August 13, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Don’t Vote for the Party or the Candidate, Vote for What is Right
It might seem like a difficult choice sometimes to vote at all, particularly if you live by the idea of voting for what is right. I guess a more nuanced approach would be to say you should vote for the candidate who is closer to what you believe is right. The game might be rigged, but don’t allow the candidate who is further from your values to win by not casting your vote. And I sincerely say this regardless of who you plan to vote for. I will lay out the case in article after article of why I think that should be Barack Obama, but you will have to vote your conscience, not mine.
I’ve told this story once before and I’ll briefly tell it again here. There was a time not so long ago that I never would have dreamed of running a political blog, especially one that leans left. If you had told me 7 or 8 years ago that I would one day run a liberal blog I would have laughed. Not only was I oblivious to much of the political sphere at that time, when I did pay attention for a few moments I considered myself a moderate, but a moderate who tended to lean Republican. And that was because much of my family was and is still Republican. I just went with the flow. I would sometimes engage in arguments but they tended to be in the realm of military and national security. Yes, I fell for the “9/11 changed everything” nonsense that prompted our country to go to war against a tactic (terrorism). I credit three things as the catalysts for my change in political perspective and my interest and engagement in politics and social issues (in no particular order):
- I didn’t suffer from rigid ideology, and in fact, I mostly didn’t pay attention to the issues at all. I believe even back in those days I was mostly moderate or even liberal on social issues. I was (and I still am) stubborn and cynical, but my mind is open enough to allow reasoned arguments to enter, and logic to take it from there.
- As time went on with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I began to see the futility in that kind of approach to national security for an issue (terrorism) that should largely be fought, not on the battlefield, but with intelligence and good police work.
- Real Time with Bill Maher – Back when Bill Maher had his Politically Incorrect show I largely ignored him because I thought he was a pompous ass. Well, he can still be a pompous ass at times, but his show Real Time on HBO really expanded my perspective on important political and social issues. It had less to do with Maher himself and more to do with the many smart, opinionated, (and yes liberal) guests. The fact that I even started watching his show leads us back to #1.
I do not attempt to mislead readers by presenting my views on topics as unbiased. Hence the name of this website. I’m unabashedly liberal. But I want to make it clear that my bias is rooted in what I believe to be right and wrong, it’s not rooted in blind support of a political party or a candidate. Sure, I view Democratic candidates more favorably than I do Republican candidates, but it’s because of what they support or what they don’t support. In the case of Barack Obama, I have many reasons to support him (universal health care, equal rights, etc.) but I also have reasons to not support him (not tough enough on Wall Street, not going for a public option, continuation of war). In the case of Mitt Romney, I can’t really think of any reason to support him. Name any issue for which he has stated a position and it doesn’t align with my values. Whether its universal health care (repeal Obamacare), spending cuts for the disenfranchised or cutting taxes for the rich, I cannot support any of these policy positions.
So what I’m saying is, I do view the candidates through a biased lens, but I don’t believe that I’m unwilling to ever support a Republican candidate. What I’m unwilling to support is the kind of candidates that the Republican Party has put forth over the past few decades, particularly the past 10-15 years. If you find me a socially progressive candidate who might be fiscally conservative but doesn’t believe in balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, I will be willing to support that candidate Republican or Democratic. The problem is, that candidate no longer can be found in the modern Republican Party.
So again, I say vote your conscience. I will be sure to vote mine.