When Good People Don’t Vote

Coming up on another Election Day, I notice my neighbors and friends getting a little competitive. They’re not political activists. They’re political apathists. For some, an election is a can’t miss opportunity to broadcast their general contempt and hatred for America’s political scene.

It’s actually become a bit of a joke at this point, since my friends know that I write about conservative politics. Some inform me jovially that they are researching their third party candidates. Or, they’ll speculate on what they might do on Election Day with the half-hour they’ll save by not voting. (“A whole extra episode of Gilligan’s Island! Wonderful!”) Some friends recently started a last-minute social media campaign to elect me for the US Senate. Thanks, guys.

I understand why this happens. I have more than five functioning brain cells, so I can easily empathize with the disgust people feel towards America’s political scene. However, as I’ve explained before, it’s important not to take pride in non-partisanship. It’s easy to flatter ourselves that we are discerning and principled merely for dissociating ourselves from politics. But actually, it takes almost no discernment to realize that politics is a festering cesspool, and a child could find the thrill in shouting, “A pox on both your houses!” I’m not the least bit offended by people who don’t follow the news. But political disengagement is an absurd ground for moral preening.

Religious conservatives are particularly inclined to principled disengagement, because they feel snubbed and underappreciated by their fellow Americans, and especially by the Republican Party. Many, it should be said, labor on in the trenches of partisan politics, working tirelessly to convince influential Republicans that real conservatism is still worth embracing. Others, however, have reached the point of near-total disengagement. They exult in their vote-wasting in much the way a jilted lover might relish the act of throwing his ex’s gifts and letters on the pyre. “I’m too good for you anyway, GOP! See how I’ve moved on with my life?” This is easily the most emotionally satisfying electoral choice for a depressing and degraded age.

Politics is not a romance. It is a primary means by which We the People determine what kind of society we are going to have. That might sound rather grand; in general, the reality is disappointingly tawdry. This fact does not make politics any less consequential. Quite the contrary, in fact. If politics were clean and principled, that would indicate a healthy and virtuous society, in which it would probably be far less important for citizens of good will to vote.

Sadly, we do not live in a healthy and virtuous society. In America today we have one political party aggressively pushing a secular agenda that will, if followed through its logical stages, make life exceedingly difficult for our children, and for anyone else who wishes to live a life of dignity in accord with their faith. We have another party that is furiously debating the correct response to this wave of liberal progressivism. It’s far from clear that the right people are winning this battle, and internal party warfare inevitably dredges up some unsavory elements. Religious conservatives are especially mistreated, because they are the most countercultural. I can easily understand why it feels good to turn on the Republican party.

Nevertheless, faithful Catholics should understand that there is for the foreseeable future but one avenue to real political expression. We must persuade the conservative movement that meaningful freedom, virtue and human dignity are still worth protecting. And we must help the party recover the confidence and cohesion it needs to remain electorally relevant. If we fail to do this, our future as American Catholics is bleak. Of course, salvation matters infinitely more than the ephemeral turns of politics, and we should take care not to risk our immortal souls in pursuit of temporal goals. At the same time, souls are less easily won in a vicious, corrupt society. We owe it to our children and fellow citizens to work for the betterment of our society and culture.

It’s very hard to do that if we’re gleefully throwing away our votes. This minimizes our influence, not only in the legislature or the judiciary, but also in the party itself. I appreciate that disaffected Catholics sometimes calculate things differently, supposing that they can influence politics more by refusing to vote (for a mainstream party), thus motivating political strategists to “chase” them. This, I believe, is a miscalculation.

In the minds of hard-boiled political strategists, vote-chasing mainly involves voters who are low-information and easily manipulated. Principled counter-cultural minorities are too demanding to be pursuable in that sense, and tailoring a party to their exacting standards seems obviously untenable as an electoral strategy. No party is going to remake its platform with the goal of “wooing” traditional Christians. Our best chance at political influence lies, not in boycotts, but rather in sustained efforts to persuade moderate Republicans that we have the energy and vision that is needed to revitalize our culture and remake our society. Many Americans are beginning to feel that progressive liberalism is, for all practical purposes, the only philosophy in town. It isn’t. But if our fellow citizens aren’t aware of the alternatives, that may be partly our own fault.

Again, Catholicism is still well-represented among influential conservative voices. But those Catholics are often less influential than they might be, but for the demoralizing apathy of co-religionists who share their views but refuse to lend even nominal political support. This intransigence is short-sighted. We cannot afford at this hour of the day to be supine voting blocks who need to be placated. From that standpoint, faithful Catholics simply aren’t worth a political strategist’s time. But as active, engaged citizens, we have much to offer, and can have a real impact on the continuing intra-conservative debate. As a voting block, we clearly aren’t a “bargain value,” but we do stand a chance of persuading the less-liberal party that we are the salt of the earth.

It might not work, but I think it’s still worth trying. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a political activist. We all contribute to society in different ways. But faithful and politically active Catholics stand on particularly shaky ground when it seems that their co-religionists can’t even be relied upon to vote. If you find it distasteful to vote for the Republicans (and frankly, who doesn’t much of the time?), think of yourself as bolstering those voices within conservatism that are still trying to fight the good fight.

