Speaking of Tom Kreitzberg’s Disputations blog…

Here’s the Disputations Challenge!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Register at disputations.blogspot.com.
  2. Vote in the 2012 general election.
  3. For each election decided by your vote, I will send you $10.

To register, just leave a comment below with your name, zip code, and the state and Congressional districts in which you live. If any of the candidates on your ballot wins by a single vote, you get $10!

Enter today!

Official Rules: Entry open to U.S. citizens only. Entrants are responsible for letting me know of any winning certified result. Offer not valid where it’s invalid.

Do remember this the next time somebody tells you that the reallio trulio *realistic* thing is the huge difference your vote supposedly makes to the outcome of the election and not the impact it has on your soul.   Truth is, when you deliberately vote for evil, evil doesn’t even send you a Thank You note.  But every little choice for good or evil affects our souls.  That’s reality.  Think of your vote as a widow’s mite.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    Do I also get 10 dollars if I can prove that the paltry amount I’m able to give to charity made the difference between someone living or dying? I wonder if they had this back then, if the widow would have wasted her time with her mite.

    • Kirt Higdon

      Not a good analogy. Charitable giving is cumulative and (unless the charity if fraudulent) will always be of some help. Votes cast for a losing candidate are all without effect on the electoral outcome; the same is true of any votes cast for a winning candidate in excess of what he needed to win.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        A wonderful analogy, for if I can use my paltry amount to justify saying my vote doesn’t count, certainly I can invoke my paltry amount to justify saying anything small I can contribute ultimately doesn’t count. After all, if everyone figured their votes didn’t count, you might not have anyone voting. Fortunately, the Bishops seem to think voting matters for more than just me and my ticket to the pearly gates, so I’ll stick with them. Oh, and it doesn’t help that I live in one of the key battleground states where elections have been decided down to the wire.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          You tell ‘em, man!

        • Andy, Bad Person

          An excellent point, if anyone were advocating not voting. They’re not.

          • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

            Sure some are. Saying my [fill in the blank] doesn’t matter has been used to cover a multitude of inactions over the ages. The best test is this: if everyone said their votes didn’t matter, then why vote at all? And if nobody votes at all, then what? And saying my vote doesn’t matter followed by voting makes what sense? All this little 10$ thing is saying is that my vote doesn’t matter. Fine. I won’t vote. Don’t you vote either. In fact, if that’s the case, then nobody should vote. Which brings us back to – what?

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              And it misses the point of the widow’s mite. Jesus didn’t say that the widow’s contribution to the Temple was “negligible.” I’m sure the rich people tossing part of their wealth thought that her two coins “didn’t count,” but God was more concerned with the generosity of her sacrifice than its monetary value.

            • Ted Seeber

              There are other reasons to vote than to win the election IS the point. One may use a losing vote as a protest. One may use a losing vote as a salve for a conscience that is guilty of being an American in the first place. What one may NOT do, is vote against one’s own conscience and against Church Teaching. THAT is the point of the Bishops. Mark Shea is right there with them.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                In other words, no vote is negligible. They can all matter in one way or another.

              • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                If you’re that bothered by being an American, leaving is always a viable option.

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  Oh please put down the Internet Tough Guy “Git out if you don’t like ‘Mericuh” act.

                • Jmac

                  Or, you know, we could try to fix the system. I’m sitting on a mountain of HHGTTG lizard references I will use at the slightest provocation.

                • Ted Seeber

                  Back in my ancestry, Lewis and Clark and therefore America invaded me. Or at least, a portion of my family.

                  Why should I leave while the invaders stay?

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    Hahaha that’s great, Ted!

            • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

              First, distinguishing between “my vote will not determine the winner of an election” and “my vote doesn’t matter” is something nearly everyone in this conversation has found easy to do.

              Second, the fact that people vote even thought their vote does not determine the winner of an election is a well known problem (of sorts) in political science; called the Paradox of Voting or Downs Paradox, it was first pointed out in 1957, and hasn’t yet caused the collapse of democratic elections.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                I imagine that most voters vote hoping that their candidate will win. So to them, saying that their vote’s “value in determining the winner of an election can be objectively estimated and empirically shown to be negligible” sounds a heck of a lot like “Your vote doesn’t matter.” The distinction between the two becomes itself negligible. And if the next question they ask is, “So why bother voting?” surely that is understandable.

              • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                I’m aware of the voting not counting argument. It was kicked around when I was in college. Only a free country that has been free for generations would think that. It’s what comes of being a wine and caviar nation in a starving world. Oh posh, a mosquito just landed in the caviar, there goes the party. I just imagined that when I became a Christian and stopped seeing the world as beginning and ending with myself, such a focus on my own paltry contributions would change as I saw myself as part of a greater creation.

                Does my vote count? No. Nothing I do counts for the world in the long run. And if I think about it that way, I’ll end up thinking that I can do – or not do – anything and suddenly voila! I’m justified in doing so. It was certainly a viewpoint I found more comfort with as a non-Christian than I did as a Christian.

        • Jamie R

          As noted above, you haven’t addressed that charitable donations, unlike voting, is cumulative (unless you actually only give ten dollars, in which case the charity will probably spend more than that processing the donation, thank you letter, and subsequent appeals than your donation was worth; it’s inefficient donate small amounts to charity, unless you do so anonymously. But that’s a tangent).

          The analogy also breaks down because we’re not talking about an insignificantly small amount of support for a good candidate against an evil one. We’re talking about support for an evil candidate as opposed to another evil candidate. Giving ten dollars to a charity rather than to an evil cause is good; giving ten dollars to Emily’s List rather than to Planned Parenthood isn’t. If the choice was between Obama and Jesus, the insignificance of a single vote for Jesus wouldn’t be a reason not to vote. Or if there was a referendum on whether the state should do good and avoid evil, the insignificance of a single “yes” vote wouldn’t be a reason not to vote.

          Rather, the choice is between doing evil OR avoiding good. A single vote to avoid good instead of doing evil isn’t likely to affect the outcome of the race. However, it is likely to affect you, since you’ve just intentionally told the state that you are in favor of avoiding good. You are what you do, and advocating the avoidance of good will have negative affects on your well-being as a person. Granted, we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good, but we also shouldn’t confuse the less evil for the good.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            Voting isn’t cumulative? I thought the candidate with the most votes wins (barring the occasional blip when the winner of the popular vote loses the Electoral College vote. Though many local political positions are decided by popular vote.)

            If my vote is equivalent to the widow’s mite, which was a charitable contribution, then how does this argument not also apply to almsgiving? I only have one vote to cast for a candidate; that single vote won’t make a huge difference. I only have two copper coins to give to the Temple, that insignificant amount of cash won’t make a huge difference. But if many other people contribute two copper coins the cumulative effect of all our alms will be greater. And if many other people vote for my candidate then the cumulative effect of all our votes will be greater. Seems parallel to me.

            If the widow’s mite is really a good comparison to a vote, that is. I admit I’m still questioning that. When Our Lord pointed out the poor widow’s almsgiving, He was making a very different point.

            • Jamie R

              If two people give charity A $10 each, they’ve done just less than $20 worth of good. Even if someone else gives $500 to charity B, charity A still has that $20. But if two people votes for candidate X, and 500 people votes for candidate Y, those 2 people haven’t done 2 votes worth of good. Those votes didn’t do anything, except communicate to Y and Y’s supporters that 2 people support X. If Y gets 500 votes, X getting 0 votes, and X getting 499 votes has the same effect, as does X getting any number of votes greater than 500. Maybe cumulative isn’t the right word, but charitable giving adds up regardless of what any one else does. Voting doesn’t; voting only adds up with respect to how other parties vote.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                Except that pollsters and politicians show a great deal of interest in how people vote, and certainly take votes for the losing candidate into account, as well as excess votes for the winner. It all gets fed into a mass of information about voting trends which is then used in future political races.

                >>>Maybe cumulative isn’t the right word, but charitable giving adds up regardless of what any one else does. Voting doesn’t; voting only adds up with respect to how other parties vote.

                All the more reason why the widow’s mite is a poor comparison to voting. The ballot box is not the Temple treasury.

            • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

              The widow’s mite is not a particularly good comparison to a vote. A mite can be used in many ways, and different people have different numbers of mites. A vote can’t be used in any way other than voting, and everyone has the same number of votes.

              The story of the widow’s mite tells us many things, but nothing about cumulative effect. If anything, it tells us that the reallio trulio *realistic* thing is the huge impact giving of your want has on your soul and not the difference your mite supposedly makes to the livelihood of the poor.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                Yet is voting really giving of ones want? That old widow made a greater sacrifice by dropping all her money in the Temple treasury than I do by filling out a ballot every November. And Our Lord’s whole point was the magnitude of her sacrifice and the generosity in her heart, in comparison to the rich who actually gave “less” proportionate to their wealth. Not the fact that she gave to the Temple rather to a fortune-teller; the same was true of all the rich donors but that didn’t win them extra points.

          • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

            I get the argument. I understand what the Bishops have said, including that it is permissible to vote for the candidate least likely to advance a morally flawed position or more likely advance a common good. That means, voting.

            According to the logic of the above post, I mean, if my vote doesn’t matter, I shouldn’t vote. You shouldn’t vote. Nobody should vote. That would be the logical conclusion. But it isn’t, and quite frankly, it’s the same type of excuse used to say my [whatever] doesn’t matter, so why bother. Applied to anything else, we recognize it as a weak argument better suited to justify inaction. Oh sure, there can be differences in such an argument depending on the subject at hand. But it ultimately ends up being the age old excuse: my contribution doesn’t matter, so why care.

            • Ted Seeber

              Did I read a different post than you did, or are one of us interpreting it according to personal bias? Where in the original post do you see the words “don’t vote at all”?

              • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                If my vote doesn’t matter, why should I vote, except to focus on myself and how my vote impacts me. Or just not voting (and that includes voting for the guy down the street, Mickey Mouse, or any one of a thousand votes that are the same as not voting. It does not count viable third party candidates).

                • Ted Seeber

                  “except to focus on my vote and how my vote impacts me” is exactly why you should vote. As my father always said, if you fail to vote, you’ve got no reason to complain later. One might also say if you vote for the winner, then the only person you have to blame later when that winner disappoints you is yourself.

                  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                    Exactly. And I think that part of the problem is that I do live in a hotly contested swing state where national elections have come down to the grocery bag full of votes. If I lived in a Red state or a Blue state, and new that no matter what, it will always go a certain way, then I might see it differently. But as it is, in our state, in our divided age, every last vote can count. Can I make sure mine was THE vote that mattered? No. No more than I can prove my pennies and nickels actually helped that starving child, or that single infantryman was the one who singularly won the war. We’re not wired that way, to think of ourselves and our own singular contributions, but we are wired as social creatures, to think as a team. Which is why we seem to do so much together at Mass. Maybe it’s just a throwback to my school days and team sports, I don’t know. But we never, ever saw it as ‘what is your singular contribution’, but it was how you were part of a greater team.

            • Jamie R

              You’re missing half the equation. Not only is your vote not likely to affect the outcome of the race, it is likely to affect other things.

              Let’s say, purely hypothetically, a Democratic candidate for President was running against a pro-choice Republican. The probability of your vote for the Republican affecting the outcome of your states slate of electors is 0, unless you live in an extremely close state. The probability of your vote for a pro-choice Republican being a statement by you in favor of a pro-choice candidate is 1. So, you get to publicly express your support for abortion by voting for a pro-choice Republcian, and in return you get an insignificant likelihood of ousting the Democrat.

              This separates voting from small contributions. Someone who gives a small donation to a charity is contributing positively in a vanishingly small way to a charity. He isn’t also making himself a liar. If I give ten dollars to support the homeless, I’m doing just less than ten dollars worth of good to help the homeless, and I’m not hurting myself. If I vote for a candidate who is pro-choice, I’m contributing basically nothing to that candidate, and I’m hurting myself by telling both myself and the world that a pro-choice Republican should be president.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                I don’t think Dave G. or anyone here is saying we should vote for a pro-choice candidate. I think he is objecting to the disparagement of voting which is implicit in the assertion that my individual vote is negligible WRT the outcome of an election.

