Political Litmus Test
Ah, the oft-maligned litmus test. How many presidents and presidential candidates are mocked for having a litmus test to determine whom they will appoint to various positions - usually to the Supreme Court?
Reminder - A litmus test, as it relates to politics, is "A test that uses a single indicator to prompt a decision"
Maybe allowing one issue to hold sway over others isn't the best idea. It's the sum of a person that makes him or her qualified - or not. But, is it possible that a position held on one issue actually tells more about a person than the sum of all positions?
Swayed by a Single Opinion
When I listen to candidates speak, and when I see nominees for judicial seats, one specific question comes to my mind. It is the answer to that question which will determine my opinion of that candidate.
Face it, a candidate's position on abortion sways voters. It's a fact. Just as a candidate's position on same-sex marriage, immigration or taxes will add or detract from their electability, depending on your point of view.
In Whole or Part
We're supposed to look at the whole, but how many of us do?
Take the current presidential campaign. I crossed off one candidate after another once their 'choice' positions were clear. After that, nothing mattered to me. In my opinion, a person's opinion on abortion tells me more about that person - and how large that person truly feels the government should or shouldn't be - than the sum of all his or her other opinions. It tells me what type of judge they will appoint to the Supreme Court - which tells me how that court will rule in the coming decades. It gives me a clearer idea what their view will be on same-sex unions, on foreign policy. Truly. If a candidate's desire is to restrict a woman's access to personal and private health care, then his or her desire to restrict other rights - in the US and around the world - cannot be far behind.
Take George W. Bush's anti-choice stance vs. President Obama's pro-choice stance, for example. One upheld the global gag rule, which restricted birth control and abortion advice to women around the world. The other lifted the gag rule so women had full access to that information and care. One insisted on small government yet used government to invade women's bodies worldwide. The other believes government is for the people and the people should benefit, yet reigned in government's role in determining a woman's bodily functions.
I don't know about you, but only one of those positions is attractive to me.