Bishop Thomas John Paprocki in the Catholic Times:
“Both candidates for president are seen as having such serious flaws as to lead some people to wonder if they can vote for either candidate of the two major parties or if they should skip voting in this year’s election.”
“Voters may also legitimately conclude in conscience that they cannot vote for either candidate of the two major political parties. In such cases, voters in most jurisdictions can write in the name of a candidate of their choosing. In all cases, voters can skip voting for a particular office, but still vote for other offices on the ballot.”
The Bishop is right! Except that he seems unaware that there are four presidential candidates on the ballot in Illinois.
More importantly, though, Bishop Paprocki then quotes from Alasdair MacIntyre on the parallels between our time and the decline of the Roman Empire:
“crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead often not recognizing fully what they were doing — was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another — doubtless very different — St Benedict.”
MacIntyre wrote the above in 1981. Here is what he had to say about the election of 2004:
“When offered a choice between two politically intolerable alternatives, it is important to choose neither”
“In this situation a vote cast is not only a vote for a particular candidate, it is also a vote cast for a system that presents us only with unacceptable alternatives. The way to vote against the system is not to vote.”
This latter statement is incorrect. Some 40% of the electorate sits out every election. This lack of action is not a vote against the system, it is passive acceptance.
According to Bishop Paprocki, The Bishops of the United States have said that “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation”
The obvious way to meet this moral obligation under the present circumstances is to cast a Blank Ballot, a real vote for None of the Above.