How I voted, and why

For the first time in my life, I voted straight down the Democrat line. I voted Obama, I voted Waterworth, I voted Sullivan, and in Illinois State Representative District 93, where no Democrat was running, I did not vote for Republican Norine Hammond.

First, I want to make something clear: There are Republican Candidates that I like. I like Bobby Schilling’s attitude that congressmen shouldn’t get special treatment when it comes to pension plans. I like Randy Frese’s position on transparency and term limits.

The big elephant in the room, of course, is Mitt Romney. I like Mitt Romney. I don’t think he would be a terrible president. I think he’s an experienced and capable leader. I think he’s honest, if wavering, and of course I appreciate his faith (we do share a religious belief).

But in the end, my decision not to vote for these men comes down to their party affiliation, and here’s why:

First, the last few years have seen incredible Republican Obstructionism. Mitch McConell, the Senate Minority Leader, summed it up when he said “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” That’s just astounding! His single biggest priority is not keeping America safe from terrorists, or helping to revive a struggling economy, or improving American education to make our children more competitive in the world marketplace. No, his single priority is to shut down anything and everything that might make Obama look good.

And the Republicans have followed suit. They have refused to compromise. The have refused to negotiate. In fact, many economists and professional political pundits now blame the lackluster economic growth of the last few years not on poor policy from the executive branch, but on willful, intentional opposition to measures (including some that they supported until the President did also) that would help the economy by a Republican party whose top priority is simply to not let Obama have his way.

So, my conclusion is this: To vote for a Republican is to reward and encourage this tantrum-throwing behavior, and I refuse to do so.

Second, for some reason, the abortion issue has reared its head more than usual in this election season.

Now on this topic, first thing’s first: I believe that abortion for the sake of convenience is wrong. I believe it is immoral and frankly, a sin in the sight of God. However, I believe that in cases of rape, incest, or when continuing a pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the mother, abortion is an acceptable choice, with that decision to be made by the parent(s) in conjunction with medical professionals and according to their faith and conscience. This is why I think abortion should remain legal, despite the terrible consequences of its misuse.

But this isn’t about wanting abortion to be legal. It’s about what’s going on in the Republican party. When Todd Akin made his idiotic comments about “legitimate rape,” he became the recipient of considerable backlash from Republican officials. Here’s the problem: The backlash was all comments about how he made the party look bad. How such comments can cost Republicans votes. How he should drop out of the race. Where were the comments about how he was WRONG? The suggestions that he actually learn how the human reproductive system works?

Republican backlash against Todd Akin wasn’t about him being unfit to serve because he was an idiot, it was about how saying such things in public is politically unsound. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that most Republicans actually share his view, but are smart enough not to say it in public!

Beyond Todd Akin, there was another recent comment by Republican Richard Mourdock about pregnancy from rape being “something God intended.” I won’t repeat the same arguments as above, but I want to make my position abundantly clear:

If you oppose abortion in the case of rape, then you believe that a man who rapes a woman should have more power over that woman’s body than she does.

I have come to the conclusion that the Republican party as a whole has shown in the last few years that they are unfit to lead, unfit to legislate, and unfit to make appropriate choices for this country. Like a tantrum-throwing toddler, the entire Republican party needs to be sent to the corner to think about what they’ve done and learn to make smarter and more appropriate choices.

And that’s why I voted.