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  • The Unpopular Vote: Choosing the Third Party Option

    by Steve Skojec

    On Saturday, I headed off to the early absentee voting booth, where, for the first time in my life, I voted third party.
    Though I don’t need to explain myself, I will anyway: I’m a former Republican who voted third party because I’m tired of the issues I care about — all of them — being ignored. I voted third party because every four years I find myself voting out of fear of their candidate, but without confidence in ours. I voted third party because with each election, our choices get worse. If I didn’t vote third party, I’d be once again forced to accept the status quo — the binary position. On or off. One or zero. Tweedle-dee or Tweedle-dum.
    I can’t do that anymore.
    We’ve heard a lot of talk this election cycle (and the one before it… and the one before that…) about stopping a great evil by voting for a lesser one. And yet, the only certain outcome of constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is the perpetuation of evil. As for mitigating the damage, when you’re headed straight for a concrete wall, whether you’re going 90 miles an hour or 100 is about as immaterial as you’re going to be once you get there.
    We’ve really only been offered one major reason why we should vote for Sen. John McCain: that he is pro-life. Nonsense. He’s not pro-life. He simply admits fewer justifiable circumstances for abortion than Obama. He made his so-called commitment to an authentic pro-life position very clear during his first run for the White House, when he needled George W. Bush during the South Carolina debate for being willing to lead a pro-life platform that didn’t include exceptions for rape, incest, and health of the mother.
    He made it even more clear when he said, in a 1999 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle,
    I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.
    McCain has changed his stance on this issue during the current election cycle, but has offered no explanation for his reverse. Furthermore, he also supports the expansion of funding for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), which is a non-negotiable position for Catholics since, just like abortion, it entails the willful destruction of human life. In fact, McCain not only supports ESCR, he brags about it.
    To top it off, McCain earned the endorsement of Republicans for Choice, even before he won the nomination. They defended their decision by indicating that, after Rudy Giuliani dropped out, McCain was the least pro-life candidate left in the field. According to the group’s founder, Ann E. W. Stone, “[McCain] is [pro-life], but it’s not at the top of his agenda, not like Huckabee or the born-again Romney.”
    If that isn’t problematic enough, McCain also gave pro-lifers serious cause for concern when, just last month, he said in the third presidential debate that he wouldn’t impose a litmus test on judicial nominees, but rather choose them by their qualifications — even if they were traditionally supportive of Roe. “But McCain will nominate constructionist judges,” you say. Maybe — if he decides that justices like Alito aren’t really too conservative, or if he avoids his Gang of 14 tendencies when faced with opposition, or if he’s willing to put judges on the SCOTUS who will likely strike down his eponymous (and self-damaging) campaign finance law, or even if he’s had a change of heart since voting to confirm Justices Ginsberg and Bryer.
    But assuming McCain does what we hope he will, do we really think the Democratic majority will confirm anyone who will decide cases in favor of life? Will they really risk Roe if they have the power to stop it? Of course not.
    If McCain’s ability (and willingness) to make a real difference on abortion is in question, what about his other policies — the policies we’re going to have to live with while we’re waiting for him to do something pro-life?
    For starters, his foreign policy is irresponsible and shows lack of restraint — saber-rattling at Iran and Russia is not, for obvious reasons, in our best interest, and neither is indefinitely prolonging our stay in Iraq. His personal volatility is legendary, and his own colleagues in the Senate distrust his ability to control it as Commander in Chief. “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine,” said Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, in an interview with the Boston Globe. “He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”
    His stance on immigration is also unacceptable — unlike Obama, who merely supports amnesty, McCain actually co-sponsored it with Sen. Ted Kennedy, whom McCain counts among his closest political allies. He is, like Bush before him, a big spender, and an inconsistent advocate of small government. And in a move that just may have cost him the election, he jumped with both feet into the $700-billion bailout bill, eschewing any semblance of fiscal conservatism.
    The intellectually honest traditional conservative has no choice but to admit that John McCain is no fellow traveler. What some have managed to argue — and this is understandable — is that while McCain is awful, Obama is so much worse that it’s only sensible to vote for the Arizona senator with nose firmly held. This position is respectable enough, and is far superior to that held by those who somehow pretend that McCain isn’t an awful choice (predicated perhaps on the foolish belief that when presented with two options, one of them must be good if the other is bad).
    Countless pixels have been spilled on Catholic blogs and forums across the Internet promoting the supposedly urgent necessity of voting for McCain. Many of these are based on the following excerpt of a private letter from then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick in 2004:
    When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
    And these Catholics would argue, of course, that Obama himself is so grave a threat that his impending victory — which seems, in these waning hours before the election, all but certain — is a proportionate reason itself. The pseudonymous blogger “Zippy Catholic” argues eloquently against this assertion:
    Suppose we are contemplating doing act X in order to block a big evil E, where X is not intrinsically evil but doing it involves remote material cooperation with evil. 

    A proportionate reason to do X obtains when (1) X is reasonably effective in stopping E without being excessive, and (2) stopping E does not produce evils and disorders graver than E.

    Folks tend to make a reasonable case for (2): that is, they make a reasonable case (let’s stipulate, in case you disagree) that McCain winning does not produce evils and disorders graver than those which would follow from Obama winning.

    But there is a very strong tendency to ignore (1) completely, treating an act of voting as if it were precisely the same thing as making McCain win by fiat. That isn’t the kind of thing that voting is though: it has very little actual efficacy in making one’s favored candidate win, and yet it has quite a bit of efficacy in exercising influence over the person who votes himself and those within his immediate sphere of influence.

    So whether or not there is a proportionate reason to vote for a candidate depends on understanding not only the outcome dependent results of the act, but also the act’s outcome independent results, as well as their relative importance.

     

    In other words, because of the extremely diluted statistical significance of an individual vote, the act of voting has a far more profound impact on the voter himself — regardless of the outcome of the election — than it does on the election results. This reality is intensified whenever a situation arises in which a voter is not voting for a candidate they agree with so much as they are voting against a candidate whom they fear.
    There comes a time when we must draw a line which the conscientious voter will not cross. How many violated non-negotiable principles does it take before we’re unwilling to engage in remote material cooperation with one evil to stop another? Each time we vote in this fashion, we confirm that we can be coerced.
    So that leaves us with a question: What to do?
    The act of not voting as a form of protest is a very different sort of act than not voting out of apathy or laziness; it is a vote of non-confidence in the choices laid before us. However, the problem with choosing not to vote is that as a protest it is deafeningly silent. Non-existent votes cannot be counted or measured by the political machine, and are therefore wasted opportunities.

    So for those, like myself, who feel uncomfortable with abstention and downright unable to vote for either major-party candidates, there is the third-party option. The candidates this year aren’t particularly strong, with the vacuum left by Ron Paul, but they are a far cry closer to traditional conservative beliefs than what the dominant parties have offered us. In ten minutes on Chuck Baldwin’s Web site, for example, I found more policy positions I agreed with than an entire election season evaluating McCain. In that same ten minutes, Baldwin secured my vote.

