In the week before an election…

…the various machines and organizations whose job is to gin up the vote go into overdrive to motivate people.  That’s because elections are won and lost, not by appealing to people’s cool cerebral natures in which platonic Athenians in white robes sit somewhere in the heavenlies deliberating abstractions about truth and justice, but because crowds of people in an American culture thoroughly debased by dedication to appetite are typically stampeded by fears or magnetized by desire for free crap.

Consequently, in the last big push, all bets are are off and you get all manner of lies, threats, promises, fears, cheerleading, and appeals to raw emotion.  So on the Left we get classy stuff like this.

Meanwhile, on the Right we get (for the fundy rank and file) the “Romney as Fulfillment of Bible Code” twaddle and (for the more thoughtful) attempts to yet again move beyond the one and only reasonable argument for Romney (basically summarized as “Sigh.  He sucks slightly less, so I will roll the dice and hope that he accidently does the right thing in response to prevailing winds“) to absurd claims that voting Romney is some kind of moral imperative.

No.  It’s not.  You *may* vote Romney if you like in the (I believe doomed and miscalculated) attempt to limit evil.  There is not a reason in the world you *ought* to vote Romney and there is absolutely no moral obligation to do so.  Nobody is ever morally obliged to support grave intrinsic evil.  And in this case, the damage being done to the voter and to Christian witness in rationalizing supporting this guy is, I think, not worth the vanishingly insignificant gain of casting a vote for him.  The immense boatload of lies, fallacies, non sequiturs and mind-muddying rubbish constantly being floated to try to varnish up “Romney Sucks Less”–”He’s prolife!”  “He’s God’s Chosen One!” “He’s has had a Conversion!” “He pledges to overturn Roe!” “Wanting to avoid mortal sin is perfectionism!” “The Church demands you support the lesser of two evils!” “Voting your conscience is a bizarre Protestant innovation!” “Voting for who you vote for is really voting for Their Guy except when it’s somebody else voting for somebody else, in which case they are really voting for Our Guy”–only demonstrates the huge and lasting damage that rationalization for Romney has wrought on the prolife movement and Christian witness as we seek to gain the world and lose our souls.

The one and only absolutely sure constant in Romney’s life is that he will say and do anything in the service of his will to power, and Christians who join him in that effort are inevitably corrupted (as Paul Ryan, formerly prolife congressman discovered when he suddenly decided that he was okay with killing certain classes of innocent human being who threaten Romney’s will to power).  If you clearly recognize that Romney’s sole core value is the will to power and roll the dice hoping prevailing winds will accidently blow him in the direction of doing a few things right with that morally rudderless power, I can respect that.  Obama is a steamship bent on war against the Church and the unborn.  But for the love of Pete, stop spouting lies about Romney’s “commitment” to anything beyond the will to power.  If he decides that the HHS mandate is too important to risk losing the “Sex and the City” demographic (as he clearly signaled in the debate) he will stab you in the back in a heartbeat (he did, recall, force Catholic hospitals to offer the morning after pill).  He has already made clear he approves of abortion for the health of the mother (i.e. always and forever) and has sent numerous surrogates out to make that clear to nervous pro-aborts while he lies to you about his “conversion”.  He uses torture as a laff line (oh, but I forget, that’s a feature and not a bug for a statistical majority of “faithful prolife Catholics”).

So roll the dice if you feel you must.  But don’t tell me I “ought” to vote for Romney.  I ought to vote my conscience.  And I will.  You do the same.  Don’t get stampeded by home stretch “motivational” rhetoric.  Keep a clear head, like Jeff Mirus.

My sole point in this election has been this: vote your conscience and not political expedience.

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

    “vote your conscience and not political expedience.”

    That seems to be the point of the Bishops’ forming consciences for faithful citizenship. My guess is, that’s what a fair number of folks will end up doing.

  • Nancy D.

    I will vote my conscience, and my conscience tells me that the heart that is the least hardened, is the heart that has the greater chance of being transformed.

    ‘As the family goes, so goes the Nation.’ – Pope John Paul II

  • rachel

    Well said Mark!! I’ve been discouraged in this election due to the IMMENSE pressure to vote against my conscience (ie. vote Romney) but I’m glad that you are holding out. You are a real encouragement.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    There’s an election coming up?

    • dpt

      I think next Wednesday.

    • Ted Seeber

      For some of us it’s already past.

  • Ted Seeber

    I can’t think of anything worse for the Church than 4 more years of an Obama Presidency, but every President in my lifetime has managed to be worse than the one previous. I suspect Mr. Etch-a-Sketch will find a way.

  • Andy

    I am voting my conscience – neither of the two candidates that garner all of the mainstream press have redeeming characteristics. I gave up on Obama a long time ago so I can’t comment on him other than he is at best a disappointment. I had hoped that a viable (electable) candidate would appear, but none has. I do disagree with you about Romeny – I don’t think it is power that drives him – it is money – but then again my wife and I argue about this all the time is it money which then gives him power or is it the power that lets him make more money. My vote will represent what my conscience tells me – at this point a write in for our local doctor who is pro-life to the tune of offering free prenatal checkup to women so they do not have abortions and then his partner (his wife, a pediatrician ) offers two years of medical care. I’d would vote for her, but when we go fishing she and my wife inevitably catches more than either her husband or I (maybe because they fish and we talk and have a cold beverage). Thanks for helping folks find a voice in voting their conscience.