Francis Beckwith has recently offered a good explanation of why “vote the man, not the party” is bad advice. I think he is mostly right. It is naïve simply to dismiss the fact that our country is, in fact, built on a two-party political system. Nevertheless, I can understand why people are loathe to cast a ballot for a candidate whose platform or character are simply despicable. It feels morally compromising. Serious people can agonize over such questions, and come to different conclusions about what constitutes “material cooperation” with a particular candidate’s misdeeds. I won’t here attempt to sort out these most-difficult cases.

What concerns me most are the people who reject both parties lightly, and even with a sense of satisfaction, airily asserting that the party is lost. Once again, I can understand the thrill of the ceremonial “shaking the dust from one’s feet.” But as Beckwith points out, “just as the universal ex-pat needs to be on some slice of Earth governed by some regime, the high abstraction ‘above it all’ voter has to live somewhere, and he wants that somewhere to be better tomorrow than it is today.” It is morally irresponsible to shrug off one’s duty, as an American citizen, to contribute to a political future that belongs as much to your children and grandchildren as to Mitch McConnell’s or Mitt Romney’s.

My suggestion for faithful Catholics is to make a list of “minimum requirements” that a candidate must meet in order to be good-conscience supportable. Make it reasonable. Nearly every political candidate holds at least one view that I find morally questionable or even repugnant, but a vote is not equivalent to an active endorsement of every single thing that a candidate believes. At the general-election stage, I would only reject a candidate for an error that is both morally and politically weighty. Personal character also matters to me, and there are Republicans in America whom I would not support on those grounds. But again, at the general-election stage, only egregious failings should be seen as “deal-breaking.” A vote is not a certification of good character.

After eliminating truly unacceptable candidates, I think it is both prudent and wise to vote in a way that is mindful of the realities of party politics. It’s all right to feel cranky after filling out your ballot. I won’t ask anyone to throw election parties or obsess over returns. But I do think we should keep in mind that, edifying or not, elections do matter. In throwing away our votes, we deny support to the political body that stands the best chance of heading off a belligerently anti-Catholic government. There may sometimes be principled reasons for doing this, but they should be serious and very carefully considered.

My name is Rachel Lu, and I am not running for US Senate. Vote for somebody else.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and four boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • me, myself & I r all here

    not fair, after reading the article, one discovers u live in Minnesota!
    with uncle AL ‘f’ , as your senator, no wonder your friends are running a write in campaign. if i went to vote, I don’t know if it’d be a barf or a head bag!?!

    • DE-173

      “AL ‘f’ , as your senator”

      That’s seems like an insult to a hairy puppet from about 30 years ago with an appetite for cats.

  • Jrawlster

    My condolences for having uncle Al as a senator but I understand your friends motivation. Also I think his election makes the point of your article. When People of faith don’t participate others will and win.

  • I am an equal opportunity offender. ALL campaign literature goes in the recycle bin, unopened. But I still vote, because then, I have the right to complain. Nobody listens, but at least I still have the right to complain.

    • Catholic pilgrim

      Exactly my problem. There are no real prolife candidates in the GOP this time around, only opportunists/flip-floppers (see Cory Gardner, Scott Brown), sadly. The GOP has put out no good candidates (except some at the more local level).

      Perhaps, we as a nation are getting candidates we deserve, not the ones we need. But boy, how I really want to support solid candidates at the national level; sadly, there’s close to zero. A candidate who cares more about the Islamic persecution of Christians than political correctness. More about real solutions than personal gain.

      • The Republican candidate for Senate in my neck of the woods is pro-choice and even dragged out the gay couple who sued to get gay marriage legal to endorse her campaign.

        But she’s marginally better than the do-nothing incumbent who sponsored exactly one bill in the last 6 years, so I held my nose and voted for her anyway.

      • TobiasRaphael1

        This to me is the product of voting for the lesser of two evils… the logical result is that it will just get worse every election cycle. My theory has not been wanting in evidence!

    • DE-173

      People vote their values. Free stuff (Obamaphones, contraceptives, green energy subsidies, government barriers to entry masquerading as reform; i.e., institutional and individual welfare) are all values.

    • AnneM040359

      Second it. At least by voting you can complain the next day.

  • St JD George

    I used to live in GA with Cynthia Tucker and Hank “Guam might tip over” Johnson – I didn’t think it could get any nuttier than that, but Al was a knew low.
    It’s good to reflect on these last 2 years and remember that several million less people voted than 6 years prior which helped continue the current state of chaos and mayhem. Remember, we’re not Cardinals electing a Pope, we’re electing the better of two imperfect candidates.
    I was reminded again this weekend of a favorite quote from Alexis de Tocquiville who observed that what made America special was its spirit of recognizing its flaws and desire to right wrongs in order to form a perfect union, continually a work in progress.

  • Believing there are two major parites in the US is delusion. There is one party, two sides. The magic act performed is supported by the press and beliefs. Outcome, regardless of who is in charge for the last 50 years is smoke. The results suggest people get the leadership they deserve. I spent half my life in Minnesota and Minnesota ‘nice’ hurts. I revisit annually.

  • Kevin Vail

    All societies are governed by oligarchies, legitimized by public mythologies. Ours is breaking down, that’s how revolutions happen. One oligarchy replaces another and there is a new public mythology in place – wash and repeat.

