Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"You should vote for this candidate."

So Obama won.

Not because of Palin's extraordinary interviews with various reporters, I really wasn't sure which candidate was better. I guess a fair thing to say is that the McCain/Palin combination can turn out to be pretty bad if McCain has any health problem. For the Obama/Biden combination, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. I'd just say that, probabilistically, Obama has a smaller chance of screwing up. Now that they won, I certainly hope that they'll do a good job in the coming four years.

There's another thing I want to talk about in this post though: some churches told their members to vote for one particular candidate. And, if I'm not mistaken, some member actually wanted to vote for the other one but gave up because s/he wanted to conform to what "the church says".

I know one major reason the churches told their members to vote for a specific candidate is that they oppose homosexual marriage. I did no due diligence on this issue so I'm in no position to decide whether it'll be good or bad to society (Although I doubt whether it really is bad to the kids if the schools teach them about same-sex marriage. Even assumimg homosexual orientation is a bad thing, which I hold a neutral stand, not teaching it is like not letting the kids know that there're violent crimes and murdering in this world).

The thing that makes me feel really uneasy is that they told their members whom to vote for. Well, they might not explicitly tell them whom to vote for, but the implicit pressure from the pastors and other members was enough to deter them from voting otherwise.

I think that's not right.

We're not only talking about churches. Any organization, group, professional soceity can have a stand on which candidate to support. However, it should not tell or imply to the members that if they vote differently, they're betraying the organization and/or other members. While we have laws that prohibit people from bribing voters to vote in favor of a certain party, I don't see punishing a person for voting a specific candidate is anything better.

After all, what's mean by democracy? If people in some groups cannot vote for a candidate according to their free will, that's not democracy; it's just a democratic society with many little monarchies.

I know my church friends will probably feel unhappy with this post. Really, I don't want to trigger any flamewar. I merely want to bring out the following message:

No matter how strongly/religiously you believe that a candidate should win/lose, do respect your members' choices and encourage them to make their own decisions.

Respect the spirit of democracy :)