Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Single Issue Voting

While the frenzy that marked the recent crowning of Obama reached ever higher pinnacles of man-worship, I found myself unhappily canvassing my friends for their pick. "Unhappily", because I felt it wasn't much of a choice (and still don't), but I kept at it regardless ... in hopes that someone could give me a reason to prefer one over the other.

I knew that Obama was a Democrat, and I'm no fan of Democrats. Their social agenda frequently feels like the unofficial and Heaven-damned policies and pleasures of Babylon. And yet, a perusal of the actions of recent Republicans reveals them to be from the same species of person-hating and war-mongering international thuggery that marked Alexandros, Adolf, di Buonaparte, and Iosif. Who knows, maybe Cyrus, Sargon, and Xerxes too.

I wanted a reason - a good reason - to prefer one over the other. Something better than my horror at what Bush Jr. has unleashed on the world and a consequent knee-jerk reaction to McCain, Bush's successor. But time and again, I found my (conservative) friends whole-heartedly embracing McCain. And time and again, I was confounded by their resolve to reduce their decision-making process to a single issue.

Naturally, this single issue refers to abortion.

Abortion is a horror and a travesty. In the year 2000, 857 000 children were legally aborted in the US (source). Like the Carthaginians and the other Baal-worshippers of old, for the sake of insignificant gains in this life Westerners have chosen to sacrifice their children upon the altar of Moloch. It is the ultimate parody of the Gospel: reaping life now in order to suffer at the Last Judgment; laying down another's life for oneself.

And yet, and yet.

... There are more than a single issue at work in the world today, and some of them involve issues and consequences no less horrific than abortion. I mean war. I mean the elimination of freedoms. I mean yet more war. And I mean rendering ourselves up for ridicule (Christian adulation of Sarah Palin jumps to mind) in a world that is increasingly hostile to Christians, where Christianity rarely reflects anything of the Gospel of Christ.

... The [alleged] proponents of pro-life policies (the Republicans) sponsor at the same time some heinously pro-death policies.
  • Since 2003, between 90 000 and 98 000 Iraqi civilians have been killed (s) - total deaths probably exceed a million (s). And who knows how many will eventually die from the decision to employ depleted uranium in American missiles.
  • Since 2001, between 9 000 and 27 000 Afghani civilians have been killed (s) - I don't know total deaths.
  • From 2001-2006 374 people were executed in American jails (s).
I don't know what other American-sponsored deaths have occurred in the years of Republican power (and many of the figures above can and will be debated). The point is that the Republicans have bloody hands. Choosing to vote for them because they oppose abortion sounds good, but it is likely to be no more than a sop to Christian conscience. A Republican government has not been shown to reduce our infant mortality, but it certainly has raised world mortality.

... I see two consequences to single issue voting. Neither of them is the desired outcome of abortion outlawry.

First, this forces Christians to bed down with the proponents of death: the military industrial complex, warmongers, apologists for capital punishment. It forces them to side with Big Pharma, Big Business, Big Agriculture, the enemies to the little man, the individual, the family.

Second, this leads, and I think inevitably, to a cynical manipulation of an often unreasoning body of people who will accept any idiot so long as he (or she) mouths the right words. A chilling but timely reminder: it wasn't atheists or leftist social engineers that elected Hitler to power, but conservative Lutheran Christians.

- V.


Anonymous said...

Would you under any circumstances vote for a man or woman who stated their intention to wipe out the entire black population (for example)?

If your answer is "no" than you are a single-issue voter.

I think most of us are, in fact, single issue voters - we just don't all agree on what that single issue might be (abortion is clearly not the issue for you).

For you that single issue might not have been an issue in any of the past elections - and so you can say that are not a single issue voter... and yet when pressed I think there are circumstances in which all of us would have to admit that there are issues that trump all others.

V & E said...

There is much truth to what you say here, Stephen.

I guess my "single issue" would be killing, if I was forced to pick something. Which is not to say that I don't have other very grave concerns.

But usually my concerns tell me for whom not to vote, not for whom to vote. A subtle distinction, but a true one.

However, I think you are missing the point. It is not so much that I object to a person having something that bothers them more than other things (kind of an antipriority), it is that those who vote for the Republicans [on the basis of this single issue] are not voting for the champions of God, but for a party that has cynically positioned itself as pro-life when it most manifestly is not. Can a spring give forth both salt water and fresh? It is that the Christian community has allied itself in a very permanent way with those whose lifestyle and ideology are so completely non-Christian. God and Mammon, United.

We support men or women who sound good and who mouth the right sentiments (and by golly, you can see them do on the campaign trail, ticking off on some PR guru's chart the appropriate positions so as to gain more votes). We are supporting clothes hangers, not allies. We are voting for liars, not people who - heaven forbid - actually represent us. And because we do so, they have a voter-endorsed "mandate" to execute the rest of their agenda, but little of which comes close to anything Godly.

- V.

Anonymous said...

Hello V - Just thought I would come back to this one...

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your post, but I would like to humbly suggest that it is you who are missing the point. You seem to speak of choice that does not exist. There is no truly 'pro-life' party just as there is no party that champions the cause of God. The closest in our country is the Christian coalition.

Single issue voters like myself recognize that the choices are not ideal, and so we vote against a particular. In my case - as it should be for every Christian - I vote against abortion.

And do please keep in mind that abortion is very different from war. You may not wish to vote for a Conservative or Republican "war-mongering" party, but if the non-war-mongering Liberals or Democrats threatened to come into your home and take away your child, or if they insisted that your second child be aborted I know you would vote against. You would vote first for the war-mongerer.

The truth is most Christians are inconsistent. You say that these unborn babies are babies but you do not vote as if you believe that were true. The government may not be systematically murdering them, but it is allowing their mothers to do so... that is genocide, and it is far far more heinous than any war.

See the following post for more on my position on single issue voting: