I heard something on the radio this afternoon that bothered me and I want to share my opinion. Now, I know better than to start a discussion on politics but I am making an exception. I won't get into who I plan to vote for, just why I plan to vote.
If you know me well, you know I am patriotic. I was raised to be proud to be an American and to appreciate and respect the privilege of voting. My mom says that I watched my first inauguration at age 2 when I was sick and she was home with me. I enjoy watching the State of the Union and the election returns. The option of voting really is not an option, it is something you do as a citizen of the United States. Too many people fought for the right to vote for me to take it lightly. I try to be an informed voter and stay informed of the candidates' positions. I am also a social conservative though and ultimately my voting reflects that.
This afternoon I was disappointed to learn of a conservative, evangelical leader saying that he will choose to stay at home and not vote if he does not like the candidate for his party. James Dobson (whose work I usually respect) has said that if John McCain receives the Republican nomination, he cannot vote for him and keep a good conscience. Dobson disagrees with some of his beliefs about family values. But, he says he cannot vote for the Democratic nominee of Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama due to their liberal views so he just will not vote for anyone. It may just be me, but that seems like the cheap way out.
My question is, would you not rather vote for the less of two evils (at least the evils defined by Dobson)? To rephrase it, instead of looking at it as a vote for one candidate, look at it as a vote against another. Here is where my political views will seap in. There are some conservative issues that I do not agree with McCain on (though I do not think Dobson is correct in his reporting of all of McCain's stances) but there is a lot more that I disagree with Obama and Clinton on. I would rather have a president that I pretty much agree with, than one I really don't agree with at all. That just seems like the logical choice. I find it strange that Dobson has not said he would not vote for Mitt Romney, someone with a complete different theological belief, because he thinks "we're facing such a point of crisis in our country, that we're going to have to have the strongest leadership we can. And I think I could deal with that in the polling booth." What he could "deal with in the polling booth" is a referral to Romney's understanding of the foundational Scriptures of evangelical faith. Now, again trying to use logic, how is that different than his disagreements with McCain? In my opinion (and remember I am very conservative about social issues), there comes a time where you have to choose a person who would be best overall, even if you struggle with one or two issues.
In my opinion, it is irresponsible of Dobson to say that he will choose not to vote. If conservatives don't vote because of McCain being the nominee, they are guaranteeing that a much more liberal person than McCain will be the president of the US. Dobson was clear to say this was his personal choice but he must know that he is very influential on many voters who will not take the time to look at the issues on their own. Even if there was not a tough fight in store for a conservative to win the presidency, it is still irresponsible of Dobson to choose not to vote. There is already too much voter apathy in the country and someone who is as vocal about political issues as Dobson should never discourage voting.
Dobson is reflecting a common belief of conservative evangelicals, that who our president is will determine if the US is a Christian nation or not. Yes, the president is influential of the issues of the time, but they are no guarantee of the result. The president is not the moral compass of the country, the citizens are. For example, same sex marriage has been an issue in government decisions for the last few years. The concern should not be who the president is because of a bill that might be passed, rather, the concern should be why our citizens allowed this to become an issue in the first place. The president does not determine family values, the family determines family values. Do not get me wrong, I want a leader who reflects my views but I am also realistic about the state of the country.
Well, I stepped on more soap boxes than I thought I would!