Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wherein I may spark a political debate, although that is certainly not my intention

I am a political centrist. As such, I have a very hard time finding a political candidate I can get behind. I abstained from voting in the last presidential election because I could not in good conscience vote for either of the candidates. I am facing the same problem this election year. I know I'm supposed to be grateful for my right to vote, for the lives that were sacrificed so that I could make my voice heard in the democratic process, but, really? I believe my voice will be heard far more through this post than it will be if I do end up voting.

Still, I'm a people-pleaser and a do-gooder, and I'm thinking about trying to vote this year. I will likely pick the third-party candidate who most closely aligns with my political beliefs because I have determined I will not vote for a Republican or a Democrat (the two-party system makes me mad). Still, I have no idea who that should be because:

I am an environmentalist. I believe we should recycle, and I'm all for doing away with taxpayer subsidies for big oil. I believe the Keystone XL pipeline is a Deepwater Horizon of a different color, and I believe in climate change. I think we should look for and take advantage of alternate energy sources.I think we should be good stewards of the earth God gave us, not because I'm afraid we will bring on the apocalypse, but because it's a matter of doing what's right and responsible. And, in my opinion, it is profoundly logical.

I believe we should save the baby seals, but that we should work harder to save baby people. I am staunchly pro-life. I believe life begins at conception and that it should be protected. And that a woman has a right to do what she will with her own body, but a) consequences come with the choices we make about what to do with our bodies, and b) the right to control your body does not extend to another, totally separate body that happens to be growing inside of your body.  (I'm not talking about cases of rape here; even though I still think abortion is taking a life, I am for making concession in cases of rape or incest.) But I also believe--and really, aren't these ideas compatible?--that all women should have access to birth control. Without being called sluts. Ahem.

But I also believe we should save baby people who have already been born. Whether those people live in America or Africa or Mexico or India. And if that requires us to reach in our deep, deep pockets, well, by golly, let's be willing to give up a bit of our super-wealthy American dream and give to those who are poor. Even if they abuse the system.

Because, good grief, I believe in religious freedom. I believe Christians and Christianity should not be sidelined or ridiculed any more than any other religion. Which is to say, not at all. And I am tired of the  myriad ways Christianity is being accosted in the public and political spheres. But I also believe Christians, especially deep-pocketed Republican Christians, should remember that Jesus told us repeatedly to help the poor, give to the poor, to give up all of our stuff and follow Him. It's not my responsibility to make the poor use those resources wisely, but it is my responsibility to use my own resources wisely. And I believe giving money and concessions to big, wealthy businesses and important, wealthy people is not using my resources wisely.

I believe owning a gun is my constitutional right. But, really, who do semi-automatic weapons benefit? You are NOT using them to hunt, no matter how much you say you are. And if you are, well then you're just stupid.

I have yet to find a presidential candidate who believes as I do. And that leaves me having to pick which of my beliefs I'm willing to waffle on. How does one do that?

What are your thoughts? I'm not looking for a debate on my beliefs, but for insight into how you choose your candidate. What are your non-negotiables, and how did you arrive at them? Is there a candidate for me to vote for? And is it really that important for me to vote?


Aaron said...

I personally feel that the nature of most major political campaigns has nothing to do with the issues that you do or do not agree with and more to do with public relations and the overall dog and pony show of the race. It's all essentially a bullshit runoff. Who's bullshit is disguised the most convincingly? This process continues even after the election. So unfortunately, in the end, your vote will either not matter, or it will ultimately aid in the empowerment of someone who will, in all likelihood, do more harm than good. And even if there was a candidate that was completely honest, selfless, and well meaning, the powers that be and the money men behind the campaign, the inner workings of the dog and pony show, will make sure that s/he doesn't get to the point where you have the opportunity to vote for them. It all loops back to money, ergo, if you don't got it, you don't matter. In the words of George Mcdonald, "It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellow men."

Angela said...

Ha! You and I have been round and round on a few issues, but I think we agree more than disagree.
I appreciate that you put "Even if they abuse the system."
Not voting is fine - in fact any choice on this subject is perfectly fine - as long as you understand the real consequences. Some people don't vote because they really don't want to vote for a single candidate, but most people don't vote because they were too lazy to go to the voting booth the day that it happened, but they tell you it's because they didn't like any of the candidates. The non-voters looking to make a statement broadly really don't end up making a statement because they get lost in the lazy haze.
Making a third-party choice is much more effective in my opinion. It says you got off your butt, went down the voting booth and made a choice. You knew that choice would not win, but you still did it. That's a bigger statement in my opinion. It requires real action. I still remember that your mom voted for Ross Perot in '92.
Either way it's your choice to make, but that's my 2 cents on the voting/not-voting issue.

Amy said...

Good points, all, especially about not-voting getting lost in the "lazy haze."