Thursday, October 07, 2004

Presidential Election Dilemma - The Saga Continues

(This is a continuation of a discussion that began in the article, "The Next President of the United States: Difficult Decisions Ahead"; which can be found here.)

I had a conversation with one of the people who was in the group where the question was asked, "Father, who should we vote for to be president?" The reason for this subsequent conversation was a concern about what I had said; and, I must admit, I certainly understand this person's concern. It should be noted that our conversation took place before I learned of the CNS documents, and the potential connection between the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda; which has a direct bearing on what was said. In the interest of fairness and honesty, however, I want to touch briefly on the main point of the conversation, as it has bearing on the election. (By the way: The person with whom I had this conversation has not been asked if I might reveal his/her identity; and so I'm trying my best not to give any clues. If you happen to figure out who it was, great -- you can have a cookie!)

As we spoke, I reiterated my position of reluctant support for President Bush as the best option among a field of uninspiring choices; and that I cannot, in any way, vote for Sen. Kerry. (Although this didn't come up in our conversation, the Senator's position on abortion would be enough to cause me to withhold my support for him.) The main reason is that he strikes me as the quintessential politician, who will say whatever he thinks is necessary in order to achieve the office to which he aspires. I don't trust him as far as I could throw him. Granted, on one level, candidate Bush is also a politician, and therefore worthy of scrutiny. Part of the difference, for me, is that the "vibes" I get aren't nearly as negative as those for candidate Kerry; and of all those running, it is President Bush who I think can best be trusted to do what is needed for the country. Again, I do not agree with or support every decision of his, most notably the war in Iraq. My support, then, is qualified; and I do wish we had a better choice among the candidates.

My partner in the conversation made one very telling point, and it involves the war in Iraq. It is this person's contention -- and I don't disagree -- that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was, and is, a violation of the nation's sovereignty, undertaken illegally, and unstopped because there is no other country today with the ability to restrain the use of American military power. "Put the shoe on the other foot," this person said. "Suppose there was another country with more military power than we have; and this country didn't like some position we had taken, and attempted to impose their views on us by force of arms. What would we do? Obey them? Or resist the way the Iraqis are fighting against us today?" Of course, we would resist, I said.

Without going into more detail, the argument boils down to this: The election is, at one level, a referendum on the decisions and actions of President Bush. Until now, the responsibility for the illegal war in Iraq is his; but, if we vote to return him to office next month, it becomes ours as well -- a vote for him is a vote of approval of the illegal and bloody war in Iraq.

There's no resolution in my mind right now. I don't want to vote for candidate Bush; I will not vote for candidate Kerry. I can't see voting for a third-party candidate; I don't want candidate Kerry to win. Do I not vote? Write someone in? Vote for Bush, and go to confession? Twenty-five days and counting...