Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thanks, But No Thanks

I copied and pasted the following  from another blog because the priest who authored the comment has articulated exactly how I feel about politics and voting in particular.  Although I have voted for a GOP candidate since 1988, I am feeling less and less certain that I will be voting at all in the upcoming presidential election.  This fear was cemented last night with Newt Gingrich's commanding win in South Carolina.   My comments continue after the following:
" please count me as one of those whose principles have, so far, prevented me from voting for a GOP candidate for President since 1988. I stand by that decision. To argue that I somehow have an obligation to support a candidate, because his opponent is worse, is deeply flawed. Anyone who argues that there is a grave obligation to vote for someone has a high burden of proof.
For that matter, I pointedly deny that I did a thing to elect President Obama. I can prove it. I live in Ohio. The outcome of Ohio’s vote for President did not depend on a single vote. And I am prepared to bet $100 (up to 20 takers) that this year, my vote will, once again, not tip the election.
Make no mistake: I vote; but I vote only for those candidates whom I deem worthy of my vote."
Needless to say, I am disappointed that Santorum didn't fare better and even more concerning is the fact that he sounded like he was auditioning for the role of  running mate last night, which means he realizes the improbability of being able to move forward.   There are two candidates in the field that nothing in this world could convince me to support, and they are Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
Romney blows with the wind and has no real stance on anything except that which he feels will help his chances of getting elected.  This is what is refreshing about Santorum,  with whom I do not agree on every single issue incidentally.  The reason he lost the Senate race in Pennsylvania to Bob Casey is because he would not abdicate his core beliefs for political expediency.  The same cannot be said for Romney.    Is he the first politician to blow with the political wind?  No, but it doesn't mean I have to vote for it.
Gingrich induces a visceral reaction in me that I cannot put aside.  Listening to him talk about food stamps last night did nothing to assuage that feeling.   It is not a Catholic value to want to see people go hungry, and if enough of us took care of our less fortunate brothers and sisters out of our own pockets, there would be no need for Access cards  (which, at least in this state, is what has replaced the food stamp so the stigma attached to public assistance would be removed).   There are many people who qualify for food stamps who do not seek help because of their pride and because of people like Gingrich, who thrive on wedge issues for their own political gain.
Sadly, most of us in this country have no idea how other people live.  We hear stereotypes and then we swear by them, not taking the time to investigate the truth for ourselves.   For some people, the image of a pimp in a feathered hat driving up to the grocery store in a new Cadillac to make his purchases with food stamps is still sadly alive.
 This is the toughest economy I've seen in my own lifetime.  The family my employees assisted at Christmas doesn't  want to be on public assistance, but what is a father of five children to do if he cannot find work because there are no jobs?  Until Catholic social services found housing for them, they were living out of their mini-van.     These were not people living beyond their means and there are countless others like them about whom the Romneys and the Gingriches could not care less.  They will do nothing to help them, but they'll use their circumstances to further their own political agendas which are built on fear and demagoguery. 
This country is in the economic mess that is it because of a few simple facts that I have yet to hear a politician admit.  The culpability for these problems lies with both parties, with the exception of the first which was not a political event but a national tragedy.
1.  The aftermath of September 11, 2001
2. The investment in two needless and costly wars immediately on the heels of 9/11
3.  The refusal to raise the revenue necessary to support these two needless and costly wars
4. Bad mortgages that people could not afford in the first place
5.  The bail-out of the corporate welfare queens on Wall Street

Don't hold your breath waiting for any of the candidates to admit this because if they point a finger about any of it, three fingers will be pointing back at them.  
On the same thread where I copied the priest's comments above,  another commenter observed that the Democrats and Republicans are two wings on the same bird:  a vulture.   
I couldn't agree more.


  1. Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it
    morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote and to defend
    one’s country (CCC 2240).

  2. "The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."48 "We must obey God rather than men" (CCC 2242)

  3. What about voting for the pro life candidate, if you have one? I would think that might fall into one's moral obligation.

  4. You mean the "pro-life" candidate who was pro-abortion before he decided to run for national office, or the other "pro-life" candidate who spent years in the Congress without authorizing a single piece of pro-life legislation?

    1. Actually, in general for any elections, not just this particular one. I don't know that we can control what they do once elected other than to pray for him/her to do the right thing. Would our complete inaction be considered allowing the wrong candidate to be elected? This is just a theological question, as in what I have done and what I have failed to do. I really don't know the answer. My one vote might not tip the scales but how many other "one votes" might have? I've always been taught that out of all the candidates the one thing we should look at is the pro life stance and hopefully God will take over from there once that person is in office. Even if it is a 3rd party candidate, not one of the top two.

  5. But our current president is radically pro-abortion. He has done everything in his power to further the pro-abort cause, as well as the same-sex "marriage" agenda. Each person must of course follow their own conscience in this, but I have more hope that a Republican president would be more likely to appoint Supreme Court justices with pro-life Bush did, and also to sign pro-life legislation. Both parties certainly are to blame for the mess our country is in, but one party does not tolerate anyoe who is pro-life to even share in their leadership. Recall Bob Casey....

    Hopefully, we can all agree that we really need to pray for our country, and the best outcome possible in this year's elections.

    God bless,

  6. While I certainly agree that the situation is more desperate now than it ever was, I'm also tired of the kinds of candidates that we are offered by both parties. I think it's possible to be pro-life and uphold other Gospel teachings and I for one am a little tired of being preached to about how I have to vote for someone rather than no one because of what might happen. When we demand better candidates, we'll get them. So long as we're willing to accept the lesser of two evils, that's exactly what we'll get. BTW, I am not opposed to voting for a third party candidate. And as I heard one pundit say, Gingrich is known for "pulling the pin" and imploding when he's got a lead, so it's not a given that he'll be the nominee. We'll see. Until then I put my trust in God, not in princes or politicians.

  7. I understand. I think we're all tired of this endless process. It just goes on too long. And with all the debates this year it's become a reality show. I'm sick of it. Personally while none of the Republican candidates are ideal, Obama has been such a disaster that I have to vote. However, Gingrich is so repulsive that I may just throw my hands up and not if he wins the nomination. As to Romney, yes he has flip flopped, and that makes him unrelibale. But what I do like about him is his temperment. No matter how many pitfalls come his way, he continues on with a smile. I know he's religious and though not my religion, I'm sure he gets a sort of strength from it.

  8. I think what you say makes a lot of sense Manny. I'm just tired of being told I have to vote for bad candidates because the other candidate is worse, and some of the folks who try goading people like me about it have their own political agenda and use the abortion issue as a shield to hide behind. They support a lot of things that are not supported by the Gospel, but so long as they can say their guy is anti-abortion, they can get away with it. I'd like a candidate who is both anti-abortion and upholds other teachings that while not intrinsic, are nonetheless evil. I also agree the primary process is too long. It's obscene what's spent on elections in this country.


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