New Sherwood

Voting for liars, thieves, traitors and backstabbers

Can it really be true that we are obligated to vote for a scoundrel in order to prevent a bigger scoundrel from taking office?

I agree, in principle if not in every detail, with Zippy and Lydia: lines must be drawn somewhere. At some point, it becomes wrong to vote for a candidate no matter how bad the other guy is. But I’m unsure as to where that line is supposed to be drawn exactly. It is virtually impossible to find a candidate who does not support policies that are intrinsically immoral. Even the best pro-life politicians support contraception, for example. Contraception is not small potatoes. In the temporal order, it’s a grievous evil and the very foundation of our culture of death. In the spiritual order, it ruins more lives and sends more souls to hell than does abortion. But if we draw the line at voting for contraception-supporting politicians, then we can’t vote for 99% of the candidates in any given election.

I’m not sold on the argument that it is always wrong to vote for a candidate who supports policies that are intrinsically and grievously immoral. That would essentially mean dropping out of the political process altogether. It seems obvious to me, as well, that this attitude is at odds with the prudential teaching of the Church about participation in a democratic system.

It is theoretically possible that the prudential teaching of the hierarchy on this point is mistaken – a misapplication of Catholic moral principles. I’m open to the idea, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Back to drawing lines again. I can’t put my finger on the reason, but I think John McCain has crossed the line for me. A vote – among other things – is a reward. It is not exclusively a reward, but it is a reward nonetheless, and will be perceived by most as an endorsement of the candidate and his policies. A vote sends a message to the candidate, to his party, to the government, and to the electorate. I don’t want to reward John McCain with anything but permanent political exile. Most importantly, I don’t want to send the message that Republican candidates can expect my vote no matter how much they trash or ignore the pro-life principles of the GOP platform. If pro-lifers and social conservatives DON’T withhold their votes, they cannot expect the GOP – or any political party – to care enough to court them. 

As it stands now, McCain and the GOP have called our bluff. We talk tough, but when it comes down to the wire most pro-lifers, it seems, are Republicans first.

A vote is also a choice to affect the outcome of an election. A vote for McCain-Plain could, if sufficiently aggregated, enable John McCain to enact grievously immoral policies. Granted, that same vote could also prevent the ascendance of a monster who is arguably a forerunner of the antichrist. The concrete outcome of an election is therefore a consideration, but not the only consideration.

Does the good of stopping Obama, therefore, justify the evil of rewarding and enabling a lesser scoundrel? What would Newman say?

“The Catholic Church holds that it is better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in the extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.”

– Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman

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September 17, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

24 Comments »

  1. Why vote at all then, Jeff?

    Why participate at all in the political system on which your country is built? Why not wait for the “perfect candidate”? Why not just wait for the Social Kingship of Christ, and for the rest of your life in this country, abstain from the vote?

    As you drive down the streets of your town, pay sales tax on purchases, license your vehicle, file records with the county clerk, rely on emergency services, use legal tender, and in every other way use the services of this country which are regulated, administered or provided by elected officials at the municipal, county, state and federal level, by all means, use them all and absolve yourself from all responsibility to effect the best stewardship possible by a conscientious vote.

    Truly I am frustrated by the apathy and malaise, indeed, even disdain shown by some Catholics who are content to accept the good this country offers on one the hand, (ever had to call 911?) but turn away from their civil duty on the other because it is–as is all human endeavor–imperfect.

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. annabenedetti,

    One may vote without voting either D or R. That is also an exercise of civil responsibility.

    Our civil masters have not seen fit to allow us a “None Of The Above” option on the ballot box, so one must do what one can.

    And, dare I say it, civil responsibility runs deeper than showing up on the first Tuesday of November and agonizing over Tweedledum vs. Tweedledee.

    A thought experiment: if it were Hitler(R) and Stalin(D) on the ballot, would one be obligated to weigh which of those two monsters is the “lesser evil”? Would one be a shirker and a hopeless utopian to refuse to vote for either of them?

