This June 5, I’ll be doing one of the most painful things I’ve ever done. I’ll be voting.
I used to love to vote. I loved exercising my “civic responsibility.” I loved being part of the democratic process. I loved the idea of helping to shape my country into a place I could be proud of.
I’ve never belonged to a political party or been interested in “politics.” I looked at the issues and decided who would best address them. I even, now and then, believed the candidates who were running for office.
Now, no one stands for me.
No party backs all the things I find most important. And, unfortunately, I don’t believe anyone on the ballot. From what I’ve seen, they’re all in it for themselves.
This June 5, Wisconsin voters will decide whether to recall our governor, a Republican, and replace him with the Democrat Tom Barrett, or to keep Walker in office . Walker did a lot of things that angered me. He doesn’t stand for “the little guy,” which definitely describes me. He took away bargaining rights for teachers and government workers. He “misrepresented” the facts of many situations.
So, you say, the answer should be simple. Vote for the other guy.
It’s not simple, and here’s why.
I believe first and foremost in the right to life. I don’t believe that abortion has anything to do with the woman’s body, but instead kills the most vulnerable of persons, the unborn child, who has absolutely no say in the matter, no rights at all in this country. That sounds like I should vote Republican.
I believe that marriage should be defended, not redefined. I believe, according to even the laws of nature, that “mating” is about procreation, and it takes a man and a woman to do that. Christ elevated the covenant nature of marriage to a sacrament. Just because a person has a yen for something, doesn’t make it natural or right–and I could give plenty of unsavory examples of that. That sounds like I should vote Republican.
I believe in freedom of religion, as supposedly guaranteed by our Constitution, and I believe that includes not just the freedom to worship, but the freedom to practice what I believe. Forcing Catholic institutions to provide insurance that covers birth control and sterilization takes away that right to practice belief. And that kind of reneging on basic rights is a slippery slope that will eventually affect other rights of other people–but most people are too short-sighted to foresee that. This all sounds like I should vote Republican.
However, I believe in the little guy, the working man, and I don’t believe in the personhood of corporations, or lifetime benefits for public officials. That sounds like I should vote Democrat.
I believe that the gap between rich and poor should narrow, not widen, and that it’s immoral for corporate heads to have six-figure incomes while they try to justify minimum-wage paychecks for their workers, or part-time jobs in order to avoid paying benefits. That sounds like I should vote Democrat.
I believe that immigration laws need to be changed, and that we shouldn’t be so selfish and materialistic that we’re afraid to share the bounty of this country with people whose very lives are endangered in Mexico and other places. That sounds like I should vote Democrat.
I believe that Social Security is not entitlement, since I put into it for all of my working life, and it doesn’t come from the general tax revenue. Those who don’t make much will have only Social Security, and no big pensions, to fall back on when they retire. That sounds like I should vote Democrat.
So the question is, how do I vote, when no one addresses all my issues? Some issues are non-negotiable; they’ll have repercussions here and in eternity and I know which ones those are for me. But if I vote my beliefs in one area, I’ll very likely compromise my own well-being in others.
So, when I enter the voting booth on June 5, there will be no joy or optimism, no sense of peace over my decision. It will only be a very painful experience.