    There are some who argue that a vote for Baldwin — or Bob Barr, or Alan Keyes, or Ralph Nader — is a vote for Obama. The logic escapes me. The only vote for Obama is a vote for Obama. If you want to point fingers, point them at the tens of millions of people who are voting for him. A vote for Baldwin, on the other hand, is just that — a vote for Chuck Baldwin.

    (I can only guess there’s an assumption that McCain became the pro-life conservative default when he won the Republican nomination. There’s that binary thinking again. In my case, McCain never had my vote, so it wasn’t his to lose or Obama’s to gain.)

    After months of angst, my decision to vote third party was simple, regardless of Baldwin’s prospects for victory. Simply put: When you vote for a candidate, you’re telling the other parties that you will support candidates similar to that one. The political field is a lot like the market: If enough people buy a thing, you’ll start to see a lot more of it. Every vote for McCain is another reason for the GOP to run another candidate just like him. Every registered Republican who votes third party sends the message that the candidate we’ve been given is not up to snuff.

    If my vote is my voice, it’s time to send a message I can get behind.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • SWP

      I prefer to think of a vote for McCain as a vote for Palin.

    • Maria T.

      Your article echoes the thoughts and deliberations of many people I know who can no longer get behind the “lesser evil” approach.

      I consider non-voting to be a shirk of civic responsibility — one should at least write in a name. As you say, the third party option (or a write in) is a way to have your voice be heard. As long as we keep opting for the “lesser of two evils,” there will be no change. And as one person who works for a political leader recently told me, nothing speaks louder than votes or a lack there of. If third party voting is high this year, the two major parties will pay attention.

      I myself will be voting third party as well. I do not want to have a direct hand in voting either McCain or Obama into office.

    • Steve Skojec

      First, a factual correction – while I have always registered as a Republican in my states of residence, it was pointed out to me by a friend that in Virginia, one does not register with a party. Having registered several years ago, I assumed that I had registered with a party affiliation as I always had in the past, but I stand corrected. I wish it weren’t so, because it’s more powerful when statistics reflect the parties of likely voters.

      I consider non-voting to be a shirk of civic responsibility — one should at least write in a name.

      While I disagree with you – a conscientious non-vote is an act of civic responsibility if a person believes they cannot do so without cooperating in evil (or without a sense of efficacy in the third party option), I’d warn you to check your state laws when it comes to write-ins.

      In Virginia, if my research is correct, you can only write in a candidate who has filed as a write-in candidate. This means that if you supported Ron Paul in the primaries (as I did) and wanted to write him in tomorrow, your vote would be tossed out as invalid in Virginia.

      It’s more evidence of the fact that the American concept of Democracy is far more limited than most people would like to believe.

    • Eric Pavlat

      I’m probably going to write in Joe Schriner. See http://www.voteforjoe.com.

    • George

      While I do share your disappointment with the fact that abortion is not at the top of McCain’s agenda, I think it is most important to think about what will likely happen regarding the issue if McCain or Obama is elected (since we know no third party candidate will win).

      This next term will likely see 3 new judges appointed to the Supreme Court.

      If Obama is elected, he will appoint liberal judges who legislate from the bench and there will be almost no hope for returning the abortion issue to the states or overturning Roe v Wade.

      If McCain is elected, while he is somewhat vague about what his appointments will be, there is no doubt the judges will be more in the line of Roberts and Alito who hold a respect for life and will adhere to the constitution.

    • Andy K.

      The act of “protest” of the current political system is the hook for me to vote third-party, as well. Living in Obamaland Illinois makes this choice even easier, as I know my vote won’t be threatening the “lesser of two evils” from obtaining victory.

      Still, I’m not sure if Baldwin’s my guy. Better him than Nader, Mckinney, or even Barr (all of whom are apparently on my state ballot), but I’m pretty sure Schriner and Keyes (my two perferred choices) are not.

      Any other Illinois voters who know the situation better than I do?

      Also, Chad Hopke for Senate!

    • Brian Saint-Paul

      If McCain is elected, while he is somewhat vague about what his appointments will be, there is no doubt the judges will be more in the line of Roberts and Alito who hold a respect for life and will adhere to the constitution.

      Hi George,

      I appreciate your commitment to life, but if McCain somehow gets elected, there is no imaginable way he could get a pro-life jurist through a heavily Democratic congress. It would be a bloodbath, and as he’s never shown any interest in spending political capital on the life issues, it’s simply implausible that McCain would do so here.

      We’d just get a few more David Souters.

    • AG

      Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    • Andy K.
      If McCain is elected, while he is somewhat vague about what his appointments will be, there is no doubt the judges will be more in the line of Roberts and Alito who hold a respect for life and will adhere to the constitution.

      Hi George,

      I appreciate your commitment to life, but if McCain somehow gets elected, there is no imaginable way he could get a pro-life jurist through a heavily Democratic congress. It would be a bloodbath, and as he’s never shown any interest in spending political capital on the life issues, it’s simply implausible that McCain would do so here.

      We’d just get a few more David Souters.

      Hence the reason why we shouldn’t be voting in pro-choice congressmen/women either!

      Pro-choice = unworthy to hold public office

    • Mere Catholic

      Thanks for voicing what seems to be perhaps the most maligned choice in voting this year! I’m inching towards this third option but the Freedom of Choice Act is honestly giving me second thoughts. I agree with your argument about the Supreme Court picks- I don’t think McCain would pack the court with the judges we would wish for and I think more David Souter types are just as disastrous as the openly liberal judges. But FOCA passing and a Pres. Obama signing it is a real possibility. I only pray that some of these new Democrats who are likely to win tomorrow will be authentically prolife and not support passage of FOCA.
      By the way, in your link to Baldwin’s site, I found a link to the Sanctity of Life Act introduced by Ron Paul. I don’t get why this bill had only 5 cosponsors…what happened to all the other Republicans- you know, the ones we prolifers are “supposed” to vote for- in the House?

    • George
      If McCain is elected, while he is somewhat vague about what his appointments will be, there is no doubt the judges will be more in the line of Roberts and Alito who hold a respect for life and will adhere to the constitution.

      Hi George,

      I appreciate your commitment to life, but if McCain somehow gets elected, there is no imaginable way he could get a pro-life jurist through a heavily Democratic congress. It would be a bloodbath, and as he’s never shown any interest in spending political capital on the life issues, it’s simply implausible that McCain would do so here.

      We’d just get a few more David Souters.