    Your indignation assumes that the “best stewardship possible” of the franchise means that one must vote either D or R — or else to into an impossible exile. That’s a pretty tall order. I don’t see the current two parties written into the Bible, or the Catechism, or into the Natural Law. They’re just political parties.

    “If God had wanted us to vote, He would have given us candidates.” — Blessed Dorothy Day.

    peace,

    Like

    Comment by Zach Frey | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. Annabenedetti: You must know as a longtime reader my beliefs about the franchise. Most people should not be voting. And of those who do vote, most of them should not vote on everything. If you don’t have sufficient information or knowledge – or an adequately formed conscience – you owe it to your country not to vote.

    And yet, I have enough hubris to consider myself qualified to vote in many instances, though I seldom vote on every item on the ballot. I no longer just check the (R) candidate out of habit like I used to. If I don’t know enough about a candidate or an issue, or am conflicted or ambivalent about it, I abstain. I recommend this approach to everyone.

    Before and during WW-II, some Catholics supported Hitler because he was anti-communist, the lesser of evils. Others supported the Communists because they were anti-Nazi, the lesser of evils. I think you would find the biography of Dietrich von Hildebrand interesting, as he faced the same choices but never compromised his integrity. The Nazis made the trains run on time and turned the German economy around, but Germans were not morally obligated to support them for those reasons.

    The argument against 3rd party candidates is fatalistic. If it is followed, there will never be any progress. The Republicans and Democrats are unlikely to be reformed from within. We should have learned this by now. There are no perfect candidates, but there are candidates that Catholics and their allies can support in good conscience, and if every Catholic did so, we’d live in a better country.

    Why not simply vote for the best candidate, Annabenedetti? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Vote your conscience. Vote for the candidate who best represents your values as a Catholic. And convince your neighbors to do the same. That’s what a vote is supposed to be. If no such candidate exists, then you have no obligation to vote. To vote in any other manner is to undermine the foundational principles of democracy. Instead we become cynical manipulators of the system, no better than the corrupt politicians we’re voting for.

    I submit that even you would draw the line somewhere. You wouldn’t vote for the Unabomber, Charles Manson, or even Manuel Noriega just to stop Barak Obama. And if you wouldn’t vote for these guys, how would you answer someone who said to you what you just said to me?

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. Sach Frey: A thought experiment: if it were Hitler(R) and Stalin(D) on the ballot, would one be obligated to weigh which of those two monsters is the “lesser evil”?
    Although I recognize the fallacy of the false dilemma, I will still answer the thought experiment: Of course neither candidate would be a possible choice. Having said that, no third party choice is a viable choice at this time in history. However, should I have been faced with two pro-choice candidates, (not the case in this Presidential election) I would have abstained from a presidential vote, as I abstained from voting for the incumbent CA governor in the last election, and voted against him in the previous.

    Jeff: As I longtime reader, I don’t agree with your views on voting. I hope you will allow some measure of disagreement, though I realize this is your blog, not mine.
    I submit that even you would draw the line somewhere. You wouldn’t vote for the Unabomber, Charles Manson, or even Manuel Noriega just to stop Barak Obama.

    As I said above, the expected answer to the that false dilemma is, of course, no.

    And if you wouldn’t vote for these guys, how would you answer someone who said to you what you just said to me? I’m unclear as to what your question is.

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  5. Zach, not Sach. Sorry for the typo.

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    Comment by annabenedetti | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  6. “Jeff: As I longtime reader, I don’t agree with your views on voting. I hope you will allow some measure of disagreement, though I realize this is your blog, not mine.”

    Of course. And if I didn’t allow disagreements, I’d make an exception for you anyway. :-)

    “As I said above, the expected answer to the that false dilemma is, of course, no.”

    OK, but why ever not? Stalin killed 30 million by some estimates, Hitler’s slaughter was in the single digits. By voting for Hitler you could be saving 20 million lives. 20 MILLION LIVES!!!! Do you want the blood of 20 million people on your hands???? (Forgive the taunting.)

