Kevin Basil (signature)

To Vote or Not To

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Written by Basil on 09/11/2004 3:13 PM. Filed under:

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Here is my September 11 reflection.

I am fed up with politics. It is all show and no go. A recent article on, linked from Google News, reports that Kerry is blasting Bush for not asking Congress to extend the ban on certain automatic firearms. The deal is this: the President says disingenuously that he would sign the ban if Congress passed it, which he knows they won’t do, and then he keeps the issue quiet until the ban dies at midnight on Monday, 13 September 2004. Very nice for Mr. Bush, he gets to appease people who are squeamish with firearms by saying, “I would have voted for it if it came across my desk,” while also appearing supportive of the Constitution’s Second Amendment by not having such a law on his record. How very spineless of you, Mr. President.

However, the president is not the only one being disingenuous here. Senator Kerry also wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He appears in photos in hunting gear (which I suppose means he thinks “a well regulated militia” is “necessary to the security of a free state”), then excoriates the president for this sweet deal. Yet, Mr. Kerry also gets the exact same benefit from the deal, while appearing to have a position slightly to the left of the president’s. How very spineless of you, Mr. Kerry.

What really gets me, though, is this quote toward the end of the article:

“For John Kerry to infer that the president is helping terrorists is a clear example of a desperate candidate that prefers the politics of personal destruction over a substantive debate on the issues,” [Bush] campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said.

“Substantive debate on the issues”? Sister, please! Neither candidate really wants “substantive debate.” Given the short attention span of the common American, both candidates would appear excessively boring and intellectual. The commercial and the sound-bite is what both candidates really want; manipulating mass popular opinion using advertising is so much easier than actually arguing on real issues.

It makes me realize how little I want to vote for anyone this year. I have been so brainwashed by the Republican Party that they will actually do something about legal murder that I feel guilty voting for Libertarian candidates, especially considering that some people are estimating that four Supreme Court Justices will be selected in the next four years. Yet, I must say that I am deeply suspicious: Will anything ever be done? At this point it feels like a grand charade.

The situation in the Middle East also makes me think twice about voting my heart. The policies of the last four years have us so completely enmeshed in the policies of that region’s sovereign states that I fear a withdrawal at this point would create a nightmare backlash that would make the tragedy of four three years ago today merely a preface.

In short, I have no confidence that my vote is really worth a damn. Both of the major political parties are slighty different variations on the same shade of Orwellian power. I am supposed to swallow their lies and vote with my emotions like a sheep.

Maybe that’s why I still haven’t asked the Commonwealth of Kentucky to send my absentee ballot stuff.

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10 Responses to “To Vote or Not To”

  1. pete Says:

    well said, sir! i am particularly struck by the problem of the “single issue voter” here in the great swing state of minnesota–the false dichotomy is that you either support abortion and therefore vote democrat, or you are against abortion and therefore vote republican. there is no room fore reflection on any other issues, which are seen as entirely inconsequential. so incredibly frustrating.

    another problem with being in a swing state: there are thousand and thousands of yards of campaign signage everywhere i go here. i miss Kentucky in that respect–while the state tended to go Republican, at least there wasn’t so much visual pollution everywhere.

  2. Erich Says:

    Indeed, the problem of the single issue is difficult for me as well. Although I don’t love Kerry or Bush, I’m trending toward the former because of my overwhelming dislike of the latter. While the abortion issue is something that should be of overwhelming concern to anyone who considers it murder, how then should Iraq play out in connection to it, for someone who considers the Iraq war unjustified? I’m tending toward Kerry at the moment, but my reasoning is almost completely negative.

  3. basil Says:

    The Iraq war has become quite a chimera, actually. Yet, I think we will have only begun to see “the nose of the camel” if we pull out. Tensions are already very high in the area. Leaving Iraq vulnerable, after we very nearly stripped them of every defense, will leave a horrible vacuum. I simply don’t have enough faith in Sen. Kerry that he can do the right thing. Not saying I do have faith in the president, just that I have a bit more when it comes to at least continuing to push toward a secure and stable Iraq.

  4. Tabitha Says:

    I understand your frustration with single-issue voting. There are many issues to consider in any election. However, you can’t just add up how many you agree with on each side to determine your vote. A candidate’s stands on tax reform, medicare, education, foreign policy, etc. will have differing levels of importance to a parent of small children, an old man on a fixed income, a soldier, etc. I realize that to vote Democrat is not automatically support of abortion anymore than voting Republican means you support this war. Each person has to assign a rank of importance, to determine which issues absolutely must not be compromised. To play devil’s advocate here, and probably get flamed, I don’t see how anyone who believes that abortion is the killing of a unique human being can rank disapproval of this war or even disagreement with war in general over abortion.

