Catholic Citizen

faith informs life

Voting Against Self-Interest

I personally cannot fathom that anyone would want to return the Bush administration to power after the next election.  Yet, evidence is, a McCain administration would be more of the same, except more so.  The players in the Republican Party have all moved from the Bush administration into the McCain campaign.  I’m talking about people whose names we don’t know, except for Karl Rove.  We know that McCain wanted to choose Lieberman or Ridge for VP, but was told he could not do either – Lieberman because he is a Democrat, of course, and agrees with little in the Republican agenda other than staying in Iraq, and Ridge because he is what is called “pro-choice.”  So he chose Sarah Palin, believing that many women who had been enamored of Hillary Clinton would see Palin as a “consolation prize” when Hillary did not get the nomination or the VP spot on the Democratic ticket.  I suspect there are some women who will vote for the ticket with a woman on it just because of Palin.  The vast majority of women who supported Hillary are Democrats, however, and once learning Palin’s view of the issues, could not possibly support someone who has views like hers on Christianity, Choice, Health Insurance, Equal Pay, and so many other issues where she is a world away from Hillary’s well-known positions.”

If we hold the President accountable for things that happened under his administration, which is what we do, that’s why they call it an “administration,” (President Bush called himself “The Decider,”) then we have to look at the things that happened and ask ourselves if we want more of the same.  There is little debate at this point that the invasion of Iraq was not justified by the events of 9/11.  There is no debate that our economic situation as this administration comes to a close is as dire as could be without total collapse, (which may yet happen in the next few days).  Domestically, almost no one except the very, very rich (the top 2-3% of the population) could claim that they are better off than they were eight years ago.  We know that a massive surplus as Clinton left office has been turned to a deficit with so many zeros that most of use can’t even say the number (and which double shortly with the action of Treasury) has been run up by the Bush years.  Unemployment is historically high.  Bankruptcy, foreclosure and collapse is the norm in business, rather than the exception.  The scale and depth of the collapse makes the Great Depression look like kid’s day at the zoo.  The Congress can share in the blame; 6 of 8 years had a Republican majority in both houses and a Republican president.

I don’t believe that anything could be considered “improved” in the last 8 years.  The price of energy has skyrocketed, even though individuals use less and less.  International relations with friend and foe alike have never been worse, even during world wars.  Many fundamentalist Christians believe the tribulation has already started and they were “left behind.”

With these conditions, doesn’t it seem as though that those who cannot bring themselves to vote Democratic would be voting for Bob Barr, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader or None of the Above?  Yet, the polling needle stays tied day after day.  I cannot understand it, except for the abortion issue.

Years ago, Republicans realized (as well documented) that they could not get people to vote against their own self interest without a hook of some sort.  The “Right to Life” movement has been that magic bullet – that’s for sure.  No more emotional issue has captured the public’s imagination.  Horrible stories are told of children being murdered after birth.  Infanticide, they call it, and they accuse Obama of favoring infancticide.  (As far as we know, abortions are performed by doctors, not presidential candidates.)  What ever the truth of the issues, does it make sense that evangical and fundamentalist Christians vote for those who (knowingly, I believe) lie about what action they are going to take to outlaw abortion, birth control, sex education and other related issues?  Yet, nothing changes.  Why?

I believe that it is a misunderstanding of the provisions of the constitution.  Slavery is illegal in this country.  To tell a woman that she cannot control her own body, ensuring that she is not impregnated, or if impregnated, prevent giving birth, is to make a woman a slave to someone else.  The legislature or the courts would have to tell a woman that she cannot regulate her own health issues because the society has an overriding interest in those decisions.  That would make a woman in our society little more than a brood mare.  Who are you, or who am I, to tell another individual, a fellow citizen, what decisions they must make to ensure a healthy body?  Those are decisions that are decided by doctor-patient, or the patients representative in case of being disabled, in every other medical situation.  There are no men who can bear children.  It is solely a woman’s issue.  Your decision regarding your body may not be the same as your neighbors, but you must defend your neighbors right to make that decision for herself just as each person is guaranteed the right not to be arrested for protected speech.

We as Americans are guaranteed “freedom,” and many of our fellow citizens have given their lives to protect that freedom.  There can be no justification for attempting to take that freedom away.  The question is not “when does life begin” but rather “when there is a conflict between the rights of a woman and an unborn potential child, whose rights take precedence?”  The unborn, as a symbiot or parasite, dependant totally on the woman’s body for life, cannot have a prior claim to the life and welfare of the mother, any more than a citizen can go out and kidnap a fellow citizen (or any other human being) and enslave them against their will for their own benefit.

The Supreme Court ruled correctly on these issues, both in Roe v. Wade, but in many other decisions prior regarding slavery.  As long as Americans continue to revere our Constitution, a different decision will not be made.  It is the very foundation of what makes us Americans.

I believe the Republican leadership knows that they cannot change what has been codified constitutionally and in federal law.  Yet they continue to attempt to appeal to the emotions of those of us who have a heart, and believe it wrong to take the life of a Terri Shiavo, not to mention an innocent child.  As a result, they are able to convince citizens to vote against their own interests, but in the interests of the very, very rich.  As a result, approx. 3% of the worlds population control more than 90% of the material wealth of the entire world, leaving the other 97% of us to subsist (or not, in many cases) on 10% of the worlds wealth.

How many children starve as a direct consequence of an unjust monetary policy?  Many millions more, I dare say.  Many millions more.

I implore my fellow citizens, please reconsider your vote.  See if does not make sense to bring in the kind of people who made the 8 years under the Clinton Administration one of the most properous this country has seen, and not just this country, but many citizens of many other countries as well.  Let’s make a rising tide that lifts all boats, not just a very few.

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September 5, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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