American Democracy and The Voting Booth – a Sanctum for Informed Decision, Ignorance or Acquiescence?
On November 6th, the curtains will be drawn closed and a voting booth will be transformed into an adytum of democracy for a single American Voter, a confessional of the individual voter’s core. But will the voter closing those curtains be aware of just how special this privilege is? Will he or she be intimately aware of how many lives have been sacrificed to guard and protect the right to enter this revered space? Will they feel any responsibility if they make an uninformed decision? Will they be aware of the burden their decisions carry?
Have any of you voted for the lesser of two evils? I’ve heard this comment every election cycle. I’ve said it. I think it generally arises because voters feel like they are so far removed from the candidates that they never can never properly size up a candidate and really know what is true or not true about them. It seems to be an acknowledgment they are going with associations, their gut, their expectations, but nothing really grabs them. (It also seems to help when talking to neighbors who voted for the other guy.)
The candidate belongs to my Party, my church, has been recommended by someone I trust, comes from my part of the country, looks like me, seems to agree with me on something, etc. Seems reasonable when that’s all you have. In 2008, Obama, with a little help from the media, tapped into the ‘I finally have something to grab on to’ vote and people jumped on board enthusiastically and emotionally. Given Obama’s lack of experience, the race thing, whether we want to admit it or not, was a big part of it the 2008 – first black President, breaking barriers, making history, end of racism, the guilt for America’s past could be assuaged. Thankfully all that’s been done; and hopefully, we have more than just that today if we’re willing to do a little Internet digging. Did race play a part in your vote? Will it play a part this election?
Have any of you regretted a vote you made? I have. My first Presidential election in 1976, I was a registered Democrat, my parents were Democrats, all my brothers were Democrats, so I voted for Jimmy Carter; no thought given; no investigation made, zip, zero, nada. I then had the opportunity to serve under him in the United States Navy, watched my father’s building business collapse, my family suffer, my older brother was forced to drop out of college, gas and food prices soared and I began thinking that I might need think a little deeper about government, economics and my decisions. And, I had to accept responsibility for my part in electing Carter and his subsequent actions as President. It’s all part of moving on.
When you vote this time what’s going to be the basis of your decision? The incumbent’s record, the economy, what the media suggests, what your family thinks, is the candidate in your Party, of your race, your church, your religion, rebellion, does he somewhat match your beliefs, do you trust him? Voting for Carter really opened my eyes because for the first time in my life it really hit home that these things matter and can have dire consequences.
Now, unlike in 76, I’m conscious about giving myself permission to vote for the candidate I believe to be best suited to deal with the issues facing the nation today and going into the future. I’ll be the only one present in the Adytum, the inner sanctum. I have permission to vote against Party, family, spouse, religion, region, race, gender – whatever might draw me into an emotional, uninformed selection.
I wonder how many others are going to even think about permission to vote differently than their friends, family, associations, Party, or race?
I can imagine how hard it must be for a person of color, or a college student on a liberal campus to express how they might be feeling about Obama now. Just this week comic actor, John Leguizamo, said, “Latin people for Republicans are like roaches for raid”? Really? Really? Really? Really? The ease with which some spew vitriol if someone dares to hold an opinion or gives support to a candidate that differs from the ‘sanctioned’ choices for a particular group is truly amazing and disheartening.
I wonder if this fear of attack is being reflected in the polling today? I can certainly imagine a person of color, or a person in a deep blue state, who may hold conservative views and is leaning towards Romney, being afraid to honestly voice their opinion to a pollster on the phone. Just think about recent polling that finds blacks in Pennsylvania support Obama by 93 to 3%. What does that say? Given Obama’s support for late-term abortions and gay marriage, the call of some black pastors to stay home – can that poll be right? I don’t think so but given such polling, I fully understand African-Americans being very reluctant to express support for Romney.
Thankfully, the Adytum for voting is a safe place once the curtains are drawn.
This article arose because I saw a question posed in an article at Catholic Online and it caused me to think – and that’s the point. I’m not a churchgoer; however, you and I (we all) have issues related to issues being faced by people of faith, the freedom to hold private and profound beliefs, express those beliefs and not be forced by the government to compromise our consciences.