      While I agree it would be a fight, I disagree that there is no imaginable way he could get a pro-life jurist through. Senate rejections are pretty uncommon and as long as the nominee is unquestionably qualified, I think Senators have a pretty fine line to balance in evaluating the qualifications of a nominee and blatantly evaluating ideology. While the composition of the Senate was different at the time, think of the Roberts appointment and how well he withstood the attack. Also I wouldn’t forget or ignore the presence of pro-life Democratic Senators.

    • George

      Thanks for voicing what seems to be perhaps the most maligned choice in voting this year! I’m inching towards this third option but the Freedom of Choice Act is honestly giving me second thoughts. I agree with your argument about the Supreme Court picks- I don’t think McCain would pack the court with the judges we would wish for and I think more David Souter types are just as disastrous as the openly liberal judges. But FOCA passing and a Pres. Obama signing it is a real possibility. I only pray that some of these new Democrats who are likely to win tomorrow will be authentically prolife and not support passage of FOCA.
      By the way, in your link to Baldwin’s site, I found a link to the Sanctity of Life Act introduced by Ron Paul. I don’t get why this bill had only 5 cosponsors…what happened to all the other Republicans- you know, the ones we prolifers are “supposed” to vote for- in the House?

      I agree the Freedom of Choice Act is very scary. It would have devastating effects on our country. And it is a real possibility just as the Sanctity of Life Act could be a real possibility a few years down the road if liberal Democrats don’t control all three branches of our federal government! (now that is scary)

    • Jesse

      “The only vote for Obama is a vote for Obama.”

      True enough. But, the “logic” others use is that enough votes for Baldwin in Virginia means Obama wins. So die-hard Baldwin supporters who can’t stomach McCain end up with the guy they can stomach the least, Obama.

      Perhaps it’s time for Instant Run-Off Voting not just in local San Francisco elections. In IRV elections if your first choice doesn’t get half the total, then your vote goes to you subsequent choice. Baldwin would get let’s say 20% in Virginia if people really voted their conscience under IRV. But, their second/third choice McCain would still be able to win if he got more votes than Obama in the end. Maybe this way the GOP wakes up and notices they are not the first choice among many traditional conservatives.

      Hoping against hope and more wishful thinking than is allowed by the mind, I still see Califonria going for McCain in an upset with the exact number of those that support the State Marriage Amendemnt, Prop 8. The other best case scenario is a 269 tie in the electoral college, and Nancy Pelosi decides we need national bi-partisan healing (and the most inexperienced Executive Branch in history to pump up her role as Speaker) selecting Obama as Prez and Palin as Vice-Prez. Either way I already ordered my Sarah 2012 bumperstickers. She’ll be ready by then.I

    • Ender

      The concept of using your vote to protest the choice of candidates makes sense only if there is truly no significant difference between them, and no rational case can be made that this is the situation in this election.

      I also don’t understand why anyone who intends to make a protest vote would then “settle” for another less-than-perfect candidate simply because his name is on the ballot. Isn’t your protest about not having to “settle” for someone you don’t really want? Why not write in the person you really do want? What do you care if your ballot is thrown out? You’re making a statement – although it isn’t clear who will care about it. Who exactly do you expect to influence? It surely won’t be the people who voted for McCain in the primaries.

      I, too, would like a different choice tomorrow but I feel it is more important to continue to battle abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage with the poor tools we actually have than to simply abandon the field to the opposition and fantasize about the tools we would like to have. If electability isn’t an issue, why not write in Jesus’ name and be done with it? Doesn’t that send an unambiguous message about where your priorities are?

    • Sam

      Steve,

      I’m supporting McCain tomorrow as the best candidate with a realistic chance to win and at least impede the culture of death. But as someone who has wrestled interiorly with the third party option for the last two presidential elections now, I definitely sympathize with your frustration and even see much of your argument. I always flirt with the Constitution Party and in my state (the PDR of Massachusetts), a vote for the CP or the GOP is relatively meaningless anyway since this state’s supposedly intelligent electorate would choose an axe murderer with a D after his name over Mother Teresa if she had an R after her name. But what keeps me coming back to the GOP is the life issue and the practical reality that — like it or not — they are the only realistic chance of defeating or impeding the march of the culture of death and its party (the Democrats). You have to work within the system you have.

    • Scott

      Steve, you wrote: “The intellectually honest traditional conservative has no choice but to admit that John McCain is no fellow traveler.”

      Why do you insist on eliding faith and politics? Conservative politics does not equal Catholicism, especially traditional Catholicism.

    • Brian Saint-Paul

      While I agree it would be a fight, I disagree that there is no imaginable way he could get a pro-life jurist through. Senate rejections are pretty uncommon and as long as the nominee is unquestionably qualified, I think Senators have a pretty fine line to balance in evaluating the qualifications of a nominee and blatantly evaluating ideology. While the composition of the Senate was different at the time, think of the Roberts appointment and how well he withstood the attack. Also I wouldn’t forget or ignore the presence of pro-life Democratic Senators.

      Hi George,

      Thanks much for your thoughtful response.

      If McCain somehow wins tomorrow, the partisan rage in Washington will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. He’d be dismissed as illegitimate by much of the country (and most of the media). In that environment, Democrats would pay absolutely no penalty in blocking any pro-life gestures from McCain — again, assuming he discovers an interest in the subject.

      Further, the Democrats have always made abortion a litmus test for the Supreme Court. Taken together, I can’t envision any realistic way that John McCain can get a pro-lifer on the Supreme Court.

      I’m inching towards this third option but the Freedom of Choice Act is honestly giving me second thoughts. I agree with your argument about the Supreme Court picks- I don’t think McCain would pack the court with the judges we would wish for and I think more David Souter types are just as disastrous as the openly liberal judges. But FOCA passing and a Pres. Obama signing it is a real possibility.

      Hi Mere Catholic,

      Fair point. FOCA is indeed awful but Obama’s political team is much too sharp to bring it up his first term (second term, possibly). Like every other politician, Obama is most concerned about getting re-elected. If he were to sign FOCA, the country would explode on cultural lines. In a stroke, he would destroy all the gains his Catholic supporters have made with their “Abortion Reduction” strategy and create a huge new obstacle to his re-election in 2012. There’s no way Obama’s people would be that stupid.

      Much more likely, this will just be another campaign commitment that he breaks (as when he promised to fillibuster FISA… and then actually voted for it). FOCA has been languishing for 20 years and only gets dusted off and waved around at election time. It won’t go anywhere his first term.

    • Steve Skojec

      Why do you insist on eliding faith and politics? Conservative politics does not equal Catholicism, especially traditional Catholicism.

      I said “traditional conservatism” not “traditional Catholicism.” They share much in common, but the one does not necessarily include the other.