    I truly don’t understand why you wouldn’t vote for Hitler to stop Stalin, but you have no problem voting for McCain to stop Obama. Hitler only murdered certain kinds of people; Stalin did not discriminate. McCain will only murder certain kinds of unborn people; Obama will not discriminate.

    Same goes for not voting for Manuel Noriega. He’s a competent leader. He’s radically corrupt and vicious, sure, but for all I know he might even be pro-life! Why wouldn’t you vote for him to stop Obama? Would you vote for him if he were pro-life?

    It’s an abstract exercise, but your answers will help me understand the reasons behind your political decision making.

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. I agreed with Anna. I grew up in a racially segregated South where, apart from one vote every four years for or against a Presidential slate that included Republicans, voting mean voting for state or local Democrats who was either rabid segregationists or comfortable working with rabid segregationists. The logo of the Alabama Democratic party wasn’t a mule. It was a rooster crowing “White Supremacy for the Right.” I tell friends the only difference between my childhood and growing up in Nazi Germany was one of degree rather than kind. I lived in a racist, one-party dictatorship.

    Keep in mind that this wasn’t voting for Republicans who weren’t going to win. With rare exceptions, there weren’t any Republicans on the ballot. Remember that when someone tries to suggest to you that Republicans pose a greater risk to your right to vote your convictions than Democrats. For some 90 years, from the 1870s until the 1960s, in many parts of the South it was impossible to cast a Republican vote (even a futile one) outside that singular vote for President.

    And the establishment of that one-party ‘dictatorship’ wasn’t a result of any freely established consensus. In the 1870s, Democrats used what they called “bullets or ballots” to establish white supremacy and one-party rule. Republicans were killed simply for being Republican. I know, my great-great-great-grandfather was apparently killed for that “crime” in 1874. There is simply no parallel to that degree of vileness for the Republican party. Even in parts of New England where for many years Republican rule was unquestioned no one was killed for being a Democrat.

    Also never forget two readily apparent facts:

    1. In the era of segregation and quasi-legal lynching, liberals had factions in both parties. They overwhelming preferred to win and rule as part of the party of segregation, lynching and single-party rule to less political power and (in Congress) no committee chairmanships as Republicans. Most Southern whites benefited little if at all from segregation. Northern liberal Democratic politicians benefited enormously from it. FDR, LBJ, etc. were major beneficiaries of racism and the resulting solidly Democratic South. That’s why FDR, despite his enormous popularity, did virtually nothing to hinder Southern racism.

    2. As boys and young men contemplating a life in politics, every Democratic party leader today over the age of perhaps 50 made a choice in their youth to enter a party that had a militantly racist wing as opposed to becoming Republican. That fact is particularly telling when you consider that Carter, Clinton and Gore saw that racism first hand and yet chose to become Democrats. Precisely that same experience turned me, as a like to tell friends, into more a militant anti-Democrat than a Republican. “I am not a Communist, a Nazi, or a Democratic,” I tell them, “for precisely the same reason. I don’t support genocidal mass killers.”

    I was fortunate. I could first vote in 1969, so overt anti-white racism was quickly disappearing from the Democratic party. (It was mostly replaced by liberalism’s excessive zeal to bring abortion to the black, Hispanic and white underclass.) But I still had to deal with the corruption that’s the inevitable accompaniment of racist voting. (For examples, see cities like Detroit where the racism now favors black crooks.) I still had to grit my teeth and, for state and local elections, vote for an all or almost all Democrat slate and what I liked to call the “lesser crook.” That’s sometimes what we have to do. We do a little good now, mixed with much evil, so that in later elections we can do a little more good, and still more good. Now Southern voters get elections where, for many slots, they can vote for someone honest and capable.