  • Blog Goliard

    You keep pushing this “formerly pro-life” business with Ryan. Has you seen him state somewhere that his position on abortion has changed? I haven’t. What I’ve seen him stating is that he doesn’t believe in rape and incest exceptions–but he’s not at the top of the ticket, and if the party platform supports his position it’s only implicitly, so his pro-life views (just like his budget), while somewhat similar, are not identical to what Romney is running on.

    So perhaps it’s your contention that no pro-life Catholic may choose to serve a President or nominee for President who favors rape and incest exceptions, or run for office from a party which allows for (or, at least, does not forbid) such exceptions in its platform, and remain legitimately pro-life?

    • Mark Shea

      Ryan is “personally opposed” but, as a matter of policy (which is the only thing that counts) he officially supports killing unpopular classes of innocent. So yeah: he is not prolife. He is anti-abortion when it is not inconvenient to Romney’s will to power. And he hopes that having a long face about that is a moral disinfectant and you will buy that his private feelings trump his public actions. That’s not “legitimately prolife”. That’s two-faced. “Legitimately prolife” means “opposed to deliberately killing innocent human life”. Period. Ryan used to be prolife. Now he’s not.

      • Blog Goliard

        So you blame him for not being able to set/change Romney’s policy?

        • Mark Shea

          No. I blame him for choosing to help advance it and seducing lots of prolifers into imagining that it is “prolife”.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

          No, I blame him for wanting to be no better than a bucket of warm piss bad enough to compromise his ‘convictions’.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

            And before Irenist can say it, that’s a James Nance Garner riff.

      • Blog Goliard

        Basically, what I’m trying to get at is, can any pro-life Catholic serve a potential Romney administration and escape your condemnation? As vice-president…as cabinet member…as assistant to the associate undersecretary…as low-level Federal bureaucrat in the IRS or HHS?

        What specific action, other than refusing to be on the ticket, could Ryan have taken?

        • ivan_the_mad

          “What specific action, other than refusing to be on the ticket, could Ryan have taken?” Assert always and everywhere the truth, that abortion is intrinsically evil. The condemnation of Ryan isn’t that he’s Romney’s running mate, it’s that he stopped asserting the truth when it became politically expedient.

        • Mark Shea

          REfusing to be on the ticket works for me. If working for Romney forces a prolife Catholic to effectively renounce conscience for the sake of expediency, that’s where the line in the sand is for me. If you are associate undersecretary of transportation and it is not your job to spout bullshit about how it’s fine to kill certain innocents, I see no problem with working for Romney. But Ryan’s *main* function on the ticket is to seduce gullible prolifers into believing the bullshit that Romney cares about them and the unborn, while effectively getting them to endorse (as Ryan did) the notion that it is prolife to consign a certain class of undesirables to the incinerator for the greater good. Ryan, more than most politicians, is a true traitor to the prolife cause and is acting as a direct instrument of corruption for the prolife movement–for the sake of power. Pelosi seduces no serious prolifer. Ryan has seduced thousands on behalf of his boss.

        • Ted Seeber

          About 6 years ago I hit the turning point and realized I could no longer work for government at any level. Took me 6 months to get fired.

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

    Wow, somebody at CatholicVote.org really should have told Tom Crowe, “Great stuff, just cut out the middle third where you veer off into a petty squabble with some guy on the Internet.”

  • dpt

    I voted already here in CA.
    When I hear a campaign commercial on the radio, I change the channel and each day all the campaign junk mail fliers go straight to the recycle bin.

  • Andrew

    Wait a minute. Now your whole argument against why someone *shouldn’t* go with the fact that they *may* vote for Romney is because you believe that their vote in an attempt to limit evil is “doomed and miscalculated”?!

    Come on, Mark! I think you put it well when you basically posted that “No. Really. Obama’s Actions Make Him an Enemy of God”.

    Seems like that makes the vote for Romney (in an attempt to “limit evil”) pretty obvious, calculated and not-doomed. Even if Romney and Obama agreed on EVERY singly moral issue, (and they were all sadly against Catholic teaching)you’re vote for someone who hasn’t repeatedly and unapologetically attacked religious liberty, would seem like a good attempt at limiting evil.

    Can you agree with that?

    • Chris-KABA

      Yes, there are votes that are calculated to try to limit evil by voting for Romney.

      However, the reason that some people view these attempts as doomed to failure in the long run, is because Romney has shown that, just like Obama, he’ll run right over the Church to get what he wants as well.

      So it comes down to an attempt to limit the evil of one person (Obama) who is attacking the Church by replacing them with another person also willing and known to have attacked the Church (Willard.)

  • Alexander Anderson

    This Tom Crowe guy seems completely baffled by the idea that there might actually be something more important than the outcome of this election.

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    Mark, why do you hate women, America, and old people?

    • Mark Shea

      Sheer cussedness. I also hate puppies.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        Cussedness!!! I haven’t heard that word since Granny died.

        Have I told you lately that I love you?


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