Should Catholics Vote in 2024?

January 23, 2024 00:33:29
Should Catholics Vote in 2024?
Crisis Point
Should Catholics Vote in 2024?

Jan 23 2024 | 00:33:29

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Crisis Editor Eric Sammons recently wrote an article arguing that Catholics should consider not voting in the 2024 presidential election. Needless to say, it got a lot of pushback, which we're going to address today on the podcast.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:21] I recently wrote an article at crisis telling Catholics to consider not voting in the 2024 presidential election. Needless to say, I got a lot of feedback, a lot of response to that article, and so I want to talk about that some more here today on the podcast. Hello, I'm Eric Samuel, your host, and Aaron chief of Crisis magazine. Before I get started, just want to encourage people to smash that like, button to subscribe to the channel. [00:00:46] Don't hit the notify bell, though, because you have a life outside the Internet. You don't need your phone telling you what to do. You can decide for yourself when to watch Crisis point, which I'm sure you do every time. Also, you can subscribe to us, our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com. You can follow us on social media at crisismag. Okay, so I wrote an article. I linked to it in the show notes last week called what's the point? And essentially what I did was I said, I'm considering not voting in the 2024 presidential election. And I even went further and said that Catholics should consider not voting. [00:01:26] Now, I knew when I ran that article that it would be controversial, that it kind of goes against the flow, goes against the flow, particularly of the crisis audience. [00:01:37] Crisis readers have always traditionally been very politically active. I mean, that's part of our purpose at crisis, is to, we talk about both the crisis in the church and the crisis in the world. And the cris in the world involves politics. [00:01:52] And so there's often articles at crisis, and will continue to be articles at crisis about certain political candidates, races, why you should vote for this person, why you should vote for that person, wherever the case may be. So I knew that saying the statement that maybe perhaps Catholics should sit this one out, that that would be controversial, and it was. [00:02:14] Now, I had a lot of factors. I encourage you to read the article. Like I said, I linked to it. I'll talk about some of them a little bit more. [00:02:20] What was interesting is your response. Like I said, I expected a response. And sometimes I do this. I will admit that this was partially a thinking out loud exercise, so to speak. What I mean by that is I have not decided yet whether or not I'm voting. And I say that in the article, whether or not I'm voting in the presidential election. [00:02:39] And so I wanted, though, to make this a thought project, so to speak, a thought experiment, I should say, where I give my arguments and I hear people's responses. And that's exactly what happened. In fact, today at crisis, we ran two articles, both articles say were from people who were arguing against me saying yes, we should vote. Yes, we should vote. Both of them. And I had some other articles. I decided just to publish these two. They were the best. So I think the point is that I wanted this feedback and I was glad to get it. And I will say at this point I'm not convinced yet to definitely vote or to not vote. I'm still leaning towards not voting, but we'll see. But the responses varied. [00:03:25] My favorite okay, this is my favorite response. And I will admit this doesn't represent everybody who responded, but I just thought it was so funny I had to share it. So here's the email I got. [00:03:35] This is cheap shill and I am ashamed of you talking about my article. Catholics need to make their voices heard no matter what society step like this is cowardly and you are pretending to lead the way. I think she mean pretending. I hope no one is influenced by your article to not vote. That is american heresy. Not quite sure what that means unless and until a new and better process is in place. And I hope you're actively working on one. After all, we are left with what we have and we have to make the best of it. I believe your words are unamerican and traitorous. This voice should be silenced. [00:04:13] I just thought that was funny. The funny part is part of this email she actually points to one of my points, which says in less until when new and better process is in place. So she's admitting that perhaps there is a better process. And one of my arguments is, and we'll talk about this a little bit, is not voting is a way of voting for a better process in the future. But anyway, now I will say I'm having a little fun with that response. I also got some good ones, although I did have somebody just today on Twitter said that basically not voting is like not attending mass because you don't like the pope. [00:04:55] It's actually nothing at all like some, but I did get some thoughtful responses. A number of people said to me that I'm being a perfectionist, that I don't like the two candidates, and therefore because they're not perfect, I'm not voting at know Biden's obviously evil Trump is definitely not perfect. I've expressed