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Consider party platforms when voting Print
Guest column
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
Jeff Davis and Greg Wagner

As Catholic voters, what are we to do when neither presidential candidate seems to share our beliefs and values? Some may opt to sit out this election and not vote, others may vote for a third party candidate, and others may write in a candidate.

We feel there is a better option, and that is to look at the party platforms. The party platforms between the Republicans and the Democrats represent two diametrically opposed world views.

Before sharing the marked differences in the platforms, we would like to make two points.

An analogy

First an analogy: When choosing a college or trade school, does one choose based on who the president is of the school, or does one choose based on the curriculum, vision, and merits of the school?

Likewise, when choosing where to live, does one choose on who the mayor is or rather on what the city offers concerning its quality of life?

Leaders are definitely important, but they are transient. Institutions, like party platforms, are much more permanent and reliable than the person in charge or a political candidate.

Prioritizing issues

Second: Every day we prioritize our time, our money, and our energy. Yet when it comes to elections, we can easily justify our pattern of voting by saying that ALL issues are of the same importance and prioritizing is not important. Example: Abortion is of the same moral equivalence as renewable energy.

Comparing platforms

In looking more closely at the two platforms, here are some examples showing the marked differences between the two platforms on the most important value issues that should cause all of us grave concern:

Redefining marriage: Democrats support the Supreme Court's ruling redefining marriage. Republicans condemn the Supreme Court's ruling and urge its reversal.

Pro-life laws: Democrats are opposed to any laws and policies that place any restrictions on abortion. Republicans are presenting the most pro-life platform in the history of the party.

Selling baby body parts: Democrats support taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Republicans have denounced Planned Parenthood for committing abortions, selling baby parts, and deceiving women with faulty fetal harvesting consent forms.

Judicial appointments: Democrats promise judges who uphold abortion and see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress. Republicans support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values, the sanctity of innocent human life, and religious freedom.

Religious freedom: Democrats would undermine religious freedom, supporting a progressive vision of religious freedom. Recently leaked emails show great disdain for Catholics who truly embrace their faith. Republicans want to bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Transgender bathrooms: Democrats advance the gay and transgender agenda. Republicans call out the Obama administration's transgender bathroom edict and denounce the liberal social agenda determined to reshape our schools and our entire society to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America's history and traditions.

On issue after issue, the two parties' platforms are very distinct. Yes, platforms do matter, especially since we have two very flawed individuals running as candidates on both the Democratic and Republican tickets.

In conclusion, since the party platform should matter more than specific candidates, then we Catholics are called to vote as Catholics who believe in our Church's teachings that are beautifully written in our Catholic Catechism.

Jeff Davis is from Bloomington, Wis., and Greg Wagner is from Middleton, Wis.