  • Vinny

    WOW! I could’ve taken about twenty quotes from this and made a response to each but I’ll be brief and sum it up with – Why is the Republican Party in the condition it’s in today? Because us dupes have been voting for them for thirty years hoping for the best. What have we gotten? A party whose candidates have mostly abandoned any support for a pro-life and traditional marriage position. Even though their platform is, uselessly, pro-life and pro traditional marriage. Dupe: a person who is easily deceived or fooled.
    I write-in the name of a candidate or person who I know is pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. The best write-in is the pro-life and pro-traditional marriage candidate who lost at the convention or in the primary. They always lose because the party doesn’t support them and I want the party to know that I do. I vote my Catholicism. If that’s not good enough then to hell with America as it currently stands.

    • CR89

      Awesome on stilts. Vinny, who was that write-in you mentioned last week for MA governor? Whoever it is gets my vote tomorrow.

      • Vinny

        Mark Fisher (R) http://www.markfisher2014.com/#!issues/c1se
        He was ignored at the convention. He received enough votes to get on the primary ballot but had to sue the party to get that recognized.

        • CR89

          I can’t thank you enough for tipping me off about Mr. Fisher. As Ms. Lu wrote in this piece, I am one of those who has decided to “drop out” of paying attention to politics; I went from being almost a “junkie” to being almost completely apathetic and so did not even know about Fisher. When I did some very easy research on Mr. Baker I was appalled and there is no way I’d vote for him. Thanks again.

  • Thomas Mellon

    What if the only prolife candidate was democrat. Should they still vote republican.

    I know this is contentious, but the US needs to understand that the real victims of George Bush not listening to the Pope’s warnings over invading Iraq are the Middle East Christians and the unborn child. I say the unborn child because anyone with half a political brain knew he was giving the Democratic party a blank cheque for at least 2 terms. I suspect he knew that too and was willing to sacrifice the unborn child for the “greater good” of the US foreign policy .

    • DE-173

      There is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat, Bart Stupak. The Middle East is as it is because of the martial and imperial impulses of Islam.

      And while Pope John Paul did plead against war; (would you expect him to say, “go for it”?) he never said it was an incontrovertible evil like abortion; so wrap this nonsense in a “seamless garment” and ship it to the landfill or bury it next to Bernardin.

      • Thomas Mellon

        The point about the prolife democrat was hypothetical.
        It was the “martial and imperial” impulses of Bush which guaranteed a lengthy Democrat presidency and thus a Supreme Court that became an agency for Planned Parenthood.

        • DE-173

          Bigfoot is hypothetical; pro-life Democrats are pure fantasy.

          it was the foolishness of people who believed that Barack Obama deserved a “Nobel Peace Prize” would lower the seas and all that and bought into the overwrought nonsense of Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink that gave us “BO”.

          My life spans somewhat more time than the years 2001-2009, I can’t remember a time there wasn’t some sort of trouble there. Bush guaranteed a Democrat Presidency because he followed Rove’s advise not to pour molten lead on the throats of the Barbarians at the Gate. Nor is it the first time a left of center Republican gave way to an activist Democrat. (Hoover, FDR).

          You’ll note, now that Cindy Sheehan has served her purpose, she’s been treated like the political whore that she was-only her “John” didn’t even bother to give her car fare home.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    My primary concern is that I want Democrats in control of the country when the ‘it’ inevitably ‘hits the fan’. An object lesson for the terminally dense masses. Just like I’m glad the Muslim Brotherhood had control of Egypt long enough for Egyptians to know what THAT meant.

  • Louise Riccobene

    Wow, Rachel, you seemed to have touched a nerve, judging by some of these comments. Voting and choosing for whom to vote is not difficult, even when you dislike your choices, if you consider the bigger picture. Look what Harry Reid has wrought in 6 years under Obama and you all who refuse to vote for the Republicans, because you don’t think they listen to you, can look in the mirror and know you were partly to blame. If you live in NH or CO and don’t love your Republican candidates, suck it up if and vote for them if ONLY to kick out Harry Reid. If ONLY to make sure, in the event of a Supreme Court opening within the next two years, that Obama does not get his uber liberal choice in there that can affect us for decades. The fact that you don’t vote affects ME and everyone else in America. I live in NJ and altho I am not a huge fan of Chris Christie, he kept it from getting worse, much worse in this blue state. Lastly, if you are frustrated with the process, get involved, join the Tea Party, learn how to hold someone’s feet to the fire. You may not be successful, but at least you will have tried.

    • Vinny

      I vote Republican. I vote for the pro-life and pro-traditional marriage Republicans. The others are NO DIFFERENT than Harry Reid.

      • Louise Riccobene

        Even if that is true, which I do not believe, the fact that your vote may have helped to elect a Republican means that perhaps a better man or woman than Harry Reid will be Majority Leader in the Senate. That is my point. With Republicans in the minority, we conservatives have no chance.

      • Micha Elyi

        I vote for the pro-life and pro-traditional marriage Republicans. The others are…
        –Vinny

        …the ones who make it possible for your “pro-life and pro-traditional marriage Republicans” to have their bills heard in committee and get them to the floor for a vote.

        So yes, the other Republican office-holders are different from Harry Reid.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    In every mature democracy, there are two parties (or coalitions of parties), the friends of corruption and the sowers of sedition. The one hopes to profit from existing abuses and the other hopes to profit from the disaffection those abuses produce.

  • Nick_Palmer3

    Another issue that I don’t hear about very often is voting based on the actual ability of the person in the position to influence the matter in question. Does my Town Clerk’s view on abortion matter? Probably not. A US Senator with a vote on Supreme Court nominees? Most certainly. Too often we (myself included) let our selves be distracted by a candidate’s position on issues over which she’d have no control.