my views about Trump in the and so I'm being a perfectionist. You shouldn't make the perfect enemy the good. Others argued that I'm basically equating the Democrats and the Republicans, that I'm acting as if they're both the same, and so I'm just throwing up my hands. But actually, the argument goes, the Democrats are much worse. And so even though the Republicans aren't perfect, aren't very good, in some ways, they're much better than Democrats. Therefore, we need to vote and vote Democrat. A number of people said not voting is like voting for Biden. I always get a chuckle out of that because I vote third party in the past, and I always hear this, the idea that not voting, vote for Biden is not true because you're assuming the person not voting would vote for Trump otherwise or would not vote for Biden. Maybe the person who decides not to vote was going to vote for Biden. Maybe so. That's just not true. But anyway, some people say votes can matter in a close election. I was saying in a presidential election, it doesn't really matter. My one vote won't really matter. Others did remind me, the catechism does say that exercising the right to vote is a moral obligation. I addressed that in my article. I don't think it's an absolute moral obligation. I think it's a moral obligation when I think Cardinal Burke said it best, like when there's a viable candidate or something like that, that you think can advance the common good or something like that, then it, like, I know this is reduxio ad absurdum, whatever it is, but if you had a vote between Stalin and Hitler and those are your only two choices, I don't think you're morally obligated to vote. And I know that's extreme. I'm not saying that's what we have now, but I am saying, though, obviously it can't be an absolute moral obligation to vote. [00:07:06] And then I thought, this is one that I saw today was one of the articles I ran today, which was I'm being too consumed with the effective. Like I said, what's the point? My vote doesn't really matter. And they're saying, yeah, but there's a lot of things we do in the christian life that quote unquote, don't matter. They're pointless, but we need to do them anyway because they're the right thing to do. And I think that's a very strong argument that you don't look at all the practical know, like Mother Teresa, we're not called to be successful, just faithful. So even if our vote is meaningless, even if our vote doesn't do anything, quote unquote, doesn't mean we shouldn't vote, is basically the argument. I did notice, though, another thing I noticed was that in general, older Catholics were much more likely to push voting that they are obligation to vote. Whereas younger Catholics either supported my idea of not voting or they were just kind of like, whatever, if you don't want to. And I think that's interesting. It might just be an aging that always happens that older you are, the more likely you are to be more engaged in the process than you are when you're younger. [00:08:19] So there's kind of some of the responses I got, and one thing I want to say before I kind of talk some more about why I think it's potentially the right thing to do not to vote is there's a lot of good catholics who are very involved in the political process. And I'm not trying to say anything against know. I thought it's kind of funny. Catholic vote, the organization catholic vote are friends over there. They're great, they do great work. [00:08:44] And it's in their name, literally, to vote. [00:08:47] Actually, let me take a step back. Real, just to make it clear. I'm arguing about voting only in the presidential election. I'm not arguing that you shouldn't vote for your local sheriff. In fact, your local sheriff is probably a far more important vote than the president because you can actually have an impact on it, and that person could have a much more direct impact on your life as well. And we saw during COVID some sheriffs didn't, for example, enforce some of the COVID restrictions of the state. So I'm not saying no voting at all. Like in Ohio, here in Ohio last November, we had a referendum to put abortion in the constitution. And I very much advocated voting in that, voting against it, obviously. And unfortunately, it passed, which means that life failed, the cause of life failed. I would never say don't vote in that situation, but I am talking about the presidential election. But anyway, getting back to catholic vote, they just endorsed President Trump for in the election coming up, which is probably, I mean, I'm glad they did it now because obviously, when the only two options are Haley or, or, I mean, there is no real option there. Nikki Haley, I really do believe. I think Nikki Haley would be a worse president than Joe Biden. I say that because I don't think there's any real difference between the two. [00:10:09] And she'd be worse because a lot of republican zombies would just go along with her stuff in Congress and whatnot. So it'd actually be more likely she'd get things passed, bad things passed, bomb more countries, which seems to be the only thing she really wants to do. So, yeah, I understand why catholic vote endorsed Trump but it was funny because President Trump actually mentioned the endorsement himself. He talked about it, know, catholic vote endorsed him, and catholic vote put this on