I will not be voting for Mitt Romney.
That statement has lead to several rather passionate discussions from friends and relatives who are well-informed and truly want to do the right thing, and I respect and appreciate their efforts. That, however, changes nothing.
Every four years, America goes through The Most Important Election In History. I should have noticed this earlier, but it has taken me just a few months short of sixty years to realize that it is ALWAYS “The Most Important Election In History”.
At some point, we need to come to the realization that life is not segmented into four year terms. People fail to take the long term view because they have no tolerance short term sacrifice. When you take the long view, sometimes that means that bad men get into office; it is also true that they might well do some serious and irreversible damage. Doing what is right is seldom a painless endeavor.
Let me note here that I have been a bit more than just a passive observer of the political process, although there is no need to repeat the details in this post. I am not some dreamy kid with an idealized “vision” that is out of touch with reality. I understand that politics involves compromise – but I also understand that voting does not, or at least it should not.
• Florida is shaping up to be a key battleground state for this upcoming presidential election. Obama and Romney are dead even in the polls.
• In a race this close, every vote is important.
• Obama is not only doing an extremely bad job as President, he is working directly counter to everything that has made America such a remarkable nation in history. He is working to destroy America.
With all that said, I will not be voting for Romney – even if I could somehow know that my one vote would make the difference in this election. I will be voting for a candidate who has no realistic chance to win. I will be voting for the Constitution Party candidate, Virgil Goode. Now, for the purpose of this discussion, his platform is not important; the same arguments would apply to any number of other minor party candidates.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
— John Adams
What drives your choice in an election? Our entire system of government was designed around the idea that people would vote for the person who best represented what they honestly wanted in their leadership. It was assumed that a morally upright and honorable people would make such choices.
There were no political parties when the Constitution was written. The two party system developed because it is very effective at what it does: it allows a powerful elite to select our political leadership. From the voters’ perspective it is like going to a car lot filled with every make and model imaginable, yet being told you must choose between the blue car and the red car – of the same model. And from that experience, people cast their vote and then walk away believing that they have chosen their leaders. Amazing.
Here are three short videos that may help shed some light on why I am voting for a minor-party candidate who cannot possibly win, yet one who represents what I am looking for in leadership for this country. They are also about why I will not be voting for Romney – and those are two different issues.
For more on the moral requirement that we vote for the candidate we truly believe would be the best leader (no matter which party they represent), please see the Lost Causes post.
For a more practical-oriented discussion, see “Voting Strategy 2004 – When The Lesser of Two Evils Is No Longer An Option” – a document I wrote in 2004. This covers some of the practical (i.e., expedient) reasons for voting for a minor party candidate – if that is who you believe is the best choice. You may want to take a few minutes to read it.
As a closing note, Alan Keyes (featured in the first two videos) served as an ambassador under Ronald Reagan and was a presidential candidate in 1996, 2000, and 2008. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak when I was a delegate to the Republican state convention in Florida. Ambassador Keyes is truly a remarkable man who loves his country. He was the only candidate at that convention who received a standing ovation. He was wildly popular among many of the delegates, yet the media shamefully treated him as though he were just the janitor sweeping the floors. Why? Because he was not the chosen one. He was not the man who the party leadership had decided would be the nominee. He was ignored by the media, just as Ron Paul was ignored in this election.
10/18/2012 – Edited to add: I didn’t write this post because I think I have all the answers (though at times I wrongly think I do), so I’m still making an honest effort to sort this out and do what is right. Please be sure to read the replies before leaving a reply. Constructive criticism and comments are deeply appreciated. Most folks follow the crowds like robotic drones; there are very few of us who truly agonize over the question of what is the right thing to do. Thank you.