    This does not discount the fact that some of these positions could provide insight into the candidate’s moral and intellectual character. So, the line is not hard and fast.

    • Vinny

      That town clerk will become the candidate for U.S. senator. You don’t start at senator.

      • DE-173

        ” You don’t start at senator.”

        Ted Kennedy, Al Franken, Hillary Clinton.. need I go on?

        • Micha Elyi

          True, the generalization is what it is; it is not a universal.

          And don’t forget that your examples got significant political help from town clerks and the political supporters of those town clerks. For example, they counted Al Franken’s votes.

    • El_Tigre

      Unfortunately, there is no relationship between being able to get elected and being able to govern.

  • fidesvisest

    Thank you Dr. Lu. I appreciate your sentiment. However, having been engaged in the saving of life while under fire I think there is an additional point, I think the first reason why people should ‘vote’ — exercise their voice — that they should act upon their conscience.

    To analyse, pontificate, apathetically and in an unChristlike fashion vote for the-lessor-two-evil is not to act in a moral fashion. As the encyclical Humanae Vitae cites us in its exhortation to bishops and priest to act — to remember Christ was intransigent toward evil. No deals — with that in mind men can then act with purpose, up to an including laying down their life.

    To not act upon conscience, no matter the intention leaves one open to the tribe, clan, party — and as Fr. Hardon was wont to say ‘to a totalitarian result’. Each mam votes his conscience — each man should compromise on “chicken or steak for dinner” and not on principle. We lead by voicing the difference, by teaching, by showing by example, by writing about and explaining this distinction of ‘malum in se’ versus ‘malum prohibitum’ — things that can’t be compromised versus where to put a stop sign.

    For instance, the United States Naval Academy recruits moral young men —but informs them that sex issues are not a moral issue. The subject is not one that a moral man can compromise — not because he has no compassion but because his compassion is ruled by the truth — that it’s a matter of disorder—and through that truth the young man can be trained to lead ———– the point: first always vote your conscience if you want a moral outcome. If you want to lead men who desire a moral outcome you first need to show them that acting upon their conscience is the fundamental step. If you are ultimately asking men to be willing to lay down their lives — be a good man and prepare them to do so while examining their conscience.

    • Vinnie

      I think I agree with you but don’t understand your last paragraph at all. From that paragraph’s first sentence it sounds to me that the Naval Academy is wrong. Sex is a moral issue.

      • fides

        I apologize for the leaving out of my comment the reasoning steps. I am trying to quickly point out that in leading, you must get the followers to look to their source of strength, their conscience.

        The USNA does not do that —it asks that you suspend a moral point, or worse deny it — act against the exercise of conscience. First — act upon your conscience. In voting, legal matters, military matters etc. — act upon conscience. Dr. Lu is proposing a good act but not saying how — act upon 1. conscience 2. educate conscience 3. use the intellect to distinguish malum in se from malum prohibitum — in other words — compromise the actions that can morally be compromised and not those that can’t. This is a readily verifiable example that anyone can check.

        A couple of years ago this dilemma of conscience and voting came up in the global trade debate: Can you extract a benefit from an economy that that is built on slave trade forced labor? The answer of churchmen and politicians alike was that we should not force our moral view point on another country, translated to —- take the economic benefit.

        Today we are witnessing the fleeing from Africa across the Mediterranean, from Central America the refugees of failed economies etc — our lack of moral compass did not enhance anyone’s global economy — again, we as a nation were asked and voted — in various ways —to endorse this global effort at developing an economic tower of babel. It’s failed. Ask anyone: What’s NAFTA? Today the churchmen, politicians and voters don’t know — but we are still carry the burden of its implementation. Truly this was a moral failure of our leadership and of ourselves. We were willing to suspend common sense, math principles, historical facts and most importantly ignore the plight of enslaved people.

        Dr. Lu has some good points. Vote? Look where it got us today? — I say act upon your conscience. Distinguish between in se and prohibutum — learn the difference. I can willingly afford to lose my country if you are willing to guard your soul. I will not participate in my country destroying the chances of your soul to thrive because I needed to close my eyes and cast a ballot. If you think you can vote and suspend this dynamic of moral men, free men — then I wish you well but am not interested in becoming a slave to the tribe, clan or a totalitarian regime even if it is beneficial to the ruling class–I say be Christlike, be intransigent toward evil, be a warrior and stand on moral principle principle — defend your conscience first.

    • Eamonn McKeown

      Thank you for the Fr Hardon ref. I just bought The Catholic Catechism online, his 1975 book. Look forward to having it in my library.

  • DE-173

    More often than not, your choice is going to be between mediocre and vacillatory and truly awful.

    Tomorrow, I will cast my ballot for mediocre and vacillatory rather than awful.

  • Dick Prudlo

    I understand this view of Rachel’s for I have heard it since I was 21 and could cast a ballot. Forty-eight years later it just doesn’t have the same bang it once did. As one who is not politically disengaged and does follow the news (no matter how disgusting) my particular disparagement with the “process” is a simple one. On the one hand we have Harry “the body” Reid and on the other, R. Previs and C. Rowe two of the most despicable and principle less fools ever to find a men’s room. You may argue that with a Republican victory and Mitch McConnell at the helm in the Senate things will be bright. Mitch doesn’t even know the rules of the Senate, let alone find a principle to stand behind.

