perfectly agree with. There never has been and never will be.  Thank God for the principle of double effect; without it, we could never vote. 

When you evaluate a candidate's stance on particular issues, there is a moral hierarchy of values.  Life issues always take precedence over the economy or national defense or energy, since life issues are foundational to society.  These life issues, contrary to popular belief, are more than just abortion.  I would argue that it also includes contraception and gay marriage.  Read Pope Paul VI's predictions in Humanae Vitae about contraception and tell me its not a foundational life issue.  Gay marriage...need I explain this one.  It seems obvious to me that since the family is the foundation of society, the redefinition of marriage is gravest of threats to society and life.  

To summarize, you must consider presidential candidates in light of the principle of double effect considering life issues first.  Let's look at the candidates.  Obama fails, period.  Romney fails because he has flip flopped on abortion so many times, who knows what he actually believes.  Santorum fails because of his support for publicly funded contraception.  Newt fails for the same reason.  Ron Paul fails because of his stance on Gay marriage. This is going to piss off some of you Ron Paul supporters out there but I'm not going to explain this here because of length. Maybe I'll do it in another post. Or if given the opportunity, I will sound off in the comments.  Suffice it to say, Ron Paul's stance on gay marriage doesn't pass muster.

So given the awful electoral situation we are presented with, what am I to do?  Do I choose and evil or do I have a moral obligation to not act.  I am convinced that I have a moral obligation to not act, ie not vote.  

Today, I got an email from a very thoughtful and devout Catholic family man who is certainly holier than me (and I'm being literal) who leveled a new charge. He wrote as follows:
I want also to say that I have come to the conclusion that people who did not vote for Ron Paul (effectively against Romney) here in Virginia because of over-inflated consciences, etc, have caused Romney to win Virginia and possibly by default to win the Republican nomination.  Personally, this will seriously hamper people like me who are running for local office to get anything done as far as freeing ourselves from powerful federal and UN interests.  In other words, we are now in deeper doo-doo and we have no one to blame but ourselves!
Now because I did not vote Ron Paul, somehow I am responsible for Mitt winning VA.  To quote John Stossel, "give me a break." This is absolutely absurd!  I will not let people bind my conscience to act against my conscience.  I will not be accused of electing Mitt Romney because I did not cast a protest vote for Ron Paul.  I will not vote for either man. Period.  

I did not vote for Mitt Romney! I did not vote for Ron Paul!  I will not vote in the general election!  My vote is not cast and I'm not responsible for the destruction these politicians will unleash on America.  Sorry folks, ce n'est pas ma faute! 

1 comment:

  1. When you vote for a canidate, you do not have to support every one of his possitions. As long as the better canidate is not totally evil you should probably consider voting for him. By the principle of double effect you can vote in support of his good points and against the evil policies of his opponent while merely tollerating his own bad policies (which every canidate will have). No matter who wins this primary (and it could be a far from ideal person) their policies will be on the whole much better than those of the current president even if they are not as pure or held with the conviction we would like. Given the situation in VA, I chose to vote in the primary, but I cast a blank ballot since I beleive that there is a better canidate out there than either of those listed. At least those counting the vote will know I cared enough to make the effort to vote. The time for protest is during the primary. When the general election arrives we should do the best we can with the options presented us. If it looks like the less bad canidate will win by a large margin, casting a protest vote or not voting may be a defensible possition, but this does not seem to be the case in the current race. You know the quote from Edmund Burke. Sitting out the election would be about as wise a decission as Pilate's washing his hands. "Don't blame me. I didn't do anything!"