Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Single issue voters

Originally published on MySpace, Nov 12, 2008

Current mood:annoyed

A friend just today shared this article with me when I expressed frustration with single issue voters. This gals says it all so much better than I can. Source article is here:

Marilou Johanek

Also, the blog somehow won't allow every instance of the word, abort-ion. in many cases, it shows up as "...ion" and in other cases it's spelled out normally. How weird is that? Anyway, here's the article... fill in the blanks where necessary.

Article published Friday, October 24, 2008
Vote based abortion issue could make us all suffer

I am a practicing Catholic who has long opposed abortion. I would love to turn back the clock to 1973 and reverse the landmark ruling that set America on such a destructive path of devaluing life.

But I can't. And neither can the slew of self-proclaimed pro-life candidates who regularly pander to large and influential Catholic populations for continued support without delivering a thing except a label and a stated position.

Forgive me for fuming in the pew, but Catholics make up 25 to 30 percent of the voting population in battleground states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. And single-issue Catholic voters are a big reason President Bush has stayed in office for eight disastrous years. Their single-mindedness ..ion rights allows them to assign secondary importance to all other issues, including how they've ever been addressed by the "pro-life" candidate.

The consequence of electing questionable leadership based on a pro-life promise is starkly evident. Just look at the litany of dilemmas that has worsened on their watch.

Our nation has been brought to its knees by economic ruin on a grand scale, by an oppressively costly and broken health-care system, unfunded educational mandates that paralyze budget-strapped school districts across America, a financially crippling energy crisis, and an unjustified war without end in Iraq.

Single-issue abortion voters got a couple of Supreme Court justices in the last eight years who may or may not favor overturning Roe vs. Wade, should the decision ever be theirs to make. Apparently for some, that makes their vote for supposedly "pro-life" candidates worth casting a ballot with a blind eye toward other culture-of-life problems that may be notoriously low on the priority list of select politicians.

As long as these officeholders espouse the "correct" anti-abortion-rights rhetoric and positions, they don't have to produce any practical life-affirming results that come from actually fighting for something like a livable wage or universal health care. In their political careers they can routinely ignore those living on the margins of life and still count on the anti-abortion rights vote election after election.

Now, with Catholics making up about a quarter of the national electorate and about a third in the pivotal swing states, there is an all-out battle for the votes of Mass-going Catholics. Without endorsing any specific campaign, the Church is reminding members through diocesan newspapers and homilies about its abortion doctrine and explaining the responsibility of the faithful to "form their own conscience properly" when choosing the best candidate.

Occasionally, church-goers also will discover voter guides mysteriously stuck under the windshield wipers of cars after Mass with the pro-life candidates checked for easy reference. But unlike previous elections, there is a notable pushback among lay Catholics this year to the usual all-or-nothing dictate over abortion.

Consider high-profile antiabortion Catholic scholar Douglas Kmiec, who has endorsed Barack Obama for president. The law professor at Pepperdine University and former legal counsel to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush argues that addressing the root causes of abortion, be they economic, cultural, or social circumstances, can be more effective in the short term than working to criminalize the procedure.

Basically, he and other progressive Catholics are suggesting a different way to collectively move the nation forward with real progress despite profound divisions ..ion.

Frankly, it's a welcome alternative to the all-or-nothing approach in both the pro-life and pro-choice camps that focuses attention on feasible options including better education, material assistance to mothers, and more electives for adoption.

Mr. Kmiec acknowledges the strategy offers "less than the absolute legal protection for unborn life sought by the Catholic faith, but it is more than the GOP delivers, or can deliver, with its speculations about judicial vacancies and reconsidered precedents."

The case makes eminent sense to many Catholics in 2008 who simply can't abide voting for a politician who offers the right view ..ion but the wrong one on everything else.

That kind of "blinders-on voting" has done nothing to save the lives of the unborn but much to destroy what we hold sacred in America, from civil rights to liberty and justice for all. In this election, I pray that more Catholics than not will vote with their eyes wide open and in good conscience for the candidate who embraces the totality of their Catholic teaching - not just the right answer on a wedge issue.

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