Why I am Voting Republican this Year – Part II
(And I am still holding my nose)
Christopher A. Ferrara
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, New Jersey|
Since there are a few critics of the piece who seem unwilling or unable carefully to consider an argument from beginning to end, but rather have clicked the “Send” button as soon as they experienced an adverse emotional reaction, I have decided to write a brief Part II in which I will “front-load” the patent facts, available to anyone who follows current events, which led me to conclude that Catholics have no moral choice but to vote Republican in November. Here they are:
First, the Republican Party Platform for 2008 does not condone abortion in any case, not even in cases of rape, incest or “life of the mother,” but declares that “we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.”
Second, candidate McCain, clearly in response to pressure from the pro-life constituency, has abandoned any attempt to insert “exceptions” into the Republican plank on abortion.
Third, under pressure from the pro-life constituency, McCain selected as his running mate an unreservedly pro-life mother of five who just gave birth to a fifth child with Down syndrome, rejecting the option of abortion.
Fourth, under pressure from the pro-life constituency, McCain has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices like Alito and Roberts, who at least can be expected to provide votes for the overruling of Roe v. Wade on the ground that the issue of abortion is for the states to decide.
Fifth, the Democratic Party platform declares precisely the opposite of the Republican Platform: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”
Sixth, Barack Obama not only supports unrestricted abortion on demand, including “partial birth” abortions, but has even opposed efforts in the State of Illinois to prohibit the passive euthanasia of babies who survive botched abortions.
Seventh, Obama has promised an aggressive federal campaign to promote “abortion rights,” including Supreme Court appointments.
In case some critics still don’t see the big picture, let me connect all the dots: Thanks to sustained pressure from the pro-life movement, including threats to boycott this election, the Republican Party has adopted an official position that is pro-life without exceptions, whereas the official position of the Democratic Party is pro-abortion without exceptions. And it does not matter that McCain might personally be soft on abortion. He now understands quite well that he cannot afford politically to buck the 2008 Platform, and that a “pro-choice” Republican Party will fail at the polls.
Because of these recent developments it is really not even accurate to speak of “the lesser of two evils” in voting Republican this presidential election—indeed, I retract my own unfortunate use of that phrase in Part I—since there is now a manifest fundamental opposition in principle between the two parties regarding abortion. We are no longer dealing with the scenario that obtained with Bush versus Kerry: some abortions as opposed to many abortions. Things have changed, and one would have to deny reality in order to maintain that in this election there is “no difference” between the Republicans and the Democrats on this question. And that is why I say we have a moral duty to vote Republican in November.
At the risk of being tedious, let me restate the argument this way: Obama is a pro-abortion fanatic, and his party’s platform is fanatically pro-abortion. His election would be a grave evil we have it in our power to prevent by voting against him. Since we would not in any respect be endorsing abortion by voting Republican, given the Party’s platform, there is no rational basis for the claim that voting for McCain-Palin would constitute even material, much less direct, cooperation in abortion. Ergo, our vote for the Republican Party in this particular election would appear to be morally imperative, in view of the alternative of Obama-Biden.
What has developed, it seems to me, is that the Republicans, in a fight for their very survival as a party, have been forced to constitute themselves a stop-gap sufficient to prevent—at least for the moment—a moral apocalypse we should all be praying to avoid. And this is true even though most members of the Republican apparatus, including McCain himself, are treacherous politicians. It appears that these same treacherous politicians, unlike their counterparts in the Democratic Party, have recognized that they will be out of power and out of jobs unless they start taking the pro-life constituency seriously. Isn’t that what we demanded they do? And isn’t that why a morally relevant choice suddenly presents itself to us?
Now, in response to Part I of this piece, some have opined that we must stop “temporizing” and simply allow Obama to ascend to power for one disastrous term in order to bring on moral and social chaos in America and “the dissolution of the two-party system.” This idea, which is presented as “embracing martyrdom,” is complete rubbish. First of all, the two-party system is not going to “dissolve” on account of an Obama presidency, no matter how awful it is—and will be, if he is elected. At any rate, this idea violates the Catholic duty always to act for the common good. We have no right to “embrace martyrdom” for millions of others, most of whom are not even Catholics.
Indeed, following the example of Saint Thomas More, a Catholic with a family has no right to “embrace martyrdom” even for himself if it can prudently be avoided without a compromise of principle. Saint Thomas did not rush to have his head chopped off so that he could leave his wife a widow and his daughters fatherless. He looked first for any way in which he could reconcile King Henry’s oath with his loyalty to the Pope. Only when he was left with no alternative but refusing the oath did he refuse it and go to his death. In our case, there is no oath to refuse. Quite the contrary, as I have just shown, one would in no way be endorsing abortion by voting for McCain-Palin, but rather would be actively opposing the pro-abortion fanaticism of their opponents.
There are other facts certain pundits of the traditional Catholic blogosphere have apparently not considered. As a civil rights attorney who specializes in First Amendment litigation on behalf of pro-life activists, I know that Obama’s election would be a disaster for the pro-life bar and the courageous pro-life advocates it represents. Obama has vowed a full-court press for federal protection of “reproductive rights,” and that means more vigorous enforcement of the already draconian Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by his Justice Department, and who knows what else by way of new federal “reproductive rights” legislation.
Further, have any of these armchair politicos who propose an Obama presidency as a form of healthy national bloodletting ever read the text of “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act,” already passed by the House, which will certainly become law if Obama is elected? The Act calls for creation of a 10-member national commission to study “violent radicalization,” which the Act defines as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.” It hardly takes a legal sage to figure out that the Act will mean, very probably, federal subpoenas issued to “extreme traditionalist” organizations, no doubt in cooperation with self-appointed witch-hunters like the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose “hate map” featuring this newspaper is at this very moment being circulated throughout the country.
Or have they read the text of the Conyers “Hate Crimes” bill that Bush II vetoed, but which Obama will also certainly sign into law? The Conyers bill would make even an alleged attempt to use force against someone who happens to be a homosexual—say, a vicious “gay activist” who deliberately provokes a Catholic during a protest against the Church—a federal “hate crime” carrying a stiff federal prison term.
It is easy for people sitting in their kitchens or dens while dispatching messages into the blogosphere to call for the election of Obama to “teach America a lesson” while we “embrace martyrdom.” Meanwhile, in the real world, Catholics who are actually doing something besides ineffectual bloviating to oppose the “dictatorship of relativism” will have to suffer the consequences of an Obama presidency, including government investigation, bureaucratic persecution, and even criminal prosecution and imprisonment.
Yes, the American two-party system has too often confronted us with a choice between Scylla and Charybdis. The Republicans, representing Scylla, have lured us toward the rocks where we will suffer serious losses, while the Democrats, representing the whirlpool of Charybdis, have threatened to pull us all under and destroy us completely. But unlike Odysseus—at least in this presidential election, on the moral issue of abortion—we need not choose the lesser evil of Scylla after all. And to those who, despite the facts presented here, will still denounce the opinion I have expressed, I would say this: Vote as you please, or vote not at all. But then do not complain about a single thing Barack Obama and his minions will do to you, your family, and our nation if he is elected. Be silent in the face of injustice and moral calamity, because you will have gotten exactly what you asked for.