Losing faith in electoral politics, part II

The other day, I started to think aloud about what US politics would look like if voters actually lived according to the principles we say we vote on.

In this morning’s (Aug 13) Philly Inquirer, a letter to the editor argues one of the big issues to which my principles argument applies.  I’ve made this argument to anti-abortion activists as well.  She contends that the label “pro-life” is a misnomer for those who oppose abortion but support war, capital punishment, and an economic system that results in dangerous working/living conditions for its members.

The flipside of this argument, of course, is that those of us who are pro-peace and oppose capital punishment tend to be pro-choice, which is–given one very specific and huge assumption–inconsistent.  The huge assumption is that a fetus is alive.  My wife, on her blog, argues convincingly that viability doesn’t really begin at conception, a point I agree with.

Anyway, I still have yet to hear a compelling response to the argument this letter writer and I have made.  Why?  Because there isn’t one.

This issue, which is a single-issue voting issue if ever there were one (that whole phenomenon is brought to you by the Atwater-Rove team, too; another way of keeping voters from voting on stuff that actually matters), is entirely symptomatic of the phenomenon I’m trying to get at in this thread.  It’s an issue that candidates capitalize on in order to draw voters to the polls, but it’s not an issue that legislation should be dealing with.

So while candidates spend time talking about Roe v. Wade, people keep dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While candidates argue about off-shore oil drilling, which will result in nothing but profit for oil companies for at least 5-7 years (if it ever pays off for anybody else, which is more than debatable), people are starving in the streets.

And that’s before we even start talking about John Edwards, who is no longer a candidate for anything, and therefore isn’t particularly newsworthy in any sense of the term.

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