…. Authentic participation… requires one’s proper exercise of the right and duty to vote. But that cannot occur in the absence of careful, reasoned and informed moral discernment; nor can it occur if the hierarchy of evils is ignored when voting. The most relevant question is this: when I stand before Jesus Christ, will I be able to justify my voting choices, or will whatever I say merely be an attempt to rationalize them? The answer to that question makes all the difference….
Whether you believe ultimately you will be held to account before God, or that at some latter time you will be somehow profoundly reminded that your every decision has consequences – what will your failure to vote, voting for a third party or not treating your vote with the respect it deserves say? What responsibility will you carry for the foreseeable consequences that follow your action in the voting booth? Will you be one who says, God help me, what have I done?
For all people, of all faiths, in every church or home, there are numerous political issues that touch upon accountability to one’s personal conscience; and they are on the ballot this year in the choice for President. The differences between the two candidates could not be more dramatic.
The biggest rub for the Catholic Church, and employers morally opposed to abortion, came last year when Obama’s HHS Administration dictated that employers, if they provide health insurance, would be required to pay for plans that include coverage for contraceptives and abortions. The media and the Obama campaign quickly joined forces to frame the issue as being a broad attempt to deny women access to contraception. The nonexistent ‘Republican War on Women’ was born. (If the media really wanted to find a war on women, they scratch beneath the surface of the Arab Spring & Sharia.)
The real issue is can the federal government force a person of conscience, who believes that human life begins at conception, to pay (directly or indirectly) for an abortion. Surely people can see that this is the government forcing those deeply opposed to abortion to become an accomplice to an act they believe to be reprehensible. This is not a Women’s access to contraception issue; it is a Religious Liberty issue that is Constitutionally protected. If this can be done to them, what else can be done?
Regarding the act of abortion, it is an extremely difficult issue for almost everyone involved. And, it is not fair and it is far from simple to put people in an entirely pro-life or pro-choice group and ridicule their beliefs. Every pregnancy exists in relation to a timeline that begins with conception and normally ends with a natural birth. People who self identify as being pro-life or pro-choice can co-exist in parts of that line. A person (me included) may consider himself or herself pro-life but would suggest that a woman has the exclusive right to choose an abortion up to a certain point (many are somewhere in the 1st trimester camp). However, Obama is in the camp that it is a woman’s unrestricted right to choose throughout the pregnancy.
…In 2002, as an Illinois legislator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected babies that survived late-term abortions…
Romney, personally believes abortions should be limited to cases of rape or incest. It’s clear he sees abortion as an issue that states should determine.
Do most people believe that a healthy fetus in the womb of a healthy mother at 7, 8 or 9 months is just a mass of cells or a human life, a baby? If you believe it is a baby, is it reasonable to accept there is some decree of responsibility that attaches as a consequence of a vote for a person who would facilitate such abortions? Or can one simply say, I’m not voting on that issue? Thankfully, there’s indication that some are thinking about this issue and finding Obama’s position troubling.
Which brings us to the issue of Obama’s support for gay marriage and how it might become a Religious Liberty issue. First Obama was against gay marriage, then he was for it after Biden announced his beliefs. Then it became part of a non-existent Republican War on Gays. (It’s interesting though that Obama hasn’t said boo about how the Muslim Brotherhood feels about gay marriage.) Personally, I’m not concerned by same sex unions or gay marriage. What does concern me is that the government is in any way involved in the business of recognizing or defining marriage. Marriage is the domain of the Church and God. If a couple can find a church to marry them, go for it.
Mitt Romney has been consistent in his support for traditional marriage and believes it too is a state-by-state issue.
However, take a look at how easily Obama is trying to run over the religious liberty rights of the Catholic Church and others by directing them to become complicit in abortion and contraception. In a second term, what will stop Obama from telling every church that it must perform and/or host gay marriages regardless of their teachings? A court in Denmark recently held that a gay couple could marry in any church they choose. Think it couldn’t happen here if Obama gets to appoint a couple of new Supreme Court Justices? Could anti-discrimination lawsuits be coming against clergy who refuse to perform gay marriage? The answer to that is yes.
