One Subject Voters20 October, 2008
Sometimes I’m slow. And not just while trying to run. For instance, it took me about three days to process a conversation I had with a ‘friend.’ She is a committed Roman Catholic and, when it comes to most social issues, rather liberal — for instance, she wants higher taxes on the rich so the nation can afford programs for the poor (in other words, socialism (or at least that’s what McCain and his psychophants (intentional misspelling) call it)).
Back in late September, the Bishop Martino ordered all the priests in the Scranton Diocese to read a letter in church (see the article in the Times Leader). In short, the Bishop told his flock that the only thing a Catholic voter should consider in the voting booth is abortion. No other policy matters.
So how does a liberal Catholic deal with this?
I asked her about the letter. “Did your priest read it in church?”
“Yeah. He had to.”
“So, what did you think of it?”
She thought for a moment, then answered, “It really pissed me off. But it also made me think.”
“Think about what?”
“Does abortion trump all?”
“Does it?” I asked. “Who will be more likely to help the poor?”
“Who will be more likely to fund education?”
“Who’s got a real health care plan?”
“Who will, hopefully, get us out of Iraq?”
“Who not will invade yet another country?”
“You do realize that McCain keeps bouncing back and forth on abortion?”
“But he chose Palin as a running mate.”
“So who are you gonna vote for?”
“Because if I don’t vote for McCain, I go to hell. The bishop said so. I agree with Obama on just about everything.” She paused for a few moments.
I added, “Except abortion?”
She nodded. “Except abortion.”
“So your gonna vote for a senile war-monger who will steal from the poor and give to the rich just because your priest tells you to? You do realize this is America, right? You can vote for whoever you want.”
We talked for another fifteen or so minutes, and she kept coming back to the same stumbling block. The only political question her bishop and her priest care about is abortion. And the thought of disagreeing with her spiritual leaders scares the hell out of her. Literally.
I look at the McCain/Palin signs in yards and wonder: how many McCain/Palin supporters are one issue voters? How many of them are voting based only upon abortion, or race, or tax cuts for the rich, or deregulation, or anti-environmentalism, or global-warming-denial? Okay, I admit that past the first three or four, probably not too many. I really wonder how many single issue voters are out there. I have looked closely at polling questions (not all, I admit — I have a life and a job). The one-issue voter is a glaring omission. It is never asked.
I am an atheist (if you don’t believe me, look at the title of the blog). I view the world through full-blown naturalism. If there is a natural explanation, god is not needed. It means that I deal with evidence. And I can change my mind if the evidence points me in a different direction. It also means that, when making a decision in the voting booth, I can look at the totality of a candidate’s positions. I am not constrained by the monomania of irrational thought. I do not have to make a choice between ‘hell’ and voting my conscience.
I did not change her mind. I did not convince her to say, effectively, “Fuck you, I’m going to vote my conscience, not yours.”
Posted in 2008 election, abortion, atheism, Authoritarianism, Church and State, education?, flip flop, health care, hypocrisy, McCain, Me, naturalism, Palin, Politics, poverty, Predators, progressive politics, religion, Religious Abuse, war |