My Answer When People Ask Why I Don’t Vote Based on Abortion
The topic of today’s podcast episode is personal and possibly controversial. I’ve worked on it for two weeks. I’ve talked myself out of recording it multiple times. I’ve tried to record different “safe” topics. But for whatever reason, I could not move forward until I finally finished this episode.
Why Abortion is Not the Deciding Factor of My Vote
I believe that parties and candidates have politicized the abortion issue and use it to control voters emotions and actions.
In short: Before the 1980’s, Pro-life and Pro-choice did not belong to either Democrats or Republicans. Supporters of each side were distributed in both parties. In 1979, political strategist Paul Weyrich was stewing about how to get his Republican party to win elections. He found an untapped gold mine in Evangelicals who made up 29% of the population, but largely did not vote. With neither political affiliation, nor party loyalty, this huge section of voters was “up for grabs.” In order to light a fire under this non-voting and extremely religious segment of the population, they needed an issue that would be highly religious, highly moral, and highly emotional. One social issue fit the bill perfectly: abortion.
Why it Matters
Without permission from Pro-lifers and religious voters in the Democratic party, the political strategists hijacked Pro-life as a Republican issue, and thus the Republican party became not only the Pro-life party, but is also largely viewed as the “Religious” party.
It’s an ingenious political strategy because it causes religious voters to feel that if they are going to be “worthy” religiously, then they must vote Republican regardless of the Republican candidate’s qualifications or stance on ANY other issues.
This strategy pulls other potent strings by influencing religious voters to view friends, family, and members of their own congregations as “sinners” or “wicked” if they don’t vote for the Republican candidate always and forever, no matter who the candidate is, thus creating the perfect voter manipulation.
The Social Impact
Essentially, any candidate can now control what has come to be known as “the Religious Right” simply by professing to be Pro-life. I think this is terrifying because no matter what else that candidate stands for, the religious right is bound to his election based on the issue of abortion alone.
Unless we aren’t.
What I Do
1. I don’t vote party. I vote (as my parents raised me) to vote candidate. My voting record would reveal circles darkened on both sides of ballots.
2. I remind myself of the importance of having the voice and work of religious voters active in BOTH parties.
3. I ask myself “Is this candidate genuinely Pro-life, or has this candidate conveniently become Pro-life to win an election.
4. When I see an abortion ad or hear a speech that triggers my emotions, I ask if the candidate/party is using graphic rhetoric in attempts to manipulate my tender feelings as a woman, mother, and lover of babies. I remind myself that I am most powerful when I choose my own thoughts and emotions and act according to the dictates of my own conscience rather than permitting my emotions to be hijacked for someone else’s agenda.
5. I ask myself this question: If this candidate is genuinelly Pro-life, will the candidate influence legislation that is consitutional, legal, safe and protective of the human rights of all voters (especially women on the abortion issue) regardless of their religious affiliation.
6. I remind myself that if I were hiring someone to work for me, I would vet them on NUMEROUS qualifications, not just their stance on one issue.