    ****

    One final note. In 1932 many Catholics who, because of the Great War, were perhaps excessive pacifist, faced a grim choice. They could do something many of them had probably never done before, vote for Hindenberg, an aging Prussian, Protestant general. There were other candidates, but the only other viable one was a youthful candidate who called for change and offered hope, someone who promised to improved the economy and said (in some contexts) that his experience in the war had soured him on war, That was Hitler and for many Germans the only thing wrong with him was his party’s disdain for Jews, an attitude that at that time was milder than the present day Democratic party’s dehumanization of unborn babies. Remember that in its twelve years of rule Nazism killed six million Jews, that’s half-a-million a year. Our Democratic party seems relatively content with an abortion kill rate of over a million babies a year for 35 years. In a moral sense a vote for Obama in 2008 is a vote for Hitler in 1932. Never forget that.

    Yet those Catholics did what was right and vote en bloc for Hindenberg. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. Hitler still managed to get into power as Chancellor a few months later through a backroom political deal and Hindenberg proved too senile to block Hitler’s moves to take over Germany. But they’d done the best they could do with the bad hand they’d been dealt. That’s all God can expect of us.

    And that’s all we can do in this election. McCain may not be perfect, but he’s the best card we’ve been dealt in this game. Most important of all, voting for him will in all likelihood fill the two Supreme Court positions that are likely to open up with vastly better judges that those Obama will appoint.

    Remember, we’re not just voting in this election. We’re voting for momentum in a direction that’ll take our nation toward good or ill for generations to come. We not only need to vote for Bush/Palin. We need to work quite hard to get them elected. That’s our right, our responsibility and our duty.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II

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    Comment by Michael W. Perry | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  8. Ah, Jeff. And if you didn’t allow disagreements, I’d gladly bow out because of my respect for you.

    OK, but why ever not? Stalin killed 30 million by some estimates, Hitler’s slaughter was in the single digits. By voting for Hitler you could be saving 20 million lives. 20 MILLION LIVES!!!! Do you want the blood of 20 million people on your hands???? (Forgive the taunting.)

    Fascism and Communism are both totalitarian regimes in which human dignity, freedom, and autonomy is denied. In pre-war Germany, Germans who were deathly afraid of the rise of Communism saw the Nazi party as a deterrent, not knowing what monster they were unleashing. Hence, their vote was, (for some? for many?) as educated a choice as they had. They did not know what lay in store for their country, for the Sudetenland, Austria, Poland, France; for the Jews, the Catholics, the disabled.

    Your choice of Hitler vs. Stalin presumes that those citizens had prescience – since they did not, based on pre-war information, one might understand why they thought Hitler presented a deterrent to Communism.

    You also place McCain in the same category as Hitler, an unfair categorization, IMO.

    As for Noriega: Funny, you bring to mind a traditional Catholic forum at which I browse, in which I actually have read of support for both Hugo Chavez and Saddam. Astounding!
    It’s an abstract exercise, but your answers will help me understand the reasons behind your political decision making.

    It’s so abstract I’m not sure I’ve answered adequately. Just to gather some semblance of a final thought, let me say that John McCain is overwhelmingly pro-life. Maybe not perfectly pro-life, but as close as we are ever going to get elected into office, unless the country converts whole-sale to orthodox Catholicism. I cannot vote based on the knowledge of what we will know afterhis term in office, having no such hindsight as we have at our disposal in the Hitler/Stalin dilemma. Obama, on the other hand, is excruciatingly clear about what his pro-death views are, and the types of Supreme Court Justices we can expect to see nominated by him. Third parties at this time, practically speaking, are useless.

    As an afterthought: Any politician who shows himself to be pro-choice has not, and will not ever get my vote and if we come to that place in the future, I will have no problem abstaining. I never vote for anyone in state and local elections of whom I cannot discern a pro-life position, from governor down to local school board members.

    So, did that help? :)

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  9. I suggest that we all read the Social Encyclicals.

    One principle is that you do what you can considering the circumstances.

