The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Single Issue Voting and Killing Poor Coloured People


The New Zealand general election is almost upon us! Rather than talk about which parties I like and which I don’t, I want us all to imagine a parallel world in which we find New New Zealand heading into an election.  Here’s what’s on offer in New New Zealand:

Starting at the far-flung left of the political spectrum there’s the Splinternet-Money Party, waving their red, white and black banners. They’re an interesting bunch with catastrophic PR. Funded by a German businessman named Slim Hot Con and populated by former communist party supporters, their publicity consists of unleashing profanity at the media and at each other over spats over pot legalisation. They portray themselves as the party of the disenfranchised, and they affirm the right of all of us to kill poor people of colour. A real all-for-one and one-for-all party of the people! And killing poor people of colour. And if you don’t support that right, you must be a male, hetero, right-wing, rich, privileged bigot who wants to control other people.

Moving away from the fringe but still decidedly on the left, we reach the Spleen Party, suited up in green. The Spleens are all about protecting the natural environment. Our pristine environment (what’s left of it) needs to be conserved, and the truth is that left to itself, corporate greed is more concerned about profit than the damage done by big business. The spleens have released their policy on killing poor people of colour, and it’s expansive. We need to have wide-open access to the facilities to kill poor people of colour, and especially the disabled ones. They are a huge burden to those of us who would have to provide for them, either directly or via public health services. The Spleens have a lot to say about social inequality, casting themselves as a party that really wants to give a hand-up to the disadvantaged. Equality really matters to them. And the right to kill disabled poor people of colour. True, the numbers of poor people of colour is pretty high, but ultimately it’s a matter of people doing what they have a right to do. Human rights matter.

As we travel further towards the right, we reach the heavily populated centre zone. Before reaching the middle, we encounter the Naybour Party, arrayed in red. The Naybours’ focus on good old-fashioned social democratic values: Good social services and strong welfare, giving everybody a fair go no matter where you come from. Social engineering (i.e. progress) towards the Naybours’ vision of utopia is what this party is about. Of course, part of that package means protecting our right to kill poor people of colour. It’s not ideal, you must understand, and really we’d rather not do it (nasty, messy business) – they understand that – but where there’s a need to kill poor people of colour, the Naybours will be fighting for all of us in meeting that need. This is the party of the ordinary New Zealander.

As we reach the centre we meet the Fashional Party, adorned in fashionable blue. They’re also the party of ordinary New Zealanders, apparently. The Faybours and Fashional have come to occupy pretty much the same political space, which makes them mortal enemies. Portraying itself as the party that taxes and spends less and engages in less social tinkering, the Fashional Party engages in pretty much the same level of taxing and arguably more spending than the Naybours and supports pretty much all the same social policies. But the Naybours are introducing a new tax on capital gains, which makes them completely different in every way, we’re told. We tend not to hear about it much, but the Fashionals don’t rock the boat of being able to kill poor people of colour. According to their leader, “Look, at the end of the day New Zealanders don’t really care about killing poor people of colour. Maybe it happens too much, maybe it happens not enough, I don’t know. I’ve got a job to do.”

Buzzing around the centre like a fly waiting for the election to deliver a big stinker for it to land on, the Excited Future Party will sleep with whoever is in power. According to their leader: “It’s just common sense. And if there’s any killing of poor people of colour involved, or if there’s not, or if I have to do something I’d sooner forget in the morning, well that’s the sort of thing you put up with in politics.”

As we get into the territory right of centre, we are greeted by the FACT Party in their bright yellow jackets. The FACTists are people of principle, dismissing the major parties as evil twins of big government. FACT says that we need to cut the fat out of government, lower taxes, forget minimum wages, deregulate the market and watch as the economy roars into life as a result. “We’re a party of principle,” they tell us, “and maybe we’ll even be in Parliament after the election, so that whoever’s in government can listen to and then ignore those principles.” “Also, kill as many poor people of colour as you like,” says party leader. “Who are we to tell you what you can and can’t do?”

