Political decision making is such a mess.
My neighbors across the street have a Romney sign in their yard. Now maybe they like his fiscal policies or they want gun laws expanded. Or perhaps they want abortion eliminated and marriage defined by law as “one man, one woman”. But I suspect their choice is motivated by a more mundane reason than any of Romney’s policies/values.
He is Mormon and so are they.
I can almost forgive this kind of thinking, but then again not really. Mormons (like Jews) are roughly 2% of the US population. I understand the excitement, but if we (continue to) make decisions about who to vote for based on religious affiliation, race or gender then I believe we as a nation are sunk.
I am a big believer in representation but never, ever to the exclusion of qualifications and someones religion, race or gender is not a qualification for political office. If you want a good example of everything that is wrong with this kind of thinking, take a good look at Josh Mandel.
Mandel was and is incredibly well financed by the Jewish community for his GOP political races. This is the same Jewish community that supports/supported liberal democrats including Senator Brown that Mandel is trying to unseat. Mandel is also a creepy guy who changes positions, breaks campaign promises and is using his current public office to further his political ambitions
The point is:
Mandel’s Jewishness is not sufficient reason to support or vote for him.
Romney’s Mormonism is not sufficient reason to support or vote for him.
President Obama’s race is not sufficient reason to support or vote for him.
And yet I fear these reasons are often the deciding factors for the voting public. I do not believe it is a case of “all things being equal, I would like to see [Jewish, Mormon, Female, Black, Gay] representation.” Its all been downhill since Kennedy & Catholicism. I used to think it was awful that most folks just voted their party line. Now too many people start and stop with surface information, vote for the name they recognize, the person that looks like them, and act like they are doing something.
Is that representative government? If you look like me does that mean you will work for my best interest? Is there a crabby, middle-aged, white feminist progressive in the House or Senate voting just like I want them to? Doubtful.
This fall I will not be voting for the Mormon or the Jew, I will be voting for the black man. And hoping we get around to reforming our political system (voting, electoral college, funding – don’t get me started) before the US looks like The Hunger Games or Idiocracy.