    • Mother of Two Sons

      How can the voices of 50 million people (unborn babies) not get through to you….. a third party vote does nothing for them but a McCain/Palin Victory could actually be just the momentum our comatose Church will need to finally get the RIGHT TO Live for the as yet Unborn American to be ratified. Do you realize that we have actually allowed 50 million for the most part, first born of our nation be elected to DIE by their Mothers? We must vote McCain, not because McCain will do this but because we will have been given one last chance to make this happen — a truly miraculous outcome. No thanks to you who choose to PROTEST….. I , for one, am not impressed and if McCain/Palin do win I hope that you will come out of your “no chance of ever winning slot” and help us finally make this happen!! There is something to a 3rd Party concept but it doesn’t exist and a lot of work needs to happen way ahead of an Election Day to bring it into existence. Way behind my ONE ISSUE of The Sanctity of LIFE from Conception to Natural Death in our Country!

    • Joseph

      I agree with your assessment Steve. I also voted for Chuck Baldwin. I hope in the future that Catholics will be more pro-active in pushing for real anti-abortion candidates even before the primaries so as to offer the voting public a real choice. I hope that Christians will be more open to third party candidates who espouse Christian principles in the future as the two dominant parties have failed to live up to Christian ideals.

    • Dale Price

      Fair point. FOCA is indeed awful but Obama’s political team is much too sharp to bring it up his first term (second term, possibly).

      I respectfully disagree. A President Obama is going to have a lot less cash to play with courtesy of the recession and the bailout. Thus, he’s going to have to offer some non-pecuniary payouts to his reddest supporters. FOCA, repeal of DOMA–neither costs a cent and yet will satisfy the cultural left for years.

      If he’s going to do it, he’s going to have to do it early, then tack to the center later for reelection (witness Clinton). He’ll have bupkis in the tank to pull it off for a second term.

    • Reality

      I voted third party

      Translation: I voted for Obama.

    • Mr Dave

      OK voting for a third party is NOT a vote for Obama, it is a half-vote for Obama, or rather, a vote away from McCain.

      The way I see it, if we pick Obama, things will get A LOT worse. If we pick McCain, things stay the same. If we pick Baldwin, he does nothing because the Nancy Pelosi-led house and the democratic senate override and etc everything he tries to do.

      Baldwin is a write-in candidate in my state. It’s a catch 22. I do wrong to vote for McCain cause hes not good, but I do wrong if I waste my vote on someone who does not have a chance. It is my moral duty to vote for Baldwin cause to do so is to pick the only candidate who is 100%. To vote for McCain is my moral duty cause keeping Obama out is essential and Baldwin doesn’t have a chance.
      Baldwin is not going to win regardless of whether or not I vote for him, but McCain actually has a chance to prevail in my state. Therefore I am leaning towards McCain.

      You know what? I know what I will do! I will go to my website (see above link in my name)and read my article on how to decide who to vote for. Then I will replace Obama with Baldwin and flip my coin. Or throw my stones at the cans. Take a break from the stress and have a laugh!

    • Julie

      It’s a convenient way out and a way of saying “I’m holier than thou,” while not having the courage to actually weigh the issues and do the hard work of really making a decision.

      It’s also a way for others to lose respect for you.

    • Aaron Traas
      I voted third party

      Translation: I voted for Obama.

      It’s comments like this, and lack of reasoned discourse among the masses that consistently confirm my hatred of democracy, egalitarianism, and post-enlightenment philosophy our secular nation is based on.

      Let’s face it: the average citizen is too stupid and uneducated to vote competently for leaders above the school-board or sheriff. Combined with selfishness, greed, and delusions for grandeur, we have an electorate that elevated the two worst candidates for the leader of the nation that we’ve ever seen from the major parties. And most Americans, even Catholics, think that America’s way is the only correct way to do government.

      No government of any kind can be righteous and just unless it first confesses fidelity to Christ the King above all. Any step away from that is folly. Pluralism is stupid, and for a Catholic to idealize a society that does not specifically and explicitly confess faith in Christ and allegiance to His one and only Church on earth is heresy, plain and simple.

      I pray to Bl. Emperor Karl I of Austria daily to intercede on behalf of our nation, that it might reject the evil that it embraces, dismantle the corrupt and flawed government, and a great Catholic king shall rise, to re-forge Christendom.

    • John Jakubczyk

      1. Voting third party in a close election is a cop out. Frankly when I am fighting in the fox hole for the pro-life cause, I don’t need some professorial reason why it would be unseemly to watch my back.
      Voting for a third party candidate in this election is saying to those of us who seethe need to stop the pro-abortion candidate, you are on your own.

      Like some of you, I have been active for the last 33 years in this cause. I watched our Church compromised by the pro-left apologists who were too afraid to tell pro-abortion Catholic politicians that they were a scandal to the Faith. I watched pro-life groups enjoy attacking each other as opposed to seeking common ground to fight a common enemy. I have seen por-life democrats thrown out of their party and the balance sit quietly whiler anti-Catholic leftists take it over.

      For too many people abortion is just a word, a political position, a divisive “issue.” But to the child, it means death; to the mother it means a scar in her life that will only be healed by the mercy of God; and to society it means an inestimatable loss of a human being created inthe image and likeness of God.

      John McCain was not perfect on the issue. but he was a member of the family who believed enough in life to adopt a little girl from Bangladesh, who believed enough in life to have a consistent pro-life voting record and who supported Arizona Right to Life not just with words, but with his votes and his friendship. His opponent is not our friend; he is not the mother’s friend, and he is not the baby’s friend.

      To the NH Catholic, it is inconceivable that you would stab your fellow pro-lifers in the back by voting for a person who would have us arrested for saving lives, who is supported by the largest baby killing operation in the world and who opposes the idea that marriage is unique and ordinarily defined as a union of man and woman. But then again, with Obama supporters there seems to be a suspension of logic and common sense as they swoon after the “one.”

      2. As for the appointment of judges, John McCain has pledged to appoint pro-life justices. Brian questions that possibility given a Democratic Senate. Answer – appoint a pro-life member of the Senate. There are some excellent choices. The Senate would not reject one of its own, especially if it were someone with the background and ability to sit on the bench. If the Democrats tried to create a problem, John McCain would take the question to the American people and the hew and cry would be deafening.

    • Aaron Traas

      As for the appointment of judges, John McCain has pledged to appoint pro-life justices.

      McCain has said before that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. Was he lying then, or is he lying now? Neither he, nor Obama, are to be believed. They will say anything and do anything to get elected. Material cooperation is material cooperation. Evil is evil.

      If you think for one minute that McCain wouldn’t kiss up to Planned Parenthood or NARAL, or kill a child himself if he thought it would get him elected, you are simply and plainly fooling yourself.

    • Loretta

      Like Sam above, I live in Massachusetts. The delegates from this state is a foregone conclusion. Hence, I do feel “freer” to vote according to my conscience. There’s no way Massachusetts will be RED come tomorrow night. (Or…if it does…then so will almost all the other states anyway!) Because of this, I do not have to contend with the notion that “a 3rd party vote is a vote for Obama.”

