Voting Is An Exercise in Moral Judgment

In an article at First Things, George Weigel wrote that the American political campaign has never been for the squeamish.  With the sole exceptions of George Washington’s two uncontested elections, every presidential campaign, every local and state election  has seen its share of vulgarity, skullduggery, and personal disparagement.

American politics  is a contact sport and while we may wish it were not so, what we witnessed in the 2016 presidential election is likely what we’ll have for the foreseeable future.  But just because electioneering increasingly resembles a reality show, voters are not absolved from treating the electoral franchise as something rather similar to casting a vote on American Idol.

For the vast majority of American citizens, exercising prudential judgment in politics is not a matter of framing and executing public policy, but of voting.

  Voting, in other words, is an exercise in moral judgment.

Morally serious voters understand that casting a ballot is not an exercise in nostalgia, and that gratitude to FDR for giving grandpa a job in the Civilian Conservation Corps, or fond memories of the Reagan years,  can not be determinative of one’s moral judgment about America’s future, and those who lead.

Morally serious voters understand that the character of political parties changes over time, and that voting for the Democrats or the Republicans because “that’s what we’ve always done” is outsourcing one’s moral judgment to others.

Morally serious citizens recognize that voting a straight party line is an abrogation of moral responsibility, because the judgment one makes of a party’s candidate for, say president, cannot be applied willy-nilly to that party’s candidate in the House or Senate races, or the governor’s race, or even your local supervisor’s race.

The latest voting polls in Virginia show Republican nominee Ed Gillespie tied with Democrat Ralph Northam.  Virginia voters are sharply divided along geographic lines, with . Northam leading in progressive counties in Northern Virginia defined as Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, and Gillespie leading in broad expanses of the commonwealth west of Interstate 95.   

Ralph Northam, running on your typical progressive Democratic platform of gun control, abortion on demand at taxpayer expense, Cap & Trade, $15 minimum wage, ObamaCare, etc., voted to allow sanctuary cities in Virginia, and wants to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.  He is endorsed by your typical left-wing politicians and organization like  McAuliffe, Bloomberg, Planned Parenthood, Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post, etc. and funded by typical left-wing donors that supported Obama and McAuliffe such as  Service Employees International Union, the Labors  International Union of North America,  the Virginia League of Conservative Voters (which is anything but conservative), Planned Parenthood Federation, Planned Parenthood of New York, Common Good (McAuliffe’s PAC), Dominion Power, along with Democratic voters in Virginia, etc.

Ed Gillespie, not a true conservative by any stretch of the imagination,  while far from the perfect candidate he is pro-life, and pro 2nd Amendment. While he may support amnesty, he also supports securing our southern border.  He believes that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced.  Ed is endorsed by your Republican elected officials, The NRA, the Virginia Retail & Merchants Assoc., the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Virginia Farm Bureau, the Virginia Police Benevolent Assoc., the Association of Builders and Contractors, and the Middle Resolution.   

While I would never presume to tell you how to vote on November 7th, remember that voting is an exercise in moral judgment about the immediate and long-term future of Virginia.  Voters who think only of themselves, who do not take into account that their vote affects the kind of future their children and grandchildren will inherit, are being politically shortsighted and morally obtuse.

Voting is not a privilege – it is a noble privilege, because it asks each of us to bring our best judgment to bear on matters of grave consequence.  The voting booth should be entered into only after serious moral reflection and prayer.


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