Thursday, February 07, 2008

Why I Disagree with Jim Dobson

You probably already heard about Dobson's Official Statement yesterday, in which he declared that he could not, would not vote for John McCain (not even on a boat, not even with a goat). Thus, should McCain win the Republican Nomination, Dr. D stated that he could not, would not cast a vote in the upcoming presidential election (not even in the rain, not even in a train).
This from the press release:

"Dr. Dobson's statement speaks for itself," said Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media relations for Focus on the Family Action. "He made it as a private citizen, and it reflects his personal opinion of Sen. McCain's candidacy and record. People can read into it what they like; all I see is his own personal 'straight talk' regarding why he can't vote for one candidate."

What's troubling is that Dr. Dobson can't make "personal statements" - anything he says is taken as gospel by hundreds of thousands of evangelicals.

At best, this is extremely myopic. At worst, it's disingenuous and dishonest. Because Dr. Dobson cannot release a public opinion statement, calling it "his own personal straight talk," and not realize that hordes will follow his lead. The very form of this "personal opinion" reads as an official press release, which will cause many to take it as an official document. And if Dr. Dobson says "I'm not voting," then many of his fans will choose not to vote as well.

Besides all that, here's why I think he's wrong:
1) He's guilty of turning this into a single-issue election. Of course, that's Dobson's m.o. It's always been a single issue for him, and you can't fault him for caring deeply about that single issue. But he's allowing that issue to overshadow all the other many issues facing our land - the economy, the war in Iraq, the environment, social security, health care, for instance. When you start looking at all those issues, you find the candidates hold a wide variety of positions, meaning that it still does make a difference who gets elected. Even if the candidate doesn't line up on all your positions (or on your Main Position), there still will be one who lines up on more of your positions than does the other candidate.

2) God's people have always been called to seek the good of the land in which they preside. When Israel was sent into captivity in Babylon, when the church was scattered among the Roman Empire, followers of God were encouraged to pray for their land, to pray for their leaders, to "live such good lives among the pagans that they glorify our father in heaven." Whether or not we agree with our leaders, or even the political process, we are still called to be good citizens, to bless the communities in which we live. We are called to be a part of the process that brings health and well-being to our country. And if we have that opportunity through voting, I think we're obligated to take it.

3) The American Political Process gives room for dissent. There are always more than 2 candidates on the ballot. And you can even write in the candidate of your choice. Granted, the odds are that those other candidates won't win, but still, we have the opportunity to make our voice heard. If enough people vote for Ron Paul, the Major Candidates will be forced to pay attention to those voices. It's not just about the Big Two. True Confession: In 2000 I voted for Alan Keyes. Of course I knew he wouldn't win. But I liked him more than Bush or that other guy, so I voted as my heart led. Dr. Dobson and his followers can do likewise - in fact, mobilize your army to vote a third party or establish a write-in campaign. They may not win, but they can still make a difference; they can make their voice heard in a positive way.

4) Excuse me for getting a little personal, but in the grand scheme of things, Dr. Dobson's approach has him coming off like a whiny kid - "If I can't have it my way, I'm taking my ball and going home!" It's not productive; it's divisive and again sends the message to the world that Evangelicals are petulant and given to temper-tantrums if we don't get our way.

So my advice to my (sadly, very few) regular readers, is to research, study, read, listen, and discern who the best candidate is, and then get out and vote. Even if you have to write my name in.

4 comments:

Chad said...

Dan, I followed your post from WT.
Yea. I don't follow Dobson's thinking here. A year ago he was ready to start a 3rd party, the "Evangelical Party". I made that up, but that was the idea.

I really like Ron Paul - so obviously I am not a fan of McCain.

Speaking politically, I don't know how McCain could win the Presidency. His support is very low in the states that typically vote Republican.

I'm registered Republican. I've always voting Republican. It has just worked out that I've never had to vote non-Republican. If it's McCain and Clinton. I'm voting and it will be 3rd party.

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple: vote for Alan Keyes again.

He IS running, you know.

http://www.alankeyes.com/

I think Dobson should bring Keyes on his show - that would make for some fun!

Danny Vice said...

While I fully understand the angst of Conservatives in their policy opposition to John McCain blunders like Illegal immigration, Conservatives are beginning to amaze me in their inability to see the larger picture.

While I also disagree with McCain on a dozen issues or so, the alternative is not just four years of 'sitting it out' as some have proposed.

Many talk radio hosts have battled a McCain nomination. Even Focus On The Family Director Dr. Dobson (who I admire ) has declared his refusal to vote for McCain.

This astonishes me because it’s the same as saying “if we don’t get the conservative I want, We’ll let the country go to hell in a hand basket.”

This, in my opinion is very dangerous and makes our future prospects harder - since our children will be growing up in the aftermath of such a decision.

Anti McCain pundits and commentators such as Rush Limbaugh have ventured the idea that perhaps we should sit this election out and let the Dems have a term in office, claiming it might pave the way for a future shot at a candidate he and others will like in four years.

While I understand these expressions of dismay, I think it’s shortsighted. Imagine the damage our country will endure if Democrats control all three branches of government for 4 to 8 years. .

This would give liberals what they will treat as a clear sign from America that is it ready to move sharply to the left. Conservatism will lose most of it’s teeth and the liberal agenda could easily reverse all of the progress we’ve made in the war on terror, Tax reduction, Pro Life, and other extremely important issue.

We can always address the issue of immigration again in 4 years. What we cannot afford to see happen is a liberal agenda that makes illegal immigration the least of our country’s problems. Our country may be so torn up, it won’t have the time to even visit the issue, like we can today.

There is no such thing as a quick recovery from 4 years of liberalism unchecked. We may be facing what will take years and years of damage to undo. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that it WILL be undone. The passage of even one single liberal law is extremely difficult to outlaw - as if Roe V Wade hasn’t taught us this already!

Rush Limbaugh and others may revel in 4 years of liberal destruction as a talk radio host who can use the material, however all it takes is one liberal judge appointed to the Supreme Court to unravel the one ace we’ve achieved in the last 8 years. This doesn’t occur to me as a smart decision for Conservatives to be making..

As Evangelical Conservatives know, Pride cometh before the fall, and I hope they will study that verse before deciding to approach this election with dismay rather than enthusiasm.

Questioning McCain was right and highly useful for a time and a season. But there are greater threats looming on our horizon than John McCain.

It’s time to put our differences aside and get with the business assuring our children, they will not grow up in a socialist, liberally dominated world. This may be our cross roads, and it is certainly no time to be staying home on Election Day.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice
http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

ThaLunatic Daily
http://thalunatic.blogspot.com

Chad said...

I heard this morning on the radio that Dobson has endorsed Huckabee. I can't verify it yet, but that's what they said.