      The one thing I disagree (although with complete understanding) with Sam is “You have to work within the system you have.” Well, I don’t like the 2-party system we have, and I strongly believe that it is only for the good of this country that we have at least 3 major parties. So I have to work within the system we have TOWARD the system I think we ought to have. And that system offers more than 2 viable candidates. How else do you get from here to there but by beginning to show that desire?

      I, too, will be voting 3rd party so that I can vote according to my conscience.

      Now, if I lived in a swing state, I would have to wrestle a bit more with my conclusion.

    • RK

      ……..absolutely correct. The choices offered by the two dominant parties are essentially the same. Coke is more different from Pepsi than McCain is from Obama. They’re two big government political hacks who couldn’t care less about anything other than satisfying their own gangs of special interests. They both supported the bailout scam.

      Don’t buy the tripe that McCain will reverse Roe or appoint pro life judges. He won’t.

      Vote third party and send a message before it’s too late.

    • James

      I feel you, Steve. A vote for either of these two is a vote for politics as usual. I’m done playing that game.

      But I agree with one of the posters above who points out that you are not constrained by the names on the ballot. I’ll be writing in my third-party choice.

    • Loretta

      James, and others,
      Please be aware that each state functions differently when it comes to write-ins. In some states, they are not an option.

    • Barbara

      Our passion for the issues must be as hot burning during the primary as it is during the general. No, it must me more so. That is the way to create a mandate. Not choosing the lesser of two evils and not casting an ineffectual vote. It is sad that we as Catholics do not hammer home the need to participate in every level of elections. I pray that changes.

      As for me, I will be voting for McCain. Either Obama or he will win, and I do have a strong preference.

    • Teri

      the sure loser. How conscientious of you!

      Thanks for nothin’.

    • Teri

      To see mention ESCR in this blog nine months after this “science” has been debunked is REALLY disappointing. The Embryonic Stem Cell duplication replication has been produced using Adult Stem Cells cheaper and without challenge. McCain’s past stand on ESCR is moot.

      I consider this whole article and those referencing ESCR and McCain as nothing but dross.

      Weird article. We’re moving into ice fishing season.

    • Alma

      To see mention ESCR in this blog nine months after this “science” has been debunked is REALLY disappointing. The Embryonic Stem Cell duplication replication has been produced using Adult Stem Cells cheaper and without challenge. McCain’s past stand on ESCR is moot.

      That isn’t true. John McCain supports ESCR right now, along with Federal funding of it right now. New technology might someday make all of this moot hopefully, but we are not there yet. There are also lots of debates about the morality of some of those techniques.

      John McCain supports an intrinsic evil, that is a fact. You migth have decided to ignore that and support him but don’t get angry at Catholics who won’t

    • JC

      There are many Catholic teachings regarding politics. Often, they are clear cut: vote to end abortion and contraception NOW. Sometimes, they are up to our prudential judgement: “balance subsidiarity with solidarity.”
      But nowhere in any official document do I see, “Vote for the candidate who is likely to win.” Just the opposite. I see plenty of “Vote for the candidate who *most* reflects your values, whether or not that candidate is ‘likely to win.’” We’re supposed to leave ‘likely to win’ up to God.

      That said, to borrow from SWP, I’m voting for Palin (and Cindy McCain).

      I think it’s absolutely crucial that we get pro-life women in executive power, and that we get a pro-life first lady.

      I have a long track record of voting third party to show for it. In fact 2004 was the first election in which I did *not* vote 3rd party, and that time was because there wasn’t someone else to vote for.

      This time, I waited for McCain to give me a sign, and I got two signs that I’d prayed for: Palin as VP and Cindy’s strong pro-life statement during the Convention.

      This weekend, I *did* investigate Barr and Baldwin just to be sure I was consistent. Bob Barr, among other things, personally paid for an abortion of his ex-wife’s baby (and he doesn’t even mention abortion on his platform).

      In the primary, after careful consideration of all the candidates, I decided that Mike Huckabee-who, for reasons I don’t understand, received the same kind of knee-jerk, superficial criticisms and dismissals that Palin gets–was the candidate who most reflected my beliefs. I liked Ron Paul well enough, but he didn’t give enough sway to Natural Law in his political philosophy. Huckabee was squarely based in natural law, understood subsidiarity and solidarity (“Look what we did at the state level! That means we don’t need the federal government to do it!”), actively supported homeschooling and traditional marriage, etc. Huckabee called for more than just a president who nominates judges, but a president who actively works to end abortion. I liked his message.

      I bring this up, because on cursory examination of Charles Baldwin’s positions, I found him repudiating fellow Baptist Huckabee, and I found him similarly condemning Sarah Palin.

      I noticed that Baldwin has 3 kids, while Palin has 5 and McCain has seven (albeit in a “blended family” way, but it’s still kids), indicating that his competitors are more personally open to life than he is.

      Plus, talk about experience! Barr was at least elected to something.

    • helenm

      Alan Keyes is on the ballot in 3 states, California, Florida and Colorado. In California and Florida, Dr. Keyes is the nominee of America’s Independent Party, http://www.aipnews.com.

      Alan Keyes has write in status in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Washington State, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

      Alan Keyes has access to approximately 71% of the electoral vote. Please vote for or WRITE In ALAN KEYES –THE ONLY 100% PRO-LIFE Candidate in the race and the man best qualified for the job.

    • Switzerland

      You know, even though you say that Herr Hitler and Germany are “bad,” the United States is not perfect either — after all, it had slavery and segregation.

      Therefore, rather than voting to defeat the worst side, we vote for the third option, to remain neutral. That shows just how morally superior we are to everyone.

    • helenm

      The corrected list of states where Alan Keyes has Write-In status is: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

      As mentioned in the previous post, he is the nominee of America’s Independent Party, http://www.aipnews.com, in California, Florida and Colorado and is on the ballot in those states.

      America’s Independent Party is a new third party and is already the third largest party in U.S. It is the New Home for Conservatives in America. The mission statemet and platform can be found at http://www.aipnews.com.

      Three states were removed from the write-in list. That now gives Alan Keyes access to 2/3 of the electoral vote.

    • Steve Skojec

      JC,

      To be clear, it appears that Cindy McCain is not even as “pro-life” as her husband. She does not believe Roe should be overturned, and also thinks the issue is not one of the important concerns on voters’ minds.

      See:

      http://tinyurl.com/6ytjmm and http://tinyurl.com/5h7sgk

    • Whit

      I’m sorry, but this whole discussion in the comments area and Steve, your total article are pure rationalization and nonsense from anyone who is talking about voting third party or write-in.

      The idea of loving the person you are voting FOR is not the answer to the question. If you really used your heads, you would realize the only person that agrees with you totally, is YOU, YOURSELF, so under your reasoning you could only reasonably vote for YOURSELF. But you’re not on the ballot and a write-in may make you happy but you know that out of all the votes cast nationwide, there will be only ONE vote for you so you can reasonably expect to not pack your bags for a trip to the White House.

