Friday, October 31, 2008

My Political Soapbox

Everyone keeps saying that this election is the most important one in our lifetime and probably in many ways it is. We are at war, in an economic crisis, buried in debt, and the list of maladies afflicting this country goes on. When candidates began campaigning I was undecided, truly stumped as to who I would vote for. During the primaries I liked Bill Richardson for the Republican Party and John Edwards for the Democrats. Of course Edwards dropped out and there was the whole affair debacle and while I wasn’t a huge fan of Hillary I preferred her to Obama. Over time I began to like her more and while many viewed her husband as a hindrance I viewed him as an asset. After all, despite his moral and personal shortcomings, he was a great President and even though he would probably butt in it might not be such a bad thing to have his input now and then. However, since I am registered as neither a Republican nor a Democrat I would have been unable to vote in the primaries anyway.

So, when it became clear that our candidates were McCain and Obama I was disappointed and for the first time contemplated not casting a vote. Then I began to really pay attention. I wanted to learn everything I could about both candidates. I wanted to know their voting records in the Senate, where they stood on issues, what they had for breakfast, etc. I listened to what they said (and what they didn’t say) and ignored what each said about the other or what others said about them.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t love either candidate…still. However, to me it has become clear that Obama is a unifying force. I feel that McCain is divisive and I base that on the ads he has run recently, his body language and facial expressions during debates, and what he has said in a series of speeches which have grown more desperate and more attacking as election day draws near. I do not agree with every one of Obama’s ideas. In fact, there are some I wholeheartedly disagree with. However, for me it comes down to whom I agree with more. As time goes on there is less and less that I like or can even tolerate with McCain. His healthcare plan is most frightening and his tax plan or a variation thereof has proven to be ineffective in dealing with the current economic crisis.

There’s also the sense of calm around Obama’s campaign. There is not the frenzied flurry and often desperate and dramatic measures that seem to surround the McCain campaign. If the way each candidate has run his campaign is any indication of how each would run his White House I have to say that I prefer the calm resolve Obama has shown and not the chaotic panic demonstrated by McCain and Co.

I have taken some flak lately because I am not voting Republican. I am a Christian; I attend church regularly. My family and most of my friends hold similar Christian beliefs. Many Christians believe when it comes to Christianity and politics that you can’t be a Christian and vote anything other than Republican and that abortion is the ONLY issue. The rest are secondary.

As a teacher I rarely allowed research papers or position papers or debate topics to be on the issue of abortion because it is such a personal topic that inevitably someone would become offended or have their feelings hurt or just get outright mad. I would end up with a classroom of hysterical, teary-eyed, hormonal teenagers who, while they felt passionately one way or the other, could not articulate WHY they felt that way, let alone even fathom that there was another side to the issue.

In a lot of ways, many Christians are like those high school students. They refuse to acknowledge that someone can be a Christian and also a Democrat. Or they refuse to consider that someone can both be pro-choice and pro-life. It’s not as if these concepts and beliefs have to be mutually exclusive of one another. You can be both or all.

I do not think that anyone is truly pro-abortion (except maybe a few low-life degenerates). Nobody I know gets pregnant hoping for an abortion. I realize that abortion is often abused and some use it as a form of birth control. Truly, that makes me heartsick. I personally am pro-life. It is hard for me to believe that I would ever have an abortion (Don’t even ask me to speculate as to what I would do if I were a victim of rape or incest or my life was in danger while carrying a child because I would like to say I would never abort, but until one is in that situation no one really knows). However, for every other woman in America I am pro-choice. I don’t think it is the government’s place, right, or responsibility to govern or place mandates on morality. It bothers me that so many Christians (people ascribing to a similar or the same religious doctrines I believe) will vote for McCain SOLELY for this reason. Look, if you are a McCain supporter I begrudge you nothing. Vote your conscience and if you think he is the right man for the job then that is great. But don’t claim that in order to be a Christian you have to vote Republican and you have to vote on the issue of abortion alone. I have similar feelings towards those who will vote for Obama strictly because he is black or will not vote for him because he is black.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I do believe Obama will make a good President, not a perfect one by any means. And while I am sure McCain would do an okay job (well, I am not even really that sure) we need someone who will do more than just an okay job in our country’s time of crisis. We need someone to unite the parties and not divide them. My point is also that someone can be a Christian, a Democrat, pro-choice, and pro-life all at the same time and being one does not negate or invalidate being any of the others. So, on that note I encourage you all to vote next week, whether it is for McCain or Obama. Where I was once unsure of whom I would vote for, or if I would even vote, I am now confident and comfortable in my vote for Obama.


Nancy said...

Although I didn't pay any attention during primaries and am an independent, I've watched what I could of the debates, read newspapers articles and editorials (with a jaundiced eye!) and tried to get as much information as possible.
I don't know for a fact who's ideas and plans are really better (does ANYONE know where the money would actually come from?) but as human beings, Obama makes me feel more comfortable with the potential state of our union. I appreciate that he and Biden have focused on the issues and the election and not on McCain and Palin. To me, the republicans focus on tearing other people down (I'm channeling the "swift boaters" from last election still - it made me positively ill) instead of focusing on what lies ahead. And don't even get me started on the selection of Palin as VP!
We need to turn things around and I think Obama is the one to do it (well he and the potentially democratic majority house and senate).

jodifur said...

Thank you for posting this. I am a lifelong dem but I appreciate you posting this. It's wonderful to see people who make informed choices and not just vote along party line.

Obama '08

Joanne said...

I think your most important line came in the last paragraph: "I encourage you all to vote next week, whether it is for McCain or Obama." If the heated campaign accomplishes record voter turnout, then already these two candidates have accomlished something worthy.

Emerald said...

I voted by mail as I was afraid the lines would be so long on Tuesday. Your post was exactly right.

Robyn said...

Good for you.

My MIL (a VERY conservative christian) told me last night that she's voting for Obama because she believes in his views on many OTHER topics. She said that neither McCain nor Obama reflect her conservative Christian ideals, so she may as well look to how they would handle other issues.

I was both surprised and pleased that she was using her head as well as her heart in deciding who to vote for. And I'm so happy you're doing the same.