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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

To vote or not to vote

by Dr. Patrick Briney, Chaplain, NFRA and President, ARRA: There is talk that the Republican Party may not offer voters a candidate that is clearly better than Hillary. If this is the case, it is evidence that the Republican Party has been hijacked by liberal thinking and leadership.

There are some in the Religions Right suggesting the possible need for a third party candidate. But, a lot of good that would do. A third party candidate is a guaranteed loss and waste of votes. Sure, a good, third party conservative candidate may soothe the minds of the voting conservatives, but beyond feeling good about themselves, their votes are no better than the ones not cast. Conservatives are faced with this socio-political dilemma: “to vote or not to vote, that is the question!”

It behooves conservatives to consider whether to cast their vote for the good of their private consciences or for the good of the public well-being. I am not endorsing in anyway compromise of one’s conscience. Rather, I wish to point out that 1) the decision to vote in the election is not the same as who to vote for, and 2) there are many choices we make that are regarded as amoral rather than immoral.

Take for example buying a Christmas toy from Wal-Mart. Your purchase enriches this retailer with your money. It enriches the employees who sell you the product. You are encouraging this organization to continue providing you with their services. You have chosen them over another retailer and given them your support. For the purpose of this discussion, you have cast your vote (with monetary support) to advance them over their competitors. Your purchase (vote) for Wal-Mart is an endorsement of Wal-Mart. Or is it?

Is buying a toy from Wal-Mart a moral choice? Is it an endorsement of all they stand for and your nod of moral approval for all the vendors who provide the products that you buy via Wal-Mart. Is your patronage of Wal-Mart and purchase of Chinese goods your vote of moral approval of all that China stands for?

The fact is, we are so intermingled with the intricate web of social workings of the world, economically and politically, that every decision we make can be argued to be a moral choice. Even the Amish cannot escape benefiting from or contributing to the benefit of liberals and sinners. Because the world lies in immorality and humanity is steeped in immorality, there is no escaping the fact that the very act of choosing to live benefits the immoral as well as the moral. Does this make your choice to live an immoral choice or an endorsement of immorality? Does visiting a doctor who stands for all that you do in principles but buys his drugs and equipment to the benefit of those who are of liberal persuasion make you a liberal or your choice immoral? I leave this up to you to debate in your own mind. If you look to the Bible for guidance consider Matthew 5:45, which tells us that God sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

The way I see it, when you live in a political system that offers only two winnable choices regardless of the presence of other ‘also ran’ candidates, you must decide whether your choice to vote is a private, moral decision or a socially responsible decision. In other words, you must choose whether to vote or not to vote.

I submit to you that casting a vote for a guaranteed loser is no better socially than choosing not to cast your vote. This is a decision to not cast a socially, responsible vote that will make a difference. Thus, the morality to be decided in this upcoming election is a decision whether you will cast your vote to make a social difference (not necessarily an endorsement) or to leave the choice in the hands of your opponents.

I understand the mental and emotional conflict this dilemma poses. I feel the burden of it and taste the bitterness of having to make such a choice. I sympathize with everyone who cannot separate the social choices offered from the private feelings of endorsement. But, failing to cast a vote to make a difference violates my conscience as much as voting for someone who does not represent all of my principles.

So what am I or you to do about this dilemma? I am glad that question has been asked because it is the answer to this question that may liberate our consciences. Recognizing that we live in a two party system and that political leadership is chosen from the ranks one of these two parties, it behooves conservatives to prepare and offer winnable candidates of their choice within one of these parties. A conservative, political farm is needed to raise up champions. The success of such an endeavor depends on the commitment and response of those who are capable to do the job. The next step is to help these champions win the primary election and then the general. What if a solid conservative is not forthcoming for the primary elections? You will have to choose: “to vote or not to vote.”

Tags: Arkansas Republican Assembly, ARRA, conservative, Election 2008, National Federation of Republican Assemblies, NFRA, Patrick Briney, Republican, voters, voting To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:30 PM - Post Link


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