Monday, September 22, 2008

Help Me Choose a Candidate

I thought I’d try an experiment and tell my blog readers where I stand on various political issues, and then I hope some of you will make suggestions about which presidential candidate is the overall best fit for me and why.

  • I want my income tax as low as possible, definitely. I want the government to be as small and efficient as possible, and I want it to live within its means. I loathe our deficit spending and the fact that we’ve mortgaged our future to China. But I’m confused because Clinton the Democrat did a better job in this area than Bush the Republican, although I suppose Bush saved me money on my taxes and gave me two stimulus checks. On the other hand, I do think some kind of national healthcare fix is needed.
  • I’m anti-war, and I’m not even sure how much aid money we should be giving to other nations. We were truly needed to help allied Europe win World War II, but I think all our wars since then have been wrong. We should be much slower to go to war in far-off foreign situations. We should send food and supplies to help nations that are suffering, but beyond that I don’t think we should interfere and intervene as much as we do, especially when we’re so deep in debt and domestic problems ourselves.
  • People should be free to do what they want with their own bodies as long as they don’t infringe on other people’s rights, whether it’s abortion, sodomy, prostitution, drugs, or wearing seatbelts. I think abortion is horrible, but I don’t think it’s outright murder, because I don’t think a spirit is permanently tied to a body until later. However, I’m adamantly against gay marriage, which I see as totally different than tolerating personal liberties, and I want a president who's committed to holding the line against that on the federal level.
  • On energy and the environment, I lean toward wanting fairly drastic intervention. I think Americans are totally out of control on house size, car dependence, inefficient suburbs, and other forms of consumerism. I think our gas should cost as much as Europe’s or more, so we’re forced to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I also think water should cost more, where it’s scarce. The taxes raised on these items could be used to reduce pollution, develop alternative energy forms such as more nuclear plants, and stuff like that. I think the American way of life needs to be downsized, or we’re soon going to find ourselves in resource wars with China and India.
  • I'm not sure where I stand on immigration. I don't want wide-open borders, but it seems to me that most illegal immigrants from impoverished nations actually turn out to be win-win situations, because they make better money than they're used to and many of them perform menial labor that improves America's overall quality of life. I say legitimize as many illegal workers as possible and collect income tax from them. On the other hand, I can see the need to police our borders, especially for terrorist concerns. And I suppose too many immigrants could cause social and economic problems of various kinds, even if they're willing to work.

So there it is. I imagine I'm probably self-contradictory in spots, but so be it. Am I an inevitable McCain voter, or could I in good conscience go with Obama? Did I leave anything out that you want to know my stand on before you offer your suggestion?

6 comments:

Dan Knudsen said...

I disagree with a lot of what Senator Obama is pushing for, and also Senator McCain--they have much in common. The main issue for me is abortion, where he, and Senator Biden, are definitely different from Senator McCain and Governor Palin. Other than that issue, I don’t see that much difference between the two, except maybe how they may appoint to the Supreme Court.
Here is some food for thought for this discussion, excerpted from an article in the “California Catholic Daily” (http://www.calcatholic.com/), the Friday, September 12th issue: ‘Some issues always involve doing evil’
...With the approaching general election this November, we believe this to be an important moment for us to address together the responsibility of Catholics to be well informed and well formed voters....
At the same time, it is important to note that the Catholic Church in the United States has always cherished its right to speak to the moral issues confronting our nation....
Catholics have a special responsibility to be well informed regarding the guidance given by the Church pertaining to the moral dimensions of these matters. In the end, Catholics in good conscience can disagree in their judgments about many aspects of the best policies and the most effective candidates....
There are, however, some issues that always involve doing evil, such as legalized abortion, the promotion of same-sex unions and ‘marriages,’ repression of religious liberty, as well as public policies permitting euthanasia, racial discrimination or destructive human embryonic stem cell research. A properly formed conscience must give such issues priority even over other matters with important moral dimensions. To vote for a candidate who supports these intrinsic evils because he or she supports these evils is to participate in a grave moral evil. It can never be justified....
In another circumstance, we may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely....
Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason....
It would be wrong for us to use our numbers and influence to try to compel others to accept our religious and theological beliefs. However, it would be equally wrong for us to fail to be engaged in the greatest human rights struggle of our time, namely the need to protect the right to life of the weakest and most vulnerable....
It is particularly disturbing to witness the spectacle of Catholics in public life vocally upset with the Church for teaching what it has always taught on these moral issues for 2,000 years, but silent in objecting to the embrace, by either political party, of the cultural trends of the past few decades that are totally inconsistent with our nation’s history of defending the weakest and most vulnerable.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Dan, this is fascinating stuff. I suppose certain evils do outweigh certain goods. It's too bad that this election feels particularly much like choosing the lesser of two evils.

David T. said...

I'd suggest go with Ron Paul but, 1) There ain't a chance in hell he's gonna win and 2) It's such a hip, Starbucks whitie thing to say.

JennVan said...

You sound Libertarian to me! :) It's interesting how many people seem to be going that direction these days.

Montgomery Q said...

It looks like neither candidate is going to be the one for you, then, even though you're pretty conservative/libertarian. You didnt mention your stance on gun control, so it's hard to tell. I definitely know that Obama's not the man for you (http://barackobamatest.com/), and no politician is willing to take a hard stance on abortion or illegal immigration anymore. Those battles are pretty much lost, which is sad for me, because I do believe abortion is murder, and that we are losing a great deal of power,money and safety when we have such porous borders.
Mitt was my man....the last of a dying breed.

vincent g said...

I thought you never vote?