Sally is a New Zealander. As the election approaches, she would like to vote, but she’s appalled by the options. “Killing poor people of colour? What is WRONG with these people? That’s horrific!” Sally’s friends think she’s a looney. Sure, they don’t really like the fact that these parties support killing poor people of colour, but that’s just one issue. What about the economy? Taxes? Interest rates? Water quality? All of these issues have to be weighed as well, so if the party that gets these things right thinks is OK to kill poor people of colour, focus on the positives! Sally can’t do it. This isn’t something like the price of bread or the conditions under which foreign investors can own land in our country. This is about killing poor people of colour! Why aren’t people in an uproar about this?

Karen takes Sally aside after yet another awkward moment at a party. The conversation went south when politics came up, and Sally made a scene. “Listen Sally,” Karen says, “leave it alone. We know where you stand, and you’ve just got to get over it and respect other people’s views…

Stop being such a single issue voter!

If you would tell Sally to stop being a single issue voter, then there’s something wrong with you. If you think that people obviously should not be single issue voters when it comes to abortion, then you probably don’t understand why people oppose abortion in the first place.

Glenn Peoples

PS: For those outside of New Zealand wondering where these party names came from, I parodied the names of New Zealand political parties who stand a chance of being in Parliament after the general election AND who have leaders or policies that overtly approve of the right to abortion as a rule.

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  1. Frank

    Love it.

    And curiously, if the poor people of colour were even allowed to vote they would be one-issue voters. Go figure.

  2. Vince

    I am a Christian, and believe that abortion as a method of birth control is morally wrong, and did even as an atheist. I can’t speak to New Zealand politics, as I am an American, but in America, there are only two parties that count, and with rare exceptions, only one party wishes to ban abortions. While some states here have made it harder for women to have easy access to abortions, it has only moved where the abortions occur – it hasn’t stopped them. Only an amendment to our national Constitution would effectively ban abortions, something that is not impossible, but is difficult and time consuming (it requires a 2/3 majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or a constitutional convention called for by 2/3 of the State legislatures, then must be ratified by 38 of 50 states).

    I have not voted for that party for years, and will not again in our national election coming up in November. I will not do so, because the same party refuses to support options that have been demonstrated again and again to reduce the number of abortions. Additionally, they support policies that make access to health care, affordable housing, and decent food extremely difficult for the poor. I have a friend who was found dead in her apartment, having died from cancer, because she couldn’t afford health care and hadn’t been able to see a doctor for many years. I almost died from heart disease because I didn’t make enough money to afford to go to a doctor or hospital unless it was an emergency. Then it took me years to pay for my hospitalization.

    I see members of this party talk about abortions in order to get elected, then do nothing practical that would actually reduce the number of abortions. They have reason after reason they can’t support easy and affordable access to sex education and contraception. Poor people are poor because they choose to be, the rich pay too many taxes, blah blah, blah. Those unborn lives may be important, but not important enough to override other considerations. Instead, these people talk about how evil abortion is, then propose laws that they KNOW either will not get passed or will almost surely be struck down by the courts. If you believe that saving lives is the most important thing you can do, your refusal to do anything that would save even one life because of political or religious beliefs about poverty or sex or contraception make you not only a hypocrite, but complicit in the deaths of those lives that could have been saved but weren’t.

    Again, I can’t speak to New Zealand politics, but in America, single position voting does not, and will not, save lives. I cannot afford to waste my vote on those who reject abortion but also reject any action that could prevent even one abortion, or save one life. I may not be able to stop all contraceptive abortions, but I will do whatever I can to bring about actions that will actually reduce them.

  3. Vince, suppose a party said: “We declare that killing poor people of colour is your right and we will secure that right with all our might. We would never want to punish you by having unwanted poor people of colour around. However, we also want to make it less necessary to kill poor people of colour, so we will have policies that reduce that need.”

    What would you think of that party? Could you vote for them?

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