    As I see it, people who enlisted in our Armed Forces did so knowing that they were agreeing to lay down their lives, even if they didn’t understand the cause. Likewise, the Iraquis who take up arms are de facto risking their lives. The difficulty is the innocent civilian bystanders (who are NOT our targets). There is no sugar-coating these deaths. Compare this to abortion: An army of mothers (the primary nurturers and protectors of children) and doctors (traditionally charged with healing and the preservation of life) sworn to brutally annihilate the opposing “army�. This army is made up entirely of tiny, unique souls who were given NO choice about their enlistment (their parents signed them up). Furthermore, this second army has no weapons, no chance to fight back, or run away, or surrender. They have no one to protect them but us. This kind of intentional, inhumane execution of innocent bystanders and noncombatants places our first “army� firmly among the ranks of our world’s worst terrorists.

    Each Party has issues that I agree with and others that I do not. Do I know for certain whether or not the Republican Party would actually succeed in ending this situation? No, although they do have the record of trying (e.g. Partial Birth Abortion Ban). Do I know whether or not the Democratic Party will even try? They most emphatically will not! Still, there are Democrats who are against abortion and Republicans who are for it. So it’s up to me to do the research. Each person has to determine the final balance for himself. But for me, this is my line in the sand, nothing compares to the intentional killing of innocents.

  5. alana Says:

    I would encourage you to go read the Constitution Party web page for an expose on just how little the republicans have actually done, in the appointing of judges, the passing of legislation, etc, to stem the abortion tide. Methinks that their supposeed pro-life rhetoric might just be smoke and mirrors.

    But I’m not an expert, and I’m not necessarily endorsing the Constitution Party…although I was thinking about voting for their candidate until Metropolitan Alexey of Moscow issued such a strong statement about the necessity of the State to engage in the war against terrorism in very strong terms. Funny…a Russian Churchman, influencing an American vote….

  6. basil Says:

    Tabitha, your description of abortion as infanticide is spot-on. However, I have become very cynical about the desire of any politician to disrupt the current status quo too greatly. Both parties gain a great deal by having such an emotionally inflamatory issue on which to generate votes; neither party gains anything by actually resolving the issue in their favor. Yes, that’s cynical, but these are politicians we’re talking about.

    Seraphim wrote a great post about Bush’s supposed conservatism which reminds me, again, that I’m really a Libertarian, not a Republican. Except for their plank on abortion, which makes the Constitution Party look interesting, except for their emphasis on specifically Christian values, which is surely alienating to those with similar, non-Christian values. I felt the same thing about the poorly-named Christian Coalition.

  7. basil Says:

    Alana, I also read that statement of his holiness, Patriarch Alexis. You should also be aware, however, of his statement on hostilities in South Ossetia, which might provide a slightly different mode of interpreting the later statement on Beslan. Specifically, this quote:

    All conflicts can and must be solved only by means of negotiations. In our world there are many examples of mutual co-existence between the peoples who themselves determine and build their life according to their own will.

    I am not so sure that his holiness is advocating beligerence when, in his statement on Beslan, he says,

    The people of every country must rise in defence of their life and dignity from terrorist threats wherever new victims may fall to it.

    Perhaps one could interpret the second statement as a change of mind after the unimaginable horror of Beslan, which has been labelled by many a “Russian 9/11.” Even so, concluding that his holiness advocates the foreign policy of the US in its “War on Terror” seems a bit rash.

  8. Erich Says:

    Yeah, I agree about the issue of staying in Iraq now, and I also agree about the issue of abortion being murder and a high priority. However, I am somewhat concerned that Bush’s foreign policy is bordering on absolute insanity and that he will put our nation at a much greater risk if he continues down this course. I also think that, while I would vote Republican again if that would actually stop abortion, at least voting Democrat would actually reorient our foreign policy (implied–voting Republican won’t actually change the abortion situation). Ultimately, though, foreign policy insanity is the greatest of issues, it seems to me, as it has the greatest potential for disaster.

    As to Patriarch Aleksei, it’s hard to know how to interpret him, but I don’t think he should be given too high a degree of influence over our thoughts. Maybe future Patriarchs, after Russian Orthodoxy gets back on its feet, but a lot the current hierarchy seems questionable to me, especially on issues of the state.

  9. basil Says:

    I believe his holiness will probably be remembered as a saint. Does he have problems with the Soviet past? Yes, many of those who survived in the Russian Church do. I do know this: He has been at the helm of a tremendous resurgence of the Russian Church. I do not think that the resurgence is simply due to the dismantling of Soviet Communism; I think he has had a great deal to with the size and shape of its rebirth.

  10. Erich Says:

    Yeah, maybe, but just remember, in Orthodoxy anybody can be a saint! I just wonder if he’d ever have the guts to stand up to Putin on anything. So far, he’s seemed a bit acquiescent.