Who Are You Voting For?

Sometime later this week my third post with parents.com about the election will run. My job is to represent the middle way, the moderates, the people who might just vote for a Republican or a Democrat. People like me. And so perhaps it comes as no surprise that I find the arguments espoused by both of my fellow bloggers, Sharon Lerner (the liberal) and Suzanne Venker (the conservative), quite compelling.

First, Sharon posted a well-reported portrait of the impact of Bain Capital on the families of one company in her essay, “The Workers Who Didn’t Matter in Mitt Romney’s World.” She begins:

“Do you have to cheat to be rich?”

The question came from the chocolate-smeared lips of my six-year-old son,Sam, as we licked fudgesicles at the end of another steamy day.

In the simplest sense, the answer is no, of course. But you can forgive a child–or an adult, for that matter– for having such a thought in this particular election cycle.

And she goes on to spell out the details.

Then Suzanne wrote Obama’s Class and Gender Warfare is Destroying the American Family, which begins:

The summer heat is squelching. Here in the Midwest, things are so bad our A/C won’t register below 78. My family hates–really hates–the heat. We’d rather be hiking Mount Tom in Vermont with perfect sixty-eight degree temperatures.

That’s what we were doing earlier this summer, when we took our first long vacation–a two-weeker. It began with a drive to see family in Pittsburgh and ended with a house rental in Vermont. From there it was a visit to see friends in the Boston area and then a quick jaunt (okay, detour) to Niagara Falls before heading home.

It was the quintessential American vacation–family travels cross-country by car while younger child asks “Are we there yet?” a gazillion times–taken by an old-fashioned American family: a mom, a dad, and a couple of kids. We felt like the Griswolds from National Lampoon’s Vacation. I even called my husband Clark.

We don’t talk much about the American family these days; we’re more focused on the economy. But according to a new report from the Social Trends Institute, a non-profit, international research center that studies the effects of emerging social trends on society,  the wealth of nations depends in large part on the health of the family. They’re two sides of the same coin.

Both of these women have made me think more deeply about who I’ll be voting for come November 6th. How about you?

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).


  1. Alison Swihart says:

    Six years ago I decided that I can no longer vote. That in spite of the pastor’s admonition that Christians have to vote. There are lines I just won’t cross and both parties have them. Of course, I could vote an obscure, lesser-known candidate, but what’s the point. But, really, there are no good choices. Whoever we vote into office this year, the country will lose. I can’t be a part of that.

    • If you don’t vote, you lose your right to complain. There is no such thing as a “perfect” candidate, because there are no “perfect” people. No matter who the candidate is, you can find something that will cause you to decide not to vote for him or her. So the choice becomes voting for the least worst candidate. But you have to vote because our forefathers died for that right. We are privileged to be able to vote. And the reason we have so many poor candidates is because people of conscience refuse to be part of the system and change it to allow better candidates to emerge. That said, I am certainly in agreement with you that neither candidate is a shining example of presidential perfection.

  2. Wow. I was struck particularly by the “destroying the family” perspective. I am an independent voter however, I have ended up on the Democrat side for a long time since I am socially liberal (and as Vermonters often, are also fiscally conservative which works well for us since we are one of the least hit by the recession states). For me what Suzanne calls “social capital” is what I view as a clearer understanding of our increasing interdependence (which as a mom with a child with DS I can relate to even more strongly than I did before). I’ve never really viewed the Republican perspective as particularly neighborly since big business is not about taking care of others (unless there is profit involved, like a tax write off) in my opinion.
    To me Obama is so clearly middle of the road, a disappointment to those who endeavor to see more social reform. It also seems clear that the Tea party agenda has so polarized and contaminated the politics of the Republicans that it is absolutely terrifying.
    But hey, what do I know. I work in mental health, COMMUNITY mental health. Yikes. People don’t want our mentally ill in their streets (I doubt the neighbors have the skills to care for them), but also don’t want to pay the big bucks to warehouse them in institutions. Without government who would provide funding?
    Someone has to guide the ship, provide the warp and weft. Churches no longer do that (they get tax write offs). Who will do that? So – between Obama (who seems like he is consistent at least) vs Romney (changes his mind based on the winds buffeting the party I have to go with sanity, peace and values of community that I see in Obama. Tough topic. Hope it doesn’t get heated :)

    • Businesses, big and small, hire people to work and pay their employees. These salaries allow employees to provide for their families, buy goods and services, which employ others, pay taxes and donate to charities. Without profitable businesses, none of that is possible.

      • True, and very important of course. How does that help the mentally ill people Starrlife was talking about, though?

        • The largest caretaker of the mentally ill in the U.S. is local, state and federal governments, all of which are funded by taxes. Unemployed people pay no taxes on income and have little or no property to tax.
          It is so frustrating for so many to buy into the belief that business is the problem. Just the opposite is the case. Budgets are balanced, non-profits’ coffers fill, and the least are cared for best when businesses thrive.
          Poor countries do the worst job caring for their indigent, mentally ill and all others who need assistance. Not because they care less, but because they do not have the financial resources. Our nation can always do a better job caring for the least, but we always do best when businesses are growing.

  3. My job prohibits me from speaking publicly in favor of (or against) a political candidate. Seriously, it’s against the law for me to endorse anyone. Wild, right? I never get to voice an opinion on politics except in private conversations among those I’m close to, and they don’t really care what I think.
    Hmm, maybe this enforced silence is a blessing … ;-)

  4. Iwill never knowingly vote for a person who is coll with murdering beginning people.

  5. Unless something dramatic changes, this will be the first time since I turned 18 that I will go into the voting booth and leave without marking anyone for President. This breaks my heart but I can’t in good conscience vote for either of the two major candidates.

    • Uncle Sam says:

      Patricia, if you cannot discern the best option between these two Presidential candidates, you have little knowledge of U.S. history nor economics at a basic level. Thank you for not voting for President and please consider abstaining from other offices as well.

  6. I’m a white evangelical who has no problem voting for Obama again.