One-issue voting.

My youngest sister G called me recently.  She sounded excitable and at the same time disheartened.  Here’s a part of the conversation I had with her that day:

G – You know my friend Penny Ante?

Me – Yes, I think I remember her.  (Actually I remember her quite well.)

G – (Talking nonstop.)  She called me this morning and do you know what she asked me?!  She wanted to know if I would put a Romney sign in my front yard.  I told her no I wouldn’t put her sign in my yard because I’m voting for Obama.  Then Penny screeched, “You mean you’re FOR abortion!?”

At this point my sister, talking to me, lamented, “I don’t know anyone who’s for abortion.  Do you?”  I agreed with her, “No, I don’t.”

(I have just returned from a brisk two-mile walk through the neighborhood.  I often take this sort of break when I feel myself stepping on a slippery slope.  It helps me to arrange my thoughts into a meaningful perspective.)

It seems to me that voting is a multifaceted proposition.  When we take one issue and make it our reason for voting, we cheat ourselves, and in a sense, the American system.  It’s also, in my opinion, the lazy path to voting.

Voting is a privilege and a responsibility.  The responsibility part is sometimes difficult.  It requires us to be informed voters.  It means we listen to several angles on the same topics.  It means reading letters to the editor in the local newspaper.  It means listening to a friend who disagrees with you.  It means researching a candidate’s record on the matters that are important to you.  The fact that you and a candidate agree on one issue does not necessarily make him/her a good candidate.

Make a list (well, at least a mental one) of the issues that matter most to you.  Then, set about finding out how the candidates view those items on your list.  You can’t get the true picture by watching the same news channel all the time.  We all have biases and often they show.  It’s hard work to wade through all the garbage that accompanies our political races these days.  But it’s worth the effort.  And it’s our job!

Go on now, examine those candidates carefully.  Then vote!  Please.

I hereby retire my soapbox.  Well, for now. 

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9 thoughts on “One-issue voting.

  1. Hear Hear!!! To be informed is a must. I’m tired of people telling me how nice and clean-cut Romney is and that’s why she’s voting for him. A friend of mine just told me he knew someone who refuses to vote for Obama because he skips up the steps and as this person put it, that’s not very presidential. Oh my, are we in trouble.

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    • “clean-cut” There’s so much wrong in that notion, I don’t even know how to start. Are those people saying Obama is not clean-cut? I can’t think of anyone who’s more clean-cut than he is. And the fact that he still has the energy to skip up steps is a good sign that he has the stamina to do the job even when the going gets tough. Ann Romney said she worries about her husband’s mental health if he’s elected. What the heck does that mean? Scares the bejeebies out of me.
      Sorry for the rant.

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  2. Could not agree with you more AND the point you made about being informed by more than one resource is my pet peeve. Even though I’m a Democrat, I criticize Obama. I read a number of newspapers and watch fox news from time to time, just to expose myself to what others think. I have to admit that most of the time they make me want to puke, but I did have some experiences where I’ve learned something new.
    A very timely post!

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  3. Well, I can’t say there aren’t deal-breakers for me in voting. They do not involve matters of personal choice and values, however. I believe that on some issues we must allow others to make their own decisions. Stands on human and civil rights…those would be my deal-breakers. Hmm…this sounds nebulous doesn’t it? It makes sense to me, tho.

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    • Hi Ttm. I think you’re right – there are some things that would be deal-breakers for me, too. And I think mine would be along the same lines as yours. Unfortunately, almost everything runs along party lines these days so almost all of my issues are better covered by one party. I long for the days when party divisions were less definitive. We have a right to expect cooperation from our elected officials. (Heavy sigh.)

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