Twitter, and it just triggered so many never Trumpers. And I used to be a never Trumper years ago, but I feel like I was never an insane never Trumper. I'm not a never trumper anymore. But the point is that it just triggered people like how terrible this is and stuff like that. So I'm not trying to diminish the good work of those who are getting out the vote, working hard and trying to make a change. [00:11:03] I'm just questioning a deeper level. Is this the path forward for Catholics? Is the path forward really being engaged in the political system and acting as if voting is going to make a difference? [00:11:19] Is that really the path forward? And I think a lot of people missed my point. I feel like a sneeze is coming on, by the way. So if it comes, my apologies in advance. [00:11:29] I feel like some missed my point. They're seeing it at a different level than I am. I'm trying at least to see it at a little deeper level. [00:11:38] A lot of people say, oh, you're just like saying, I don't like the candidates, so you're going to pick up your toys and go home. That's not the case. I don't like either candidate. I'm assuming a Trump Biden thing, by the way. Obviously, I think Biden's far worse. I do not like Trump. I do not think Trump will make a major difference if he is elected president. I don't think he'll be allowed to be president. So I think it's a moot point. But the point is that I don't think he's going to be able to drain the swamp. I don't think the president of the United States is actually in control of the government. In fact, that's a major point of mine, is I think when we vote, we're voting for the face of the government, not the actual leaders of our government. And that's a major point. But the point is that my point I'm trying to make here is not that I'm saying that we need to vote for and not that I'm saying that just because both candidates are bad, you shouldn't vote. Because the truth is I've voted third party many times in the past. [00:12:34] I'm trying to think. I think in 96, I did. In 2008, 2012, in 2016, I think I voted third party because I really didn't like either candidate. I'm a big proponent of voting third party. So I'm not saying that because I would just say vote third party if that was all it is. Also, it's not about, like, just on a surface level, equating dim and Republicans. [00:13:00] I do think they're far more alike than most conservatives and most liberals think. I honestly think most of this is just a game that's being played in order to make us feel like we're part of a system by acting like there's these two opposing sides that are diametrically opposed, and whatever side you're on is good and the other side is evil. And they're so different. The fact is, they're not that different. [00:13:26] I've been voting since 1988, and in that time, I've never voted for a Democrat. I know. Not for president, I don't think for any office at all. I've ever voted for a Democrat. In 35 years now, 36 years of voting, I've never voted for a Democrat. I've seen Republicans in charge, in control of the presidency of the Senate, of the House, of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court. All that time, really, there's been more Republican appointed justices than Democrats. [00:14:02] I think it's always been like that during this time frame, but definitely most of it. And in that time, you cannot tell me that in that 36 years, our country has gotten better off, that our country has in so many factors, in so many ways. Culturally, it's becoming rotten to the core. Economically, it's gone down the crapper in ways that we don't even realize, I don't even think we acknowledge. [00:14:31] Internationally, it's gotten worse and worse, gotten more and more involved overseas, becoming an empire that most of the world hates. I mean, in all these different ways, we've just gone downhill. And every election, I'm told it's the most important election of our lifetime. And yet we see it's all going in. Our country is going in one direction. Now, you could argue that perhaps the Republicans have slowed it down at times. I'll grant that. I will grant that. And I won't say there haven't been any victories whatsoever. For example, and the most obvious example is Donald Trump's appointments to the Supreme Court led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Praise God. I've always given Trump credit for that. I've always said we should thank him for that. Yet, big picture, what's happened is we have a country that loves abortion, loves gay marriage. [00:15:28] They're now pushing transsexual crap on us. We bomb every country in the world that we can in every way. Our economy is just awful. We print money like there's no tomorrow. Inflation is killing people. I mean, a young person today out of college trying to buy a house, let's say they've rent for a few years, now they want to buy a house. It's so much harder for them to buy a house than it was a few years after I graduated from college 30 years ago. That's just objectively true because the costs have gone way up while wages have not. And that's because of government policies. Primarily. That's because of government policies and that's government policies of both the left and the right. It's not like it's the leftist fault for that. The Republicans have voted for that as much as the Democrats have. [00:16:24] I think they're much closer than I think people want to admit. [00:16:32] So that being said, I've kind of gone down this path of people will say it's cynicism and perhaps it is, but skepticism definitely. But basically I've gone down this path and here's kind of my path that I've gotten to this conclusion that I'm thinking about not voting. So again, I started off as a diehard republican, republican voter. 