Here we are at election time. I am so grateful that we live in a country in which women and men have equal rights to vote and in which all races, ethnicities, religions, etc. have the right to vote. It was in the not so long along past that it was not the case. I have voted in every election since I turned 18 and I take the right to vote very seriously. I used to vote a straight Republican ticket because that’s generally what my parents did and what most people in my circle of influence did. Then…I learned to think for myself.
That’s kind of the problem now. I don’t fit in any box nicely. I’m registered as an independent because I don’t fit nicely in a republican or democrat box. I describe myself as a “sorta liberal republican” or a “mostly conservative democrat.” Because I want to be an informed and responsible voter I have spent some time today researching the candidates. We have big senate, house, and gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin this November. I want to make the right choice. I found PolitiFact which is a great website reporting on the accuracy of all candidates statements, claims, and advertising. Project VoteSmart lets you give your opinions on big issues like war, gun control, abortion, education, taxes, and gay marriage and then tells you which candidates most align with your way of thinking. It also gives detailed information about campaign spending and big contributors (very interesting!). And then I also went to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel site to take a quiz to determine which gubernatorial candidate most aligns with my beliefs. When I took all of the quizzes and analyzed all of the stances I was a mixed bag of republican and democrat. (Actually I matched with one independent candidate, but I had never heard of him and I figure it would be a wasted vote so I picked the next one that I matched with the most).
Here’s the dilemma:
I am pro-life. Most people I know who say that they are pro-life are actually just anti-abortion. To me, anti-abortion and pro-life are very different things. As a pro-lifer I am anti-abortion in all cases, even rape, incest, risk of mother’s life, etc. However, I can understand and appreciate that there are people who are anti-abortion who think that in cases of rape, incest, etc. the woman should have a choice. My biggest beef is that in my pro-life point of view, that means that I am also anti-death penalty. I don’t think people should play God…PERIOD. In matters of life or death. God claims that vengeance is His and I am fine with that. I also think that death is the easy way out for some people and that living in prison is a better punishment. Not to mention the fact that capital punishment is much more expensive than imprisonment. So here was the question to help me decide who to vote for for governor:
Oppose abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. Change a state program that provides free birth control to those as young as 15 so that it is available only to those 18 or older or so that those under 18 need permission from their parents. Support the death penalty.
Support abortion rights. Support program that provides free birth control to those as young as 15 because it prevents teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Oppose the death penalty.
So which one I am supposed to pick. I oppose abortion AND the death penalty. I thin life at both ends of the spectrum is equally important. As for birth control, in a perfect world I would like there to be a requirement of parental permission for girls under 18. However, we live in a fallen world and many girls who are sexually active would never admit that to their parents and some parents honestly don’t even care. Preventing pregnancy in the first place is a pretty good way to decrease abortion from where I’m sitting.
I also think that war is a pro-life issue. It isn’t only American life that I am interested in saving. Furthermore, healthcare, welfare, etc. are also pro-life issues in my opinion–taking care of the least of these. And I work often with those on state health plans and Medicaid. I have friends who don’t have insurance at all. I know people who are on welfare and receive food stamps—some have legitimate needs and others are abusing the system. Sure there needs to be massive reform and accountability, but these programs also need to exist. I have been to countries in which they don’t and something is better than nothing.
It’s complex, it’s confusing, but I am doing my best to do my homework and vote responsibly and prayerfully. I hate politics!!