Friday, September 10, 2004

Dialogue on the 2004 Election

This is a dialogue that started in the comments to my post, "Why I am not voting for George W. Bush." I'm posting it here because it was a getting a little long comments and because the original post is buried a ways back.

Andrew - I'll respond below your comments.

so how as a christian can you vote for Kerry? you can't use his faith, he has none, he claims to be catholic but afraid to come out against abortion or same-sex marraige because he wants those votes and knows that anti-abortion right to life and man and woman marraige proponents will vote against him already.

Your statement, "you can't use his faith, he has none" isn't an argument. It's a personal attack. Neither you nor I know anything about Kerry's heart. I would hesitate to question another man's relationship with God based on what you think you know about him.

But further, you mischaracterize Kerry's positions. Kerry opposes same-sex marriage. Though he believes that a constitutional amendment is unneccessary. A position that Dick Cheney happens to hold. Kerry's position on abortion isn't that complicated. He personally opposes abortion, but he's not willing to impose his belief on the roughly half of all Americans that disagree with him. Despite the proclamations of some conservative Catholic Bishops, Kerry's position is in line with many other American Catholics.

George Bush is a United Methodist. The United Methodist Church opposed the war in Iraq and opposes the death penalty. Does the fact that George Bush disagrees with the Methodist church on those issues make him not a Christian? I don't think so. It simply makes him a Christian that disagrees with his church, which is a pretty common thing in the US.

But I'd also be very hesitant about questioning someone's faith based on two of their views on hot-button social issues. Are the only people who can be authentic Christians the ones who happen to share your views on social issues? Are you suggesting that you cannot be pro-choice and in favor of same sex marriage and still be a Christian? There are a lot of American Christians who'd not take that well.

a few notes about Kerry/Edwards
Poor senate attendance

I'm not going to take the time to look it up, but I suspect that if you checked the attendance of many Senate Republicans you'd discover the same trend. The reality is that there are hundreds of votes and hearings every month and very rarely is every Senator and Represenative in attendance. Watch C-Span for a couple of minutes and you'll see.

voted 51 time out of 55 time against the second ammendment (aka 100% of the time he was in the senate to vote on the subject)

Basically your argument here is that he disagrees with your opinion, so everyone should disagree with him. Kerry feels different about gun control than you do. So don't vote for him. It's not a moral failing however. You have to understand that reasonable people can disagree about gun control and the second amendment.

I'd also suspect that the source of your information on the votes is the NRA. Understand that they are a very strong lobby and not particularly interested in competing points of view. Most interest groups (liberal and conservative) present facts in a light that is favorable to them. I wouldn't take much the NRA (or most other groups, for that matter) says at face value.

claims to be pro-Life but always supports abortion

See argument above.

voted for budget cuts on defence and intelegence after significant events such as the Oaklahoma City bombing

So did a lot of Republicans. After the end of the Cold War there were significant reductions in defense spending. Remember that for most of Clinton's presidency Republicans controlled the House (starting in 1994). The House had to approve any defense cuts. The reality is that during that time there was a lot of pressure to focus on domestic needs. It's really unfair to cherry-pick votes without looking at the context. Also remember that George Bush never served in a state legislature or the House or Senate. He conveniently has no voting record to critique.

attacks Bush's background (vietnam) but is hurt and defensive when the same happens to him

This isn't really an argument. I don't think you can prove Kerry is acting "hurt and defensive." The truth is that the Swift Boat Veterans have been largely discredited. Their own military records disprove their claims. In fact, Bush has said that "Kerry served honorably." Frankly, I don't think we need to fight the Vietnam war anymore. As John McCain said, there's a real war going on with American men and women dying every day.

as a trial lawyer Edwards' goal has been to sue america's principal source of private arms and ammunition into oblivion

I doubt that's true. I'd look it up, but I'm tired. I suspect the truth is somewhat less inflammatory. I doubt you believe everything the Democrats say about Bush. So I'd hesitate to believe everything the Republicans say about Kerry/Edwards. I don't believe much that comes straight out of either party.

on another note, what do you think about the fact that supporters of Kerry (13 democrates) actually asked the U.N. to provide international election monitors to watch over novembers election? the whole idea of bringing people from countries like North Korea, Iran, Syria, China, and Cuba - people who have never seen ademocratic election in thier lifetime - to monitor elections here would be laughable if it hadn't actually been proposed by these "represenatives". (lets not forget that UN officials are elected, not by the people, but by governments. many of them dictatorships, not democratic)Fortunately for all, the U.N. turned down the request

The motive here was concern that Bush unjustly won the 2000 election. Democrats wanted to ensure that the 2004 election was fair. Personally I think that they're overreacting. I don't think that the 2000 election was stolen. But I think your criticism of the UN is unfair. The UN supervises elections all over the world and the US supports that role. There are many democratic nations in the UN and I doubt the democrats really wanted monitors from North Korea, Iran, Syria, etc.

The purpose of my post wasn't to say that all Christians should vote for Kerry. Rather, as a Christian I feel led to vote in a particular way. I believe that people can and should vote their conscience and their faith will influence them in various ways. I was trying to articulate how my faith has affected my perspective.

I think that we should have discussions about these issues, but that they should be based on facts, not propaganda and innuendo. Rather than resorting to personal attacks (against Kerry or Bush), we should discuss the issues. I think that both Kerry and Bush are decent men who could serve the country well. The fact is that have different ideas about the role of government and our country's future. Let's talk about that.



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