I’ve heard it argued that to vote one’s Christian convictions, especially this year, the vote must not be cast for either of the two major party candidates that appear to have finally sewn up their party’s nomination. We think.
The argument, as recently posted by my friend Micah Fries, goes that to pick the lesser of two evils, which McCain and Obama are supposed to be, then you have to choose “evil.” Therefore, vote your convictions and let the chips fall where they may.
I would like to humbly challenge this thought process.
The conclusion above assumes that avoiding the election of someone that would lead us away from my overall convictions is a choice that leads to me not voting my true convictions. In fact, to avoid leadership that would, in my opinion, shipwreck our nation is a very firm conviction of mine.
In America’s not too distant history, we have precisely two perfect examples of people voting for third party candidates in order to “vote their convictions” – one to the Republicans and one to the Democrats.
In 1992, H. Ross Perot ran as a candidate for President against George H. W. Bush, the incumbent, and William Jefferson Clinton. While both parties hemorrhaged disenchanted voters to Perot, the Republicans were the greatest loser. As a result, though Bill Clinton did not even receive a majority of the popular vote, the electoral college swung his way and the Republicans endured the Democrats’ most beloved leader since JFK, the “Teflon Don” of Presidential politics, Bill Clinton, who was re-elected and served for 8 years.
In 2000, Ralph Nader eschewed calls from the Democrats to step aside. Rather, much like Perot, and like the “lesser of two evils” argument, Nader declared that both candidates, George W. Bush and Al Gore were so similar that the difference was negligible. This was a Green Party slap in the face to Al Gore, who claimed to represent the Environmental interests. It turns out, that Nader was probably right. At least in evaluating Bush’s and Gore’s personal commitment to the environment, it is well documented that Bush’s ranch in Texas is a model of “earth friendly” efficiency, while Gore’s is an energy hog and burns natural gas at a rate of 12 times that of his neighbors, while only having a house 4 times as large – documented on Snopes.
What is my point with all of that? Apparently, the environmentalists, at least enough of them, agreed with Nader and voted for him. George W. Bush, though losing the popular vote, won the boondogle court case in Florida and the Supreme Court of the United States and the electoral college that goes with it.
What are the results of these two turns?
Many, but most tangible are the appointments to the Supreme Court. Bill Clinton: Ginsburg and Dreyer. George W. Bush: Chief Justice Roberts and Alito.
And here we are again.
A report from the Boston Globe documents the speculation that at least one if not three justices are on the verge of retiring. It also documents that the court is very definitely split between two groups of 4 right leaning and 4 left leaning justices, with Justice Kennedy often now the swing vote.
There are justices in both “camps” that are possible retirees.
All of this is to say, whoever wins the election will most likely control the court and it will swing one way or the other.
Oh, and the Globe also reports that Obama is promising to appoint justices with a “broader social outlook” and McCain is promising to appoint justices more int he model of new Chief Justice John Roberts.
This is not to mention the vast number of vacancies on lesser Federal Benches that the left leaning Congress has declined fill, delaying the nominees of President Bush in hopes of replacing him with a more liberal President that will nominate men and women to fill the gaps in a way that will suit them better. The lower courts are backed up to the point of violating the Constitutional right to a speedy trial and the Congress can’t hold out another four to eight years. Allow the election of the wrong President, and they won’t have to wait.
I humbly submit to you that I will be voting for a major party candidate this year and will not hesitate to “vote my convictions” – even if he is not the one I would have chosen a year ago. My convictions are that we return the our courts to their conservative roots and not have justices that legislate from the bench. Presidents and Congressmen come and go, but the courts last for decades.