                Since most people vote in the hope that their candidate will win, that does come off sounding very much like, “Your vote doesn’t matter,” to which the natural reply is “Then why should I bother? If my vote will never accomplish what I always hope it will then why drag myself out to the polls?”

                • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

                  Yes, a lot of people confuse hope and expectation.

                  My position is: They should stop.

                  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                    I wouldn’t mind if you unpacked that a little bit.

                    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

                      There is a difference between the hope that the candidate for whom I vote wins and the expectation (which can be estimated in various ways, and against which bets may rationally be laid) that the winner depends on my vote.

                      Anyone who votes because he expects that the winner will depend on his vote is not thinking very clearly about the act of voting.

                      People who play the lottery about as often as they vote may have a better sense of the difference between their hope of winning the jackpot and their odds.

                      Further to Rosemarie’s point, anyone who thinks his vote “matters” if and only if it it probable that who wins will depend on his vote *ought* to rethink the matter.

              • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                As I said, I do live in an extremely close state – Ohio. It’s one of the key swing states in the nation. Again, think of it this way. If everyone concludes their vote doesn’t matter, then what should everyone do?

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  You get one vote. Let everyone worry about themselves. You worry about your vote and how it affects your soul.

      • MarylandBill

        Actually, I would say that votes cast for losing candidates can have an impact. President Obama, not having to worry about re-election may not care strongly about whether he wins by thousands of votes or millions of votes, but the members in congress will certainly pay attention to how much they win by. A candidate who barely wins is more likely to play to the center than one who won by a large margin.

        • Ted Seeber

          In addition to that, one of the perennial conscience issues that all American politicians seem to deal with is posterity.

          Obama or Romney winning by one vote is very unlikely. But it WILL change their policies if the winner only has 45% of the vote while the looser got 40% and the third party candidates ran off with the other 15%, vs the winner getting 90% or more of the vote.

          History counts, even for a 2nd term of a lame duck.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Consider also how pollsters and political types look at the election numbers. When Scott Walker defeated the recall attempt in Wisconsin, people compared the recall votes to those of his original run against the same challenger. They found that he had a *greater* margin of victory the second time ’round. They didn’t think that all those votes cast in excess of what he needed to win “didn’t count.” Rather, they were seen as affirmation that the voters had greater confidence in Walker now.

  • David K. Monroe

    Yeah, let’s just stand back and watch it all burn. We can always say, “I told you so.”

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      So my vote can stop arson now! Is there anything democracy can’t do?

    • Ted Seeber

      So give me an option where it doesn’t burn. Oh yeah, we can’t, because the democracy we have created isn’t credible.

      • David K. Monroe

        Surprise! The world doesn’t owe you a “credible democracy.” You can either work to improve things, or you can take your pick of many other “democracies”, perhaps more “credible” to you, such as China. Or you can just stand around and complain, but that hardly seems a satisfactory option, unless you’re a nihilist. But nobody owes you a perfect reality. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

        • ivan_the_mad

          YAY! Go Team False Dilemma!

          • David K. Monroe

            Dilemmas have three options? Who knew?

            • ivan_the_mad

              Oh dear, I guess I confused your crystal clear implicit parentheses. I read it as:

              A := “You can either work to improve things,”

              B := “or you can take your pick of many other ‘democracies’, perhaps more ‘credible’ to you, such as China.”

              C := “Or you can just stand around and complain, but that hardly seems a satisfactory option, unless you’re a nihilist.”

              Based on how you wrote it, with A and B in one sentence and C in a third, it sure looks like (A V B) V C. That’d be two dilemmas, or if we let D := (A V B), we could look at it as D V C and call it one dilemma. If you meant it to be A V B V C, three options, then your syntax does not indicate that at all.

              • David K. Monroe

                I was making an obnoxious combox post, not constructing a syllogism, and I did mean to offer three alternatives, not two, regardless of the placements of periods and commas.

                • ivan_the_mad

                  “I was making an obnoxious combox post,” That was manifestly clear.

                  “not constructing a syllogism,” Yes, I can distinguish between a list of options and a syllogism.