    • Vinny

      You got it. Rachel’s too young to understand. She’s where I was when I was her age (and younger).

      • Rachel Lu

        If you saw me as suggesting that “things will be bright” under the Republicans, I’m pretty sure it’s you who didn’t understand. That wasn’t the message at all.

        • Vinny

          I do understand. It’s this “lesser of evils” idea ( “we deny support to the political body that stands the best chance of heading off a belligerently anti-Catholic government.”) that I disagree with, though I would have agreed with you maybe ten years ago. I know that you can believe that though since I used to. It’s that “chance” that sucks you in but you have to ask, “how much of a chance” and is it worth your soul?

          • Vinny

            The “political body” that stands the best chance of heading off a belligerently anti-Catholic government is one made up of pro-life and pro-traditional marriage legislators, jurists and executive.

  • Mike

     I think that people have a psychological need to feel like they are still somewhat free, and that they can still make a difference through the political process, even though they know in their heart of hearts that this is not the truth. 

    The election system has always been corrupt.  Elections are rigged by organized crime, and there is no reason not to believe that this has been mostly the case thought our history.   

    Decades ago, the money powers control over society was less complete, and voting still had the chance to do something positive.  There are plenty of examples of good men that got elected to important positions throught our nations history, but this has been less and less the case as time has gone on.

     The money power has had its hands in our nation since its inception. However, the passage of the Fedral Reserve Act of 1913 marked the official end of our nation, with the recent supreme court citizens united decision serving as the final nail in the coffin. Any hope of a decent man ever breaking through the cracks is now next to nothing. 

    There is not a SINGLE Republican in congress, nor will there ever be, that cares one bit about restoring traditional values to society. Sure, the system will give social conservatives a moral victory here and there (ie the inconsequential “hobby lobby” ruling) to make them FEEL like they still have a voice, thus keep them hooked into believing  things can actually be accomplished through the political process. However EVERY “conservative” politician knows full well that restoring traditional values to society is IMPOSSIBLE without RADICAL economic reforms. Ultimately, ALL politicians are more loyal to those who fund their campaign then the naive dupes that vote for them based on false campaign promises. 

    It is an uphill battle, but there are things that can be done. (remember all things are possible with god). But we must first be able to identify the SOURCE of the problem and focus our efforts on that.

    As I said many times, there is only ONE issue that matters, and that is monetary reform.  This is not to say that there are not other  important issues, but they are ALL merely symptoms of our corrupt monetary system. As long as the devil controls the money supply of the nation, the devil will get his way all the time.  Christians must find a way to rise above the many divide and conquer “liberal vs conservative” red herring distractions seeded by the cryptocracy.  If we are going to have any chance, we must temporally drop all other issues and unite people of all political stripes on this most fundamental issue that is above all others.  

    On a positive note, I do think ballot questions have the ability to temporarily do good. Pheraps there is still some decent candidates running in state elections, although from my observations most state reps tend to fall within the rigged left vs right paradigm for the most part. 

     If you  need to vote for a candidate to fulfill a psychological need,  then by all means do so. Personally though, I think that facing the truth is more important then believing in delusions. 

  • JP

    Tomorrow I shall hold my nose and vote – like I have since 2008. The GOP House member I shall vote for is about as Middle-of-the-road as they get. She is proud of “reaching across” the aisle and teaming with the Democrats to fight for real VA reform; she is proud to have “created real jobs for real people” and she promises to fight to keep those jobs here; and she will “fight to for the people of my district”. Good Lord, for a while I thought she was a boxer or bar bouncer with all of the fighting she promises to do.

  • Connie Marshner

    Right on, Rachel (to coin a phrase…)!
    Why do so many Catholics persist in holding it as a matter of their theological purity to make the perfect the enemy of the good?

    • Vinny

      Not the “perfect” but there isn’t any “good” in pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage candidates.

    • TobiasRaphael1

      Because Jesus told us to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
      Also, perfection is not the enemy of the good… it is good.
      If more people insisted on this, politicians would have a much higher standard to meet than they do now.
      My gut told me when I first heard that canard that it was a false dichotomy. It is a way in which politicians can whitewash their shenanigans.

    • slainte

      Perhaps because some Catholics are reluctant to make Faustian bargains.

      If one chooses to cast a vote for a politician who is “pro-choice”, one promotes the murder of the most innocent among us and advances the abortion agenda.

      Compromising with evil is a violation of God’s law and is a sin against charity.

  • JP

    “What concerns me most are the people who reject both parties lightly,
    and even with a sense of satisfaction, airily asserting that the party
    is lost. Once again, I can understand the thrill of the ceremonial
    “shaking the dust from one’s feet.” ”

    I reject both parties, but I will voted for the GOP only because it is the lesser of 2 evils. But, we are fast approaching the danger where many voters will absolutely no difference between the 2. This morning, Mitt Romney said that if the GOP does retake the Senate, Congress will finally be able to send an Amnesty Bill for Obama to sign. Funny, I cannot recall any Republican Senate candidate running on a platform that promises making Amnesty his number one priority. It is these kinds of things that frustrate voters.

    • DE-173

      Mitt Romney. aka “the loser”. Time for him to go back to Bain. You had your shot, you blew it (and I mean blew it multiple times, mostly because you lacked the moral authority and credibility to attack Obama on his noxious socialized healthcare) so go away, loser.

