Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Contra-vote

I do not vote. Or, anyway, I never have. My reasons are many and far from political apathy. If, however, what I propose came to fruition, I, and I suspect others, would never fail to vote.

In Catholic circles, there is much talk of "non-negotiables." Support for abortion, euthanasia, or other evils automatically excludes a candidate from receiving an authentic Catholic vote. The list of non-negotiables provided me by my (overactive?) conscience is quite a bit longer than the official and, consequently, I am excluded from voting at all in most cases.

Yet, there are grades of evil and I do wish to oppose the greater evil with greater force, but I cannot, in conscience, do this by supporting the lesser evil. We must not do evil so that good may come of it (cf. Rom. 3: 8). I seek a way to vote against, without voting for: a contra-vote - the power to negate one vote. In this way, a person of conscience can always participate in the election process without moral conflict.

Under the two-party system, many people, in effect, have been voting according to this philosophy already. The candidate they oppose the more they vote "against" by simply voting for the candidate they oppose the less. As the two-party system (blessedly) begins to erode, the power to vote "against" erodes as well. What to do if, among three candidates, there is none worthy? Simply voting for the least offensive of the three has less power than contra-voting the most offensive.

If this results in a candidate winning an election with a negative number of votes, so be it.


Dusty M Brahlek said...

I loved this idea when you first told it to me. I know it would be WONDERFUL. Maybe if there were enough politicians who got negitive votes then the idea of politics may change...

Dave said...

I have tried to press you on this issue, John. You have rejected a number of mainstream candidates for one reason or another, but I have never heard you characterize exactly what a candidate would look like who you would vote for. There do exist marginal candidates who follow the teachings of the Church. I have gotten the impression that you do not want to investigate them. Is this the case?

John R.P. Russell said...


That is not at all the case. In fact, upon your recommendation, I investigated Sam Brownback and have found him to be wonderfully well-aligned to the teachings of the Church. Given the opportunity, I will vote for him.

That being said, with his chances being what they are, a contra-vote would be more politically effective.

dave said...

I had assumed that you disregarded my recommendation because you never commented back to me after I made it. I am glad to hear you have not given up entirely on the democratic process.

If you are concerned about his chances, though, I'd say there's more likelihood of Brownback being elected than of the contra-vote becoming a political reality.

If nothing else, you could consider a vote for Sam Brownback a protest vote--even if you have to write his name in on the ballot. This would be more meaningful than abstention. A number of such votes would signal to the party that there is a strong bloc of voters being neglected.

My own inclination right now is that I would vote for McCain if he is nominated, but will consider a second-tier write-in otherwise.

John R.P. Russell said...

McCain's non-negotiable exclusion from a Catholic vote is due to his position on Stem-cell research:

"I do support embryonic stem cell research..."

"I believe the we need to fund [embryonic stem cell research]..."

He voted in favor of funding research that requires killing human embryos.

Anonymous said...

Voting is a waste of time.Israel China and Saudi Arabia run this crumbling G-dless empire. (Yawn)

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