Newsflash: Republicans in New York are as much a bunch of cowardly traitors as Republicans everywhere else in America.I want to revisit that post and my pledge, and discuss my current thinking about it all. This is very much of a "thinking out loud" post, so please bear with me.
Republicans apparently have no problem using the force of the law to define every single Catholic in America as a "bigot," from here on out.
I pledge by my faith that I will never, ever vote for a Republican again, as long as I live.
1. I wrote that post sincerely. I wasn't trying to score political points; I truly believe that the Republicans are completely untrustworthy on the marriage question, and, for the most part, have no real problem defining Catholics as bigots and condemning our religion's ancient teachings on marriage and sexuality as a kind of hate speech, not if it means getting elected.
2. I also wrote that post as a redheaded female in a fit of temper. There's no denying it.
3. I definitely wrote that post thinking of national elections. I have this tendency to forget that even when you're voting for sheriffs or county tax assessors or railroad commissioners, there will usually be the letter R or the letter D after each candidate's name. I think our two-party system is abysmally stupid, but one of the side-effects is that not even local government is free from partisanship and political bickering.
4. It would have been more accurate for me to have pledged never to vote for a Republican in a national election again. Right now, I have no intention of doing so. I won't vote for Romney, I remain troubled by Ted Cruz (who will probably win without my vote anyway), and I've never voted for Kay Granger because I honestly don't care if a pro-abortion Republican is defeated by a pro-abortion Democrat. The RINOs of Fort Worth deserve to lose that seat, even though given Texas cronyism and career politics they probably never will.
5. Given all of the above, I probably could vote for a Republican in a small local race without violating the spirit of my pledge. But will I? I'm not at all sure--that is, after all, how both parties keep the rank and file in line, keep us showing up to vote unthinkingly for the candidate with the right alphabet letter after his or her name. Maybe if enough of us didn't do it, eventually people with different letters after their names might give things a try.
6. The reality is that where I live, a lot of the little races involve Republicans running either unopposed or running against only a Libertarian candidate (there are a few Green Party candidates on the ballot here and there, as well). In theory I admire these candidates for attempting to break the two-party stranglehold, but in practice, as a practicing Catholic, I have even less in common with their parties' beliefs than I do with those of the Republicans or Democrats. But the bottom line is that my vote will not impact these races: these are not hard-fought local races where every vote counts, but completely lopsided races where the Republican will cruise to an easy victory, and will likely think he or she has a mandate regardless of the reality.
7. This is slightly off topic, but a few election cycles ago I decided I was uncomfortable voting for judges, and stopped doing it. I know that a favorite taunt on the right involves "unelected judges," but honestly, electing ones can be worse. You are, essentially, asked to go into the voting booth and cast a vote for a judge without being able to find out much of anything about his or her beliefs or philosophies. Sure, some will campaign as being "tough on crime," but does that mean in favor of appropriate sentences for violent criminals, or of locking up first-time drug offenders? Or, worse, does it mean the candidate favors the death penalty in a way that is inconsistent with my Catholic values? Unless you have access to a professional database, it can be difficult if not impossible to unearth a judicial candidate's true views on much of anything. Essentially the voter is being asked to cast his or her vote for a judge based on the letter after the judge's name, which is exactly the wrong way to go about making a serious election choice.
So: my pledge remains intact at this point. I don't see any particular reason to vote for national Republicans, unopposed or barely-opposed Republicans, or Republican judges who may be diametrically opposed to most of my philosophical and religious views without my being able to discover that. I will go vote anyway; I may write some people in, and the school board where I live is electing some trustees (who don't campaign as Democrats or Republicans). Will I ever change my mind about my pledge? It doesn't seem likely, at this point.