Next week I will be casting my vote for the city council of Groningen. I have yet to decide which party will be getting my red-pencilled ballot paper, so some research into the various parties is in order. The question I am trying to answer is: what party best represents my own views as a Catholic, and which party has the best chance – via strategic coalitions, for example – to turn those ideas into policy?
I have a choice between eleven parties, or twelve if I count the option to cast a blank vote. But I’ll only do that if I draw the conclusion that I have no confidence in any party (or if I really don’t care, but that’s unlikely). Some parties are not really options for me, of course: some of the local or one-issue parties don’t speak for me, for example. Neither do the liberal parties VVD and D66. My choice is between the left and the conservative, to simplistically delineate them. PvdA (social-democrats), SP (socialists), GreenLeft, CDA (Christian democrats) and ChristianUnion (social Christian democrats). The first three and the last two have connected lists, which means they’ll form and speak as a block in the council together. All have extensive social programs, with the left focussing on the individual and the conservatives on society as a whole.
The Christian point of view is an important one for me, and I think it should be heard in politics. Of the five parties above, only the ChristianUnion is outspokenly Christian. The CDA is as well in name, but reading through their program their Christianity is far less clear. I also don’t really like their overly blunt approach towards beggars and addicts in the city. But they are a major and thus influential party, having had many seats in the past and they’ll probably continue to have a significant number after the elections as well.
The downside of the ChristianUnion is that they are very much Protestant, which leads to a limited approach and relation to the faith. Their founding documents which consider the Catholic faith idolatry is also an obstacle. Their advantage is stability. The ChristianUnion does not water down its beliefs, but is also not limited by them, and I think that such clarity can do much good.
There are no clear Catholic choices in these elections. Is the ‘least bad’ option good enough? Voting is always better than not voting. And perhaps a vote for any Christian party will open the door for more openly Catholic politicians in the future… I am still undecided. Online election guides keep directing me to the CDA or the SP, so until 3 March I’ll probably keep weighing the options.
2 thoughts on “Elections: weighing the options”
I’m between a rock and a hard place too. I probably end up voting the Christian Democrats again, as I usually do, simple because of the lack of other options.
I’m happy professor Dölle in his lecture last night clarified the difference in reformed politics (Dutch: staatkunde) and general christian politics. The way the ChristianUnion is founded and the way that is implemented makes me feel uncomfortable as a Catholic. I don’t want to prescribe others what to do, especially not when they don’t share my values. I don’t want to coerce.
Agreed, CDA’s principles are more general (and maybe more vague), but that way you can do politics better in my opinion. I want my party to act in the best interest of people, based on Christian values rather than coerce people to do or don’t do things because I feel ‘God wants us to’, especially not when those other people don’t believe in a god at all.
I don’t want to prescribe others what to do, especially not when they don’t share my values. I don’t want to coerce.
That’s a concern, sure. I want to try and find a balance between a party that acts in the best interest of everyone and a party that best represents me. CU does specifically note in their program that they are not a party for Christians only, but for everyone.