    Another principle, which is a grave duty, is to organize with Catholics and others of good will to better influence the outcome in the future.

    Like

    Comment by Mark Scott Abeln | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  10. Remember, we’re not just voting in this election. We’re voting for momentum in a direction that’ll take our nation toward good or ill for generations to come.

    That’s correct.
    A vote for Obama means that momentum will direct us toward killing millions of innocents, as quickly as possible.
    A vote for McCain means that momentum will direct us toward killing millions of innocents, but not quite as quickly. But don’t worry, the momentum of the thing will get us there eventually.

    I don’t mean to sound in any way sarcastic here. But the idea of “momentum” really does have a lot to do with the situation, a situation where continually affirming (i.e. voting FOR) candidates who allow innocent lives to be cannibalized will, with ever-increasing momentum, dull our consciences, as the “lesser of two evils” becomes more and more evil every year.

    It’s time to stop the momentum, and say “enough is enough.”

    (Incidentally, if our bishops exercised their authority to command Catholics to do just that, and we all came through together, we’d have a truly pro-life candidate.)

    Like

    Comment by David | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  11. Jeff said, “Manuel Noriega… He’s radically corrupt and vicious, sure, but for all I know he might even be pro-life!” And even worse tyrant, Nicolae Ceauşescu, was pro-life, in that he banned abortion and contraception. He was even pro-family, by heavily taxing married couples who were childless. Of course, the assumption was that the State owned you.

    Me? I’m supporting the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin, who’s truly pro-life. Here’s what he had to say about another true pro-lifer who was in the race but largely ignored, even by Catholics:

    “Had John McCain and his fellow Republicans truly wanted to end legal abortion, they could have passed Congressman Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act. Year after year, Dr. Paul introduced this bill, and year after year, it sat and collected dust in the document room on Capitol Hill.

    “What would Congressman Paul’s bill do? It would do two things: 1) It would define life as beginning at conception and, thus, declare the personhood of every pre-born child. 2) Under Article. III. Section. 2. of the U.S. Constitution, it would remove abortion from the jurisdiction of the Court. In practical terms, Dr. Paul’s bill would overturn Roe v. Wade and end legal abortion-on-demand. So, where was John McCain? Why did he not support Ron Paul’s bill and introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate?”

    http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2008/cbarchive_20080822.html

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    Comment by The Western Confucian | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  12. Anna,

    For the purpose of this thought experiment, I’m not asking voters to have prescience — I’m saying, knowing what we know now about Hitler and Stalin, if they could somehow be brought back from the dead and put on the ballot, how would you vote?

    And you answered sensibly — in that case, one should refuse to support either monster at the ballot box. You recognize the existence of some sort of baseline beyond which it’s not moral to support a candidate, no matter how bad the other candidate is.

    Are we there yet? Well, I’m not saying that McCain is as bad as Hitler (or Obama as Stalin, either) — but “less evil than the Nazis” is a pretty low bar.

    So then, the question is really this: when does it make sense to support the “lesser crook”? And where should that bar be?

    peace,
    Zach

    Like

    Comment by Zach Frey | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  13. Jeff, your recent comments feature has disappeared.

    Like

    Comment by Lydia | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  14. Jeff:

    So then, the question is really this: when does it make sense to support the “lesser crook”? And where should that bar be?

    Here is one place where the bar may be fixed:

    Naral pro-choice rating for McCain: 0%

    Naral pro-choice rating for Obama: 100%

    http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/elections/statements/mccain.html

    http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/elections/statements/obama.html

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  15. Sorry – the above was for you, Zach.

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  16. I’m not sold on the argument that it is always wrong to vote for a candidate who supports policies that are intrinsically and grievously immoral.

    I’m not either.

    Swiping from Evangalium Vitae, it may be helpful to keep in mind that there is something quite unique about a government which supports killing the innocent specifically, as distinct from other immoral and unjust acts. Constitutive of a government’s existence – a very reason for its existence, without which it is fundamentally opposed to the very common good which justifies its existence – is the protection of the most innocent from being murdered.

