Trying to find a clown at the circus (Or: Thoughts on Election 2008)

I may as well admit it at the beginning:  I’m a Ron Paul supporter.  I’m not bitter, and I never held out an unreasonable amount of hope that he would win the Republican nomination–some, yes, but I wasn’t going to bet on it, especially since party leadership these days is not exactly Goldwater-esque.

At any rate, you know where I’m coming from.

I have searched the presidential field in vain for a suitable candidate.  I don’t go by the idiotic notion that I should pick amongst those who are “electable.”  I’m part of the electorate, and the electorate decides who is electable.  I am finished, however, voting for candidates just because they give lip service to certain issues, such as the pro-life cause or the free market.  Talk is cheap, even straight talk.  That rules out John McCain.

I will not vote for a socialist.  Period.  End of story.  No discussion.  That rules out Barack Obama.  (And even if Obama were perfect on everything else, I just don’t think he’s really going to bring an end to the war in Iraq; he’s already begun to waffle a bit on this.)

Bob Barr.  hahahahahaha.

Someone whose opinion I trust suggested Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.  Ron Paul may in fact end up endorsing him.  I looked him up, and he seems pretty good, but his illegal drug policy dissatisfied me in certain ways, and in general I think he and the Constitution Party are too theocratic.  Sorry, but governments don’t make virtue; people do.

Where does this leave me on election day?  It leaves me on my couch, and, frankly, that’s fine.  I have had it with the voting for the lesser of two evils.  This only serves to strengthen the Oligarchy.  For a few months before the election, the two major parties (the Democans and Republikrats) pretend as if choosing between them is the difference between life and death.  Then in January they go back to their usual b.s.  Look at the Democrats:  they were ushered into Congress to end the war, and now what?  Nothing.  They’re even turning a (mostly) deaf ear to serious charges against the Bush Administration.  What’s going on here?  This sure as hell isn’t a two party system.

What’s the point of staying home?  After all, Orthodox Americanist teaching states that one must participate in an election to be a good citizen.  Nonsense.  Already low voter turnout ought to cast some doubt on the legitimacy of this whole process.  I hope, by staying home, to contribute to this doubt.  I hope many of you will join me as well.  The government still won’t listen to us, but maybe they won’t quite as boldly claim “mandates” for one or another of their stupid ideas.

23 Responses

  1. Already low voter turnout ought to cast some doubt on the legitimacy of this whole process.

    An interesting point. I have been thinking lately about the nature of legitimate authority, and how it is established, both legally and morally. I am a complete neophyte in terms of this area of study, but would welcome suggestions for researching the questions and issues.

  2. Sorry, but governments don’t make virtue; people do.

    But the law is a moral teacher. Of course, I do not buy into the sort of Christianity I expect is promoted by the Constitution Party but there is nothing wrong with a Catholic confessional State.

  3. Already low voter turnout ought to cast some doubt on the legitimacy of this whole process.

    I’m not sure I agree. Of course the arcane rules of qualifying for the ballot and who gets what funding from the government cast doubt on its legitimacy as a democratic process – and I guess low voter turnout casts the same sort of doubt, but on the legitimacy of the process itself? There’s no rule that the process of electing officials has to be democratic.

  4. On election day you have three options:

    1) Vote for a candidate.
    2) Vote against a candidate (by voting for his opponent).
    3) Don’t vote.

    If you choose 3 you are saying you don’t care who gets elected. So don’t vote for a candidate, vote against socialism instead.

