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It's time to play 'Guess My Party!'

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor
My paternal grandmother was from Alabama and was a rock solid Democrat. When asked once if she would vote for Jesus Christ if he was running as a Republican, she replied, "He wouldn't be a Republican."
In fact, my brother and I were under an oath not to reveal to Grandma that my father ran and won a seat on the Granby School Committee as a Republican. He had no party affiliation and had merely accepted the invitation of the Republican Town Committee to go for the position. The old man was deadly serious with us on not spilling the beans, as he didn't want to face his mother's wrath.
I bring this little bit of my family history up as illustration of my belief that faith and politics go hand in hand. Just like we believe in the mysteries of religion, many of us place the same devotion in candidates for public office.
And I don't believe we look for a candidate to challenge or enhance our beliefs, but rather someone who mirrors our established opinions.
How many people vote on following criteria:
  • Whether or not a candidate is a friend of labor?
  • Whether or not a candidate is pro-life or pro-choice?
  • Whether or not a candidate is considered a fundamentalist Christian?
  • Whether or not a candidate a candidate is for "big" government?
  • Whether or not a candidate is for or against gun control?
  • Whether or not a candidate supports minority rights or the rights of women?
  • Whether or not a candidate is for stopping illegal immigration?
  • Whether or not a candidate would work toward same-sex marriage?
  • Whether or not a candidate has a stand on the war on drugs?
    Now once a candidate admits a position on any of these particular issues, some voters either stop or start their support. Too many folks are one or two issue people. So do these one or two issue voters have the inclination to consider opposing arguments to their own views?
    My guess is "No." I have several friends who call themselves conservative and if I do get into a discussion with them some won't even discuss politics with me it's almost a certainty that any challenge to their belief structure is met with a level of hostility.
    The same goes for people who I see that call themselves "progressive." They are often times so adamant in attacking the status quo they lose sight of the goal to help convince people the liberal side of politics does indeed offer solutions.
    How do you stand on the checklist I cited? Here's my score:
  • Whether or not a candidate is a friend of labor? I support the right to organize.
  • Whether or not a candidate is pro-life or pro-choice? I support a woman's right to chose.
  • Whether or not a candidate is considered a fundamentalist Christian? Religion is a private issue, protected by the Constitution and should not be part of government.
  • Whether or not a candidate a candidate is for "big" government? I'm for effective government meeting the needs of the nation.
  • Whether or not a candidate is for or against gun control? I support the right to bear arms.
  • Whether or not a candidate supports minority rights or the rights of women? Everyone should be treated equally under the law.
  • Whether or not a candidate is for stopping illegal immigration? Illegal immigration needs to be stopped by making sure workers are here legally.
  • Whether or not a candidate would work toward same-sex marriage? The government shouldn't interfere in the romantic lives of consenting adults.
  • Whether or not a candidate has a stand on the war on drugs? Have we actually addressed the reasons behind the demand for illegal drugs?
    Now, do my answers make me a liberal or a conservative or a Libertarian? For whom should I should I vote?
    Here is my list by which I judge candidates:
  • What are you going to do to stem the flow of manufacturing jobs from this country?
  • What are you going to do to create a new economy with entry-level jobs?
  • What are you going to do to end the War on Terror?
  • What are you going to do about global warming?
  • What are you going to do about NAFTA?
  • What are you going to do about creating an equitable tax structure for all Americans?
  • How are you going to reverse the national deficit?
    These are difficult questions that can't really be addressed adequately with a 30-second attack ad.
    Perhaps I'm asking for too much.
    This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to mdobbs@ thereminder.com or to 280 N. Main St., E. Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.

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