                  “and I did mean to offer three alternatives, not two,” Fair enough.

                  “regardless of the placements of periods and commas.” No, commas and periods are not syntactic sugar. They have a purpose, one of which serves to group and order ideas expressed. It is incumbent on you to use them correctly.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    Never mind, I retract the above. I went too far in returning the favor.

                    • David K. Monroe

                      I appreciate your forbearance.

        • Mark Shea

          Romney is not the good. He advocates grave intrinsic evil. Why not use your vote for somebody who does not advocate grave evil?

          • David K. Monroe

            Romney/Obama is not my problem with Ted Seeber, but rather the notion that “our democracy isn’t credible.” That is not a complaint that can be addressed by voting for Ron Paul, it is saying, “America sucks, to hell with it.”

            I picture Arlington Cemetery in my mind, while hearing a voice-over by Ted Seeber yelling, “Give me another option! Our democracy is not credible!” I suspect that the democracy that he would find “credible” exists only in his mind. If true, then that is truly a “perfect” that is the enemy of the “good.”

            • ivan_the_mad

              Well, at least you know it’s all in your head ZING

          • http://estquodest.com Pauli

            I don’t think so.

    • Jmac

      You should vote for the guy who’s throwing alcohol on the fire! He’s vastly preferable to the monster who’s throwing gasoline on it!

      • ivan_the_mad

        I could never in good conscience vote for a monster throwing perfectly good, tasty alcohol on the fire.

      • David K. Monroe

        YAY! Go Team Nihilism!

        • Mark Shea

          It is one of the weird marks of our time that placing one’s faith in Jesus over a politician and attempting to remain faithful to him is denounced as “nihilism”.

          • David K. Monroe

            Yeah, Mark, that’s what I’m doing, advocating people worship politicians instead of Jesus. That’s really a generous take-away. Thank you for that. Sounds very fundamentalist. I half-expect that in the future you’ll be telling us that even casting a vote is offering a pinch of incense to Caesar.

            • Mark Shea

              I’m sorry for failing to generously accept being called a nihilist for agreeing that both our major candidates advocate policies profoundly hostile to God and suggesting that the most important thing we can do with our vote is look at how it affects our souls instead of delude ourselves that it affects the outcome of a national election. Also, I appreciate you putting words in my mouth contrary to my actual views.

              • David K. Monroe

                Just returning the favor, Mark, as regards putting words in one’s mouth. Just a point of clarification though, I was not crying, “Nihilism!” in direct response to your article, but rather the responses to my post. And my initial post (“let’s let it all burn”) was not in direct response to your commentary, but rather to the apparent implication that our votes only really, truly count if they are the deciding vote in an election.

                • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

                  Who is apparently implying that our votes only really, truly count if they are the deciding vote in an election?

                  • David K. Monroe

                    The guy who’s offering a tenner if you can prove yours was the vote that tipped the scales.

                    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

                      I’m the guy who’s offering a tenner. I’m not implying that our votes only really, truly count if they are the deciding vote in an election. I’m implying that whatever it is that makes our vote really, truly count, it isn’t that they are the deciding vote in an election.

  • MarylandBill

    I think as we approach the election, we should keep in mind our local situation. In states that are virtually sure things like Mark’s Washington or my Maryland, I think our votes can most effectively be used to protest a system where we get very little choice. In contrast, in swing states, I think an argument can be made for choosing the least objectionable of the two leading candidates.

    Of course a big problem is that our voting method favors two party elections. If we had a ranked voting system, it would make it a lot easier to vote for third party candidates without worrying that our vote would be “wasted”.

    • Pedantic Classicist

      Bill,

      Thank you very much for this comment. This seems sensible. It is to my mind much easier to take a “none of the above” (cf. Brewster’s Millions!) approach about a presidential election if you live in a firmly Democratic or firmly Republican state. This was the case for me until this election. Now that I am in a very close state (like Florida, Ohio, or Virginia; let’s just say I’ve moved recently to one of these), I find myself thinking a bit differently. Bill’s comment helps a bit.

