Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Not Vote Republican?

One of my recent columns in Springfield, MO’s News-Leader provoked a fine discussion including an interesting question from the right. The left talks about bipartisanism, the reader said, but when did they last vote for a Republican? My answer is that my first national vote was for a Republican, and I voted for a local Republican in the last election, but I would not vote for any Republican on the national level now. The reason is morality.

You think that’s a shocking statement? After all, the G.O.P. is the moral majority, the opposition to abortion, and the party of church-goers, isn’t it?

I think morality is better displayed by seeking truth than by opposition to abortion or by wearing religion on your sleeve. The pro-life morality breaks down in the refusal to relieve a child raped by her father, and in unquestioning support for the death penalty and unnecessary war. Immoral behavior too often hides behind religious boasting. Morality, to me, is striving to live up to ideals by seeking to make the way the world is be closer to the way it ought to be.

The Republican Party has been the party of short-term self-interest for at least thirty years, and I can’t vote for that. After Eisenhower, the G.O.P. has nominated one slow-witted caricature after another and then let a network of very intelligent Machiavellians run the country behind the scenes. The only requirement for a president seems to be a certain ability to wave the flag and look pious.

The way the G.O.P. machine works its Karl Rovian black magic through a media network designed to broadcast any lie that will advance its march toward domination is enough to turn any moralist’s stomach.

Our right wing friends constantly decry the “liberal press”, but I defy anyone to point out a liberal media network as insidiously vicious as the FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck matrix that is underwritten by the “damn the truth, full speed ahead” support that people like our own (thankfully slipped away in the night) Vince Jericho lend it on the local level throughout the nation. It is a network of disinformation that leads by the nose those voters who buy into any sound bite that meets their emotional approval, and it is horribly dangerous to the future of democracy.

Any party that maintains such a media propaganda machine to support the kind of back-stabbing, ends-justify-any-means campaigns the G.O.P. constructs has strayed so far from any acceptable definition of morality that it will never capture a single vote of mine on the national level, and that’s the bottom line.

At this point I have no great love for either party. What’s essential for this nation is not the voter’s undying support for his party no-matter-what, but his or her constant striving to make that party adhere to truly moral behaviors and attitudes. When that happens I, too, will join the moral majority. In the meantime, as long as the G.O.P. continues its present tactics, their opposition will have my vote, and I’ll remain loyal to the moral minority no matter what party's candidate I vote for.

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