    Setting aside my other arguments about proportionate reasons and the scale of elections, I think it is possible to draw the line at “supports murdering the innocent” rather than “supports any intrinsically immoral act or unjust practice”.

    Like

    Comment by Zippy | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  17. I wonder Lydia if would mind linking or re-posting your post on NARAL and the Case of the Disappearing ESCR Objection.

    Like

    Comment by Scott W. | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  18. It was NRLC and the disappearing objection to fetal tissue research. I fear it _will_ be the disappearing objection to ESCR, given their endorsement of McCain.

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2008/08/corruption_and_the_cost_of_com.html

    Like

    Comment by Lydia | September 18, 2008 | Reply

  19. “Just to gather some semblance of a final thought, let me say that John McCain is overwhelmingly pro-life. Maybe not perfectly pro-life, but as close as we are ever going to get elected into office, unless the country converts whole-sale to orthodox Catholicism.”

    John McCain is pro-life for some, and not for others. He not only believes that a certain class of innocent human beings is undeserving of legal protection, but he wants the federal government to promote and fund their destruction. The present administration is more pro-life than John McCain.

    The term “overwhemingly pro-life” is problematic in my opinion. I once had an internet debate with a racist “conservative” who said he was pro-life for everyone except the unborn children of illegal aliens. Truly, he was overwhelmingly pro-life: could you vote for him in order to stop Obama? Suppose we had a candidate who was pro-life for everyone except Downs Syndrome babies. That person is also overwhelmingly pro-life: could you vote for him to stop Obama? I didn’t think so.

    I’m asking myself these questions too. I’ll be honest: I don’t have the horror of ESCR that I should have. I could much more easily vote for someone who supports ESCR than I could vote for someone who wants to abort Downs Syndrome babies as a matter of policy – even though ESCR would very likely result in more deaths.

    And that’s the crux of the problem: ESCR is so distant that, even for the best pro-lifers, there is little in the way of visceral revulsion. We find the aborting of Downs Syndrome babies viscerally and emotionally abhorrent. ESCR, on the other hand, almost sounds respectable. There are several reasons for this. We don’t know what these babies look like. They’re outside the womb, locked away in freezers. Most are going to die before birth anyway. It all seems very clinical and scientific. These babies offer nothing that appeals to our normal human affections. When a politician like John McCain doesn’t get it, well, we kind of understand why he doesn’t get it, because without a conscious act of the will – a resolve to face the truth intellectually – we wouldn’t get it either.

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | September 18, 2008 | Reply

  20. Could there be an opening in Cardinal Newman’s quote? Is he saying it is okay to steal out of hunger? Would he be okay in voting for the candidate most likely to beat the worst candidate? My take is to vote 3rd party or not vote at all.
    I am leaning towards Baldwin or Barr.
    I think we have to start realistically and realize we will not end abortion, not even if we make it criminal. That is the ultimate goal of course, but we should start where we can: End the public funding of abortion, the funding of embryonic stem cell research and end sex ed in all schools. Then we can move to criminalize abortion.

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    Comment by Manuel | September 18, 2008 | Reply

  21. http://www.lifenews.com/bio2546.html

    While McCain supports public funding, he opposes the purposeful creation of human embryos for destruction, he supports funding adult stem cell research and opposes both forms of human cloning.

    That’s a contrast to the position pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama takes — as he has said he would use an executive order to mandate funding for the grisly research as soon as he takes office.

    I readily agree that McCain is not the best candidate we had – I did not vote for him in the primary, and am not thrilled with my vote for him now, so I consider my vote more a vote against Obama than a vote for McCain. No matter who wins in November, I am aware that all too often, power and money know no party line. I have no guarantee, only hope that a McCain win will be better; but I’m pretty sure an Obama win will be much, much worse.

