Is It Immoral to Vote for Obama? by Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Whitney
Information Clearing House
October 15, 2011

Enough! Stand for Peace and Justice!

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

I don’t like mixing politics with morality, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. What I mean is this: how can anyone cast a ballot for a man who they know will continue to kill people in other countries merely to advance US policy objectives? That’s the question people need to ask themselves.

Under normal circumstances, I can understand the “lesser of two evils” theory of voting, just as I can understand why people would think that Obama would be better president than his GOP opponent. But these aren’t normal circumstances, are they? After all, we’re not just talking about which candidate might be more inclined to protect Social Security or Medicare. We’re talking life and death. The question is whether one is willing to throw their support behind a policy that kills people in exchange for the presumed protection of Social Security?That’s a pretty cynical calculation.

Knowing what we know now, we can say with 100% certainty that Obama will continue killing people wherever he deploys the US military, the US intelligence services and US drones. How can anyone in good conscience sign on to that type of thing?

Now I know people will say,”If you don’t vote for Obama, you’re handing the White House and our children’s future over to crackpots and extremists”.

This is a very persuasive argument, but it’s also misleading. The real issue is whether one is willing to support the administration’s policies, policies that we all know will continue to kill defenseless women and children wherever the US is involved.

At present, there’s only one antiwar candidate on the ballot, Ron Paul. And while I bitterly disagree with him on economic and social matters, these issues pale in comparison to America’s homicidal foreign policy. If the balloting were held today, I would vote for Paul in a heartbeat and I would try to convince others to do the same.

As for those who choose to vote for Obama; that’s fine, only, please, don’t pretend you don’t know what the consequences will be.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at


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22 thoughts on “Is It Immoral to Vote for Obama? by Mike Whitney

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  8. Jerry – you must be joking. Obama has expanded the war machines activities, drones and bombings in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and who knows where else. Now with Libya and Uganda , Africa is in the Empires cross hairs.
    On the domestic front amidst all this uproar about jobs he signs three trade deals and has the audacity to say they will create jobs here, when everyone knows that every trade deal costs American jobs .
    Lesser of two evils, you’re right he’s not , he’s the greater, or equal of two evils.
    No meaningful change will ever come from within the two party system, unless we get the money out of the election process

  9. I can’t imagine how Obama could be the lesser of two evils by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Romney is complaining that Obama is not spending enough on the military, and that he’s sold out Israel (altho Obama has increased military aid to Israel, thus subsidizing unacceptable acts by that government, and voted against reasonable UN resolutions on the Middle East). The majority of the Republican hopefuls sound even more hawkish than Obama. And while Obama has a decidedly mixed record on domestic issues, the Republican hopefuls pretty much without exception want to take us way backward on them.

      Jerry, I realize that most Republican candidates say they are strongly against abortion. But in practice Republicans in power have meant quite modest moves against abortion, while making worse the conditions that make abortion seem like an economic necessity for many women. So I think the practical difference on the issue is much less than the rhetorical difference. Those who argue the social safety net is the most important thing on abortion can point to Western Europe, where most countries have legal abortion but abortion rates which are a fraction of those here.

      So I don’t have that much difficulty in understanding their lesser of two evils position. But it’s a great evil vs. a greater evil, and I strongly oppose voting for great evil.

  10. Our moral values should guide our actions in the voting booth. But how we try to express our moral values in voting is complex. So I’m not too sure it’s helpful to tell people that voting a certain way is immoral. However, we should express our ideas on the moral consequences of voting options.

    I have dear friends who strongly share my consistent life ethic views who voted for Obama in 2008 and are inclined to do so in 2012. To me, it is a no-brainer that I can’t vote for someone who is pro-war, pro-abortion, and pro-death penalty, like Obama. But I understand that they feel the Republicans are at least as pro-war, oppose policies that would reduce the pressure pregnant women feel to abort, and are even more strongly pro-death penalty.

    There is a weighting of importance of the issues, and whether it is important to vote for someone with a realistic chance of winning. You can justify voting for Obama on a lesser-evil basis.

    I don’t think the lesser evil approach is fundamentally moral, and I think experience shows it does not lead to good results. Peace people have generally been voting for Democrats in recent decades, and we are steadily involved in more and more military actions abroad. Meanwhile, the political atmosphere on many domestic issues has also moved in the wrong direction. So I think it can be well argued that this approach is not effective.

    As long as the Democrats can take peace people and progressives for granted, they are not going to deliver. The evidence seems overwhelming on that.

    I oppose lesser-evil voting. This does not mean demanding perfection. But it does mean that one will not vote for a candidate who is 75-80% wrong because the major party opponent is 90% wrong. I think we should only vote for candidates who are more in agreement with us on key issues, like war, than they are in disagreement with us. If people who have been voting lesser evil started using that criterion, we would see a monumental increase in votes for third party and independent candidates, including write-ins. and the parties would have to take notice.

    I, too, disagree strenuously with Ron Paul on many domestic issues. But he is against war, abortion and the death penalty, so there are tremendous areas of agreement. Furthermore, I note that war is about the only issue on which a President can make a significant difference without getting something through Congress, so this makes it especially important in a Presidential election. If the Republicans were to nominate him (unfortunately not likely), I would probably vote for him in the general election. I would not consider this a lesser evil vote because on three important issues, I would basically be in agreement with his policies. So I would view him as a net positive, despite my disagreements with him, not a lesser evil. An additional factor which I think is worth considering is that he has a much higher level of integrity than most Presidential candidates, including Obama.

    • Bill — right on ! i am a consistent life guy ( seamless garment network ) also . Obama is consistent death , and so are the Repubs.

      but Ron Paul is the exception and the only game in town that will bring ALL the troops home , reverse Roe , and Greg verses Georgia ( death penalty ) , close down ALL the military bases , close down Gitmo , abolish the CIA and the FBI . this he can do with one stroke of the pen . this will reverse the American Empire back to being a Republic and save it and many lives over seas and here.

      as far as his social programs.. or lack thereof .. no problem , he will never get them thru congress . so voting Ron Paul is a win win.

      • correction –the president cannot overturn roe or greg ( abortion and the death penalty) by the stroke of a pen . but he can put someone on the supreme court who will not waffle and is against both .

        • Actually he can’t do that either by himself as it requires Senate confirmation which in the atmosphere of recent years is a major hurdle. Practically it is unlikely he could get confirmed a nominee with a very clear record of opposing Roe. With the move to essentially allow the opponents of any proposal to insist on 60 votes instead of a majority, the President is really limited on who he can get on the Court absent a majority of more than 60 in his pocket, which is unlikely. (I use the masculine recognizing that there seems little chance either major party will nominate a woman in 2012.)

        • true ..but at least getting a shot at the white house with a consistent lifer like ron paul is something . the last consistent life ethic guy we had was senator mark hatfield who died this year.

  11. I believe in the consistent life ethic. Another reason it’s immoral to vote for Obama is because he is a pro-abortion fanatic. Progressive people should alway be right-to-lifers.

    • all of the early feminists from 1792 to the 1960’s were all for fetal rights , against war and the death penalty . this is the true PROGRESSIVE position . a progress toward civility .

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