Three Simple Questions

Tim Bean

10/28/2012

 

Okay, we’re just nine days away from Election Day (November 6th) and by now the vast majority of those of us who are going to head out to our respective voting precincts have more than likely already decided which of the Presidential candidates that we are going to cast our votes for.  I am, and have been committed to voting for former two term New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson.  Others are committed to voting for either Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, or Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode.  Of course the vast majority of people are going to cast their votes for either former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, or sitting President Barack Obama.

All of this is relatively fine with me, I say “relatively” because while I believe everyone who is eligible should vote, it is “relatively” fine with me because I do not believe that everyone who is going to cast their votes, come Election Day, are necessarily going to really like, or believe in who they are going to be voting for.  So, my fineness is therefore relative due to whichever of the big tent candidates that comes out the victor in this Presidential election will not be someone that can be fully heralded as a President who has the full faith of the people, nor will many people fully believe that whomever wins is actually going to bring about a change in direction in how America is governed.

Take for example a close friend of mine, who is going to vote for Mitt Romney.  He knows that I am going to vote for Gary Johnson.  When he first heard me say that is who I am going to vote for he hit me with all of the typical arguments that most, if not all, third party supporters have heard.  We have heard them so many times that these arguments have almost achieved the level of being cliché.  In my case he told me that my vote for Johnson equates a vote for Obama, and that by choosing to vote for Johnson I am wasting my vote, because Johnson can’t win.  Those are probably the most popular arguments that many Johnson supporters and voters have been beat over the head with.  Basically the gist is this for those of us who don’t identify with either the Republican or the Democratic Parties, or we just don’t identify with the candidates those parties are offering; we need to quit being so damn obstinate, cease voting with a conscience, or on what we believe, and just fall in line.

With regards to my friend I have countered with the following questions.

  • Tell me when can I (we) start voting for what I (we) believe?
  • Tell me what makes either of these two guys (Obama and Romney) so different from one another, outside of rhetoric?
  • Tell me what do you actually expect to change should Romney win the election?

In my instance, my friend’s responses to those questions were as follows:

  • On the first question, I was told, “I don’t know.”
  • On the second question, I was told, “Mitt’s record as a governor shows he is more conservative.”  I laughed at that response, and showed my friend that Mitt’s gubernatorial record reads very much like Obama’s Presidential record.  I was then told, “It doesn’t matter; we just can’t have another four years of Obama.”
  • On the third question, I was told again, “I don’t know.”

Wow, those are some compelling arguments there, aren’t they?  Many will think that my friend is not too smart, or is uninformed, but he is a rather successful small business owner, which requires some intelligence, and is actually quite aware of the many challenges that are facing our country; such as the ballooning national debt, the looming insolvency of our “entitlement” programs (i.e. Social Security, and Medicare), the stifling and onerousness of the many federal regulations that cost he and his business both time and money, the huge expense in both blood and treasure of our globetrotting foreign policy, the erosion of our individual rights, and the list goes on and on.  So he knows the issues; and I can assure you, he absolutely loves to debate, but he cannot answer those three questions beyond rather elementary answers.

Those three questions I asked my friend could easily be used by supporters of any of the other candidates that aren’t painted red or blue (Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein, and Virgil Goode), in the case of Stein and Anderson supporters though they would probably substitute Romney’s name with Obama’s, but I am willing to bet that the responses would be very similar as my friends.

My point here is not so much to get everyone to change who they are voting for, because as mentioned at the beginning most people are already fairly locked into whom, or how, they are going to vote, especially this close to the election.  Instead I am simply asking that those three questions, which can be asked of Obama supporters too (obviously doing the name substitution thing), be allowed to ferment and be mulled over, and to not be forgotten once the election results start rolling in on the evening of November 6th.  Remember those three questions come inauguration day.  Remember them one, two, three, and four years from now.  Finally, don’t be afraid to ask them of yourself, and others (though the candidates names might/will change) and search for actual answers to them.

Every human has four endowments- self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination.  These give us the ultimate human freedom … The power to choose, to respond, to change.  (Stephen Covey)

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