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    Comment by annabenedetti | September 18, 2008 | Reply

  22. I’d remind everyone of what other consequences we would probably face under “Chairman O”, which can all be summarized by looking at what’s happened to Canada in this decade, namely, its becoming an inhospitable country for genuinely Catholic convictions in several ways. I’m surprised that everyone seems fixed upon the abortion issue alone….

    We will see the silencing of talk radio, the railroading of anyone challenging the sodomite ascendancy, probable movements towards the reillegalization of home schooling, the further marginalization of orthodox religiosity and perhaps the beginnings of its criminalization. People like ourselves are already well on the way to becoming second-class citizens … the leftist hatred for Gov. Palin is principally due to a fear that she just might inspire enough countermomentum to thwart the completion of their project to exterminate Christian culture in this country.

    McCain is a questionable character and his running mate is demonstrably an opportunist with less-than-sure convictions. Unless he were to plod us into further and worse wars (something no one could have foreseen in 2000 when many of us held our nose voting for Bush against the socialist Gore), I’m gathering that his administration would at least buy us some more time. Otherwise, we better start seriously thinking about how we’d survive in the underground….

    Like

    Comment by Somerset '76 | September 19, 2008 | Reply

  23. Somerset:

    You make some good points. If I were in a swing state, I might be agonizing a little more. But California is going overwhelmingly for Obama, despite Glenn County going overwhelmingly for McCain, with or without my vote. Zippy’s right in my case: my vote is negligible and entirely dispensable.

    Beyond the abortion issue I have simply come to the conclusion that John McCain is a scoundrel. I don’t know how to vote for a scoundrel, much less campaign for him. If Obama is elected we can fight and resist him with a clean conscience. We don’t need to give him a honeymoon period. Electing McCain might help in the short term, but it the long run it ensures the irrelevance and marginalization of social conservatives in politics. If that’s coming anyway, then yes, let’s start learning how to survive in the underground.

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | September 19, 2008 | Reply

  24. Good counterpoints, Jeff. Given the negative momentum of this whole society on all fronts – most particularly with the Wall St. crisis – “buying time” might just be another way of saying “putting off the inevitable.” Because the whole arc of our cultural trajectory has been towards socialist amorality, I sense Obama will find a way to win this one.

    If I were in California, I’d definitely vote third-party or in protest. As it is, I’ve not let go of the fact that while Gov. Palin’s addition to the ticket makes the race more interesting, it is nonetheless McCain who’d be going to the Oval Office … with all that implies. For all his ticket’s rhetoric, the both of them are no less politicians than anyone else.

    Even with all the mud thrown at Gov. Palin, a skilled eye can sift through the smears, bypassing the slanderous insults and allegations, but yet find causes for genuine concern nonetheless. She’s not quite unflinchingly honest, even if not quite the “pathological liar” the Left wants us to think. Although her religious background is mainly one of a particularly eccentric strain of Pentecostalism, she seems to be more a product of both Alaskan folkways and 1980s popular culture; note that she transitioned to a “more moderate” congregation in 2002, the year she first ran for statewide office. Her ambition is not only spoken of by foes but friends also; it comes through in the pages of Kaylene Johnson’s generally sympathetic biography. And consistent accounts suggest that her “burning the candle at both ends” – family and career – induces her to take shortcuts with both: she herself has spoken to the heavy role of extended family with the children, and former employees of the Governor’s office speak of her as being good to talk up an idea or project, but loathe to “burn the midnight oil” immersing herself in the details of governance. On both fronts, we already now know something about how those shortcuts are coming back to haunt her.

    A trivial postscript: I’ve yet to see one mention of one aspect of the Palin phenomenon that I’ve observed: born in 1964, she is the first person from “Generation X” to make it big in national politics. She’s only a year older than me, so I have a certain sense of the cultural and educational background she brings to the big leagues. Like it or not, she does indeed reflect a “Generation X” take on conservatism.

    Like

    Comment by Somerset '76 | September 22, 2008 | Reply


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