Death and Destruction by Single Issue Voters
Voting on abortion or 2nd Amendment don’t actually help fix either issue
I watched the Democratic debates for their 2020 primary. There were some impressive people on stage with some great platform points. I especially liked Tulsi Gabbard, currently a Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served in Iraq and Kuwait. I like her stance against war. There were some great ideas up there and a lot of passion. When I watched the Republican primary debates for the 2016 primary I really liked John Kasich. I would have voted for him if he had won the Republican primary. I’m not a Democrat and I’m not a Republican. I don’t even like the idea of being an Independent. It sounds too constrictive to me.
My beliefs have feet in many camps. I think war is a crime yet I don’t think gun control will fix the gun violence problem. I believe in the right to bear arms. Health care is very broken and I love the idea of a single-payer system or another solution that makes true health care, preventative healthcare available to all, paying special attention to the people further down the economic spectrum. Yet, I was a part of a personal business and was extremely unimpressed with the large government bureaucracy which made the business next to impossible to manage. It is not only possible to hold beliefs associated with multiple groups, but almost mandatory for personal growth.
I say all this to preface one thing: Single-issue voters are destroying America. I wrote a Medium article re-framing the abortion issue. Watching the debates, I cringed when the candidates, almost every single one, said, “I support reproductive rights” or “I support a woman’s right to choose.” Do those words want to make you stop reading or do they make you want to cheer? Those words cause a very strong emotional response in most Americans. The reason I cringed is because, once a candidate says those words, they have lost a massive number of voters. For a large number of voters, no other words the candidate says will be heard, no matter how much it aligns with those voters.
We’ve all heard the mantra, “at least they don’t want to kill babies” repeatedly. There are people who would vote for Satan if Satan claimed to be pro-life. Abortion is an awful thing and I understand people putting such emphasis on that issue. I read, talked, and sang to my children while they were in their mother’s womb as soon as I found out she was pregnant. There was a life, my child, growing in my wife’s womb. I don’t fault people for abortion being important. I do fault them for voting only on that issue.
We all saw the picture of the immigrant father and daughter face down in the Rio Grande. Oscar Alberto Martinez and his daughter Angie Valeria drowned while searching for a better life. We can add all sorts of “Well”s and “They were”s to the “why”s, but that doesn’t diminish the image of a dead father and daughter face down in a river. They were both babies in a womb at one time. They came out of that womb to a cruel world and tried to find something different than the suffering they were going through. I would do that for my children but I was blessed enough at birth to already have what Oscar risked his life and Angie’s life to try and find.
The single-issue voter, no matter how important the issue, grants amazing power to politicians to distract and manipulate the voter. The environment is a huge issue for me, yet if I focus solely on that one issue, I grant power to the politicians to wage war, take away personal liberties, advance income inequality, etc. With the abortion issue, we have proof that better healthcare, accessible healthcare, affordable healthcare, reduces the number of abortions. We have proof that quality education drives the abortion rate down. Making abortion illegal will not end abortions. Making education and health care top voting issues will do more for ending abortion than voting ‘pro-life’ with the goal of reversing Roe V. Wade.
My great grandmother died from Gangrene from an illegal abortion. Her husband, my great grandfather, was furious when he found out she was pregnant because, of course, it was her fault she was pregnant. At the time, it was illegal for a doctor to give information about birth control. Making abortions illegal will not end abortions, it will only result in illegal abortions.
Two things would have changed the situation for my great grandmother; quality healthcare and quality education. She died and her child died because abortions were illegal, she did not have access to birth control and was not educated about birth control.
The single-issue voter allows politicians to do what they please on all other issues. We have expensive wars, both in dollars and human lives. We have people starving here in America and in our neighbor to the south. We have massive income inequality and people at the bottom arguing with each other over table scraps. We have rising sea levels and oil spilling into our waters. We have a ballooning national deficit and debt. We have people going bankrupt or dying because they can’t afford medical care. We have young adults going into massive debt for college to grab their part of the American dream. To look at any one of those issues as your only voting issues, means politicians are given the power to do as they please with all other issues. We need to look at the issues as a system.
We used to have a two-party system where we could look at the platform points of the party, but those days are gone. The issues of abortion and 2nd amendment rights have captured too many voters' focus without ever hoping to actually fix either issue and left other important issues free for politicians to do as they please.
This is the voters’ country. We dictate what is important and vote to make sure more than one issue is addressed. Our vote on all issues matter. The single-issue voter is destroying America.