No one stands for me

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.

Via Bing Images

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.

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About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog. I actually have two blogs here: one about ordinary things at monicaspen.wordpress.com; and one about Catholic and Benedictine things at heartsponderings.wordpress.com.
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21 Responses to No one stands for me

  1. gtrgeorge51 says:

    I’ll be incredibly surprised if this article doesn’t connect with an awful lot of people out there; you are so absolutely right-on with this piece.

  2. Michael L. Wojta says:

    You’re right, Monica, it is a “civic responsibility,” much more than going into your bedroom, locking the door and turning out the light (no one will know what I did in there). They will know that we are Christian by our loving actions. But, since JFK’s term, there has been very little Godliness on the left, even in this country. Maybe you’ve worked too long in the media to see a more complete truth about the recent direction of the DNC’s platform, as opposed to when God-fearing presidents like FDR and Truman sat in the Oval Office. You could sense belief in God through fire-side chats on the radio during the Depression. There was no presumptive, socialist agenda to make government our God. The intent of the nation’s founder’s still mattered back then; there were no constant popularity poll’s to help the intellectual and politically-savy elite guide our country; morality, right and wrong still mattered in leadership. These immigration, SS and “little guy” issues that you raise sound all too cliche and ring in consonance with the recent socialist propaganda. Remember one thing, if nothing else: history and human nature dictate that We the People will argue over the money until it’s gone; maybe then the Dem’s will stand a chance to finally return to their roots, remember God and help us out of our collective depression with more fire-side chats. We must do what good we can now and know that we Christians win in the end, regardless of who gets elected in the interim.

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      Christian values are always the top priority for me, but I don’t really see much Godliness on either side. Although I don’t think the other issues I mentioned are “cliché,” since they involve caring for one another in various ways and that too is a Christian mandate, I do think right-to-life, the sanctity of marriage and religious freedom are even more important, since once those are gone, the rest will follow.

      • Michael L. Wojta says:

        Agreed in part again, Monica, but the cliche issues are not necessarily Christian mandates, if the government or union is playing the role of God’s Kingdom. Per our nation’s founding documents, our form of government has limited, delineated powers and was not meant to fill the role of the Kingdom of God. We Christians pray for this Kingdom as Christ taught us; it is not a democracy or a representative republic. The socialist view of the rule of the few (oligarchy), the party or the labor union does not provide for Christian care for one another and is not Christ-centered at all. In fact, the traditional, one-dimensional political spectrum is defined by two hard points. On the far right, there is the sovereign king, vested with power from God through the church and the blue-bloods. On the far left, there is no God and the oligarchy rules all. It is a big mistake to hand over our God-given rights to an ungodly oligarchy, so that they can play God. It is an even greater sin to knowingly support or vote for such a great deception. We Christians also pray, “Thy will be done;” not our will nor that of the elite, nor that of the union nor that of the intelligencia nor that of the ungodly party.

  3. Monica Sawyn says:

    God has always worked through human beings, and that includes our institutions. We don’t equate them with the Kingdom of God, or at least I don’t. But we do need something to organize our efforts. God isn’t going to come down and do it for us. It is just, for example, for people to have a living wage. It would be nice if employers all had a good hearts, listened to God, and voluntarily provided that living wage. But they don’t all do it, and thus we have unions to insure that negotiations take place. Should the unions have unlimited power, or should they abuse that power? Of course not!

    Having organizations in place to care for people’s needs–whether social or financial–doesn’t equate with socialism. Are you saying that it should be the churches that do all this? I believe the churches should help form the minds and hearts of Christians so that the vehicles they create to take care of each other are in place and do their jobs well.

    The only point I was trying to make in my column is that there are a lot of very important issues at stake, and neither party addresses all of them to suit me. I MUST vote, because “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” But deciding where to cast that vote means choosing the very most important issue–which can mean neglecting other equally important ones. It’s not easy!

    • Don Cavaiani says:

      Monica, I have never read a more thought provoking, well-rounded, political non-partisan, Catholic based article! This is the best summary I have ever read, and I agree with your conclusion whole heartedly. Thank you

      • Monica Sawyn says:

        Thank you, Don. I assure you, it was the result of MUCH thought!

