Voting in Good Conscience Difficult with No Real Agenda


By Angela Millan Epstein
Opinion Columnist
As I was voting in this presidential election many things were going through my mind, and casting a ballot was difficult because at stake there were serious issues: my children and their future, my rights as a woman, my country’s security and the stability of our economy, as well as the fate of millions of undocumented immigrants.
But there was no agenda to vote for and I did not vote with much enthusiasm. I felt that I could not, in good conscience, vote for either presidential candidate, and for a moment I even considered not voting at all.
Both candidates have been very disappointing, and throughout this campaign I could not avoid feeling but cheated, disrespected and put down by both parties. It seems to me as if the candidates decided we are just puppets, with no degree of intelligence, knowledge or judgment. There was no agenda, and the flat lies, the quasi lies, and the misrepresentation of important issues were the state of the campaign.
After more than two billion dollars and a monumental effort, we did not get real answers to real issues. Instead, we got targeted versions of the answers, per demographic, per color, per gender, per district.
On the one hand, GOP candidate Mitt Romney and his poor choice for vice president scared the hell out of me, as did those who supported them with their inflammatory rhetoric, callous name-calling, and abusive treatment of women. It was impossible to forget Indiana’s Republican’s Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, not only say that pregnancy in rape women was intended by God, but stand by it. Equally impossible was to forget Todd Akin’s disturbing explanation to his no-exceptions policy on abortions: “legitimate rape rarely causes pregnancy.”
These repulsive speeches prevented me from recalling that President Obama opposed last year the Plan B “morning after” decision to block over-the-counter birth control to girls under 17 years of age, or from paying attention to the few interesting things the Republicans had to say. They also made it impossible for many to ask us about the failures of the current administration, something the GOP could have played well.
On the other hand, the incumbent, President Obama, sounded populist in many instances, and patronizing in another. This was concerning for the fiscal and other issues were not really addressed, as they were not properly addressed during his term, judging by the state of the economy, the security fiasco in Libya, or his poor choice of words when calling for Israel’s return to pre-1967 borders.
On the local front in Connecticut, voting was relatively easy, and my mind was made up for a few weeks before the election. While I liked the fact that a woman was running for the U.S. Senate in my home state, and I was positively surprised about Linda McMahon’s position on women’s reproductive issues, I also disliked so much her cutthroat attitude, and her lavish spending on her campaign. She was determined to win at any cost, including principles and decency.
After two Senatorial campaigns and spending almost one hundred million of her own dollars, McMahon could not discuss basic issues when asked questions. This time, her tactics were no different from the last election when she ran against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and aimed at destroying his reputation regardless of his solid record of service. The tactic failed, and she lost. After attending a few meetings where she addressed Latinas, and listening to the debates, I was left with the feeling that she was simply buying votes, and running for Senate for the sake of it, not for the sake of the State.
So, at the end my choice was President Obama and the Democrat ballot. Ultimately I voted for my rights as a woman.
Angela Millan Epstein writes for publications in the Americas and is a former Univision Reporter, ESPN and NBC’s Canal de Noticias News Anchor. She worked in IT for IBM and ScreamingMedia, and consults for the communications, media and telecom industries.