Dharini Dasi, ACBSP:
When the government had become corrupt five thousand years ago, Krsna instructed Arjuna to get rid of the government for the welfare of the citizens. Although none of the current US candidates are Yadu-like or Krsna-conscious, an argument could be made that devotees who live and work outside temples have good reasons to vote. Government policies affect ISKCON and the lives of devotees in many ways. Philosophy is meant for its application, and voting can be a way to express principles we believe in.
The republicans’ pro-life position stands in clear contradiction to their promotion of violence through their pro-gun stance since the guns are used to kill animals; through their promotion of torture of political prisoners; and through an unprecedented pre-emptive war. The Bush administration blatantly lied to the world regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which resulted in the many thousands of deaths and injuries of US, Iraqi and Afghan individuals. McCain supports this senseless war, and some ISKCON devotees, including one here in Portland, Oregon, have been drawn into the war. A whole generation of Moslems is growing up to despise westerners, thus reducing the opportunity to preach Krsna consciousness in several countries. The Iraq war is a major moral issue, and as a devotee, I want to voice my disapproval.
There is no question that ISKCON temples are affected by economic policies favoring corporate control and the shrinking of the middle class, as householders struggle to support their families and temple donations dwindle. The absence of a national health care results in a crisis for American devotees getting older. In addition to electing representatives, voters have a voice in many local issues, some of which may be important to devotees, like protecting mother Earth and reduce the suffering of animals.
Madhavananda prabhu’s points are well taken. Here is a good compromise: I would suggest that devotees who are thinking about voting Republican not get involved in mundane matters. All others, please follow Akruranatha prabhu’s lead and vote with your conscience… and for Obama. ;-)
Dharini Dasi, ACBSP Portland, Oregon, USA