      Now the whole idea is not to get real heavy and try to think of all the reasons you should or should not vote for whomever. The logical and moral thing is to try to make sure that obama does NOT win. How to do that? There is only one way. A vote FOR McCain. You knew and know that. And yet you act like children and spout all this “supposed intellectual nonsense” about all the whys you refused to aid in the effort to STOP Obama from winning. You can now sit there and pray to your hearts content to stop abortion, stem cell research, same sex “marriage”, euthanasia and all the other satanic nonsense we know will happen if and when Obama wins and all your prayers will have no effect. They will fall on the deaf ears of God because you showed that you don’t mean them. They are the babble of the pagans because your words are not followed by our actions.

      I’m sorry to have to say this but you who would commit this type of travesty with your vote make me sick. Pure childish nonsense. So hard to believe and yet you seem to be proud of your actions. Disgusting.

    • Joe H

      About Obama and FOCA. I mentioned this before as well; he will not have the political capital to pass it. Democratic politicians in more conservative parts of the country interested in being reelected will not vote for it.

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who sees that John McCain is not pro-life.

      The GOP is a failed, defeated party. We will know that for certain tonight. It deserves to be punished for its consistent failure, for its unpardonable incompetence and mismanagement of the country for the last eight years.

      Meanwhile I hope that eight years from now pro-life Democrats have carved out a faction for themselves in the Democratic Party and can field a serious candidate by then. Such a candidate would likely win by even larger margins than Obama will win tonight.

      No matter who gets elected, more than a million unborn children will continue to die each year. The GOP is on the edge of dissolution as a political institution. It is time to get serious about building a pro-life wing of the Democratic Party and continue focusing on the grassroots efforts to build a culture of life. If genocide is really what is taking place in this country, to entrust its defeat to the blundering despots of the GOP has to be almost as sinful as voting for Obama.

      I’m going to the polls in an hour. I’ve thought and prayed and read the voter guides and examined my conscience. And I still am not 100% sure what I will do. My doubts will follow me all the way to the voting booth. I may end up holding up the line longer than I should.

      Oh, and don’t forget folks – Starbucks is giving away free cups of coffee to anyone who shows up with one of those voting stickers, I think. I’m gonna need it.

    • Ender

      OK voting for a third party is NOT a vote for Obama, it is a half-vote for Obama, or rather, a vote away from McCain.

      In the 2000 election 85,000 people in Florida voted for Ralph Nader giving Bush a 500 vote victory in the state and giving him the election. I understand that their votes for Nader were not literally votes for Bush, but there is no denying that the election turned on their votes and, by their votes, they gave the presidency to Bush.

      So – anybody remember what their message was? One thing is for sure: it was pretty expensive to send and it had zero effect. Protest vote messages are like writing to Santa Claus – there is no one “there” to receive them.

    • JC

      Steve,
      Thanks, but darn!
      Boy, do I feel stupid! Whatever summary I’d read of that interview made it sound like she said just the opposite of what she did. smilies/sad.gif

      This is hugely disappointing.

    • Steve Skojec

      In the 2000 election 85,000 people in Florida voted for Ralph Nader giving Bush a 500 vote victory in the state and giving him the election. I understand that their votes for Nader were not literally votes for Bush, but there is no denying that the election turned on their votes and, by their votes, they gave the presidency to Bush.

      What makes you think that these people would have voted for Gore? How do you know with any degree of certainty that they wouldn’t have just stayed home and not voted, like the tens of millions who don’t in every election?

    • Eoin Suibhne

      There is only one candidate who can beat Obama. That is McCain. Therefore, the fewer votes McCain receives, the greater chances for an Obama victory. So while a vote for a third party candidate is not directly a vote for Obama, it indirectly takes away an obstacle to his victory.

    • AG

      “You have to work within the system you have.”

      what if the system is broken?

    • Loretta

      There is only one candidate who can beat Obama. That is McCain. Therefore, the fewer votes McCain receives, the greater chances for an Obama victory. So while a vote for a third party candidate is not directly a vote for Obama, it indirectly takes away an obstacle to his victory.

      I think many here are trying to vote as Catholics – not as Republicans or Democrats (or other). With a well-informed conscience, keeping God’s laws front-and-center in mind.

      That being said, I can imagine being asked by Our Lord on the day I meet him, “Why did you vote for _____?” And if I can answer in clear conscience that I believed ______ was the best candidate to hold closest to Christian values, then Our Lord will be pleased.

      What I cannot imagine him saying to me is, “You voted according to your conscience and according to moral law. How stupid of you. Didn’t you realize that you could have voted for a lesser candidate so that the worst candidate would not win?!?”

      Can you really imagine Our Lord looking into our souls this way?

      Until people are acting and voting according to their INFORMED consciences and acting and voting according to MORAL LAW, nothing will change. Even if the lesser-of-2-evils candidates wins.

      Thank God the war has already been won by Our Lord. But the remaining battles sure are going to be painful.

    • Vote

      Whit,

      Why does Steve’s vote bother you so much?

      You seem really unsettled about something that you have no control over and I’m just wondering why. I mean, if you’re satisfied with your vote (and it seems pretty clear that you are) then whats up?

      Does it bother you that Steve can’t stomach voting for McCain?

    • Sam

      “You have to work within the system you have.”

      what if the system is broken?

      Tell me how you think the system is broken. To me, “broken” means that you don’t have real differences in governing philosophies between the two major parties, so that choosing is simply an illusion. I don’t see that with the GOP and the Dems. As long as the GOP retains a strong pro-life plank, it offers a real choice from the Dems.

      While definitely imperfect, the two-party system is not broken. It has served us fairly well for 200 years. When one of the two parties has died (like the Whigs in the 1850s), a previously minor party rose in its place (the GOP). If the GOP goes under due to massive electoral realignment or “me-too” irrelevancy, then maybe the Constitution Party will become the logical counterweight to the Democrat Party. I don’t see the GOP there…yet. If it does happen, I’ll switch to the Constitution Party.

    • AG

      As long as the GOP retains a strong pro-life plank, it offers a real choice from the Dems.

      While definitely imperfect, the two-party system is not broken. It has served us fairly well for 200 years. When one of the two parties has died (like the Whigs in the 1850s), a previously minor party rose in its place (the GOP). If the GOP goes under due to massive electoral realignment or “me-too” irrelevancy, then maybe the Constitution Party will become the logical counterweight to the Democrat Party. I don’t see the GOP there…yet. If it does happen, I’ll switch to the Constitution Party.

      Maybe it’s not “broken” yet but does it not need any fixing up? Maybe it will need more help in 4…8 years? How do we begin to fix it then?

