Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Anne Rice on voting

Drudge has had a link to AnneRice.com for a couple of days; he notes in his link that Rice has proclaimed herself both pro-life and a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Personally, I'm not too concerned with whether this stance appears self-contradictory; liberal Democrats are a hugely diverse group ranging from pro-gay-marriage whites to anti-gay-marriage blacks, from defense hawks to radical pacifists. No: what I wonder at is Rice's professed attitude toward voting, which I do find blatantly self-contradictory. Here's what she says:

Believing as I do that church and state should remain separate, I also believe that when one enters the voting booth, church and state become one for the voter. The voter must vote her conscience. He or she must vote for the party and candidate who best reflect all that the voter deeply believes. Conscience requires the Christian to vote as a Christian. Commitment to Christ is by its very nature absolute.

My commitment and my vote, therefore, must reflect my deepest Christian convictions; and for me these convictions are based on the teachings of Christ in the Four Gospels.

I am keenly aware as a Christian and as an American that the Gospels are subject to a great variety of interpretation. I am keenly aware that Christians disagree violently on what the Gospels say.

I am also keenly aware that we have only two parties in this country. Only two. This point can not be emphasized enough. We do not have a slate of parties, including one which is purely Christian. We have two parties, and our system has worked with two parties for generations. This is what we have.

I feel strongly that one should vote for one of these two parties in an election. I suspect that not voting is in fact a vote. I suspect that voting for a third party, when such parties develop, is in effect voting for one of the major parties whether one wants to believe this or not.

To summarize, I believe in voting, I believe in voting for one of the two major parties, and I believe my vote must reflect my Christian beliefs.

I don't know how to put this delicately, so I'll be my usual blunt self and say that I find this attitude obtuse. How can you exhort people to vote their conscience and then say they should vote for one of the two major parties? What if my conscience tells me that both the major candidates are worthless and that Choice C is the best choice? Should I not express my proactive preference for C?

There are a lot of people who think of voting only in terms of game theory. For them, voting ceases to be a human act and becomes a numbers game. Instead of voting for someone, many of these game theorists plan their strategies around voting against someone. I find that pathetic. Then again, if your conscience tells you that you need to vote against someone, by all means do so! But know this: when you give in to the game theory approach, you miss out on the chance to take one of the most private moments in your life to do something truly proactive. We live most of our moments as mere reactions to events; why carry that tendency into the democratic process? Forget the numbers, forget the game theory, and simply do what your conscience tells you, even if that means not voting at all.

Side note: Anne Rice converted to Christianity a short while back,* and her site reflects this fact. If you hang around the site long enough, you eventually hear a recording of "Ave Maria." I've now heard "Ave Maria" twenty fucking times, and I'm about ready to shoot that singer. I'm not musically talented, but my two little brothers are both musicians and they taught me-- whether they knew it or not-- to listen to music with a somewhat discerning ear. One thing I find unforgivable about this singer is that he goes way off key on the third syllable (the "ma" in "Ave Maria"). He's more or less fine after that, but having heard that mistake twenty times now, I'm thinking of hunting him down and castrating him.

*After you read her letter to the public re: her political views, be sure to scroll down and read her essay about how she reconciles her track record of vampire novels (none of which I've read) with her current beliefs. She makes some interesting points.


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