Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bit of a Dilemma

Presidential pro-something

By Frater Bovious
9th Level Adept, THOOTR
I used to say that I didn't care what the President's position on abortion was, since it's not their job to write legislation. Yes, they do have to sign laws into being, and I do realize that they pick Supreme Court Justices and so do in fact have some impact on The Law. Congress however is the legislative branch. Congress writes laws and can override presidential vetoes, and even with the picking of Justices, Congress has to approve. If you want to have some direct impact on the laws of this land, you need to pay attention to your congressmen.

Consequently, I've never paid any attention to a presidential candidates' position on a topic that I actually care about. Is this wrong?

I am much more concerned about the President's core functions, i.e., Commander in Chief, Defender of the Constitution, and Receiver of Foreign Visitors. Somehow, I feel that if the President takes care of those things, the Laws can be dealt with by the entities entrusted to do so.

In fact, I would feel it irresponsible to vote for a lesser candidate who happens to share my position on abortion for the sole reason they share that position. And yet. Ψ


Buck said...

I propose that everyone has a code of right and wrong, and a basis of where that vision right and wrong comes from (aka morality). Even to say “I do not have a code” is a code. This code is the basis for decision making, and so speaks to all the decisions a person makes, obvious connections or not.

It is not an accident that abortion is such a lightning rod. Once past the sound-bites and name–calling, essential elements of a person’s character can be discerned based on what they believe (or at least say they believe) regarding abortion. Yet our country appears divided on abortion (as opposed to, say, child molestation or cruelty to animals). Hence: controversy, but whether controversial or not, an individual’s position on an issue informs us of at least part of their “code”.

Morality (aka code) is part of a larger picture that involves capability, and maybe something I’ll call vision (at best: future ideal; at worst: good intentions). I suppose the relative mix of what matters is what make politics so interesting, it all matters to me, but that doesn’t always make the political choice an easy one.

Frater Bovious said...

I wonder, oddly, if a moral, or shall we say codified, president, can be effective. I remember Jimmy Carter. He seemed ineffectual to me at my tender age when he was president. But he also seemed like a genuinely nice man.

The business of protecting your nation's interests seems inescapably ugly at some point. Maybe you have to be an amoral son of a bitch (or maybe an amoral bitch?) to be effective as president.

But still...

Buck said...

“Moral” does not necessarily equal “nice”!

President Carter may (or may not) hold to a code with consistent with itself, and that code may (or not) be founded on something genuine, real. It may be possible for him and me to have “integrity” and still be at odds. This is why I’m so stuck on “knowing where he (and I) are coming from”. Integrity is a fine thing, but alone it is not enough (and neither is “nice”, in my book). I guess the term “worldview” belongs in here somewhere.

Our founders had a moral code and vision expressed to us in their surviving writings (personal and public), and they were clearly capable or there would be no United States today. In representative government I consider it a responsibility of citizenship to make informed choices, to consider all these things in our “public servants”. This is not easy in the media age we live in.

I suppose this thinking is part of my code.

Frater Bovious said...

"This is not easy in the media age we live in."

That is so painfully true. It's a weird combination of media and then they way the candidates address the media.

And the way we react to what the media says happened.

I have a related hypothesis - I am currently formulating it into a blog article. Coming soon to a web near you.