      • Don Cavaiani says:

        Monica, there was a call-in in the Post-Crescent today where a person named Scott Walker as the voting choice because he was pro-life. I agreed and posted a link to your Compass article which I said was AWESOME and came to the same conclusion as I and the Call-In person. This is what transpired since:

        Kathy Baker Kramer · SubscribeSubscribed · Top commenter · Sioux Falls, South Dakota
        Blogs are not credible sources for facts. Blogs have a bias. Blogs are opinions, not facts. I know this because I write one. Bloggers and spin, twist, and conveniently omit facts to suit their purposes. Try again, but this time, link to something that’s not a blog.
        Reply · Like

        · about an hour ago.

        Don Cavaiani · Top Commenter · University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
        No one is talking about facts, just SOLID OPINIONS BASED ON FAITHFILLED, PRAYERFUL REFLECTION, and a belief in a GOD. Might that EXCLUDE you?
        Reply · Like

        · 2 seconds ago

  4. Michael L. Wojta says:

    Oh, Monica; you’re parially right again; good people must do something to ensure that evil does not prevail. I know bearing our Christian crosses is not easy, but we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the way of the world. It would be nice if all governments and social institutions were Godly, but those on the left are by traditional, academic definition not so; recent history has borne this out. We Christians pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” and we profess, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end;” therein lies our victory! I am not telling you in whom to place your faith with your vote, and I do care about your feelings, even as I care about our fellow Catholics, Americans and people of the world. The salient point here is that our lives have not yet reached perfection, even if our standard of living is among the highest in history. We Catholics place our faith in Christ, not in some humanist, socialist ideology that promises us Utopia now, especially as money markets plunge and international security concerns mount.

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      I guess I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Vote? Don’t vote? By voting, it doesn’t mean I think the government has all the answers. I slip prayer into that ballot box, prayer that I make the right choice, that the right man wins, and that God will help the winner, no matter who he is, with his decisions. Enough said.

  5. Michael L. Wojta says:

    Amen.

    • Michael L. Wojta says:

      Let us not feel good that we stood for social justice while we argue over what is a decent wage from the master; or pass an insurmountable debt on to our posterity in order to live better now, or while the silent screams of their unborn siblings still cry out to the almighty Creator on high….

  6. Monica Sawyn says:

    Don, very interesting. You were right to point out that the blog was personal, based on MY prayer and reflection. It was also meant to show the dilemma many faith-filled voters face these days, and why.

  7. Monica says:

    I share your pain. I recently got my citizenship and acquire this right to vote…. and I found no candidate to vote for..

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      What a dilemma for all of us! The only thing we can do is decide what is the very most important issue, vote for that, and be prepared to perhaps suffer the consequences in other areas. I pray a lot!

  8. My name is Brandon Barlow, and I am a seminarian for the Diocese of Green Bay. I came across your article in the Compass this morning, and found it to be well-written and balanced. You did an excellent job of examining the entire issue. I am planning to add a link to this page in my blog, as I write today about voting as a Christian.

    As an additional resource, provided by the Catholic Church, I would also like to refer readers to the politcal guide: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The guide, which outlines the principles that ought to guide Catholics in their political en devours, can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      I’m glad you can combine this with your own thoughts, Brandon. And thanks so much for that guide! If all Catholics were aware of that, they might change their votes–and what a difference we could make!

  9. Michael L. Wojta says:

    All it takes for great evil to prevail in America, as We the People have shaped our society today, is for a few good, Christian women to do nothing with the talents with which they’ve been blessed. (Posted to Blog column comments on January 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm in response to blog social commentary content since June 2012.)

    Monica Sawyn says:
    June 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm
    I agree.

    …in response to:

    Michael L. Wojta says:
    June 5, 2012 at 11:14 am
    Let us not feel good that we stood for social justice while we argue over what is a decent wage from the master; or pass an insurmountable debt on to our posterity in order to live better now, or while the silent screams of their unborn siblings still cry out to the almighty Creator on high….

    With my empathy in Christ,

    MLW

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