The Bottom Line
The title of this post is taken from a comment that David Alexander (a.k.a. man with black hat who, by the way, has an excellent post today on what's at stake in this election) left in response to another comment a couple of weeks ago at Creative Minority Report:
"Otherwise ABORTION WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS PEOPLE!!!!!"Those who read this blog regularly know that I am no McCain supporter. While I admire and agree with the difficult and unpopular stands he has taken on the issues of immigration and torture, I believe he has been insufficiently attentive (and, indeed, hostile) to the agenda of social conservatives. Specifically, his opposition to a federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, his wishy-washy and reluctant stand on overturning Roe v. Wade, his leadership in the so-called "Gang of 14" that sold out several of the President's anti-Roe judges and made the Senate's ability to confirm future such judges more difficult, and, most significantly, his support for embryonic stem-cell research.
...which is something we grownups like to call "the old bottom line."
In fact, I was fully prepared to vote 3rd party for President in this election until McCain picked Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Even then, I have refused to come out in support of John McCain, and his decision to run an ad touting his pro-ESCR credentials caused me to have second thoughts as to whether even McCain's decision to add Gov. Palin to his ticket made voting for him palatable.
Let's be honest: John McCain is a deeply flawed candidate from a pro-life perspective. And, as Dale Price recently pointed out, those Catholics who vote for McCain will "own" ESCR should McCain ever sign such a bill into law.
Nonetheless, I view the election of Sen. Obama to be an unmitigated disaster for the unborn, for the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman, and for the continued presence of the views of people of faith in the public square. Obama's call for the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act and for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, alone, is enough to secure my vote for the best possible alternative to stopping his election.
So, here we are a day before the election. Perhaps the most significant election in my lifetime. Or perhaps not. I do know, however, that I value the lives of the unborn and what progress has been made in protecting those lives much more than I value the symbolism of casting a ritually "pure" vote. Several months back, I made the following statement:
IF I decide to hold my nose and pull the lever for John McCain this November - and that's a VERY BIG IF - it wil ONLY be because I find the prospect of a President Obama "sign[ing] the FOCA, repeal[ing] the DOMA, repeal[ing] the Hyde Amendment, end[ing] the Mexico City policy, fund[ing] abortions at the federal level through Medicare, on military bases, through the UN, [etc.]" to be untenable.Tomorrow, I will hold my nose and vote to hold our ground; to preserve what gains the pro-life movement has made (and, contrary to what many Catholics argue, we have made gains); to stop Sen. Obama's full frontal assault on the sanctity of life and marriage. My vote will be made somewhat more palatable by the presence of the sincerely pro-life-without-exception Gov. Palin on the ticket for which I'll be casting my ballot.
It WON'T be because I'm foolish enough to believe that John McCain will nominate another Roberts or Alito to the Court (he won't) or will expend one ounce of effort or political capital to advance the cause of protecting the unborn (again, he won't). A vote for McCain is simply a vote to minimize the damage that will be done to the pro-life cause should Obama be elected.
For many (like myself), that might be a good enough reason to vote for John McCain; but I can truly understand why it might not be good enough for others.
But, alas, I will NOT be casting my ballot out of some misguided notion that John McCain is solidly pro-life or in any way the ideal candidate from a Catholic perspective. Aside from the addition of Gov. Palin to his ticket, John McCain has done little since the time I wrote the above statement to ensure me that he will nominate another Roberts or Alito to the Court (he won't) or will expend one ounce of effort or political capital to advance the cause of protecting the unborn (again, he won't). Or, most significantly, that he will change his mind on ESCR - I go into tomorrow's election fully aware that John McCain has promised to set in motion one of the most devastating attacks ever on the sanctity of life should he remain resolved to support the abomination of ESCR. I don't take that matter lightly, and I waiver in my decision as I type these very words. In short, I go into this eyes wide open and in no way fooled about what supporting John McCain means for those of us who take social issues seriously. My vote for McCain tomorrow is simply a vote to minimize the damage that will be done to the pro-life cause should Obama be elected.
But make no mistake: that damage, should Obama be elected, could be of the utmost significance. My vote tomorrow is a vote against taxpayer-funded unrestricted abortion-on-demand throughout all 9 months of pregnancy, up to and including the moment of birth.
And THAT, as the man with the black hat so astutely points out, is "The Bottom Line".