Monday, November 03, 2008

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!!!!!"

...which is something we grownups like to call "the old bottom line."
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.

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.

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.
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.

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".

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7 Comments:

At 11/03/2008 5:08 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Nice post.

I'm in the same exact camp as you. I intend to vote for McCain, come home, and bathe immediately.

That said, the notion that we Catholics who vote for McCain "own" ESCR is misguided. It might make sense had we pushed McCain over Brownback or some other truly pro-life, conservative candidate. But a McCain vote is in no way responsible for ESCR--particularly if we do our duty as Catholic Republicans and attempt to reform the party after the election.

 
At 11/03/2008 8:11 PM, Blogger Tim A. Troutman said...

North Carolinian here. I'll be voting for McCain tomorrow too. May God have mercy on our nation.

 
At 11/03/2008 10:55 PM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...

You set a good example, Jay, by taking the downside to the candidate you’re supporting seriously. After all, such is a prerequisite to making an informed choice.

 
At 11/03/2008 11:17 PM, Blogger LargeBill said...

Well said. While ESCR is a serious concern, it is important to remember that a vote agaisnt McCain is not realy a vote against ESCR sicne Obama supports that as well. Additionally, since Dems will control both houses of congress, isn't it more likely McCain will defy/veto congressional spending in this regard?

Separately and at the risk of seeming morbid, isn't McCain's advanced age a point in his favor from the pro-life point of view. Gov. Palin would certainly be even more friendly to the pro-life movement if she relieved him after one term.

 
At 11/04/2008 11:42 AM, Anonymous Bender said...

Not to worry. We have John "Most Electable" McCain. He is the Dems greatest nightmare -- a Republican who is well liked by Dems and Independents! So, certainly, they will all vote for him, and McCain will win in a landslide. It's a sure thing. All the smart people told us so. Even pro-life "leaders" assured us that McCain was a spectacular pick.

So, just ignore that small voice in your gut that has been shouting all these months that McCain will be a TOTAL DISASTER and bring ruin to all of us. People smarter than us said we should back McCain because he is so universally loved and will win.

 
At 11/04/2008 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's your quote:
"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."

That being said, you scare me. That doesn't make McCain a viable option for any Catholic. Voting for such a person, I'd walk in, walk out and have to live with what I'd just done to my soul at the voting booth on Nov. 4th. The above having been said, it appears there is no lesser of the two evils - just one who's more vocal - particularly, if you know it walking INto the voting booth. God help us all. Render unto Caeser that which is Caesars's. Render unto God that which is God's. We do not owe allegiance to ANY politician who legalizes or supports murder. We, as Catholics, have rights - where are our voices? Why did we wait THIS long? God help us.

 
At 11/04/2008 10:17 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"... you scare me ..."

Bite me. I put my name to my post and described the choice I believe was the best one to limit the greater amount of evil. I'm not particularly happy with that choice, but I believe it was the right one for me to make.

You, on the other hand, are an anonymous coward. And, if I "scare" you, then you're an easily frightened anonymous coward, at that.

Disagree with the conclusion I reached if you must. But if you want to come here and sit in judgment of me, at least have the courage of your convictions to put your name to what you write.

 

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