Presidential elections bring to the surface a number of interesting aspects about our American society. They always reflect the complexity of our culture and how we as individuals perceive and relate to the key issues of our time.
One of the rights we enjoy as Americans is that we are free to vote for our leaders. Many voters find themselves compelled by their consciences or their circumstances to effectively reduce their voting criterion down to one specific watershed issue. For some, the issue is abortion, for others it is national security, for some it is national healthcare, and for others it is the economy. It might be all about immigration, or it might be about the war in the Middle East. But for many of us, it all boils down to one key issue. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion, and an essential part of the freedom we enjoy here is the privilege of expressing our own thoughts and our own personal convictions in the hopes of swaying others to our way of thinking. This is a type of thinking to which I can relate and, in fact, ultimately, my own voting choice condenses itself down to a single issue.
Unfortunately, this particular election's choices have revealed some unpleasant things about our society, too. I know of black voters who will vote for Obama for the sole reason that he is black. Nothing else matters to them. I know of white voters, ostensibly Democrats, who will not vote for Obama for the same reason. Nothing else matters to them.
There is a legion of middle-age feminists, too, who have completely twisted themselves into knots over the ascension of Sarah Palin. Many are unable to even speak in civil terms about the intelligent, ambitious, self-determining woman who has a very real shot at being the first woman to hold the second highest political office in American history. Her conservatism, her religious faith, her dedication to her husband and family, along with her repudiation of the traditional strident feminist ideology have made her a target of some of the most bitter, shrewish personal attacks by other women, on the basis of her gender. It is good that women are not voting for her simply because she is a woman, but it is pathetic to see the dialogue turn so ugly.
I could go on, but anybody who has been following the national narrative has seen these things. For me, the one watershed issue that it boils down to is quite simple. I am for freedom. I believe that history demonstrates that the more government we have, then the less freedom we enjoy. That makes me a small government guy.
The Democratic party, as part of its fundamental philosophy, believes that it is the function of government to take care of its people, to provide for all their needs, and to chart and guide the course of their collective future, ostensibly for the good of all. The Republican Party, in its fundamental philosophy, conversely, seeks to limit the size and influence of government on its constituents in the belief that freedom flourishes in the absence of governmental constraint. It is my observation that the Democratic Party is much better at serving its core belief than the Republican Party is. Under the predominant control of the Democratic Party, the government ALWAYS grows in size, scope, and power. This is part of it's mission. I say this without criticism or malice. It just reflects a different view of life. It is an inferior view, to my thinking, but it is the right of every American to believe what they want. Besides, when the Republicans are in charge, especially of late, government also grows, I'm very sorry to say.
However, in general terms, it remains a demonstrable, historical fact that liberals consistently seek to grow the size of government whereas conservatives seek to limit the size of government. It is that simple.
For me, this fundamental difference in ideology is important. The less government intervention in my life, the better. I believe that individual freedom is the basis of our democracy and I will always default to the party and to the people who share that belief.
So, yeah, this year, like so many ideological conservatives, the vote I am casting is not so much for the Republican party as it is a vote cast against the Democratic party.
For the record, I think it would be fantastic to have a black President...just not this black President.