      Mark, do you see any flaw in this notion of sensitivity to our local situation? I am on board with most of your ideas and critiques of Republicans and Democrats alike. But I’d hate in hindsight to end up with a situation where just a couple of dozen votes gave the office back to the incumbent and I didn’t help turn it the other way. What do you think? Cos considering my situation and what this admin has recently done, I’m really tempted to run over to the Republicans, just to stop it from what it’s been up to . And I bet I’m not the only one.

      • MarylandBill

        You are welcome.

        I agree with Mark on the basic principle that even in swing states, the odds of a single vote swinging the election is vanishingly small. That being said, the candidates will often do everything they can, including sending staff knocking on doors, to try to get every last possible vote in states where there is any doubt about who will win. It therefore stands to reason that there are reasons to support the candidate most likely to defeat Obama above and beyond the small chance our vote will swing the election. First, if Romney wins, each additional vote will increase the legitimacy of the win. Secondly, by supporting the candidate most likely to defeat Obama, we are most clearly stating our desire to see Obama gone. If Obama wins the election, decreasing his margin may also help contain him (or at least any democratic congress members in the state).

        I have serious doubts about Romney; I don’t trust that he is seriously pro-life, I certainly don’t agree with him on issues of foreign relations, torture, the economy, etc. But I do think he might get it with respect to religious freedom. If I had to choose between them I would choose Romney. Since I come from a state that almost certainly will go Obama, I will likely vote for a third party candidate.

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

    The Disputations Election Challenge is indifferent to the quality of the candidates. It’s indifferent to pretty much everything, except the binomial distribution, as illustrated in a subsequent post: http://disputations.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-are-odds.html

    The point of the challenge is that, whatever value the moral act of casting a vote has, its value in determining the winner of an election can be objectively estimated and empirically shown to be negligible.

    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

      Then don’t bother voting. If it doesn’t matter, don’t vote. I won’t vote. Nobody should vote then. Why do something that doesn’t really matter?

      • Ted Seeber

        Because, as discussed above, voting has other purposes than winning or losing the election.

        • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

          Beyond myself, what would they be?

          • Ted Seeber

            Beyond yourself they would be:
            - a statement to the wider world that you do not support a certain platform and would prefer a different platform
            - protest against a given platform or set of platforms
            - sending another message altogether (like, stop asking us this question- I know a LOT of pro-life Catholics who voted for euthanasia the third time around in Oregon for the simple reason that they were tired of the question being asked- the sales tax has a similar record in Oregon, being voted against more every time it’s been brought up for a vote, because that’s a question the electorate simply does not like).

            Also, see my stuff about posterity above.

            But beyond that, why are you discounting your self in this decision?

  • Peggy R

    So, if 500 people in a congressional district say their vote doesn’t count and they don’t vote, an election is not tipped one way or the other? If 5000 people do not vote in a statewide election, who might otherwise I guess we could stipulate, then the election results are NOT tipped from what they’d be otherwise?

    We already see these results since voter turnouts are not at or near 100%. Those who vote determine the outcome (well, fraud aside). Those who don’t vote have abdicated their responsibility and power to others.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Here’s a dirty little political secret: The point of political advertising is not to “get out the vote” but to suppress the vote. Why do you think most political ads are negative attack ads? In the hopes of dishearten the opponent’s supporters so that they stay home on Election Day. In political calculus, less votes for the other guy is just as good as more votes for our guy.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        That should read, “In the hopes of disheartenING the opponent’s supporters…”

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        You’ve done your political homework it looks like. The important thing is always hoping the other side’s supporters don’t turn out to vote. Political pollsters have it down to who does or doesn’t vote on what kind of weather days. The turn out to vote is that important.

  • Ginny

    “Truth is, when you deliberately vote for evil, evil doesn’t even send you a Thank You note. But every little choice for good or evil affects our souls. That’s reality.”

    This is mental voter intimidation. If you vote for either candidate, you might damage your soul. Be safe and stay at home. And quite frankly, your vote is worthless, just like one little mustard seed or a little baby born in a manger. Small things are insignificant.

    • Mark Shea

      On the contrary, your vote is hugely important. It’s just that the thing it is important to is not the outcome of a national election.

    • Jared

      D…did you just compare your vote to the Incarnation?

