Marines.Together We Served

Monday, October 30, 2006

Voters Guide

No, I am not going to tell you who or what to vote for. Nor am I going to suggest you affiliate with a specific political party. But I got to thinking about the way I personally go about voting. Why do I vote the way I do? Is there a method in my madness, or is it more random selection?

With the enormous amount of campaign material we are bombarded with in the final weeks leading up to the election, I thought I might jot down the process I take in determining who and what gets my vote.

The list of reasons for how I vote is in no particular order.
First – I ignore all the hysteria in the media during the final three to six months prior to Election Day. Candidates of all stripes entirely lose touch with reality in their frantic efforts to come out on top. Things are said, implied, inferred, and otherwise spoken in libelous terms that once would have produced a demand for satisfaction – that is to say, the insulted person would call for a duel with the offender, either with pistols or swords, thereby “satisfying” their honor. All this is done in a most dignified and gentlemanly manner, don’t you know! Had one or both parties been more civil with each other beforehand, they most likely wouldn’t have found themselves in the present predicament where injury and death most surely awaited. Ah, but those were in bygone days. Today we’re too sophisticated for such crude behavior. Instead, words are used to inflict the greatest amount of harm with no concern for the consequences, or fear of reprisal.

Second – Any proposition, or the like, that will increase taxes is an automatic “No.” For me to change my mind on any tax increase would literally take an act of Congress. I have observed enormous mismanagement of taxpayer monies for too many years to now believe that an increase in taxes is going to help pre-existing problems. Many of the propositions are intended to throw money at society’s ills in the hopes that it will somehow fix the problem. It doesn’t.

Third – Character does matter. Therefore, I look carefully at a candidate. The first item of concern is the candidate’s world view. Do they realize the enormity of the struggle we find ourselves in against people who, quite simply, want us dead? This speaks to the need for an aggressive approach to national security. Another item of extreme importance to me is the candidate’s view of life. What value does life have? If the candidate does not recognize that life is a gift from God and is in fact sacred, they will certainly not get my vote.

Fourth – I want to know how a candidate handles pressure. This is not always so easy to determine, but when they are confronted on the issues, or are in a debate format, you can see if they are able to stand up under the pressures of that moment. Do they stick to the issues, or lapse into personal mischaracterizations of their opponent? They may one day run for the highest office of the land. I want a person who is cool under pressure.

Fifth – My values are important to me. Therefore, I am looking for someone who closely reflects those values. This is why party affiliation and voting a straight ticket (checking the box for everyone in your party) is common practice. You know the values that are generally held within that party, so you trust that those running for office will uphold those values.

Sixth – It is important to know where a candidate stands on the issues. This, my friends, is particularly important in the election of justices to the lower courts. For instance, we who live out west have paid too little attention to judges being voted in by “We the People” simply because we didn’t want to be bothered with finding out who these black-cloaked justices are. Once voted in they may eventually find themselves appointed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This court has made a practice of making very bad laws. The fact of the matter is they are there to interpret laws. So find out if the judge has an axe to grind, or whether they desire to serve the people in order to interpret the law of the land.

Seventh – Is the candidate a servant? Do they have a servant’s heart? Or are they more interested in advancing their own agenda? Way too many elected officials are self-serving and don’t mind if we know it. In the early days of our country a person served as an elected representative of the people only after they had already established themselves financially in business or commerce. They would serve in government for a pittance because they could afford to serve without relying on taxpayers to support them. Unlike today, politics was not a career choice.

Eighth – Where does the candidate stand with regard to our military? Having spent thirty-two years in the military, including two wars (Vietnam and Iraq), I’m mightily interested in the support I, and my fellow service members, can expect from the candidate should they be elected. We in the military had the rug pulled out from under us in Vietnam. I have no interest in seeing that repeated now, or anytime in the future. The candidate need not have served in the military themselves, but they’d better be prepared to take care of those who keep the wolf from the door.

I could expand on all of these points, but you get the idea. Tonight my wife and I completed our ballots. It’s always an exhilarating moment for me. Placing that Absentee Ballot in the mailbox is a reminder to me that I have just participated in one of the greatest testaments of freedom known to man. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Go vote! It’s the right thing to do.

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