Monday, October 22, 2012

Revisiting my pledge

Some of you may recall last year when I posted this:
Newsflash: Republicans in New York are as much a bunch of cowardly traitors as Republicans everywhere else in America.

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. 
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.

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.


Lawrence Hall, HSG said...

Easy, Red! Better have a nice cuppa Earl Grey and a sitdown,eh?


- Mack in Texas

Erin Manning said...

Um, okay, Mack! :) (Earl Grey is one of my favorites, anyway.)

Lawrence Hall, HSG said...


I am so happy that East Texas now enjoys a two- and sometimes three-party system. For well over a century the politics here were monolithic.

Still, I wish, along with President Washington, that we could have avoid political parties altogether.

- Mack

alcogito said...

Perhaps you would feel different if you lived in a state like Washington where the deep blue Seattle-Tacoma area dominates state politics. Democrat party advertising for both candidates and issues makes it clear where their priorities lie this year: Gay marriage (altho we already have an "everything but marriage law", legalizing marijuana (altho Seattle already has more medical marijuana shops than Starbucks),anti charter schools, anti 2/3 majority in legislature to raise taxes. All Dem candidates advertise that their Rep opponents want to limit birth-control or abortion, and of course they themselves all want to "invest" in the infrastructure (meaning the state will hire more employees).

You think voting doesn't matter and the candidates are all the same? ReallY?

Saphira said...

Splitting the vote got eight years of Clinton, who did untold damage. I don't think we have time to mess around. Those of you who will not vote for Romney, I would ask at least that you be praying that Obama not remain in office for the next four years. I know I'm going to be praying.

Unknown said...

Treating the national Republican Party the same as a Republican Party in a deep-blue state like New York doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Not that the former's without flaws of course. But for example, here in California Meg Whitman lost her run for governor and I honestly couldn't tell you any real conservative convictions she had other than generic pro-business sentiment. Not to excuse it but squishes are sorta the nature of the business in certain states.

Romney seems reasonably conservative to me, and like someone who won't screw over the consituencies that elect him. The "he's for same-sex marriage" (it was imposed by the court and he spoke against it) and "he's not really pro-life" (then why did he govern as such, to the extent anyone can under Roe v. Wade?) aren't based on much of anything. Yes there's the exceptions deal, but I'd rather have the vast majority of abortion banned than see politicians push for a position right now that will be rejected and give pro-lifers nothing. Unless people want this issue to be perpetual rhetoric with no actual change then I don't see what's wrong with this approach

eulogos said...

Local politics here has parties such as the "Citizens party" "Taxpayers party" "Rebuild Owego party". The fellow who recently got elected as mayor did it by starting a Rebuild Owego FB page after the flood, and helping people with problems they posted there. He got his name known.
No one seems to stay in the office very long. The issue one year was about whether Owego should build a "Riverwalk." Someone famously wrote to the local paper that the focus should be on jobs instead of on "improving the ascetics"-a tremendously amusing malapropism.
Another year the issue which toppled one mayor was removing excess personel from the volunteer fire department. There were many members too old to fight fires for whom belonging and partaking in fundraising activities was a large part of their identities. But the state started to require that every member be tested for fitness and be supplied with X,Y, and Z pieces of equipment, neither of which could be done for the multiple 60,70,and 80 year olds on the rolls. A mayor was elected who vowed to undo their removal from the rolls. I think he just made a new category of member. The previous mayor had offered to do that, but he wanted to use the word auxilliary, and of course that is a word associated in fire departments with "Ladies'" so it did not go over well. Associate member, however was fine. Such are local politics around here.