I am pretty much over the Catholics who smugly behave "above" the political debate by making broad generalizations about how horrible all politicians are, and observe that really none of them are the perfect candidate. Why thank you, insightful hipster Catholic, but that doesn't exempt you from having to make decisions about who to vote for and it certainly doesn't mean that you suddenly get a free pass to sit on your high horse and judge people all day long.
I took this fun political quiz the other day and discovered that, as I figured, I identify as mostly libertarian. I disagree with Governor Romney on several key issues, including immigration and some social issues like the death penalty, but of course there is no one candidate that I agree with one hundred percent. I figure this reveals my bleeding heart nature! It is true, hipster Catholic, that to be truly Catholic means that we agree with no party...but if you don't register with a party, then you don't get to vote in the primaries!
I strongly believe that a lot of people, including many well-intentioned Catholics, are simply ignorant about the way that money works in this country. They dislike Governor Romney because he is wealthy and don't think wealthy businessmen should be lauded; they disapprove of Representative Ryan because they've heard his plan hurts the poor. What they fail to realize is that people who are good with money are precisely the people you want to handle your country's budget, and that our debt crisis cannot be spent away. Our country will collapse completely if we do not resolve our debt crisis - we are NOT too big to fail! We don't want to be Greece, for pity's sake. That means we have to put our big girl pants on and make cuts to the budget - and if we're being realistic, probably over half of what the federal government does is completely unnecessary.
Also contributing to many people's voting confusion is a failure to understand federalism, the most basic concept that forms our government. They do not realize that they are voting for the President - and that they president has very specific, limited, enumerated powers. It is unrealistic to expect the president to mirror your beliefs in every possible way; he has to represent and unite a nation and do what is in the nation's best interest, staying out of partisan squabbles. Because we have stopped caring about local government and nearly disenfranchised ourselves at the state level, we become hysterical about presidential elections, wanting the president to be a mirror of our own beliefs. This is impossible.
While we're on the subject, this is why considering who to vote for president is different than who to vote for in the legislature or the school board. We have to ask - what do they influence? It really does not matter if your clerk of court is pro-choice! But it hugely matters if your president is, because he appoints justices, who are the only ones who can overturn Roe v. Wade. Similarly, the death penalty has been appropriately left to the states and that's why how the president feels about that is irrelevant; but your local legislative representatives do make that decision! The fact is that the presidential election isn't the only one that matters - senators and congressmen are huge, especially in regards to immigration.
But the biggest issue, for me, is power. Plainly put, the federal government is too broad. I am hoping that because of the debt crisis, double-R will have to make huge cuts to federal programs, returning them to the states. I realize that they are not any more inclined to relinquish their grasp on power than any politician is, but at least I think they are willing to do it to balance the budget. I don't know how realistic it is, but what I really want is a turning back of the interpretation of the commerce clause and a complete restructuring of how we run this country. People are disengaged and not involved in the country because they have no sense of local community; they are not involved on the most basic level. Government is something that happens far away - not something personal that happens in their state, county, and town. An educated and involved citizenry is the key to a successful republican democracy!
All right, I'll stop! Here's a happy thought: in Heaven, there will be no politics. Alleluia!