1988, I voted for George H. W. Bush, voted for him again in 1992 and I was vote Republican. However, my disillusionment with the GOP grew more and more. I remember being disgusted by Bob Dole being the candidate in 1996. Basically as a gold watch for retirement, he became the candidate. And he was so terrible on abortion and other issues that mattered to me. I was like, this guy, he's going to be terrible as a president. [00:17:32] And you see that with, I mean, I will admit George W. Bush kind of hoodwinked me in 2000. By 2004, I think I voted for him in 2004, but I was definitely not enthusiastic. And by 2006 I just realized what a disaster George W. Bush was. I mean, he just a disastrous president. We are Republican for eight years in the White House and it was awful. He did nothing to stop the bad things and did not do any good things during his presidency. I mean, I really do think he was one of our worst presidents of my lifetime at least. I mean, obviously Obama, Clinton were as well. [00:18:08] So that all being said. So I became disillusioned and I started to look towards third party. Like I said, I voted third party a number of years and I thought maybe that was way go. But I've gotten disillusioned by that as well because I kind of realize our country is a two party system and a third party. The best it can do is try to get a message out. It cannot actually win the presidency now. It could potentially get a message out like Ron Paul, even though he didn't run third party, he kind of did that. He ran as this kind of radical libertarian within the republican party, and that got a libertarian message out there. [00:18:46] Robert S. Kennedy kind of can do that today. A little bit, maybe. [00:18:50] But my point is I kind of realize it's a deeper problem than just a third party. I'm not saying third parties are bad. They do, like I said, they can potentially get messages out that are important, but ultimately they're not the solution either. [00:19:04] Okay, so that's another step of disillusionment. You'll see. My disillusionment just continues to grow. And I get to a point where I realize I've got to look at something else. The system doesn't work. And Covid was another factor when I realized most of my fellow citizens were fine with democratically elected governors becoming dictators, all in the name of an mean here in Ohio, and it happened in many other states, we had a republican governor who basically just decided what we could and couldn't do. Every day you're allowed to go outside. You're not allowed to go outside. You can go to church. You can't go to church. You can go to Home Depot, but you can't go to church. You can go to an abortion clinic, but you can't go to church. Now technically, he never said he never made illegal to go to church, but he made it clear to church leaders you need to shut down. He shamed them if they didn't shut down. He never did that to abortion clinics, though. And this is a pro life republican governor. [00:20:03] Of course, my disappointment that GOP was so deep by then, it was kind of expecting that. What I didn't expect was how many people, regular people, were fine with that. [00:20:14] I mean, our governor got reelected with no problem. He won his primaries. Everybody talked. Some people, I should say, talked about, oh, we got primary DeWine, Governor DeWine, because of what he did during COVID He didn't get primaried. He got elected. He got reelected. Everybody supported him. He's a popular governor doing that. And that is a point against the system, so to speak. It's not just against a specific republican governor, but the people wanted him to be the governor even though he took dictatorial powers, unconstitutional powers in my mind. [00:20:53] It kind of makes it, you realize we're not actually a democracy. [00:21:00] If the media can convince us we're in an emergency. We're no longer a democracy. [00:21:05] And then another factor, here's another factor, quote, unquote, President Biden. I put that in quotes not because I don't think he won 2020, although I do think that should be questioned. I think it's more a matter of we know he's not in charge. We know he's not the one who is running the government. Everybody knows that. Like, literally everybody knows that except for him. I think Biden's the only, President Biden's the only person who doesn't realize he's not in charge. [00:21:33] And so what did we elect? Let's grant that he was elected, that he got his 81 million votes. The people want him in charge. Well, he's not in charge. Who is in charge? Nobody knows except for, I guess, the shadowy people who are in charge. So what happened was, and again, let's assume that the 2020 election was completely legit. [00:21:57] That means that 81 million people in America voted for a man to be in charge and he's not in charge. [00:22:05] Was their vote wasted? What was the point of their vote? [00:22:08] And then, of course, you get to the point that the 2020 election did have some funny business going on. I mentioned in my article that I'm not convinced that it was stolen. I do think it was rigged, and there's a difference. I heard this difference. I can't remember who it was. I was listening to podcast. Somebody said this. I think it was Glenn Greenwald, I think, mentioned this distinction. I thought it was a great one between rigged and stolen. Stolen means that they actually took ballots. They changed ballots during the election process. They made it so the winner was no longer the winner through cheating in the election process. That's a stolen election. I'm not convinced it was stolen. 