A Moral Quandary

I was checking out my Facebook the other day and happened to glance at a couple of the ads on the right-hand side of the posts. I saw a brief note about a test that would tell me which candidates for President I was most in agreement with. I thought it would be amusing to find out how close I was to the man I planned to vote for in the election so I clicked on the link and took the test. It consisted of a number of questions in various categories from economics to the environment. A few seconds after completing the test I was told that I was in almost total agreement with….Jill Stein.

Who the Hell is Jill Stein, I wondered? I knew there were other candidates for President besides the Big Two, but I hadn’t really paid much attention. Like so many others in this country my attention has been directed toward the two men who have paid out a nauseating $1 billion apiece to buy the highest office in the land — much of it coming from the hated corporations who are now running this country. I checked Jill Stein’s web page (such as it is) and discovered that she has raised a paltry $300 thousand in her efforts to win the Presidency. Hardly enough to win her a place in the state legislature. But I also learned that she is a remarkable woman. As her web page notes:

Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate.

She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports,  In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, published in 2000, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, published in 2009.  The first of these  has been translated into four languages and is used worldwide. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats.

It was Dr. Stein’s fierce stand on the environment that placed us close together in our thinking about politics I realized. I have noted, as have others whose blogs I read, that there has been precious little said about the environment by the Big Two during recent months and this has disturbed me a great deal. I regard it as THE most important issue in this election. And yet the two principal players seem to have ignored the issue completely. This places me in a moral quandary.

I was critical of some of my friends back when George W. Bush was running for President because they had determined to vote for Ralph Nader. I felt strongly (as I still do) that this was throwing a precious vote away that would end up landing “W” in the office of President of the United States. I was convinced that this would be a very bad thing, and I was right. So I hesitate to throw my vote away on a Green Party candidate who hasn’t a snowball’s chance of winning the Presidency.  Hence the quandary: it’s a question of throwing away my vote or violating my principles. But then I recall that Dante tells us Hell is a frozen wasteland with relentless winds. A snowball would survive in such an environment, and the environment is the key issue here. So I wonder. What do I do? What would you do? I am eager to get your comments on this difficult issue.

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10 thoughts on “A Moral Quandary

  1. This is an interesting question, Hugh, one we likely could spend a lot of time thinking about.

    I would boil it down to a simpler issue. Nader likely did tip the election, but its never been clear to me that it assuredly tilted in W’s direction. Some Nader votes might never have been cast otherwise, some for him against Gore, etc etc.

    But the philosphical question looms larger. You imply the “principle” question. Does one vote their ideals, forgetting the practical aspects? Is one voting for the big two, as the lesser of two evils, thus ignoring idealism or making a statement for what is right? Are you selling out by going the route of the big two, knowing that you are at least attempting to prevent the election of the worst of the two?

    I believe we all need to keep our ideals, and do everything in our powers to work towards a better world, however we may define them. But I also think that we have to be practical and realistic at time, recognizing that change comes in baby steps.

    Perhaps a favorite singer, Jim Croce, once said it best. “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t tug on the mask of the Lone Ranger…” In this case, casting a vote for idealism might be considered spitting into the wind.

    Thanks for making us continue to think.

  2. It doesn’t matter who you vote for Hugh, the sociopathic corporations will still be running the show.

    It’s like being on death row. You get to choose ANYTHING you want for your last meal, but, in the big picture it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

  3. I know this will not be the popular answer, but this election is too close not to vote for Obama. Especially in a swing state like Colorado. So I am fully in his corner and by his side. As I will be when I call him the day AFTER the election and tell him to get off his duff and do something about the environment. At least he MIGHT…

    • Thanks, Jen. I am leaning in your direction, though I suspect Obama will lose the popular vote and win the electoral vote. That’s the way it seems to be stacking up. But it will be a close and it is certainly the case that Romney will continue to butcher the environment whereas Obama might actually try to take a step or two in the right direction — with some prodding from people like you! Thanks for the comment.

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