Although the below video is geared toward Catholics (from CatholicVote.com), I think it is very relevant to all of us. It’s only 3 1/2 minutes long so watch it.
Remember if you can’t see the video, view the full post here.
I don’t know if it’s that easy – “Vote your conscience”. How about “Vote your knowledge of how our country works”. I tire of people still getting hung up on abortion. To me it’s a non-issue. I think it’s more than just politicians that are to blame with a lot of the moral issues facing our country, but it takes more than just one candidate and more than just two political parties to mislead the public… it takes people who are willing to believe it! Roe vs. Wade (abortion) was decided in ’73. Now I’m 32 years old and that landmark decision was made 3 years before I was born. And guess what? Even today candidates still tout abortion as a political platform issue–and it’s ridiculous!
As for gay marriage, that is another red-herring that candidates use to confuse and mislead the public. The United States government does not recognize same-sex marriage, and lets each state decide for themselves. The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996 lets each state define and recognize their own same-sex marriage acts, regardless of someone’s marriage in another state.
So what would it take to actually change the Roe V Wade ruling? Well, (1) a conservative president would have to appoint one or more supreme court justices (not very likely). The Supreme Court already swings to the conservative end of decisions, and Roe V. Wade has been around 34 years and still hasn’t been repealed… let’s be honest, it isn’t going to happen. All Bush’s appointees were appointed for the sole purpose of overturning Roe v Wade and the Supreme Court might if the right case comes before them, no matter how long it’s been in place. Once over turned it will be up to each state to make laws allowing or outlawing abortion. New prisons will probably have to be built to hold women who get illegal abortions, some with death rows for executions. Another way Roe v. Wade might be overturned, theoretically, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that permitted states to criminalize abortions. That would require a two-thirds vote in favor of the amendment by both houses of Congress and then the approval of three-quarters of the states. On this issue, that is simply not a realistic thing to expect to happen–again not likely.
How would gay-marriage become legal? It probably won’t at the Federal level no matter what the presidential candidates say the “believe in”. Here’s what it took to get the Defense of Marriage Act passed in the first place. (1) The bill was passed by Congress by a vote of 85-14 in the Senate and a vote of 342-67 in the House of Representatives. (2) It was finally was signed by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. What? Bill Clinton signed on the Defense of Marriage Act? The most “liberal” and “morally decrepit” president of all time stood up for the rights of conservatives? Yup.
What can we learn from this? That presidential candidates are still waving their party’s banners and the gullible public is still going to “vote their conscience” over spilled milk and potential value issues that really are decided on a local level, not a national level. America–learn about your own government and the three distinct branches of the government! The “issue” of abortion went out with brown bell-bottoms and giant collars. IT ISN’T AN ISSUE ANY MORE! Gay rights will never be decided at a national level-only a local level (which isn’t presidential issue). The odds that you will lose your job, insurance, pension, and not be able to pay energy costs in the next four years greatly outweigh the odds that abortion will be legalized and that gay-marriage rights will go Federal. America, do you homework and fight the battle that is at hand–not the one that the candidates want you to think they are fighting for. You don’t have to discard your values or ideas, but you do need to do your homework and learn about the history of our country and it’s leaders/candidates and realize that sometimes there are more important battles to fight at hand than old ones that were lost years ago.
I agree that the whole “vote your conscience” is a crock. It’s a way for organizations to spout their rhetoric and then at the end, they say “But vote your conscience.”
However, some of your arguments don’t make sense to me. You say that Abortion is a non-issue, but I disagree. It took many decades (and a civil war) to properly eradicate slavery. If those who fought so hard (politically) against slavery had said the same thing you just said, it probably would have taken another 40-50 years before America “woke up” on that issue. Same goes for the civil rights movement, which took a few decades (and some argue is still going). I see abortion as a similar issue. It’s civil rights for the unborn. And it might take several decades for us to truly see the despicable nature of abortion. But it needs to be a continual fight until we get there.
Gay marriage presents another similarity to slavery. The constitution allowed for some slavery and basically left it up to the states. But what happens when a former slave has freedom in one state, but as soon as he crosses a state line, he is considered property. That’s where the legal problems arose. Similarly, what happens if one state allows gay marriage and another doesn’t. You then are constraining individuals to either live in certain areas of the country or forcing states that don’t want gay marriage to accept it. I’m surprised that the Defense of Marriage Act hasn’t been thrown out by the courts already. There really needs to be a constitutional amendment defining marriage so some appellate court in California can’t toss out the decision of a significant majority of the people.
However I’m not apposed to some type of legal binding/union for gays. Mostly for appeasement though.
After all is said and done, I agree with your premise. Far too often we vote based on one or two issues rather than looking at the entire candidate. Political parties promote hot topic issues, designed to instill fear or anger or whatever will get the votes. A more reasonable (less emotional) study of the candidate should be the primary decision maker for each individual.
I am still looking for the candidate that actually embodies the Catholic political ethic (which I also hold): anti-wars of aggression or pre-emptive strikes (strike Obama and McCain), anti-abortion (Strike Obama), and anti-death penalty (Strike McCain). Good luck finding that candidate. Maybe presidentially it’s a write in vote for Ron Paul???
There is a rare consistency in the Catholic political ethic on these issues; most other religions lack the Catholic internal consistency. “Do not end life unnaturally!” be it by war, abortion, or capital punishment. I appreciate the intellectual honesty.
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