With Election Day coming up Tuesday, I’ve been looking up candidates that will show up on my ballot. I found a very helpful website that tells you what will be on your ballot down to the local stuff, and so I’ve been researching.

My county’s U.S. Representative is up for re-election. His name is Tom Graves. He’s a Republican.

His website discusses a 5 Way Conservative Test that presumably Graves uses to determine which bills he approves. One of the five ways reads:

Does the proposal increase personal freedoms? Does it impede on the freedoms of others? Does it limit others personal rights or property rights? Does it interfere with justice? Does it allow individuals to decide how to make personal choices for themselves and their lives without harming others? Does government coerce their choices with this bill?

This sounds wonderful. Perfect. I could not have said it better myself.

But Graves is a Republican, and because of that, I know that he applies those questions differently than I do.

For some reason, the right to make personal choices only extends to people who make the same choices as Tom Graves.

It doesn’t extend to homosexual or bisexual people who want to be in a committed relationship with someone of the same sex. Even though that’s a personal choice and affects only the couple.

It doesn’t extend to nonmonogamous people who only want options instead of a paradigm that doesn’t work for them. Even though that’s a personal choice and affects only the people who want to be in that type of relationship.

It doesn’t extend to women who want to be in charge of their own uteruses, their own futures, and their own children. Even though that’s a very personal and complicated choice that must take into account the present and the future of the child and the woman.

It doesn’t extend to the scientists fighting on the side of our planet who warn us about climate change, overpopulation and pollution. Even though their studies show us the harm that could come to all inhabitants of Earth, including humans.

It doesn’t extend to people who have a different faith or no faith and just want to be respected and treated as equals. Even though that’s a personal choice and is an injustice to them.
It doesn’t extend to people in poverty who need more help than some. Even though ignoring their status is an injustice.

These are the reasons that I’ll be voting for Obama, someone who truly believes in personal freedom.