      • John200

        Romney lost, and deserved to, and the way he was going to lose was obvious for months before the Rs inexplicably nominated him.

        He had no defense against RomneyCare.

        The second reason showed up after he was nominated: he did not use the debates to do anything. Obama mooned him and did not receive a well-deserved spanking.

        Romney is a much better man than Barry “Who’s Sane?” Obama. But we will never know what he might have done as president.

        The formula has become: Listen to nitwit consultants, have your axsz handed to you, wonder why. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    • El_Tigre

      If the GOP has enough persons in office, there will be more conservative candidates each time around. The left has used this to great effect. Do you think everyone on the left likes all their members?

  • Daniel Kossk

    This is an old argument; one that I accepted until now. Voting implies that one has a choice. Where is the choice? In short, voting is an exercise in futility, an illusion, and a total waste of time. The country is gone, lost, and it too late to reverse course. It is akin to Captain Kirk on the bridge, looking up at the screen, while the emergency alarm is going off, and a speaker voice saying,”Prepare for impact in 10 seconds.”

    Hopefully, we will be able to pick up some of the pieces after the crash, and rebuild— hopefully.

    • DE-173

      “We” will be dead.

      The Soviet Union lasted seven decades before it imploded; China is still under totalitarianism. abeit something closer to state mercantilism than marxism. Almost six decades after the revolution the Castros refuse to die.

      It’s been 500 years since the British monarch arogated the Church to the state.
      You have a choice and if you choose not to decide; you still have made a choice.

      • Daniel Kossk

        For our sins against God; perhaps we deserve to die.

        • I suggest that you review Lot’s discourse with the Almighty.

      • TobiasRaphael1

        There comes a time in your life when you realize that you can’t depend on yourself or your fellow man to get things accomplished… you have to go to God… and the sooner, the better.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    One erroneous statement summarizes what is wrong with this article: “In America today we have one political party aggressively pushing a secular agenda that will, if followed through its logical stages, make life exceedingly difficult for our children, and for anyone else who wishes to live a life of dignity in accord with their faith.” No, we have TWO major parties doing this, even though one party is leading the charge, and the other is merely scurrying to catch up with the first. I have no concern for either party, and will vote for a third-party alternative. As long as the Republican Party continues to remain competitive and receive the votes of religious conservatives, WITHOUT having to become truly pro-life, pro-family, and pro-marriage, voting for Republicans is a disservice to the nation. I am not a theological purist at election time. I am ultimately a realist. I KNOW that a vote for most Republican candidates is a vote for MORE abortion, MORE government, MORE homosexual advancement, etc. If you want the Republican Party to be a viable alternative to the Democrats, you must FORCE the Party to become this, and the first step is to refuse to vote for Republicans.

    • DE-173

      Round and round she goes, down the porcelain throne.

      Yes you have your choice between one party that’s guaranteed to do the wrong thing; and one that probably won’t do the right thing, but that’s still better than voting for one that doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning, let alone governing.

      On the other hand, vainglory is a sin against prudence; the proper response to a full slate of VIABLE candidates who are unacceptable is to refuse to vote at all. Voting for a candidate that can neither win or govern merely inflates the voter participation rates that the talking heads use to tell us are mandates.

      • vicki

        “but that’s still better than voting for one that doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning…”

        Voting for the lessor of 2 evils results in electing……..evil.

        Vote principle. Vote libertarian. http://www.lp.org

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          There are numerous immoral positions advanced by Libertarians. They are not an alternative, in my opinion.

          • vicki

            The only immoral position they have that I know of is their stance on abortion. Clearly abortion is murder thus I can not support their position of

            “1.5 Abortion
            Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”

            http://www.lp.org/platform

            Since the only reason for government to exist is to protect the people (individually and collectively) from force, governments job is to protect the unborn children. It is worth noting that the other 2 major parties are quite happy to condone murder of the unborn as exemplified by their voting records so there is no real change in this by voting libertarian.

            What other positions advanced by Libertarians do you feel are immoral?

          • CurtsMom

            So did you vote for Romney ( a man who has no real problem with abortion) or did you vote for Ron Paul ( a man who is against abortion.)?

        • DE-173

          Oh please. You mean vote for herding cats.
          The libertarian party is pro gay marriage, ambivalent to pro-abortion, and I still recall Harry Browne promising a 100 day policty priority of lehalizing pot, which whether or not it is a wise decision, should be way down the list.

          • vicki

            “The libertarian party is pro gay marriage”

            They are not pro gay marriage. They are pro equal treatment under the law. It is unfortunate that the religious institution of marriage bears the same name as the civil union that requires equal treatment.

            “1.4 Personal Relationships

            Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.”
            http://www.lp.org/platform
            Notice the phrase “Government does not have the authority to define…”

            • DE-173

              I disagree with much of Ayn Rand wrote; but her assessment of libertarians as “hippies of the right” seems to have been about right.

              • AnneM040359

                You got that right!

            • DE-173

              Saying the government doesn’t have the authority; and then having the government tell me I must treat every sexually disordered relationship as a marriage is statism-and this is where we end up-with the GOVERNMENT telling me it can define marriage.

              Anarcho-statism; the latest installment of anything that starts with absolute license ends in absolute tyranny.

              Of course, this website isn’t dedicated to libertarian party shills.

