Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Moral Voter

Shortly after the election some poll or another indicated that voters in the so-called "red" states voted for George Bush because of his position on moral issues. Evidently, they perceived he had solid moral values which his opponent did not posess. No doubt they got this impression from Bush's attack ads more than from anything Kerry said or did himself.

But let's look at this a little more closely. The Republican party tends to limit its discussion of moral values to issues related to sex. Things like sex education, gay marriage, abortion, and Janet Jackson (who has lovely breasts). However, the foundation of morality is in loving your neighbor as yourself, and the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sex is the least of it.

The Golden Rule is as important in international relations as it is with interpersonal ones. Here the GOP falls pathetically short. Bush has unilaterally broken treaties, cut funding for family planning assistance in overpopulated countries (the sex thing again), denied prisoners at Guantanamo the legal protections of POWs, failed to accept responsibility for the Abu Ghraib abuses (hell, Bush can't even pronounce "Abu Ghraib"), ignored the concerns and advice of our allies while insisting they do what we tell them, etc. If Russia or China had done any of these things, Bush would have called them rogue nations, reckless and irresponsible. We wouldn't want any of these things done unto us, so there is no justification for us doing such things unto others.

The President of the United States has little or no influence over sexual behavior, nor should he, and he shouldn't be elected based on those issues. He does, however, have responsibility for how this country behaves in the world. It is not in our national interest to violate our own, Christian principles in the name of national interest. In the end, such actions only harm our credibility, our trustworthiness, and our moral leadership.

I voted for Kerry on moral grounds, because he understood this.

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