Thursday, November 6, 2008

He Said It Better Than Me

I really should just let this go, but I saw another blogger reference my post and so I'm going to point you to an article written on the subject of not voting that is much better than mine. I will tell you, however, that it is written specifically to Christians. So if you are not a Christian you may not understand some of the reasons.

Here are some highlights:

But in all seriousness, I want to be perfectly clear on this point: it is never advisable, in any decision that you make, to violate your conscience. As it applies to this election, you might have serious moral conflicts with both candidates, and therefore feel as though you must vote in a defensive manner or for the lesser of two evils....

Some would say that not voting is giving your vote over to those who seek to use the governmental process for evil. I would actually argue the opposite. By voting, especially when based on just one or two issues, you’re giving your ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to that party’s entire platform, which likely goes far beyond the statement you’re trying to make on these few issues. This is certainly more perilous and less nuanced than abstaining altogether. No party can co-opt a vote that isn’t cast...

Voting is a legal right, like carrying a gun or having an abortion. And I can abstain from doing anything that I have a legal right to if it violates my conscience.....

Some say that we’ll never completely agree with the agenda or platform of a politician, that if we wait for a candidate that we line up with 100% we’ll never vote. I completely agree. There are many issues upon which I can disagree with a politician that don’t amount to a crisis of conscience. So there will always be necessary and acceptable compromises to make when engaging in the system of politics, but never when your conscience is on the line.

Derek Webb Read the rest here.

I want to clarify again that I am not favoring not voting because you are lazy or can't be bothered, but rather I was expressing gratitude to a country that allows us to live according to conscience. I'm sorry if you disagree or are disappointed by that freedom our country gives.


kristen said...

Hi Amy! Please feel free to link to my post, too, since I think you reference it.

I read the excerpt from Webb and, I'm still befuddled why someone wouldn't write in a candidate he or she could support? Or get involved in the actual selection of the candidates at the primary level?

I think our rights mandate that we live and vote according to our conscience, otherwise we'll be forced to live according to another's...

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree!

Thanks for keeping the debate going, though!

darbyscloset said...

Amy, Amy, Amy,
Stop second quessing yourself and let it go.
Be still and listen, let the Holy Spirit guide you.
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Jen said...

I do appreciate what you are saying, but I just think that if everyone did this then the vote would be left in the hands of the people that didn't listen to their conscience. How is that going to help the country?

I was undecided for so long because of this conflict. There were good and bad to both candidates so it really made it hard initially to see who would be the better choice. I kept going round and round with the issues until I finally just tried to look at who would be the better pick overall.

I'm pro-life, but I couldn't see voting just based on that one issue. My reason--Bush is pro-life and has been in office for eight years and abortion is still here. Obviously, the president only has so much power. Unless I'm missing something?

Amy said...

Kristen--well that's the conclusion I came to for myself and voted third party. I absolutely agree it's awesome to vote, but I would never want us to switch to a system where it was required.

Darby--I promise this is the last I'll say of it!

Jen--the best example I can give of a crisis of conscience actually does involve Obama's stance on abortion. Not only is he in favor of abortion rights, but he is pretty much as far left on the topic as you can get. He has said that the first thing he would do in office is sign the freedom of choice act which would lift the ban on partial birth abortions and also use govt funding for abortion. Which means that your tax dollars will fund abortions. However, he is also more likely to extend foreign aid and save lives that way. (if he does this, though, I will be seriously ticked...that will have nothing to do with healing the nation but cause a huge divide)

So what do you do if you see both candidates as using your tax dollars for what you fundamentally see as murder?

My answer? You vote third party. :)

I don't think that there will be a time when there are enough people who can't vote according to conscience. I think it's a very small minority, but I do still think it's a voice, just like voting third party or writing someone in (which is actually tricky, they have to be qualified)

In the past two elections hordes of people who never voted before voted because there was a candidate they believed in...yes that's how GWB got reelected and yes that helped Obama. In a way that's really see things work so well that people voted b/c someone inspired their trust.

euphrony said...

Derek talked about this during the Arts*Music*Justice tour. He is, I think, really well thought out on this. It made me seriously consider what I was going to do in voting, after I had already spent time doing that once before. My choice, in voting, ended up going to the person whom I felt best able to address and mend the faults in society - all of them, not just one or two.

Jen - just a thought, but if we abstain from voting, not one or two but en masse, would that not have a possible outcome similar to the boycotting of a product? For example, several toys from China are found to be unsafe, people stop buying toys from China, Chinese manufactures and government inspectors step up and begin to make safe products. Would not political parties (who rely heavily not just on votes but on political contributions) not find that they miss their former supporters who have left in large numbers and be forced to change? Or, possibly, the Christians who who walked away because of conscious would themselves become a new party - not a religious party, necessarily, but one that holds as a basic platform the care and preservation of all life through ending abortions, feeding the hungry, etc.?

I'm not being contrary, but I think we as Christians need to seriously step away from the Washington game and see how we've been played as pawns (by both parties). We've marched in step for too long without seriously questioning where our true allegiance lies.

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