Immoral Dilemma

You guys know that I take voting seriously.  I believe in it with every fiber of my being, actually.

it’s not just that if you can’t be bothered to show up and vote that you lose your right to complain, although you should.  But it remains everybody’s right to bitch.  Look it up — it’s in the Constitution.

but really, I think it is important to pay attention, and express your preferences in local, county, state and federal elections.   Primaries count too — because in these screwy days, primaries are often more important than the actual election in November.

which brings me to my immoral dilemma:

Tomorrow is the Republican primary in my congressional district.

Now Elyse, you are saying, “you are too smart to be a Republican!”  Which, of course is true.

However, in Virginia, all primaries are open; I don’t have to be a Republican to vote in tomorrow’s GOP primary!

And frankly, since there is a good chance that whoever is chosen on Saturday will end up representing me in Congress, well, I want input.  And the field is wide open and filled with lunatics.  Some of the lunatics like Bob Marshal are known crazies.  But the front runner, Barbara Comstock, is hardly any better, and she looks like she is always sucking on a lemon.  So I don’t want her.  If I go and vote for one of the real way out loonies, the Democratic candidate stands a better chance.

Are you still awake?  No?  Then how come you’re answering my question?

Now I am getting to my immoral dilemma.

If you vote in Virginia’s GOP primary, you must swear an oath to support the GOP candidate in November.

It is, of course, un enforceable.  They will not know if I break my vow.  Personally, I don’t think it is either legal or ethical of the to ask for such a vow.

Still, I try not to lie, especially when swearing oaths.

But does it count to knowingly make a vow you have no intention to keep because the vow shouldn’t be asked for to begin with?




Sorry for all the typos.  My computer died.  Obviously a Republican.




Filed under Disgustology, Elections, GOP, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Mental Health, Politics, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Virginia

86 responses to “Immoral Dilemma

  1. It’s OK if you have your fingers crossed when you make the promise!

  2. This is what you call a quandary

  3. Sorry, if I swear a vow, I’m going to keep it. I know virtually nothing about the American political system, so I really can’t comment on it, but if you swear a vow you should keep it. If you really don’t want a Republican to win you should do everything on your part to make sure a Democrat gets elected.

    • Ah, but the question was more complicated. In normal primaries, in Virginia but not elsewhere, any registered voter can vote for any party. You go into a booth, choose your candidate and leave. They wanted folks to swear an oath — which I thought was immoral AND illegal. That they couldn’t actually demand I do so.

      As it turns out, if they’d held a normal primary, I would have been right. But they changed the format and so it was not an open primary. I understand people did have to vow.

      I don’t do these things lightly. But the GOP is denying voting rights willy-nilly

  4. Not a Republican but you go and vote at their primaries. This is the question I would ask myself: What if that person ends up winning the whole damn thing? I would hate myself. No they won’t win by only one vote, but I couldn’t take the chance. Going to read your decision now.

    • It’s a strange system here. Real primaries are open, they’re held on a Tues in normal polling stations. They called this one a “firehouse primary” so they could make up rules. Barbara Comstock did win and I fear she will win in November.

      That’s when I have to work hard!

  5. You are far too moral. To even ask such questions when referring to politics is a moot point. As soon as the game of politics becomes more about honesty than about doing whatever it takes to get into office, and then to stay in office, only then should you worry about whether your vote should really count. Yes, it counts. Your strategy is a great one- it’s playing the game as all of the politicians do. That’s why they all hire strategists. Play on with no guilt!

    • I don’t know that I’m too moral! It just seemed wrong to me — but so did them making folks swear an oath. Normally I’m not big on lying but is a lie to a liar/scoundrel/somebody who is destroying MY country?

  6. Moe

    Left hand in your pocket with fingers crossed. Just do it. It’s there to keep you out and don’t let them do that.

    • I didn’t go — I wrote about it this morning. It turns out that it was billed as a “firehouse primary” which is more like a straw poll. But I would have had a hard time lying — even with my fingers crossed. Which of course is how they win — they have fewer qualms about cheating!

  7. Pingback: Dilemma Resolved | FiftyFourandAHalf

  8. I don’t understand elections in the US, it is confusing enough here in Australia where voting is compulsory once you turn 18 (providing you register to vote). I hope it all works out for you in the end.

    • I didn’t know it was compulsory! I wish it was here. We might have a more representative government! Then again, the way our country is going, we might have a LESS representative government.

