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Rock the Vote

Monday, Oct. 15, 2012
The best college student comment on "Rock the Vote" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, October 28th. Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates.
Maggie is voting for the first time this year. She has made a particular effort to educate herself about the important issues in her state's race for the U.S. senate.

The issues Maggie cares most about—along with the majority of her peers—are jobs, healthcare, and education funding. She realizes that the dismal job market is looming just beyond graduation, that the current healthcare system is flawed, and education funding is lower than ever before. She has found a candidate that she fully supports and that advocates policies and changes that she feels she can trust. However, there is just one problem—she does not agree with the candidate’s permissive stance on abortion.
Her friends tell her that her moral qualms about the abortion issue are vastly outnumbered by the positive qualities that her favorite candidate has to offer; however, she is having trouble accepting a candidate who directly contradicts her passionately held, pro-life position.
Should Maggie vote for the candidate she thinks is less qualified to lead in this capacity, but who agrees with her stance on abortion and will legalize the morality she believes should guide U.S. policy? Or should she vote for the candidate she agrees with on every other issue, and also risk perpetuating a belief that she finds morally reprehensible? 
Photo by mrmannnn available under a Creative Commons license on Google Images.


Comments Comments

Jeremy said on Oct 19, 2012
The perfect is the enemy of the good. Maggie is expecting that there will be a candidate that will agree with her on every issue, and is considering refusing to vote for a candidate because of one difference of opinion on policy. While it can be difficult to reconcile a moral issue such as abortion, being pro-life should also mean being in favor of programs to support the children that have already been born. If the candidate is truly capable of bringing educational and job reform to America, Maggie should vote for them. - Like - 1 person likes this.
Victoria said on Oct 24, 2012
I cannot speak directly for Maggie, but I can rationalize what I would do in her predicament. Common sense may suggest to vote for the candidate that upholds most of the views one values in a leader. In Maggie's situation, being "pro-life" implies that Maggie herself would not choose to terminate a pregnancy. Maggie should not judge or condemn other women for their choices. If she finds abortion so "morally reprehensible," then all she has to do is not have an abortion and keep her focus on the core issues she is dearly concerned about. (Maggie can also browse the selection of third party candidates to perhaps find the golden candidate she's looking for.) - Like
Anthony Gill said on Oct 24, 2012
The abortion question is a common one in modern voting blocs. Especially among those who are ardently pro-life, a challenge arises when one candidate supports most of the issues which you support, but does not agree with your own views regarding abortion. In this case, I would take the view that Maggie should consider the following options/strategies for making a morally-correct decision. 1. There is no one perfect candidate. You will have disagreements with just about every politician who runs and comes into office. Period. But that's not a bad thing. Sometimes having disagreements can help you to grow in your understanding of why you hold a certain belief. And that doesn't make this a choice between "the lesser of two evils." Think of it more as the choice between "the greater of two goods." Which candidate has more policies with which you agree? Choose that candidate. 2. Which candidate can you more firmly trust in general? Not on the issue of abortion. This would be on issues of policies, programs, and just in general? Does one candidate seem more shady? Which candidate gives you a better initial gut feeling? Usually there will be a single candidate with whom you agree on most issues and whom you believe will make solid, respectable decisions--even if you disagree with them. 3. Which candidate can and will do more for the public good (that is, the common good, the good of all people)? Usually a one candidate emerges in the view of the individual that will make more of a difference for the region--not just for the individual voting (Maggie). There must be a greater good represented in your choice. 4. The two are not mutually-exclusive. Importantly, as long as Maggie isn't getting an abortion, she's still upholding her beliefs. She can vote for the candidate who disagrees with your position on abortion, but still hold her own belief. She can still campaign to end abortion. She can protest, she can call. She could write to your new Senator. She could also take the newly-emerging view that, while abortion is a grave evil, criminalizing it isn't the end goal. The end goal is reducing the number of abortions taking place. So she could advocate programs that will reduce abortion that your otherwise-preferred candidate would support. And she could bring these things to his/her attention. Things like increasing the availability of adoption and contraception, increasing support for young and teen mothers, among other things. In other words, you can still be pro-life and support a candidate for office who is not pro-life. In the end, life consists of more than just birth. If Maggie is truly pro-life, she should strongly consider the points above, as healthcare, education, and jobs are indeed issues of life and human dignity. They may not be as prominent, but they are just as important. And significantly, just because someone is in favor of legalized abortion doesn't mean that they support the practice unequivocally. It's likely that the candidate would be in favor of measures like increased access to adoption and contraception, as well as increased support for teen and young mothers, even as these things would decrease the number of abortions taking place. Maggie should bring these potential programs to her preferred candidate's attention, and, pending a likely favorable response, cast her ballot in favor of the "greater of two goods." - Like - 17 people like this.
Jerry said on Nov 17, 2012
You wrote a lot; however, the issue was simpler than it seemed in this discussion. The focus narrows to whether one should trade highly valued moral tenets for economic gain. If one believes that life begins with the first cleavage of a zygotic cell, then such a person believes that abortion is the same as killing one?s son or daughter. Whether it is true or not, everyone?s reality is the product of his or her belief system. Therefore, it would be damaging to a person?s psyche to betray such a key tenet by supporting murder for money. - Like - 1 person likes this.
Big Q said on Oct 31, 2012
Congratulations to Anthony, our winner of "Rock the Vote!" Thanks to all our commenters for their thoughtful responses, and please continue to post in our bi-weekly contests for another chance to win! - Like
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Tags: abortion, civic engagement, politics, voting