Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.

Confessions of an Undecided Voter

Well, I'm now 24 years old and this election year is the first time I've registered to vote. There's only one problem: I have no idea who to vote for. I've been hearing a lot of stories on NPR the last couple of days about undecided voters and have realized that I am just about as undecided as one can get. Here's what I understand and believe about politics for now:

There are two basic political choices, 1. Conservative or 2. Liberal.
1. Conservative- As I understand it, conservative politics tries to keep the state as solid and steady as it can so people within the state can live, work, buy things and form private groups to help their fellow citizens. A conservative government isn't supposed to help people with their problems, it is supposed to create an environment in which people can help each other.
The problem with conservativism-Conservatinism seems like a good idea to me, but the problem is that most conservatives seem to leave out the 'helping other citizens' part. Modern conservatism seems to be an every-man-for-himself kind of institution.

2. Liberal- As I understand it, liberal politics wants to set up the state as a social institution in order to help citizens. In a perfect liberal government the state would take on the responsibility for the welfare of its citizens so individual groups won't have to.
The problem with liberalism- The country is so big and has so many different types of people with different types of need that it would be impossible to formulate a government that could take care of all its citizens. America seems to diverse to have an effective liberal government.

My current political belief:
It seems to me that it would be best to have a conservative national government to maintain the stability of the nation but liberal local governments to meet the needs of smaller groups citizens. A smaller local government would be more dynamic than a large federal government. Ideally I would vote conservative for President and then vote increasingly liberal down to the local level.

The problem with my current political belief:
There is no legitimately conservative option in this year's election. Pandering to special interests and corporations with deep pockets and trying to force democracy onto parts of the world which may not need it or be ready for it is not conservative. My wife Jeni was a member of Young Republicans in high school but turned down membership in the College Republicans this year because she feels that Bush has turned his back on the Republican ideal.

On a local level, I have only been in Washington for a short time and don't really know what would be best for the state. I don't just want to blindly vote a liberal ticket, because I don;t know if the liberals here would actually do what is best for the state.

Other assorted problems:

The Issues- When it comes to "the issues" I tend to agree more with the liberals. I am for gun control, against the death penalty and for scientific research. But I am against abortion and I don't think I'm too thrilled about gay marriage. These are my personal beliefs, I don't know if they are my political ones yet or not.

Religious Beliefs- I am a Christian and this is important to me. However, I don't feel comfortable aligning myself with the Republican party because I don't feel comfortable with their treatment of Christianity. I don't feel comfortable with the Democratic party because of the apparent lack of any sort of faith at all.

My thoughts on Bush and Kerry- I don't like President Bush. He seems cocky, arrogant, close-minded and hypocritical. (I do not mean hypocritical about his faith, I mean about his political statements. Here's a statement from his website: "Reform Congressional Oversight - President Bush will work with Congress to restructure and strengthen legislative oversight of intelligence and homeland security." Where was Congress when Bush declared war? There was no legislative oversight applied to the decision to go to war in Iraq when it would have been inconvenient to his own agenda. Now that the ball is rolling on the "War on Terror" he wants to bring Congress back in. I wonder how much power Congress will have in the future if they try to check the President's power.)
I don't like Bush, but Kerry doesn't give me the warm-fuzzies either. In fact, Kerry gives me nothing at all. I do not know what to think of him as a candidate. If you take away the fact that he's not Bush, he doesn't really seem to have anything else going for him.

Look at me, I'm my own personal swing state! Give me a push!
Well, there it is. Whoever is reading this, you have till next Tuesday to swing me one way or the other. Andrew, I know some of the readers of your blog have strong political views, why don't you point them my way. Of course, Washington will almost certainly go for Kerry anyway, so I guess my vote doesn't really matter. Ah, democracy! How could the middle east not want this?!?!

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