By Mel Harkrader Pine
The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself. — Daniel Patrick Moynihan
I’m not an issues voter in presidential elections. I vote for character.
That’s because I’ve noticed, in the dozen elections I’ve voted in, that platforms have little to do with what a president does in office. They’re written for their voter appeal, but a perhaps greater reason why they’re close to meaningless is that nothing can prepare presidents for what they’ll face once they take office.
Take George W. Bush as an example. His July 31, 2000, party platform spoke of peace and prosperity, But his character mattered much more over the next eight years. He will be defined in history by how he reacted to the shock he and the rest of us felt on September 11, 2001, less than nine months after his inauguration.
A vivid example among Democrats was Lyndon B. Johnson and Vietnam. LBJ’s 1964 platform even included this noble-sounding line: “Peace should be the first concern of all governments as it is the prayer of all men.” We know how that worked out.
Because I’m a religious liberal, my circle of friends is largely politically liberal and progressive. They just doesn’t get my disdain for political parties and my preference for voting based on character. I didn’t fully understand why until I read Bret Stephens’ op-ed article below, which includes the quote from Moynihan above.
I believe that change comes from the governed, not those who govern. And I vote for those who by their character seem to best understand that.
Copyright 2017 © Mel Harkrader Pine