  5. It does seem that the two parties, not the people, really get to choose who will be elected in this country.

  6. OK, to counter your argument, I say…

    Yeah, I do think some life or death decision could be made this November. Let’s think for a moment: if Bush hadn’t gotten re-elected, and Kerry were in his place, who would be in those two vacancies that developed on the Supreme Court during this last presidential term? Lawrence Tribe would be Chief Justice and Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s clone would be in the other slot. So Yes, picking Bush as the lesser-of-two-evils WAS actually a success on the pro-life front, because I think most honest observers believe that John Roberts and Sam Alito ARE Constitutional rigorists who would rule to overturn Roe. Basically, we’re ONE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE AWAY from potentially overturning Roe. Yeah, I know Republicans are shaky on picking supreme court justices, but McCain is going to have as his advisers for supreme court picks (heard this from Congressman Steve King of Iowa) Ted Olson and Sam Brownback, both of whom are very much solid pro-lifers. At the very least we’ve got a very good chance with McCain (whose pro-life record is absolutely perfect for his entire career in the US Senate).

    In addition to the Supreme Court, there are so many other things that the president can do or not do on the abortion front: allowing abortions on military facilities, aid to various population control causes, how we cooperate with UN policies, funding in the federal budget to pro-choice causes, support of bills like the ban on partial birth abortion, supporting a ban on minors being taken over state lines for abortions, funding embryonic stem cell research, and many other things probably that I haven’t mentioned. Now, Bush hasn’t been absolutely perfect on this stuff, but he has resisted the vast majority of it; Obama would actively push for all of that crap. All of this stuff will hinge entirely on which man is sitting in the White House come January 20.

  7. Johnny Domer,

    “So Yes, picking Bush as the lesser-of-two-evils WAS actually a success on the pro-life front…”

    Nope. If the Republikrats were serious about the pro-life issue (and they’re not), they would have made use of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution while they had the chance. This gives Congress the authority to withdraw issues from the prerogative of the Supreme Court. Contrary to what is taught in civics religion classes in this country, there are indeed checks against the power of the Supreme Court.

    If John Roberts ever votes to overturn Roe, I will take you out to a steak (but not a State!) dinner.

    Finally I would say that you might want to be careful. The Republikrat Party has been selling itself every election as being pro-life, and people buy it and vote for them. Then the politicians go to Washington and become socialists. They’re using abortion as the litmus test for “conservatism” (whatever that is at this point) and no one is holding them to account on their egregious spending.

  8. John S.,

    “If you choose 3 you are saying you don’t care who gets elected. So don’t vote for a candidate, vote against socialism instead.”

    So who would you suggest? Both major candidates are socialists.

  9. dcs,

    What I’m trying to say is that low voter turnout shows a lack of real support by the people of its task-masters in the government. I suppose it’s not an intrinsic sort of thing, but more of a tacit indictment of these politicians. If “None of the Above” were an option, I think it would garner 50% of the vote, and I think voter turnout would be higher.

  10. Paul Goings,

    It’s an interesting question. I always err on the side of calling authority illegitimate;-)

  11. dcs,

    So theocracy is bad unless it’s your kind of theocracy? 🙂

  12. So theocracy is bad unless it’s your kind of theocracy?

    Well, one of the duties of the State is to acknowledge and support the true Church, so yes.

    What I’m trying to say is that low voter turnout shows a lack of real support by the people of its task-masters in the government. I suppose it’s not an intrinsic sort of thing, but more of a tacit indictment of these politicians. If “None of the Above” were an option, I think it would garner 50% of the vote, and I think voter turnout would be higher.

    It is true that no elected official, at least in the U.S., should claim some sort of mandate for his platform or program or whatever else you want to call it. But since I view democracy as an intrinsically evil form of government, it doesn’t really matter to me whether few people vote by choice or even if the “right” to vote is limited to a few elites (such as male property owners over 35 years of age). All things considered, I would welcome being relieved of the obligation to vote.

  13. dcs,

    “Well, one of the duties of the State is to acknowledge and support the true Church, so yes.”

    Well, if we’re going to keep beating the ecclesiastical horse, how does this square with the declaration on religious liberty?

  14. …I view democracy as an intrinsically evil form of government…

    Can a case be made for this in moral theology, or is it more along the lines of “I view cherry vanilla ice cream as intrinsically evil?” Fine, as far as it goes, but it rather makes a mockery of theology as a science.

