5) Basic Humanity

Some reasons for voting for Obama instead of Romney should cross all genuine religious boundaries. Religion brings us to awareness that there are contexts larger than our self-interest, larger than our nationalism, larger than any focus on immediate gain. Religion at its best teaches that human beings are of value in themselves, and we should treat others with care and respect, even love. By this standard I cannot understand how any genuinely religious person could support Mitt Romney.

The stories of Romney's inability to act humanely go back for years, from assaulting a gay fellow student and cutting his hair against his will, to his treatment of the family dog, to comments about enjoying being able to fire people, and more. Here are a few I think give us a sense of the kind of man he would be with more power over us all.

  1. Mitt Romney does not oppose torture.
  2. Mitt Romney is not concerned about health care for the uninsured because they can always go to the emergency room, which is evidence that he does not understand people in circumstances different from his own. If people have access to health care, they can get the preventive care they need in order not to have to go to the emergency room. Preventative care is cheaper, but more to the point, it is also more humane.
  3. Romney has surrounded himself with the most aggressive war advocates from the old Bush administration. Given his inability to comprehend even the relationship of Syria to Iran, we can be sure his decisions will be disproportionately dependent on the people who gave us the Iraq War, and who are lusting after an attack on Teheran.
  4. At the same time, Romney disrespects soldiers so much that he said his sons participating in his campaigns amounted to serving the country as much as serving in the military. No fluke, Ann Romney explained Mitt's missionary work in Paris for the Mormon Church was the moral equivalent of serving in Vietnam.

This has not been a pleasant piece to write. Dipping into the political and spiritual nihilism of America's right wing is a toxic undertaking. And I have just scratched the surface.

Barack Obama is not a candidate that I can get enthusiastic about supporting simply on his own merits. But when we look at the alternative, the choice becomes simple, clear, and without doubt. Barack Obama is not a cruel man; he is not a theocrat; he is not an enemy of women's strength, and married a strong one; and his style is without the pathetic swagger of the pseudo-masculine poseurs on the right. While I see the world quite differently than he does, I think Barack Obama, unlike his opponent, will preserve the possibility for us as Pagans and as citizens to work to make our country and our world a better place for all.

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