      • Even with it being compulsory, there are still many who don’t ever bother to register so they never vote and some are quite proud of it. The list of ‘parties’ we have to choose from come election time is quite an eye opener, and if people are unhappy with the two major parties the votes go all over the place and the governing party can then have a difficult time of getting anything passed. It always stresses me out.

  9. I think it’s idiotic to allow people who are non-party members to vote in party primaries. Where’s the logic in that?! I’ve never claimed a party and, therefore, have never been allowed to vote in a primary. That’s only fair!

    Of COURSE you should vote for the most heinous candidate on the ticket and then LIE about voting for them in the fall. My God! Why are you even asking?!

    I didn’t know you lived in Virginia. Interesting state, politically. I’ll say a novena for you.

    • Thanks for the novena, Mark! As I’ve said to the last two folks who commented, I’m just about to start writing what conclusion I came to …

      • Please let me know if the novena had any effect. (Or is it affect? I’m never sure.) You’ll feel the power of the novena within you. You might mistake it for gas or indigestion.

        • The novena absolutely impacted my life. A good Effect. Especially these days when nobody knows what a novena is (as a lapsed Catholic I am among those in the know!)

  10. They make you vow to vote down the line… that seems unethical, to be honest. I say that a vow like that can’t be binding, I’d vote in the primary to toss the worst of the crazies so that the lesser evil might come in. That vow, I think, isn’t legally, morally or ethically enforceable, and thus you shouldn’t be bound by it. But like, wow. I have never heard of this type of thing before, and I can see the dilemna.

  11. Paul

    Lots of good ideas in your comment section Elyse. I agree with most. Unfortunately often I do what you decided to do: when I don’t like any of the candidates, I won’t vote – on any level. I know that is wrong and anti-democratic, and we have to support democracy even when there are no choice we agree with. My solution to this is to force the deciding bodies to add a check box to each ballot that allows an abstention. In business, if a board of directors vote, abstentions are counted in that the winner has to get a majority of ALL votes, so it is possible to have a vote with no winner if enough abstain. In that case the question (or candidates) have to be re-evaluated to get a question (candidate) that will produce a winner. It would force political parties to question the candidates they present until they can get someone that enough agree with to win. It would also encourage parties,etc to try and garner the abstention vote by changing poilices/candidates.

    As for the oath part, it isn’t ethical. As has been pointed out, the circumstances could easily change before the final vote and any unenforceable rule is unethical. The logic then is: as it was accepted in Nuremburg that obeying an illegal order is, in itself, illegal, so too obeying an unethical order/oath is also unethical. By that logic you should be free to vote as you please whenever any vote comes up because to do otherwise is to sabotage the free will so critical for free elections. In other words, oaths to vote a particular way are, in effect, forcing votes much like bribery or ballot stuffing or threats. As such the oath is unethical and anti-democratic..That allows you to vote for or pursue any personal course of action as you deem fit at the time of the vote witout any ethical dilemmas.

  12. I didn’t read the above comments so I don’t know if anyone pointed this out. You just told the world that you may be lying. :-) Seriously isn’t your vote private and I would think it’s illegal like you say to enforce that you support the same person in November which is six months away. I mean anything could happen the person could drop out, die or be in jail.

    • Actually, I decided against going. I can’t do it. I will simply have to work harder for my candidate in the fall!

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      • You could even work for your candidate now! I know campaigns are already out there and running. I’ve been working on two campaigns for the last several months, and campaigns are always thrilled to have volunteers.

        • Yes, I’ll be working for the Dem. I’m pretty compulsive about it, actually. I worked for months in 2012 partly to get this candidate out of the House of Delegates because I knew she would be the candidate for congress.

          I have a great time working on campaigns, actually. I usually wait until September though, unless there’s a primary. I do phone work and nobody wants to hear from me in April!

          • Wow, the campaigns I’ve been working on have been phonebanking for months. But we’re looking at competitive primaries, and we’re coming up on the state Democratic convention, so there’s a lot of ID’ing and wooing delegates.

            • Yes, I’ve done a lot of that but here the dem has been chosen and since I don’t do much except phone banking, I will wait!

              But I love doing it! And good for you starting so early! Good luck.

  13. Do what you feel is right but when you call someone a liar or not truthful – like the Republican party – remember, what you hate may become your own definition. Just sayin.

    • Thank you Mae. Your comment was right, and right on the spot. I’m not going. Even though I think that an illegitimate oath is despicable, I just can’t go there. Except in fantasy.

  14. Luanne

    I don’t speak in judgment of you or anybody else who wrote here, but as for myself I like to stick to my own old-fashioned moral code that operates on honor. If I take an oath willingly (key word), even if I think it’s dumb, I would try to honor it. Lots of dinosaur eggs laying around here. Rotting too.