Will the believing black, white, and Hispanic voters place their beliefs about marriage and their love for the church in the back seat when they draw the curtains? Will people feel somewhat responsible or complicit if Obama tries to further gut the essence of religious belief, the right to believe and live in accordance with the teachings of the Bible and the Church? It does seem to be a certainty that more limits will be imposed on what we can think, feel, do, believe and say in an Obama second term.
‘more limits will be imposed on what we can…say’ This is one the biggest dangers under a second Obama term that everyone should be concerned about. Obama is evidentially ready to sign another Presidential Executive Order to get around Congress to authorize the emergency shut down of Internet. Look at what has happened during the past few weeks regarding the rape and murder of our Ambassador in Libya and the Obama focus on trying to blame this terror attack on some little anti-Muslim film. Even though everyone knew almost instantly that the attack had nothing to do with the film and Obama’s Administration has been forced to admit it was plainly 9/11 terror, Obama went before the UN this week and tried impute blame to the film again. And right now, the filmmaker’s liberty is in jeopardy if a court finds that publishing the film (free speech) somehow violated his probation. Yes, in America this has been done.
Concurrently we have Egypt’s President Morsi telling the U.N.: Insults to Muhammad are ‘unacceptable’
“We reject this. We cannot accept it,” Morsi said, his voice thin with anger. “We will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed.”
Right on cue, we watch the discussion in the UN turn into calls to criminalize criticizing Islam. Why has Obama attempted to keep the focus on the film? Why have Obama and Hillary kept apologizing?
The Arab League is calling for criminalizing blasphemy. A top Muslim leader is calling on UN to criminalize speech. Eqypt’s Prime Minister calls for criminalizing speech. Yes, Obama and Hillary do give lip service to free speech. But are they really committed to free speech or just tilling the soil to make Americans receptive to limiting speech? What responsibility should attach to your vote should the UN manage to put duck-tape on parts of our Constitutional? Which candidate would stand firm against the UN?
With the crumbling of the Arab Spring that Obama tried to take credit for early on and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the imminent threat of a nuclear Iran, there’s one nation whose very survival is in jeopardy – Israel. Enemies more emboldened, enraged, and determined to wipe Israel and her people from existence surround this tiny nation. And what does Obama do? He labels their concerns about Iran as merely noise. He refuses to meet with Netanyahu and goes on The View and describes himself as eye candy.
When Ahmadinejad starts insulting Israel at Monday’s UN meeting, the US delegation refuses to walk out when the Israeli delegation did. Walking out in solidarity is something the US would have done in the past when Israel was directly attacked.
“At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly. “Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.”
Predictably Obama continues to resist and Muslim Brotherhood strengthens its connections in the US as they have been doing for years.
Finally, Ahmadinejad plays the apocalyptic card talking about the return of the Mahdi that will mark the beginning of the end times.
It all seems pretty hopeless.
Do you believe Israel has a friend it can count on in Obama? Personally, I believe if Obama is elected, Israel and her people will face the strong likelihood of another genocide of the Jewish People throughout the Middle East in the near future. What do you believe?
Do you believe Israel’s chances of survival are better with Obama or Romney? What have Obama’s actions said? These are the questions that each of us must answer.
This article has focused on the seriousness of just a few issues and the personal responsibility for a person’s vote. So what is the personal responsibility of the spoilers? As someone who considers himself more of a Libertarian than anything else, I have to say that I have been disappointed that Gov. Gary Johnston (a person I like, agree with, and could support if he had any chance) hasn’t thrown his possible support to the only viable candidate who will do the most to protect the individual liberties of all Americans.
Regarding the economy, I’ll be brief. Obama received four Pinocchio’s for his recent statement that of the 5 trillion dollars of new debt, 90% of it is Bush’s. Obama’s statement is such a blatant falsehood, which he does often (every single day). If people don’t understand it, can’t get it, can’t see though it – I can’t help you. Maybe this headline will give you something to think about – Red states’ income growing faster than blue states’
Only an aware person casting her or his vote can accept responsibility for reasonably predictable consequences flowing from their voting decision. I do pray that when people go into the voting booth they will not be voting in ignorance or for what stuff they can get from a candidate, or voting in a state of being mesmerized. It is past time to get beyond that sort of decision making because the dangers are too great. I really do not want to have to tell anyone I love that this mess is partly your fault.