One of the stranger spectacles elections bring out is the strange spectacle of the Catholic arguing that wishing to avoid hell and attain heaven is evil is not, you know, normal Catholic faith, but is instead monstrously selfish and that Real Catholics should roll up their sleeves, get with the program, and sin gravely for the greater good. They do this largely on the theory that opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world. For instance, a reader of mine cavils at the thought that I will not be voting for either major candidate, and declares me and my ilk “egotists” engaged in a form of mental masturbation:
You can look at your voting decisions in one of three ways.
(a) You can decide that one particular political party fits 70 to 80% of your views and you support that party while trying to get it to shift on the 20 to 30% you don’t agree with.
(b) You can decide election by election, candidate by candidate, which of the two people of the parties running best fits your views and you vote for him/her.
(C) You can make a protest vote and vote against the two major party candidates.
Options A or B are viable options in having your vote count and shaping the country. Each have their pluses and minuses, which I won’t get into. Option C is only meaningful if at most the protest vote reaches 5%. Usually the protest vote doesn’t even reach 2%. Neither of the parties, winners or losers look at such a protest vote as meaningful or significant. You have no voice in shaping the direction of the polis.
If you make such a protest vote knowingly, then it’s an act of self centered egotism. It may make you feel good, but you did nothing. Sort of like masterbation.
Or you can live in reality and understand that in a national election, the only real difference your vote makes is how it affects your soul, not the vanishingly insignificant impact it has on the outcome of the election. The amazing thing is that a Catholic can say that not wanting to support grave intrinsic evil is “self-centered egotism”. The “come with us for fellowship” argument is a popular one, but still unpersuasive. As American history over the past 40 years has conclusively shown, voting for the lesser of two evils does not get you less evil. It gets you more evil at a slightly slower pace. I prefer not voting for evil and see no obligation to do so.