How are we to choose a candidate to vote for? By party? By issue? I'm quick to disregard the first option but the second is much more difficult. There are so many issues to take into consideration and there will never be a candidate that perfectly lines up with your beliefs.
Some of the issues that have been rolling around in my head lately are:
Embryonic stem cell research
Earmarks in the federal budget
Poverty - local & global
War in Iraq & war in general
Appointment of judges (and their lasting legacy on moral issues)
Hunger - local & global
Riders (on bills presented to Congress)
The list could go on and on. Given the above list of issues and the plethora of others that could be added, how does one prioritize the issues? Should a candidate who is pro-choice rank above a candidate who is supporting the use of public funds for embryonic stem cell research? Or perhaps it's more important to choose the candidate who wants to overhaul the No Child Left Behind program than the one who wants to rid the federal budget of earmarks? On what basis do you prioritize the issues and decide which candidate to vote for?
On November 7th, I'm supposed to go to a polling place and decide between two Congressional candidates from the 6th district here in Illinois - Peter Roskam (R) & Tammy Duckworth (D). I recently attended a forum where Roskam & Duckworth were asked questions about a variety of issues and sort of gave a summary of what they thought. The problem is that they were too busy mud slinging to really give a good picture of what they believe and I left thinking that it's just sport. When did opponent bashing become a regular part of politics? When did it become the norm to do more trash talking about your opponent than telling the public what your own views on the issues are? Is this really what the public wants to hear?
Perhaps in this election it is more important to vote by party. This election has the potential to change the majority leadership in Congress. Perhaps I should vote for Duckworth so that Democrats might have the majority. And then there's the presidential election to consider. It's highly likely that the next president will be a Democrat. In that case, a Republican Congress could balance things out or make it very difficult for the president to accomplish anything. So which is better?
To make matters worse, it is very difficult to find solid, objective material on any one candidate. I want to be an educated voter but where will I get that education? Certainly not from watching television campaign ads! And where does my faith factor into all of this? In some circles, the sincerity of your faith is questioned if it becomes known that you are a Democrat or would vote for a Democrat. What does Scripture have to say about the issues at hand that might guide our decisions at the polls? And thus I arrive at the end of this post with a vast number of questions and few, if any, answers or insights.
People say its our privelege as citizens of this country to vote but personally I find it to be a chore and a headache.