Here are some life issues that are important to me:
1) Abortion. It's an issue in Michigan, the US, and globally. We are slaughtering our children, largely because someone told us it was okay to do so, and our plans are inconvenienced by a baby now. Cold.
2) Death Penalty. A US issue, primarily, although the occasional Michigan politician comes forward to try to reinstate it. The death penalty does not protect us any longer, any better than a life sentence. I am amazed to hear death penalty advocates introduce "cost of care" as an issue. Also cold.
3) Hunger. An issue everywhere, but as a "life" issue, it's really only global. Few starve to death in the US. "Inasmuch as you have done this to the least of my brethren, so have you done it to me."
4) Access to Medical Services. Also an issue everywhere but with more "life" impact in the US. Should long life be the sole purview of the wealthy and well-insured? It's an absolute scandal that we can't (or choose not to) find a way to insure every American.
5) Euthanasia. Potential issue everywhere, though the Michigan people have spoken loudly, and it's unlikely we'll see this issue again soon. GBest quote from the campaign, raised by a disabled opponent of euthanasia - "When does the right to die become the obligation to die?"
6) War. US and global issue. There is such a thing as a "just war" - Desert Storm and Afghanistan may have been good examples. But the upcoming Iraq thing looks likea pre-emptive strike over here - and like bullying to a lot of our allies and enemies. Common wisdom on Desert Storm was that Bush the Elder ended it too fast, and we the electorate moved on to other issues, hence costing him the election. Bush the Younger seems determined to avoid that mistake by keeping the war alive. Howe many lives will his quest for reelection cost?
7) Gun Control. An issue in Michigan and the US. Sorry, NRA. You are the death people. People are dying every day because of your lobby. Find a less dangerous hobby. Speaking of cold.
8) Economics (also see Hunger and Medical Access above). Everywhere, but as a "life" issue, primarily global. Tough call, too, vis-a-vis jobs in other countries - we don't want to support slavery, sweat shops, or economic abuse, but where's the line? Insisting that foreign workers get paid near-US wages will just prevent the work from going there - which is the true goal of a lot of economic-justice-talk from Labor Dems. There's a balance to be struck - where is it?
9) Social and Political Justice. A really broad issue globally - lots of countries with death squads, police who make people disappear, etc. How do we choose our allies. How hard do we work to oppose the practuices among our allies? Among our enemies? Another murky issue.
10) Reproductive Rights (but, of course, see Abortion above). Countries (like China) with legalized abortion AND family size limits are sending millions of babies to their deaths every year. I haven't seen numbers, but am guessing (reasonably, I think) that (a) the number of deaths far outweigh the 1.2 million in the US, and (b) the number of deaths even outweigh the estimated 6 million who starve to death worldwide.
What does this mean with regard to my voting?
1) Abortion. Clear Advantage Republicans (because Bonior's out of it). Major issue.
2) Death Penalty. Nonissue.
3) Hunger. Advantage Dems. Minor issue.
4) Access to Medical Services. Advantage Dems. Issue.
5) Euthanasia. Nonissue.
6) War. Nonissue.
7) Gun Control. Clear Advantage Dems. Issue.
8) Economics. Nonissue.
9) Social and Political Justice. Nonissue.
10) Reproductive Rights. Nonissue.
1) Abortion. Clear Advantage Republicans. Major issue.
2) Death Penalty. Clear Advantage Dems. Issue.
3) Hunger. Clear Advantage Dems. Issue.
4) Access to Medical Services. Clear Advantage Dems. Issue.
5) Euthanasia. Advantage Republicans. Minor issue.
6) War. Advantage Dems. Major issue.
7) Gun Control. Clear Advantage Dems. Issue.
8) Economics. Tossup... slight advantage Republicans. Issue.
9) Social and Political Justice. Advantage Dems. Issue.
10) Reproductive Rights. Clear Advantage Republicans. Issue.
Barring individual deviations from the party line (like Bonior - sniff...), it means I'll be voting for Republican candidates for state office, and Democratic candidates for US office. I AM leaning toward Dem Butch Hollowell for Michigan Secretary of State, however, given the woefully partisan behavior of Florida's Republican election officials in 2000.