              • HigherCalling

                The critical ingredient in real liberty — genuine, lasting liberty — is moral virtue. Libertarian amorality is an experiment in neutrality that ends, as you say, in tyranny — exactly where Liberalism’s experiment in rejecting legitimate moral authority ends. Thus, Liberals cheer the murder of innocent human life and the redefinition of marriage and family, while Libertarians remain morally neutral — both proudly declaring, “this is what liberty looks like.” It seems that only Catholics understand the madness of this reality anymore. This longish essay builds up to the defining point that separating liberty from moral virtue (within the citizenry and within the law) is not real liberty but an illusion of liberty (i.e. license), incapable of sustaining true freedom. Worth your time:

                http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/dennehy_freedom1_nov07.asp

            • Micha Elyi

              And that throws out all laws prohibiting me from renting to people who claim marriages that I deem counterfeit and a sham. Or hiring them, permitting them in my bakery, etc. I know a lot of queer-bertarians who want the abolish-real-marriage half but blank-out on the parts that free good people from having to accept counterfeit marriages.

              Being a true-believer Libertarian is truly a tough life. Too tough for most who have romanticized Libertarian politics as an escape route from the real world.

          • vicki

            ” I still recall Harry Browne promising a 100 day policy priority of
            legalizing pot, (which would be an extraconstitutional act, if not voted
            on by the legislature)”

            Since the government has not been granted the authority to tell us what we can not buy, grow etc all Harry was doing is eliminating unconstitutional laws. How is that an extraconstitutional act?

            • DE-173

              And what Article of the Constitution gives the President the authority to summarily declare some law invalid? Oh, no where, that’s what tyrants do.

      • Vinny

        ‘…the proper response to a full slate of VIABLE candidates who are unacceptable is to refuse to vote at all.” I disagree. You need to let them know you were there. Write-in a candidate acceptable to you. If there aren’t any then write-in (example) “a pro-life candidate.”

        • DE-173

          They KNOW you exist. They don’t care if you were there. Once again, vainglory is not a responsible use of your vote. Voting anything candidate is the same as voting for Kermit the Frog, since neither can assume office.

          • Vinny

            Before your reply I wouldn’t have thought there was anyone more bitter or exasperated than I.

            • DE-173

              In other words, you don’t can’t dispute the facts, so you are resorting to insults.

        • El_Tigre

          You all ignore how we got to this point. We didn’t wake up one morning and the whole world had gone to hell overnight. We got there gradually. We are the frogs and were boiled. We have to gradually turn down the heat and bring things back to some semblance of normalcy.

    • vicki

      “…we have two major parties doing this, even though one party is leading the charge”

      And that is the only real difference. The speed at which the party is driving us over the cliff.

    • Vinny

      You speak the truth.

    • cken

      Abortion and gay marriage should not be issues that influence your vote. Nobody forces you to be gay or have an abortion. Those things are between you and your god.

    • El_Tigre

      And that then allows the other party which openly advocates the things you don’t like have the power.

    • Micha Elyi

      Okaaay, tell me the name of your “third-party alternative” that is not “aggressively pushing a secular agenda” at least as hard as you claim the Republican Party is. (Please don’t say “Libertarian”, you’ll only embarrass yourself in public and remove all doubt…)

      Also, your formula to “FORCE” a political coalition (which is what our political parties in America are) to change by spurning and disrespecting them puzzles me. In the long run political coalitions tend to pursue the votes they can get, not the ones unavailable to them.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Try reading the platform of the Constitution Party.

  • TERRY

    Please ignore Vinnie – go to the polls tomorrow and vote. If you have to hold your nose while casting your ballot, by all means do so, but VOTE.

    If you choose NOT to vote, for whatever reason – take that extra half hour in your day and go to the cemetery and piss on the grave of a veteran.

    • Vinny

      If you meant me, I’ve never missed voting in an election and don’t ever intend to miss any.

    • bonaventure

      And don’t forget to go and urinate on your parents’ grave when the RINOs you elect while holding your nose don’t repeal Obamacare, refuse to defend marriage and life, and continue the current administration’s spending and borrowing, just as if they were democrats.

      Voting while holding your nose = telling RINOs that’s it’s okay to be a RINO, and that you will ALWAYS gullibly vote for them, no matter what they do or don’t.

  • DE-173

    Notice, no questions about who to vote for on the part of the statist, secularist, collectivist left:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/11/03/FLOTUS-No-Matter-Whos-on-the-Ballot-Our-Community-Should-Always-Vote-For-Dem-Ticket

  • S.H.A. Prodi

    Do I have a right to use force to subject anybody else to my will?
    No.
    Do you?
    No.
    Did God grant me that right?
    No.
    Did He grant it to you?
    No.
    If I do not have that right, do I have right to empower an another to exercise it in my name?
    No.
    Do you?
    No.
    Did God grant me that right?
    No.
    Did He grant it to you?
    No.
    Since when is doing what you have no right to do the right thing to do?
    Since never.
    Progressives, Cultural Marxists, Merchants of Death and their ilk never got things their way by voting. They got things their way by marching patiently but steadily through the institutions, far from any elected office.

  • In my home state; New York, the one voice in the wilderness crying out against abortion and gay marriage in the legislature was Ruben Diaz, a Democrat. You are dead on that we must not pretend apathy towards politics is somehow virtuous, Rachel. But we must fight the political battle with issues and principles, not by simply advocating for one political party; an approach that has failed for decades to bring truth and goodness to our government.