      If you plan to switch parties in the future, I hope the CP party will still be there. It needs support now for that to be possible. Just like the GOP did when it first rose.

    • Eoin Suibhne

      Can you really imagine Our Lord looking into our souls this way?

      Yes. He put us in the world at this time, and we must live as circumstances dictate. Voting as a Catholic does not mean ignoring reality.

    • Eoin Suibhne
    • George
      While I agree it would be a fight, I disagree that there is no imaginable way he could get a pro-life jurist through. Senate rejections are pretty uncommon and as long as the nominee is unquestionably qualified, I think Senators have a pretty fine line to balance in evaluating the qualifications of a nominee and blatantly evaluating ideology. While the composition of the Senate was different at the time, think of the Roberts appointment and how well he withstood the attack. Also I wouldn’t forget or ignore the presence of pro-life Democratic Senators.

      Hi George,

      Thanks much for your thoughtful response.

      If McCain somehow wins tomorrow, the partisan rage in Washington will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. He’d be dismissed as illegitimate by much of the country (and most of the media). In that environment, Democrats would pay absolutely no penalty in blocking any pro-life gestures from McCain — again, assuming he discovers an interest in the subject.

      Further, the Democrats have always made abortion a litmus test for the Supreme Court. Taken together, I can’t envision any realistic way that John McCain can get a pro-lifer on the Supreme Court.

      And what if in two years Republicans regain the majority in the Senate??

    • Tim Shipe

      By this stage I imagine all bloggers and regular commentators will have taken in all they can to make the most intelligent and principled vote they can. I, myself, will not publicly disclose my own vote because I don’t see any clear pathway to any candidate for president, and I would not want to mislead any “little or big ones” who may be influenced by my decision.

      We have been told that this election is as simple as 1 + 1= 2, but my conscience has found so many points-of-view to have enough validity to cause me to go into an advanced calculus formulation- even the “Average Joe” Scriner pick would not be easy for me given the good arguments made by the reality check/Lesser Evil advocates. One thing I don’t agree with is that voting for obama is necessarily a serious sin, anymore than voting for Mccain is- given that Mccain is a pontius pilate state’s rights guy on abortion, while obama is predicted to be the most damaging president with regards to outlawing abortion ever. There is so much prudential judgment to deploy as to whether a Mccain or obama presidency represents a clear and present danger to stability of the overall Nation- maybe both do- so where does the pro-Life issue go if and when the middle-class is gone, and wars start piling atop more wars, bringing more terrorism back home or bankrupting further our economy?

      The fact is that I decided even before I decided for whom to vote- that I would be visiting the Confessional afterwards- not because my conscience had impure motive, but the objective truth of who really represents the best and smartest move forward on Abortion and the stability and prosperity of the entire Nation, which will completely affect how much priority will be given issues like Abortion. When a majority of parents feel that their current and futute ability to provide and secure their own children is at mortal risk- many, if not most, will go with the short-term economic issue as the one they will attach the most importance- and this observation seems borne out in the polls- as important as Abortion is as a single-issue- one ignores the issues of economy and war to the peril of the movement to protect the unborn because most people are most worried over their own children- like it or not- and we are wise not to be putting good parents into such moral dilemmas.

      So- no matter who wins the election- we have a ton of work to do- so let’s not go deeper into the demonization process- obama or mccain- both are going to need committed pro-lifers and full social doctrine Catholics to be holding up a light to help guide our nation.

    • Francis

      Thank you for this wonderful article. I just cast my vote for Baldwin. I have felt very uncomfortable this election season as all my pro-life Catholic friends adorn their cars with McCain-Palin stickers, assume I’m voting for McCain, and speak of McCain as if he were an ideal candidate – just because he’s not Obama. I have generally avoided arguments on the issue (living in Maryland, it’s a moot point anyway), but I wish more Catholics would acknowledge the deficiencies of Senator McCain, even if they are voting for him.

    • Loretta
      Can you really imagine Our Lord looking into our souls this way?

      Yes. He put us in the world at this time, and we must live as circumstances dictate. Voting as a Catholic does not mean ignoring reality.

      Then we will have to agree to disagree. Because I, for one, do not believe that Our Lord wants us to live our lives dictated by circumstances. I believe he wants us to change our circumstances by infusing Christian morality into the world. I believe he puts us where we are, not so that we go with the flow, but so that we allow HIM to affect our little corner of the world. THIS is reality.

      What is REAL is that HE is the one with the power to change the world. And HE has already won the victory. When we choose to compromise because of “circumstances” we simply make it take that much longer for Him to be effective. We impede His effectiveness because He chooses to be effective through us.

      As someone above mentioned, this cannot be limited to merely the Presidential elections. THis has to be applied to ALL levels. If we are not this discerning about our local and state governments, we are simply allowing the cycle to continue and we end up with the “lesser of 2 evils” choices dictated by “circumstances.” Or is it really dictated by lukewarmness and compromise?

    • Loretta

      Interesting…somehow the attributes to the quotes above got reversed.

    • Whit

      Whit,

      Why does Steve’s vote bother you so much?

      You seem really unsettled about something that you have no control over and I’m just wondering why. I mean, if you’re satisfied with your vote (and it seems pretty clear that you are) then whats up?

      Does it bother you that Steve can’t stomach voting for McCain?

      You’ve got to be kidding. Does this help?

      Link– http://www.priestsforlife.org/…/index.htm

      I can’t believe your questions and comments at all, in any context. If you don’t know, …… My suggestion, re-read my original post, and then go to an Adoration Chapel and sit in front of the Eucharist for an hour and ask HIM.

    • Zippy

      My suggestion, re-read my original post, and then go to an Adoration Chapel and sit in front of the Eucharist for an hour and ask HIM.

      When I asked, a voice in the earth rumbled “Whit who?” [smiley=laugh]

    • R.C.

      Will someone explain to me why the following remark was posted, apparently in all seriousness, above?

      I pray to Bl. Emperor Karl I of Austria daily to intercede on behalf of our nation, that it might reject the evil that it embraces, dismantle the corrupt and flawed government, and a great Catholic king shall rise, to re-forge Christendom.

      In the process of departing my Protestant upbringing because of my investigations of the history of the Church, I never once became aware that there was a pro-Catholic-monarch, abolish-the-U.S. Constitution trend among Catholics.

      Is this something my investigations missed? Some fringe movement along the lines of the sedevacantists? Am I misunderstanding the fellow’s intent? Did someone put LSD in this guy’s cornflakes? Or what?

      As I understand it, Church teaching has embraced the idea that sovereignty is God’s, but that for the purpose of organizing a terrestrial community, God delegates that sovereignty to the people, who in turn delegate it to their elected leaders: That the Divine Right of Kings ever existed only in the sense that it passed to the king through the people, for the purpose of making the king the servant of his people. Right?