    • I actually came down, after much soul searching to not going. I have stretched the truth now and then, but I’m really not a liar. I realized that I just couldn’t do it.

      • Luanne

        Yeah, I get that. I might feel different about it for myself if I actually did change my mind later, but going into it that way I wouldn’t be able to.

  15. Voting ain’t what it used to be and it isn’t what it should be, but the system you’ve described in VA sounds like an internet spoof. It just can’t be real. Can it?

    • It is real, sadly. But it is not an official primary as I just found out . It is a straw poll like thing where recommendations are made to the party. Hence I would have to sit around and show my face and raise my hand and swear.

      What a country …

  16. I say, F… the vow. It’s unenforceable as well as immoral. In Colorado, one can only vote in the primary in which one registered. I keep meaning to change my affiliation (independent) as I don’t get to vote in either one. Maybe I should register as a Republican so I can follow your strategy and vote for the craziest, hoping that it give the Democratic candidate a better chance. And also lull the reds into a false sense of security. Whatever it takes to corral them, I guess… But I don’t believe that I’m required to vote along party lines in the general election here. That’s just crazy!

    • It is crazy! And given our last GOP candidate in VA, crazy Ken Cuccinelli, who believes that contraception is immoral, I think I should vote in another candidate like him …. Oh, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Probably go and stand in the doorway until they throw me out!

  17. We can all agree the oath is stupid, wrong and a whole lot of other things mentioned above. The fact remains that an oath is an oath and why would you take an oath if you aren’t going to honour it?
    WWIM do? (What would Inigo Montoya do?)

  18. Twindaddy

    Hmmmm……this is a toughie…

  19. I’m from the UK so not directly involved, but wrong as it is, I struggle to find a politician anywhere I admire and look up to these days, so as long as I don’t end up with Mr Putin, and I agree voting helps prevent that happening, I find it hard to care, which I know is shameful

    • Strangely, I’m finding more to admire these days. I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Warren and hope she changes her mind about running for President. It really is the lower offices that you have to watch because the crazies get In there and gradually become entrenched.

      • I say this as a huge Elizabeth Warren fan–I worked on her campaign and even knitted Elizabeth Warren socks–but I don’t think she has the experience or connections yet for a successful presidential run. Right now, she’s doing the most good right where she is, IMO.

  20. I tend to be a straight arrow on these types of things, especially where words like oath are thrown around. I completely agree with you that it seems unethical and creepy to have to swear an oath to a particular candidate. What if this person does something abhorrent prior to the election? Are Republicans allowed to change their minds? Or is oath-breaking just an expected practice? Welcome to politics. In this case, I’d miss the primary. Crazy will out in the end.

  21. And how do they plan to implement and facilitate this? Write the oath and one accepts or declines? If you decline you can’t proceed, pass go? or Will there be an oath marshal swearing in lines of folks? The shortest distance between two points is a straight line…voter to voting booth, with a stop by the table where you show your voter registration…any more stops becomes a monopoly board game to me.

    • That is exactly what it sounds like! It is un enforceable, but they are counting on people being unwilling to swear an oath and lie. With good reason. I think it is stupid, probably illegal. Definitely immoral. Hence my dilemma! But now I can’t find where to go so it may all be moot!

  22. Ohhh, difficult decision to make.

    I can’t comprehend the ability to vote in the Primary! I’m a registered “Independent” voter in Maryland, and the only primary input I could have was for the school board — which I dutifully did for every primary while I lived there and my girls were in school.

    Now I’m living out of the country, and keeping up with that is beyond my current time constraints. But I do send in my absentee vote in the general elections!

    You’ll make the right decision for you!

    • Thanks, Cindi (spell check wanted to call you CONDI!),

      It is a weird system, that’s for sure! I recall how difficult it was trying to explain our system when we lived in Switzerland. We had to explain both why Monica Lewinsky was a big deal (porquoi?) as well as how my countrymen inflicted George W on the world. It wasn’t easy!

  23. You do know acting like the enemy is nothing more than ‘going undercover’. Perfectly acceptable during wartime.

    • Oh good. They so rarely recruit, fat, sick, out-of-shape people like me for this sort of work. Maybe they’ll give me a gun if I go “deep under cover”!

  24. Everything about your electoral system makes my Canadian brain hurt. It seems so convoluted. Mind you, our system can’t be much better if it resulted in our current Prime Minister.