    • You said “was”. Where is he now?

    • bonaventure

      Looks like his crying voice has no effect. Anyway, lucky him to be Hispanic. Had he been Caucasian, the democrat party would have long ago kicked him out of the party, or went to great lengths explaining that he is not a democrat, but just a republican and/or tea party mole.

      The democrat party is bankrupt, and tonight will show it.

  • Sheila Connolly

    You know why we always get such horrible candidates to choose from?

    Because honest people aren’t running. It’s that simple. There’s not much money to be made by real statesmanship, it’s a ton of hard work for YEARS to get the point where you can make a real difference, and no one wants to do the work and get nothing for themselves. And yet, the country won’t survive if good people refuse to make the sacrifice.

    Take a long look at yourself: are you a decent human being? Got any skeletons in your closet? Then look at both parties: which one is closer to what you want? Doesn’t need to be perfect, both parties can be shifted by a few dedicated people. Then get involved. Join your local party committee. Find out what candidates are acceptable and volunteer for them. Make phone calls, knock doors. After a couple of years of that, you’ve got the credentials and hopefully some connections — run for local office. Change things on a small level. And then, if you are not totally burned out by the miserable, thankless work that honest politics is, run for national office. Why not? You don’t want to leave it all to the slimeballs.

    If you can’t run, at least get out there and work for good candidates when you find them. Thanks to a lot of grassroots work within the GOP, we got Ken Cuccinelli as our gubernatorial candidate here in Virginia. Absolutely wonderful guy, nothing in the least objectionable about him, and Catholic himself. But he lost, and you know why? Because Americans feel like heroes if they wander down to the poll and spend five minutes to check a box. No one was willing to do the actual work: knocking doors, making calls, donating money. The parties will not cave to what you want for one vote; faithful Catholics are too small a bloc. But they ARE influenced by a group dedicated enough to sway elections through their hard work — even a small group can change the course of things if they are willing to work.

  • cken

    Good people only vote for good people and there aren’t any good people running for office in DC. Why bother voting all you get is the same bs with a different spin. Politicians don’t care about us except when they want to get elected or re-elected. If they cared things like the homeland security act and Obamacare would have never gotten passed.

  • Why would the ‘good people’ vote when our only choices are both lying, deceptive, criminal and in everything major, on the same side! Voting for the supposed ‘lesser of the two evils’ is still a vote for evil, and evil is the LAST thing we need more of. The entire wicked system needs to be scrapped, those involved in developing and honing it investigated and prosecuted, and a return to HONEST elections for HONEST people, and an HONEST governance with an HONEST economy. Anything less is just playing in the dog-and-pony show and delaying the day of reckoning. Our activities should be focused on getting rid of the monstrosity that calls itself ‘government’ and ‘parties’ and replacing it with the system that is, finally, Of the People, By the People and FOR the People.

  • polistra24

    When good people DON’T vote, Satan wins calmly and easily, with no particular enthusiasm.

    When good people DO vote, there is a momentary victory on paper, for about one day. Then the black-robed saboteurs (sometimes called “judges” for arcane historical reasons) will SMASH the referendum into the ground, adding force with consent decrees and explicit instructions to the “Justice” department.

    Satan wins either way, but he has more force and more guns when good people DO vote.

    • I’m not kidding myself when I vote; I know the judiciary and bureaucracy will still be at the ready against us; but sometimes the something can do is almost nothing.

      Many years ago there was a T-shirt that was popular. A small mouse facing the rapterous eagle descending upon him, talons extended for the kill. The mouse had his arm extended and raised from his hand was a single digit (the middle one).

      The caption read: “The Last Great Act of Defiance”.

  • Jim Johnson

    “Our best chance at political influence lies, not in boycotts, but rather
    in sustained efforts to persuade moderate Republicans that we have the energy and vision that is needed to revitalize our culture and remake our society.”

    What have you been smoking?

  • “In America today we have one political party aggressively pushing a secular agenda that will, if followed through its logical stages, make life exceedingly difficult for our children”
    “Religious conservatives are especially mistreated, because they are the most countercultural.”
    hahahahahahahah you live in a very interesting world, people

    • El_Tigre

      That is an old curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

  • El_Tigre

    People don’t understand how the two-party system is set up in this country. The party with the majority gets all the chairmanships and basically runs the show. So to vote for one candidate from this party and another from that party is self-defeating.

  • slainte

    Pat Buchanan recently opined on the 2014 elections:

    “….Today’s vote….is a referendum on Barack, and he is losing it. But it is not a vote of affirmation. It is not a vote of confidence in the party of McConnell and John Boehner. And it is no mandate. It is America’s choice between undesirables.

    America is saying: We do not like either of you. But we cannot keep going the way we have been going. We have to change. And the Republican Party is the only one on the ballot that appears to offer that….But instead of voting for a Congress to help Obama end gridlock, it will vote to augment the forces of those who have promised to checkmate him…..The country, in short, will vote today – for gridlock.

    In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve.

    The American people are today a deeply divided people – on ideology, politics, faith, morality, race, culture. Americans today – and not for the first time – do not really like each other.

    As that is who we are, we will get that kind of Congress. And that is the kind of government we will have, until one half of the nation triumphs decisively over the other, as happened in 1932 and in 1980.”

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/against-obama-but-for-what/

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