2020, a rigged election just means that powers that be did a lot to make sure that one candidate was favored by others than others. And what I mean by that is organizations that are supposed to be neutral, obviously, the media has been doing that for years. But beyond that, the deep state, I mean, with the FBI and the CIA and other organizations, like, they joined in on the hunter laptop scandal and all that. I mean, the fact is they talked about, like, you know, supposedly Trump colluding with Russia, all these things that have been proven to be nonsense or proven to be true, depending on if you're talking about Hunter or Trump or whatever. Yet the deep state worked to make sure their candidate won. [00:23:35] That's a rigged election. They didn't actually necessarily change the ballots, but they made sure they pushed an election I mean, we know the CIA has been doing this in other countries. Why wouldn't they be doing it? [00:23:47] And a few years ago, I thought I was a crazy conspiracy theorist for saying these things, but I just think there's too much evidence to point to the fact that our elections are not truly free elections and fair elections. They're not truly free and fair elections. Even if they're not stolen, they're not free and fair elections. [00:24:09] And so what's the point of voting if that's the case? [00:24:15] I think it's plausible that the 2024 election, I think it's definite the 2024 election will be rigged. The question is, will it be stolen? And I think it's possible it will be that even if Trump got the most votes, he would not become president. [00:24:34] And so I think all these know, like, we're voting, even if everything is fair and square, we're voting for the face of government, not the actual head of government. [00:24:45] And so this, honestly, has led me to question the entire system, the entire american system. Now, here's the thing, is, this is where so many Catholics don't want to go. American Catholics don't want to go. I don't understand why. Because there's nothing sacrosanct about the american democratic system. Yes, I know we're a Democrat, Republican. Don't get pedantic about. I know it's not a true, full democracy, but that being said, Catholics should not be. I mean, you see, evangelical Protestants fall into this error, but that's because they're evangelical Protestants. Let them do whatever they're going to do. But Catholics should recognize that a democratic republic is not a political system from on high, given from above. Now, it's far better than many, potentially. I'm not saying it's the worst one. Obviously, communism would be much worse. But it's not necessarily the platonic ideal of catholic political systems either. I'm not even claiming there is one. I know some Catholics argue that monarchy is the true catholic political system. And whereas I would argue a lot of benefits of monarchy, I'm not claiming that one's the platonic ideal, either. I'm just saying that Catholics should be willing to question the system. Because what I've come to see is it appears to me that the system as it is right now, is a system to keep us pacified. [00:26:16] Think about it for a minute. When the elites want to rule us, the biggest fear they have is that the people will revolt, the people will go against them. [00:26:27] And so what they do is they need to keep people pacified. I mean, we always talk about bread and circuses is one way you do it. You keep them fed, you keep them entertained. We're doing that. The entertained part, at least. I mean, think about how most people are just stuck looking, scrolling through their Instagram or their TikTok or whatever, streaming all day and all night. Their idea of a full life is doing a binge streaming over the weekend. [00:26:53] That's an easy way to keep people in power. And we saw that with everybody being okay with COVID restrictions. But another way is to make people feel like they're actually involved in the system, that they can't really blame anybody but themselves if things don't work out. Well, I participated. I voted. I just didn't get my way. So I will get my way next time. My way to solve it is in four years. And I understand there's certain elegance to that because you don't want to have a system that causes revolts every year. I mean, you have some third world countries where this happens, where you have revolutions every few years and there's no stability. And the reason why America has been successful as a country economically in other ways in its past is because we have this stable transition of power. [00:27:43] The problem is what happens when it just becomes the means by which they keep people down. They keep people from saying, wait a second, I don't want any of this stuff. Like, well, you can vote. You can just vote it out. If you don't like what's going on, you can vote now. You feel better, right? You can be like, well, I voted. I did my duty. And I guess people just didn't want it. But that's not the case. I mean, here's an example I used once, a couple of times, actually, in the 20 00 20 08 20 16 elections. 