If you are in the United States, make an informed vote on Tuesday. Vote for whomever you will, but please just vote.
It occurred to me today that I have never really sat down and articulated my political philosophy or how I vote. So, I decided to do so. This entry will be long and will have a few different sections. I will also reveal how I will vote for certain offices on Tuesday.
Before I explain about my beliefs, le me just say that ideologues annoy the bejeezus out of me. Ideologues see everything as black & white with no shades of grey. The world has many greys. If yer an ideologue and are proud of it, good for you. Just know that you annoy me.
I am a semi-partisan Republican. By this I mean that all other things being equal, I will vote Republican. However, I do have a few issues that will, and have trumped party affiliation. First is the candidates position on abortion. If they are pro-abortion, I will not vote for them unless there is no better choice. And I try to never use the word "pro-choice" because to be "pro-choice" is to be pro-abortion, so let's have our word usage be accurate ok? I also look at their positions on euthanasia, homosexual "marriage", stem-cell research, and legalization of marijuana. Support of any of these makes for an automatic disqualification from the possible realm of my voting. Also, if the candidate is from the Green, Libertarian, or Constitution party's or is Pat Buchanan or supports him, you get laughed off of my choices faster than Superman can fly. Greens are left-wing nuts, the Libertarian and Constitution party's more or less want to return to the Articles of Confederation due to the misinterpertation of the Constitution by Thomas Jefferson and the propaganda of the same, and Pat Buchanan is just a nut who has no understanding of history.
Ok, I am being harsh, and I know that. First, I will explain my antipathy towards Jefferson. He looked at the Constitution and decided to play to the "common man" and more or less make the government under the Constitution only a little more powerful than the government under the Articles of Confederation (AOC). The AOC government was a horrible mistake and way too weak. The federal government was always meant to be the supreme government in the US. Now, I will not deny that the government has gotten too big, but to argue as Libertarians and Constitution party members do, that the government is very limited and that the states are sovereign is errorneous. Article VI paragraph 2 of the Constitution states
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding."
In order for the laws of a legislative body to have supremacy, the body itself must be supreme. Also, if the Constitution itself is supreme any bodies it directly makes must also be supreme. Therefore, the states cannot be sovereign because to be sovereign is to be
" 1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.
4. 1. Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.
2. Unmitigated: sovereign contempt." (courtesy of dictionary.com)
While states do govern themselves within certain limitations, they are not independent and are therefore not sovereign. Ok, to get back to where I was. Jefferson argued that the states were sovereign states that were equal or superior to the federal government. This errorneous idea has permeated much of the conservative political thought in the US and has led to a misunderstanding of the relationship between the federal and state governments. While states do have powers reserved unto them, these powers do not supersede federal laws.
The other part of my antipathy is that I am a Hamiltonian. The federal government needs to have more power than the states in order to hold the Union together, particularly in those early days. Jefferson took political positions to oppose Hamilton while he ruled according to Hamilton's ideas. Gotta love a hypocrite.
Ok, now to my beliefs. First off, as you've probably gathered I am pro-life. I can never fathom a reason to have an abortion. PERIOD. Disagree if you will, but don't try to change my mind because it won't work, believe me. I am, however, for the death penalty. ANd no, this is not contradictory. I exaplain this fully in an essay I wrote for Intro to Ethics entitled "Aquinas and Kant: Principle of Double Effect" which can be found at http://www.geocities.com/koomkie/christian/aquinas.htm. And my position is fully consonant with the Catholic Church's position. As section 2267 of the Catechism states:
"Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent." (courtesty of http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm)
To put my position succintly, I believe the death penalty is justified if the risk to society is to great to either release the criminal or to hold them in jail. Also, the motive of having the person sentenced is important. If it is demonstrable that the person was sentenced based on a sense of retribution, then I cannot morally justify the sentence. If, however, the criminal was sentenced in order to protect society, then it is justified.
My philosophy in terms of the spectrum is in the center to just right of center. On moral issues I am on the right. In almost any other area, I am all over the place. I can be anywhere from conservative to liberal depending on the exact issue.
I am going to state the following, I believe that too much democracy is a bad thing. Before anyone gets all huffy, let me explain my thoughts. First off, in Maryland we vote on whether or not to retain judges. I beleive this to be a very bad idea, because in my mind judges need to be seperate from the process of voting. To do otherwise is to risk the judges becoming overly political. Say what you will about activist judges, but in my opinion judges should be appointed by the legislature and removed by the same. Also, too many people nowadays do not vote on substance, but instead vote on fluff issues such as: Is the candidate physically attractive? Do they make me "feel good"? and other such surface questions. Of course, it does not help that the candidates are packaged and that the media presents sound bites over substance. Also, the presidential "debates" suck. They need to be actual debates with give-and-take.
On some other issues, I am against any and all term limits. I want the Senate to go back to being appointed by the states so that Senators can represent the state's interests like they were originally intended to.
All that said, I am voting for President Bush. I am not a totally enthuastic supporter of the President nor am I a reluctant supporter, but I see him as a much better choice than any other candidate.
Anyhow, vote on Tuesday and think about whom you are voting for.