Every election cycle you hear the usual suspects trying to sound intelligent. They say, “Just pick the lesser of two evils,” for example.
What they’re really saying is:
- They’ve done none of the research themselves about the issues
- They’ve heard a lot of comments from people second-hand
- They don’t really have the capacity to go learn anything about the candidates
- They want to sound like they know everything
My opinion on this subject comes in part from Michael Medved, one of my favorite radio hosts. (This way you don’t think I’m pretending to have thought of it first.)
In every election cycle, the top two candidates represent two sides of the issue. Sure, one may see he/she is losing and try to emulate the other to siphon off votes, but there are still differences. (this idea stolen from a coworker) It’s like a tube of toothpaste – when you squeeze it, only toothpaste comes out. When the politician has to make a decision on voting, and assuming they haven’t been bought off on the issue by a lobbyist (see also: retired politicians), they will either vote to the left or to the right.
When that toothpaste gets squeezed, it is where you should be focusing. When the toothpaste gets squeezed, are the decisions bringing your town/city/county/state/federal government closer to the way you want things, or further? That’s what every election represents: two candidates, one of whom will take his/her area of responsibility closer to your ideal, and one of whom will take his/her area of responsibility further away.
Let’s take a good-old controversial issue like abortion, and the current candidates for President. If you want women to be able to cut little babies to pieces even if they could be born and given up for adoption right that moment, it doesn’t matter who has flipped on which issues. Romney is ultimately beholden to people who actually believe their religions, and Obama is ultimately beholden to people whose religion is little more than a flag pin on their lapel. No honestly religious person would say, “Yup, cut that baby out even though it’s due next week because it is [unwanted | going to make you too fat for that dress | ugly]” and so Romney’s actions will always tilt toward restricting most abortion.” (Please don’t waste my brain with stupid arguments about saving the life of the mother – every single abortion-limiting bill makes that exception so keep your intellectual dishonesty to yourself.)
No amoral person would ever say, “There’s no such thing as an [unwanted | ugly] baby! Make sure that little ball of ugly (or cute, if you’re lucky) comes out and we’ll make sure we find a nice home for it to some [childless | sexless | loveless | gay] couple who wouldn’t ever have any babies!” They’d say, “A baby in its 35th week of gestation is like a toenail. Cut it out!” And so Obama’s actions will always tilt toward encouraging all [poor | selfish | busy | distracted | African-American] women to abort, or anyone else with important [dancing | drinking | skiing] plans for the weekend who don’t have time to raise a child.
We could go through this exercise with any important issue of the day. Even if, like in San Francisco, your only options are a Democrat and a Socialist, if you’re a right-winger the Democrat will get you vastly closer to your ideal than the Socialist. In that case, it’s between the Democrat who wants to tax you for your financial success and confiscate your winnings to date, and the Socialist who wants to imprison you for it and slaughter your children so they don’t grow up to be bankers (I wish I were exaggerating here like I did with all the other stuff).
So in this election and every other, look at the two candidates: Which one gets you closer to your goals?