      King Jesus, I’m good with. But that’s the only monarchy I’m interested in restoring!

    • Matthew A. Siekierski

      If you want to make a third party candidate a real option with a chance, you need to start working on it now, not in Sept 2012.

    • Owen

      To me, voting for a one world government candidate — the type the Republicans and Democrats always nominate — is akin to burning the entire world to the ground (just like a recent popular song stated). I have not voted for a Democrat in 30 years (don’t like what they state for) and haven’t voted for a major party candidate since Ronald Reagan’s second term and have lived to regret even that vote as I watched him veer off course. I did support and donate to Ron Paul’s campaign and would have voted for him if he had run as a Republican or as a third party candidate. I have voted mostly for Constitution Party candidates and I have never considered my vote a cop out. In fact, I believe that I have voted better than all you cast votes for either major party. When this nation falls in the next few years –NWO– (and maybe before the 2012 elections) I will know that my vote did not contribute to its demise. Until more Americans learn that we are being sold out by the major party candidates I do not see much hope for America’s future. Next time vote third party.

    • R.C.

      Come now. Come on.

      Christ may return before I finish typing this sentence. (Pause.)

      Or this one. (Pause.)

      Okay, neither of those. But barring the sudden interposition of the Second Coming, which I believe firmly will occur sometime between now and the heat-death of the universe, even I in my gloomiest moods can’t foresee anything describable as the “fall” of the United States as a nation prior to 2012, unless by “fall” you mean a dramatic reduction in supremacy of economic influence, while remaining in the top ten.

      For, while I don’t discount how badly Obama’s stated policy objectives would damage the United States if they are successfully implemented, Rome lingered for, what? several hundred years? …after the decisions that caused her fall. When America’s garrisons are pulled back, not from Iraq but from Maine, you’ll know you have something approaching the Roman garrisons pulling back from Hadrian’s Wall. And even then there’d be some greatness left. (Imagine how much of a boon it’d be were Los Angeles to secede from the Union, and allow the rest of us to impose 900% import tariffs on Hollywood media products? Lovely!)

      Well. Now look what you’ve done: Put me in the mood to spin speculative fantasy. You should have posted on October 31st; I could have donned a tinfoil hat and gone out trick-or-treating.

      Anyhow, I’ve voted Libertarian before now, myself. So don’t go giving third parties a bad name, will you? Too many people view those of us willing to vote outside the two-party system as pot-smoking loons as it is.

      And if you must speculate about the New World Order, why not come up with a less lampooned term for it? If one must think like a clich

    • meg

      Help me out here – what is the New World Order that you both referred to? And can you tell me what the North American Union is all about? I’ve heard there are plans to erase Mexican/Canadian borders. Isn’t what’s happening with the European Union, a move toward globalism? Are these things tied together?

      When my kids were in public school, there was such a focus on multiculturalism, to the point where they equated Hannakah, Quanzaa, a Latin holiday I’m not familiar with, and an Indian holiday I’m also not familiar with, with Christmas – all in the same cute little handmade book sent home with the kids, after they had been told by their teacher that they were all equally important. It was distressing to say the least. Is this our preparation for globalism?

    • s kidd

      Steve-
      Thanks for putting into words what my heart has been trying to convey for the last few weeks.
      Might I reccomend this amazing read to you, Steve, and to all. I promise it is worth every word: Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne. A book to “provaoke the Christian Political Imagination”

    • Rob H

      I think many here are trying to vote as Catholics – not as Republicans or Democrats (or other). With a well-informed conscience, keeping God’s laws front-and-center in mind.

      That being said, I can imagine being asked by Our Lord on the day I meet him, “Why did you vote for _____?” And if I can answer in clear conscience that I believed ______ was the best candidate to hold closest to Christian values, then Our Lord will be pleased.

      What I cannot imagine him saying to me is, “You voted according to your conscience and according to moral law. How stupid of you. Didn’t you realize that you could have voted for a lesser candidate so that the worst candidate would not win?!?”

      Can you really imagine Our Lord looking into our souls this way?

      Until people are acting and voting according to their INFORMED consciences and acting and voting according to MORAL LAW, nothing will change. Even if the lesser-of-2-evils candidates wins.

      Thank God the war has already been won by Our Lord. But the remaining battles sure are going to be painful.

      Beautifully said!

    • R.C.

      Meg:

      Help me out here – what is the New World Order that you both referred to?

      I wish I could tell you what it was, in a meaningful way. But I can’t, because it’s not a specifically defined term even in the minds of those who use it without irony.

      The best I can do is give you a list of bullet-points which those who fear the “New World Order” would mostly agree with, but the details of which would be subject to fierce quibbling amongst themselves:

      - It is a conspiracy-theory;
      - The theory involves a dark plot to subsume the national sovereignty of the United States, and every other country, under a single world government, the leadership of which individual citizens would be powerless to choose or influence;
      - The participants in the theory are identified as including all sorts of folks like G.H.W.Bush, Bill Clinton, Warren Buffet, all the heads of the Federal Reserve past, present, and future, the heads of large corporations, and anyone who supports international or even merely regional trade treaties such as NAFTA.
      - Some say that this secret government already exists, and is the reason why nothing ever improves in Washington, because this secret shadow-government of darkened conference rooms is already calling the shots, rather than the people.
      - The biggest difference between the New World Order conspiracy and the conspiracy-theory which unfolded through the course of the television show The X-Files is that the government cover-up in the latter involved a conspiracy to literally breed unsuspecting U.S. citizens with aliens of the extra-terrestrial kind, whereas the former mainly is concerned with metaphorical (economic and political) “breeding” with aliens of the Mexican kind.

      Anyway, Owen’s apparently unironic use of the term here left me uncertain whether to laugh or sadly sigh.

      The last time I had that same uncertainty of feeling was on a mission/aid trip to assist the Gypsies (Roma) in Romania. We were building a clinic-building and a school building in a village, and we were a mixed group of pallid Americans (including me) and African-ancestry Americans (including my sister-in-Christ Vanessa). I had been talking with Vanessa — I think I gave her a hug after praying together, perhaps — and some Eastern European skinheads who’d had a bit too much beer came over and accused me of being a “n*****-lover.”

      I couldn’t believe it. I was torn between laughing and being aghast and speechless. Here we were in the 21st century, and they were using that term? What, was 1950′s Klan propaganda being played in reruns in Eastern Europe?! They couldn’t even update their bigotry?

      So I answered that, yes, that term truly did describe me, and that I hoped to show Christ’s love to all those Christ Himself loved, whether they were sunburn-prone or not! …”and, by the way, may God bless all you fellows, too.”

      They got bored talking to me, and left.

      But I still shake my head about it. Saints are always unique, always fresh, always distinctively themselves.

      But heresies and propaganda and broadly-believed lies and institutions of sin?

      They somehow just can’t escape being caricatures and clich

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