Thursday, March 04, 2010

Single Issue Voters

Swiss condom manufacturer
designs small condoms for
the 12 year-old crowd.

I am wrestling with the problem of single-issue voters, or voters who consider one or two, or perhaps even three issues to override all else. Granted there are many, many issues of all kinds that our politicians have to deal with nowadays, can some issues simply be considered more important than others and thus influence voting in important ways. Abortion, I suppose, would be perhaps the best example. Is abortion such a singularly important issue that it will determine who a person will vote for? Or, in the current situation, will the abortion issue possibly derail the Health Care Bill? Pelosi and others try to make it clear that the Health Care Bill is not an abortion bill, but does that convince everyone? In the case of abortion I suspect not.

I know someone who is vitally concerned about our drug laws, and our failed war on drugs. He measures candidates on whether or not they will consider making all drugs legal. There are other issues that might affect his vote, such as the death penalty and immigration reform, but drugs are clearly the most important issue in his mind. If a candidate supports the continuation of the war on drugs, and their illegality, he is doomed as far as this voter is concerned.

How about the case of Walt Minnick, a Democratic Congressperson from Idaho? Idaho is a very conservative state and the fact that a Democrat was even elected is somewhat of a miracle. But Minnick is very conservative and does not always vote Democratic. This evening I heard an argument in favor of Minnick because he voted Democratic 85% of the time. But does that 85% necessarily make up for the other 15%? It is most probably the case (I don’t have the time to research this carefully) that many of those Democratic votes were in cases where his vote was known to be irrelevant. In other cases his Democratic votes were quite likely for bills or issues that were simply not very important. He voted against the stimulus, and he is voting against health care, important votes that make a real difference. Is he to be forgiven these votes because he voted Democratic 85% of the time on votes of little or no consequence? Not for me.

What about President Obama? I think he has done many things that I agree with that are important and needed to be done. But he has not done some things that I think of great importance, such as withdrawing from the absolutely absurd and unnecessary “war” in Afghanistan, and, more importantly, not investigating and prosecuting the war criminals, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others, including the toady lawyers who simply did what they were instructed to do. If Obama succeeds in passing health care reform and doing away with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, in addition to the many other positive things he has done, will I feel obliged to vote for him again? In my case I don’t think so. I just don’t think I could in good conscience vote for someone who has gone out of his way to defend war criminals. But, of course, this is the kind of situation that we get repeatedly trapped into voting for the Hobson’s Choice. If I don’t want to vote for Obama, just who will I vote for? I don’t care who the Republican candidate may be, I certainly wouldn’t vote for him or her. The thought of voting for Sarah Palin or even Mitt Romney makes me sick to my stomach, and I cannot foresee any other Republican candidate that would be any better. So, I either vote for Obama who defends war criminals, or I just don’t vote. But just not voting is essentially a vote for someone I don’t want. As there most probably will not be a viable third party candidate, I will be confronted with this terrible problem, either leave the country, commit suicide, or withdraw to some remote community and simply ignore the continuing madness that seems to infect our political system. I find this frustrating and depressing beyond belief. I do not expect any candidate to share all of my beliefs, or to act always according to my desires, but there are some issues that seem to me to be so vital, so overridingly important, so basically moral and ethical, that they cannot simply be ignored. Here there is that difference that we so often find between quantity and quality. Are some issues qualitatively more important than others? I believe the answer is yes. For me, allowing Bush/Cheney and the others to escape accountability for their terrible crimes is simply unforgivable, and it doesn’t matter what else Obama accomplishes. In fact, I truly believe that if Obama and Holder do not investigate and prosecute these known criminals, they themselves become war criminals, “fellow travelers,” as it were. I hate this and I cannot understand it, or if I do understand the why of it, I do not approve and think it is a terrible mistake.

The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class. It is not the realization of a political ideal; it is the discharge of a moral obligation.
John Dalberg

Reason seems to have little to do with human affairs.

1 comment:

Bubblehead said...

So since Walt Minnick doesn't deserve your support, will you be planning on voting for the Republican in the general election? Or just not vote? If so, will you be happier with a Republican who votes for Democratic causes 0% of the time?