  25. Vote and vote for the craziest Republican.

    • There is quite a selection of crazies running, actually. I was reading in the dailykos a few weeks ago about the craziest all the candidates. I’ve read about. Then I realized he was running in MY DISTRICT! Jeez!

      So I may take your advice — but polling stations are few and far between, so I’m not even sure I can find one! They are probably going with a secret handshake, too.

  26. I don’t think I have an answer for you, but no, I do not think it’s legal or ethical to ask for such a vow, either. In fact, maybe that in itself is the answer. In other words, vote the way that feels right to you at the given times.

    • Thanks, Carrie. I need to get in touch with my younger, less ethical self, I’m thinking. The VA primaries are open primaries, thus everybody can vote. If they wanted to make it only for the GOP, they should have done so. This is an arbitrary rule by the party not the state election board.

      I think I will vote– and for the bat-shit craziest of the lot!

  27. Ooh, that’s a tough one. For most of my adult voting life, I’ve been registered as unenrolled, but I’ve only ever voted in Democratic primaries. A few months ago I changed my party affiliation so I could run as a delegate to my state Democratic convention, and in Massachusetts primaries are only open for unenrolled voters.

    But when I lived in Alabama, as a blue voter in a very red state with open primaries, I had planned to sabotage-vote in the Republican primary. The only reason I didn’t was that I was in college and forgot to request an absentee ballot in time. I’m of the opinion that if the system’s broken, and the rule you’re breaking doesn’t hurt anyone, then what the hell. I’m not going to pull a Cliven Bundy and put women in front of federal agents with guns, but I’m of the opinion that breaking an oath/law like that doesn’t actually hurt anybody. In fact, my sense is that you would be doing it for what you consider to be the greater good (or lesser evil), even if it’s just one small vote.

    I don’t know if you know Dungeons & Dragons and its alignment system, but it’s the difference between being Lawful Good and Neutral Good. (You can look it up if you’re really bored or really nerdy.) Either way, it’s still good. I don’t think either choice would make you morally reprehensible.

    • Thanks — you made me laugh I am always hunting for ways to not be “morally reprehensible”. But seriously I find this demand of theirs reprehensible. But at the same time, I’ve never been a big believer in “the ends justify the means” either.

      We will see.

      • My personal feeling, for myself, is that broad statements like “the end does/doesn’t justify the means” are so broad that they’re almost meaningless. My guiding principle is, “Will this hurt someone?” In this case, I don’t think it would.

        If I’d voted in a GOP primary to try to make a more favorable situation for the Democratic candidate(s), no one but me would know. They wouldn’t be hurt by it.

        If, on the other hand, I’d falsely accused a Republican candidate of a crime to make a more favorable situation for the Democrats, that would be morally reprehensible because I would be knowingly and intentionally hurting the Republican candidate. And no matter how much of a right-wing nut job he was, it wouldn’t be okay to hurt him.

        But that’s my moral code. You’re under no obligation to agree with it. I mean, somebody who defines her moral code through D&D alignments probably isn’t in a position to be enforcing her moral code on anybody else, after all.

        • In screwy times, your philosophy is sound — wherever it comes from. I don’t do D&D, but I’m a big Harry Potter fan partly for its morality. So I’m going straight to hell anyway!

  28. Eva

    That is a fucked up system of voting! What the hell?
    ‘ JOIN US OR BE DESTROYED.’ Screw that oath. What they won’t know won’t hurt them… but we can hope for better.

    • Isn’t it? But it really bothers me. Precisely for the reason that they instituted it. Because we think we’re better than that. And we are. Shit.

      And my computer really did die. I’ll still figure out a way to look at your article. Oy.

  29. I thought you guys were the land of the free. Doesn’t that also include the freedom to change your mind? Swearing oaths seems so last millennium.

  30. What the hell kind of voting system is that????
    Personally, I would vote in the primary, then vote in the general or whoever I think is the best candidate, regardless of party, like I always do.

    That being said, I wouldn’t suggest you do something to damage your personal integrity, but I wouldn’t see breaking that pledge as a mark against you.
    Especially if the general is one republican and one democrat, and the democrat pulls a Todd Aken or something

  31. The Supreme Court is changing all the rules. And money is speech. Go ahead and vote in the primary and don’t worry about the oath.

  32. Well, of course you know that the GOP are doing the same thing to you during the Democrat Primaries, so the only real question you should ask is: can I live with myself if I do exactly the same sort of slimey, rotten, soulless thing the Republicans do?

    Once you have that answer, the rest is easy…

Play nice, please.

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