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The upcoming election is a perfect example of how life can’t always be boiled down to two sides. Everything is not black or white, heaven or hell, good or evil, democrat or republican, right or wrong, love or hate, McCain or Obama. I am left in a moral quagmire.
Looking at the situation practically, one can vote for the lesser of two evils. It is inevitable that there will be a president after this election. While each candidate has significant and troubling flaws, one could justify voting for that candidate which one finds slightly less odious. This does the least harm to the least people. I was going to write an entire post about this, but this post pretty much summed up everything I was going to say.
But voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for “evil,” if we are to hold to that idiom. One could choose to abstain from voting altogether and refuse to validate the system which permits such “evil.” While a single individual abstention may not make a difference, that doesn’t mean it OK to choose that which one finds morally reprehensible. If the population were to unite against the abolition of such “evil,” then the system would be forced to change.
Non-participation in a system does not seek to subvert the system, but destroy it entirely. But what is the “evil” which we are seeking to destroy? Is it government as an entire establishment? It it the office of the presidency itself? Is it various mindsets and practices which negatively inform our creation of policy?
Should we seek to dismantle the establishment of government? I don’t think so. Humans are social creatures. We instinctively form groups and systems of governance. It seems to be a part of our nature. Therefore it’s not the actual establishment of government which we should seek to dismantle?
Then what of the office of the presidency? I don’t see a problem with such a position. Obviously, it has as much potential for great harm as it does great good, but that is no reason for its abolition. Provided that the office is protected against abuse, tyrants and dictators (through such functions as checks and popular elections), I see no reason to dismantle it.
Then we should seek to dismantle the mindsets and practices which negatively inform our creation of policy. But how does non-participation affect this? It seems to me that if one’s mission is to subvert the system and dismantle those harmful qualities of it, then engaging the system would have a much greater impact than non-participation. I believe that more could be accomplished through lobbying, writing letters, and engaging with politicians than could be by not voting.
I have no allegiance to America’s government. I have no allegiance to America. But my participation in the government does not jeopardize my non-allegiance.
As paraphrased from Dr. Strege, “Vote, then go home and repent.”