20 00 20 08 20 16 the candidate who won was the more anti interventionalist candidate, the more anti war candidate, so to speak, the one who was advocating, we're not going to go and do nation building. We're not going to go and fight wars in other countries. We're not going to interfere. We're not going to intervene in conflicts overseas. We saw that with Bush his first time, Obama his first time, and Trump. And they were more so than the other candidate, obviously. Trump more so than Hillary Clinton, Obama more so than McCain, obviously, and Bush Jr. More so than Gore. [00:29:00] Yet what happened, all three of them ended up, two of them in particular, Bush and Obama. Bush and Obama became warmongers, both of them, Trump, to his credit, did not start any new wars, yet he allowed wars to continue. [00:29:19] He still intervened in other countries. He did not kick out the bums who run our foreign policy. He appointed some terrible, terrible people. The Nikki Haley's of the world he appointed. [00:29:30] And so my point of this is that the people clearly wanted a less interventionalist president, and they got John McCain each time anyway. [00:29:39] Trump. Not as much, I'll grant that. [00:29:44] But my point here is, the electoral process did not give the people what they actually voted for, because the deep state wanted something else. Because if there's one thing the deep state wants, it wants to continue the american war machine. It wants to continue the american empire. And so therefore, it's just the idea is that the system might be broke. So therefore, my conclusion is, which I admit I am not necessarily willing to endorse 100%, is that voting is a vote for the system. [00:30:18] Not voting is a vote against the system. [00:30:23] Like the system is so corrupt and broken, participating, it is just propping it up. [00:30:30] And I think a deeper analysis, a deeper look at the system and rejection of the system might be warranted. [00:30:40] I would want to recommend, I have in the show notes, a link to it. You can download for free, a book called democracy the God that failed by Hans Herman Hoppa. I've recommended this book before. It argues from a kind of a natural reason point of view against democracy. And it's kind of saying monarchy in this case, is better than democracy. And it has some good analogies. Like one analogy I like to use, this is kind of my elevator pitch for why monarchy would be better than democracy. [00:31:06] Is that a democracy are like Renters, Democrat leaders are renters, and monarchs are like owners. So a renter, if you'renting a house, you know you're going to leave eventually. You're not leaving it to anybody. You don't take care of it as well as an owner. You own a house. It's your house. You're going to live there for the rest of your life, and you probably might even want to hand it on to your children. You're going to take care of it better. Likewise, a democratically elected person, they're a renter. They're there temporarily. They're just there to get elected and then reelected, and then they're gone. Whereas a monarch, this is like kind of their ownership of the country. [00:31:45] They have it until they die, and they're handing it on to their sons or daughters, and so they're going to take more care of it. Now, here's the thing. Not that it can't be democratically, leaders who are better than monarchs. The difference is the incentives. The incentives are geared better in a monarchy. And that's the argument of Hans Herman Hoppa in democracy, the God that failed. And so I just think that what I'm doing is this election cycle is I'm contemplating some deeper thoughts than just, okay, should I vote for Trump, vote for third party, or what? Obviously, I don't think I should vote for Biden. He's evil. And I think it's a good exercise. And I find younger people, those who don't have as much gray as I do, they are thinking these things. [00:32:32] It's something that a lot of younger Catholics are thinking, and I think it's good. Again, I'm not advocating nobody votes. I'm advocating that everybody to think about their vote, think about the system, and think about there are alternative ways than just going through the same song and dance every four years that we go through. This is the most important election. If we don't vote for x, then the whole country is going to go terrible. And then sometimes we get x, sometimes we don't. Either way, the country is going terrible. That makes me want to look a little deeper. [00:33:02] Okay, I think I'm going to wrap it up there. I would just encourage everybody to think about our system, our political system. Think about whether or not they should participate in it. And if they do, obviously, who to vote for and what their participation should be. [00:33:18] Okay, everybody, until next time. God love you. [00:33:22] Bye.

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