Voting From The Heart
By: Guest Authors
By Fauna Gille
“In certain philosophers, the heart has climbed into the head to mask an absence. Hence a curious psychological disorder. When the heart is in the head, thought suffers doubtlessly, but sentiment does also.” – Jacques Maritain
French Philosopher Jacques Maritain most likely did not write this as he was pondering US politics. But I can’t help but associate it with the current political phenomenon sweeping across our country. Obama mania. You probably know at least one person who has been affected… I can certainly think of several friends and acquaintances who have been swept off their feet by the Senator from Illinois and his call for “change.”
I can’t recall an example in the last century when a politician has inspired such zealous support based more upon his personality than his positions. Well-informed Republicans and Democrats can and should debate the issues and Obama’s stance on them; they may not agree, but there is at least clarity in the argument when both parties understand what Obama represents.. What frustrates me about Obama maniacs is, you cannot even have a debate with them as they do not understand Obama’s core beliefs! They do however, argue that Obama makes them feel good. They can talk passionately about what a good rhetorician he is, and how charismatic and charming he is, but they don’t understand the very basics about his positions. This leaves me wanting to examine the emotion behind Obama’s popularity and whether, for the average Obama enthusiast it is thought and reflection, or emotion and heart that is behind the fervor for this particular candidate. My experiences and observations tell me it is the later.
Let’s start by talking about “change”. Everybody likes change, right? It sure sounds good; after all, change is exciting! However, every change results in either a better or worse outcome than the current state of affairs. Change for the sake of change alone is not necessarily a good thing. This is where the heart comes in. We all want to do something to make our Country better, so I can see how a “call for change” is emotionally appealing…
Change is an action word – it makes people feel like they have done something – that they are part of a movement that is making a difference. But what many people in the Obama camp fail to ask is “what does Obama what to change?” Unfortunately, Obama’s vision a vague outcry that really boils down to an extreme liberalism. So extreme that the National Journals annual ranking of US Senators (based upon each Senators voting record for the year) has ranked Obama the most liberal Senator of 2007.
To give an example of how Obama’s liberalism is to the left of most Democrats, let’s examine his voting record on the hot-button issue of abortion. Obama cast votes as an Illinois State Senator to support abortion to an extent that makes even ardent pro-choicers cringe. Ironically, a vote for Obama “from the heart” is also a vote to refuse medical care for developed babies that survive a late-term abortion. Regardless of your position on abortion, and even partial-birth abortion, would your heart be able to look at the occasional survivor of the latter procedure – a living baby – and feel okay about refusing to care for it? This is just one example of how the good intentions of the heart without properly engaging the mind can result in an outcome that ultimately, had it been educated the heart would have rejected.
I know of many people who voted for Bush in 2000 & 2004 who plan to vote for Obama in 2008 (assuming he is indeed the Democratic nominee). Sure, they may be disenchanted with Bush (mainly over Iraq), and you could argue that their vote in 08 is a protest vote… but the fact is that in talking to them, their feelings about the issues have not changed. They still support the conservative values that Bush campaigned on and I can tell you – they do not understand Obama’s positions. His record on abortion alone would horrify them! At an emotional level though, they do find his persona to be captivating. Engaging. Charming. Electrifying.
Certainly, we all enjoy that side of Barack Obama! There is no denying that he is by far the most magnetic and exciting candidate; frankly, I like him too! If I had not thoroughly researched his positions and his vision for America, I am certain that I would be immersed in the heart of Obama-mania. But knowing where he stands on issues that matter to me, I am left with a respect and admiration for him as a speaker and motivator, but am not able to support him as a candidate because his beliefs do not correlate with my own.
I do have friends who are supporting Obama because they have studied his voting record as an Illinois and US Senator and they understand and agree with his positions on the key issues and his approach to the challenges facing our country. I respect that. We may not agree that his philosophies will take us in the right direction, but their opinion is a thoughtful and educated one, and now good debate can take place on our respective candidate’s positions on the issues. However, if you are voting for Obama because it makes you feel “cool” to be in the midst of an exciting political movement… or you feel good when he talks about change… or your heart tells you that supporting Obama is the way to make a difference… then perhaps it would be wise to examine “if your heart has climbed into your head to mask an absence.” Seriously, visit a non-partisan website to learn about Obama, Clinton, and McCain’s positions, beliefs, and plans for our Country should they become the next President of the United States. Choosing a candidate from your heart alone is nothing but a vote of emotion. Choosing a candidate from the heart and the mind is turning good intentions into actions that will fulfill them.
Fauna Gille, Minneapolis, MN