  15. I always err on the side of calling authority illegitimate.

    I take your point, but I should think that the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of a government has implications for the way in which we lead our lives, or at least it could. So throwing around claims of illegitimacy should not–in my opinion–be done lightly.

    But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that the current U.S. government is illegitimate. What actions are we morally permitted to take? What actions, if any, are we obligated to take?

  16. Michael,

    I understand the principle of withdrawing the courts’ jurisdiction from given cases, and certainly (hindsight being 20/20) would have endorsed it in 1972 in regards to abortion…but now that Roe is already on the books, wouldn’t removing the court’s jurisdiction to rule on abortion cases right now just kinda “freeze” us at the current status of Roe being the law of the land? Obviously yeah they should have done that back before 1973; but are we just going to be bitter and paint all Republicans with the broad brush of “phony pro-lifers” because they didn’t think to do that back in ’72 (Was any conservative at that time calling on Congress to deny jurisdiction on abortion cases to the courts?)? I still say having Roberts and Alito on the bench was a huge victory for the pro-life cause…I think there were a few conservatives who were nervous about Roberts, but I guess I’d have to look at all the evidence that would indicate which way he’d vote; so far, anyway, he has been rock-solid voting with the other conservatives on every really significant issue. And yeah, the Republicans have indeed been spending like fools, I don’t deny it or defend it, and it disgusts me; but imagine how much more Obama spends if conservatives stay at home. At least McCain isn’t proposing socialized medicine and having the taxpayers pay for everyone’s college tuition.

    Anywho, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

    I guess we could argue the point forever; the real question is whether the lesser-of-two-evils approach really is a wise strategy at this point. I think we just disagree on whether McCain would be significantly better than Obama; I think he is so much significantly better on the pro-life front that I am going to hold my nose and vote for him. I would not be doing this if Rudy Giuliani were running; at this point I’d be voting third-party or abstaining. However, given McCain’s absolutely stellar pro-life record in the Senate (and I mean PERFECT, in 20-something years of voting), his changed stance on abortion in cases of rape and incest, and the people who are reportedly going to be helping him pick Supreme Court Justices, along with Obama’s utterly RABID pro-choice record and the utter certainty that he’ll put some total nutjob liberal on the court, along with the certainty that he’ll provide federal funding for stem cell research and all sorts of other terrible things in support of abortion, YES I think McCain is significantly better.

  17. Well, if we’re going to keep beating the ecclesiastical horse, how does this square with the declaration on religious liberty?

    Like this part of it?

    “Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

  18. dcs,

    It is important not to conflate “men and societies” with “government.” Those are two different things.

  19. Johnny Domer,

    Well, I don’t know. According to Congressman Ron Paul, the Supreme Court was stripped of oversight of reconstruction in the 1860’s, and there was even talk of overturning Dred Scoot through the use of Article III, Section 2. It would seem that this course of action would not bind us to all the court decisions taken thus far. See R. Paul, _The Revolution: A Manifesto_, p. 60.

  20. It is important not to conflate “men and societies” with “government.” Those are two different things.

    I don’t think government is excluded by “societies.” DH simply says that men should be free from coercion – it does not say that the State has to be, or even should be, neutral towards religion. I find it hard to believe that a great State like Austria-Hungary would be condemned by DH.

  21. Can a case be made for this in moral theology, or is it more along the lines of “I view cherry vanilla ice cream as intrinsically evil?” Fine, as far as it goes, but it rather makes a mockery of theology as a science.

    While my tongue was at least partly in cheek, I do not rule out the possibility that the Church could condemn democracy as She has condemned socialism and communism. Democracy is rather new and I’m not sure moral theology has really been able to address it.

  22. “Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and governments by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness possitively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.”

    –Thomas Paine

  23. Oh, well, frankly I’m not concerned with Thomas Paine’s opinion on what Dignitatis Humanae is supposed to mean. 😉

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