  • Lloyd Petre

    Given that Obama took the Catholic vote 54-45, and the abortion mandate was instigated by the Catholic Kathleen Sebelius under a law crammed through the legislature by the Catholic Nancy Pelosi and upheld by the Catholic dominated (6-3) Supreme Count in an opinion written by the Catholic John Roberts I hope all you super good moral people do stay home on election day, although how the Almighty can be expected to change these laws in a representative democracy unless somebody votes is beyond me.

    In a related note, 300,000+ US servicemen died in WW2, send me the name of a man whose individual death was the sine qua non of allied victory and I’ll send you 10 bajillion dollars.

    • Jamie R

      300,000 dead soldiers don’t win wars. Even 300,000,000 dead soldiers wouldn’t win a war. Like Patton said, you don’t win wars by dying for your country.

      Also, Roberts upheld Obamacare. He did not uphold the HHS mandate. The ACA is a bill passed by congress, and was before the court. The HHS mandate is an administrative regulation enacted by the HHS, and was not before the court. It would have been a grotesque and evil abuse of the Court’s authority to even think about the HHS mandate while deciding NFIB v. Sebellius.

      And you missed the point. The moral implications of voting for a lesser evil are stronger as to the voter him- or herself than they are as to the outcome of the race.

  • bob

    It sounds as if people want conscientious objector status as voters, not to actually vote. What they need is a sandwich sign, not a secret ballot. To make a gesture at a cause or argue about it is a great thing, but it isn’t a substitute for an election. Trying to convince people about something doesn’t work if the vote is secret. You only find out how many consciences agree with yours the day after the election.
    Still if voting bothers you, then don’t do it — I’ll vote for you. Ok with that?

    • Ted Seeber

      Well, you might find out on one other day- the day you meet them in the Church Triumphant.

      • bob

        Well, then all my choices will be known and who I was voting for all along! Who I acclaimed as King, most of all.

  • suburbanbanshee

    Anybody who’s been involved in local elections, and even in congressional elections, knows that it’s quite common for issues or candidates to come down to a matter of ten votes or less. Quite a few elections are won by only one vote. Heck, some jurisdictions actually have official election rules for ties, calling for a coin toss to decide.

    So yeah, looking forward to Disputations spending at least several hundred dollars this fall. No doubt it will be a Valuable Lesson, whether or not Disputations is able to pay up.

    • suburbanbanshee

      Or is this a joke, and he doesn’t think the general election includes school boards, local levies, etc.?

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      So far, no one has registered.

      • Ted Seeber

        *before I register*, I should ask:
        Does this include levies, voter inititiatives and the like, or only positions?

        • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

          Looks ambiguous. Let’s go with any certified result, to include levies, voter initiatives and the like.

  • Marty Helgesen

    Unless there is a cataclysmic disaster, someone is going to take the oath of office as president next Janaury.
    Unless at least one of the two major party candidates dies or is otherwise excluded, that person will be either Obama or Romney. For numerous reasons, including Obama’s aggressive support for abortion and his attacks on the Catholic Church and other churches by, among other things, forcing them to pay for contraception and abortion, I find it difficult to imaging any Catholic thinking it would be better that Obama be re-elected than that Romney be elected. My one vote, by itself, will not change the results of the election, but if a lot a Catholics and other traditional Christian stay home because neither candidate is perfect or even because neither candidate is satisfactory, that could effect the results by giving the victory of Obama. That would be a disaster.

    • Ted Seeber

      I agree with you if my state wasn’t going to vote for Obama overwhelmingly anyway, and if I thought this wasn’t just a choice between the drone war against National Right to Life and the drone war against the National Labor Relations Board, with no hope whatsoever that Romney will do anything other than cut taxes on the rich.

      You see, I’ve been bit by the “Republicans are pro-life” lie once too often to fall for it again. And at this point, the Church, being on the side of the unborn and the side of the working man, is sure to be a target either way.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Did you ever think, Dave,that maybe western decadence can be blamed just as easily for your childlike faith in American Ritual?

    Some of us just dont share your democracy fetish. I will also wager youve got a lot mote experience with that ol’ western decadence.


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