I cannot wait for the election to be over! I have long been tired of the political adverts. Part of my frustration, though, comes from the difficulty in voting my conscience. I am absolutely pro-life, meaning I am against abortion (no exceptions), for programmes that support pregnant women and help with after the birth, against the death penalty, against torture, for affordable health care (minus coverage for abortion, contraceptives [which are potentially abortifacient], and IVF), against embryonic stem cell research, etc. Finding a candidate that fits that bill is nigh impossible, it seems.
Even so, many tell me I must vote “the lesser of two evils” and therefore must perpetuate the two-party system. In fact, I was convinced to do just that in the last presidential election, since I live in a swing state; this is a decision I’ve regretted every day since then. See, my one vote doesn’t make a huge difference in a national election, but it does affect me.
This is why, this time, I insist on voting my conscience. I need to vote in a way I can live, both in protest of the system and for my own soul. I’m tired of candidates promising to let us live our faith and then reversing once we get them in office, too.
So what will I do? Well, I am heartened in reading the USCCB’s guide “Faithful Citizenship“. Paragraph 36 states, “36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods ”
I personally don’t like or trust either Obama or Romney, and so will not vote for either of them. I know no candidate is perfect, but I don’t think Romney’s record matches his current promises, and cannot in good conscience vote for him. I will continue looking at third party candidates to see if there is one I can live with. While I am not a single-issue voter, I do hold abortion and embryonic stem cell research at he top, for if we do not protect the most vulnerable among us, little else matters. That being said, I’d love to find someone who also holds the other views I do, but that is unlikely. If I cannot find an acceptable candidate, it is possible I will abstain from voting for president, though I will more likely write someone in instead of doing that, if none of the other candidates is acceptable. I do not see such an action as throwing away my vote, or an implicit vote for either Obama or Romney, but as a vote for that candidate. And yes, it is also a protest of the system, which is in need of changing. Most of all, however I vote must be compatible with my conscience.