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NRL News
Page 3
June 2010
Volume 37
Issue 6

TURBULENT TIMES REQUIRE COOL HEADS

By Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

The political life of the nation is, shall we say, “unsettled” or even “turbulent.” The common observation is that there is anti-incumbent fervor. There is a demand for “change” in the air. But didn’t we just go through the “hope” and “change” thing in the last election? Paradoxically, now after that election, it seems there is far too little hope and way too much change of the wrong kind. How to fix the current financial and ecological disasters is not part of NRLC’s mission, but the increased threats to life, both born and unborn, that have arisen as a result of the last election are of deep concern to us at NRLC—as, indeed, they are to all pro-lifers. It gives us very little comfort to know that we warned of that happening before the last election.

When, as now, committed pro-abortionists control both the White House and Congress, the right to life is under attack. The method of these (and other) attacks—heavy-handed and duplicitous governmental over-reach—troubles not just pro-lifers, but many more. So, there is, indeed, ferment and turbulence in our civic life.

In the remaining primaries and the November election pro-lifers, like the rest of the voters, have a chance to correct the disastrous mistakes of the current Congress. The opportunity is there, since voters are infuriated by what has happened, but let’s think carefully before we act. When emotions are high, when the energy is great, and when the current office holder obviously deserves to be returned to private life—the temptation is right away to do something, anything. But acting too quickly could be self-defeating. And that has happened many times before. Thus it is worth repeating some of the “rules” of the successful pro-life strategy from last February’s column.

Increasing the numbers of pro-life voters. Politicians may sometimes not understand what they are voting for, but what they do understand is political power. They generally know how to count, especially the successful ones. The prospect of a large number of pro-life voters electing you to office or sending you home in defeat does clarify a politician’s mind.

We shouldn’t be too cynical about politicians looking at pro-life voters this way. First of all, we need their votes to pass pro-life legislation.

Second, for many practical-minded people the persuasiveness of an idea depends to a large degree on how many people are attracted to that idea. That means that the public clout of pro-lifers at election time goes beyond electing pro-life candidates: it means the affirmation and legitimization of pro-life principles in the eyes of the fence-sitters, the “independents,” and the “middle-of-the-road” types. Electing pro-life majorities and taking control of the public agenda has the effect of moving more people into our column. For the right-to-life movement, the obvious lesson is that we must recruit as many pro-lifers as possible for participation in public life. For a start direct your friends and acquaintances to www.nrlc.org and www.stoptheabortionagenda.com

Elections have consequences. Just observe how Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president yet, has been following in former President Clinton’s footsteps: repealing the pro-life executive orders of his predecessor, weakening conscience protections for pro-life medical personnel, mainstreaming and financially supporting abortion in the new health care regime, nominating pro-abortionists for the Supreme Court and other judicial positions, appointing numerous pro-abortion functionaries throughout his administration, and so on.

Also, remember how the Democratic pro-abortion leadership in the Senate is absolutely opposed to approving Constitution-oriented judges to the federal bench.

Finally, recall the long recount in the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota in 2008. A few disputed (and questionable) votes gave the pro-abortion Democratic leadership a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority (since lost, thanks to the voters in Massachusetts).

Thus your vote matters.

There are no ideal candidates for political office—or, at best, very few of them. Anyone who thinks that one day there will be a majority of saints running Capitol Hill is mistaken. And those who refuse to vote because the pro-life candidate is not “ideal” should look in the mirror. Will they see an “ideal” and effective pro-life voter?

Non-actions and actions have consequences. Obviously, suppressing the pro-life vote for a viable candidate (by refusing to vote for the candidate or distribute supportive literature) or siphoning votes off to a third-party candidate who can’t win has the unintended consequence of electing the pro-abortion candidate!

The point is not to make a “statement” but a difference—more accurately, a positive difference. When a “statement” (e.g., actively opposing a pro-life candidate facing a pro-abortionist) has the effect of defeating the pro-life candidate and letting the pro-abortionist win, the pro-life cause has been betrayed. Simply staying above the fray and not voting in such a case has the same effect. Such non-voters allow the pro-abortionist to win. True adherence to the pro-life cause compels pro-lifers to make a positive difference: actively working for the pro-life candidate and ensuring the loss of the pro-abortionist.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. By insisting on the unattainable we may lose the attainable. And when we lose as pro-lifers, babies die. Think about that.

Beyond elections, this principle is brought home to us again and again when we pursue legislation. Many of us in the trenches have suffered the arrogant criticism of “principled” pro-lifers who dismiss our legislative efforts because “they do not outlaw abortion” (which can’t be done short of a reversal by the Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment). First of all, these critics don’t understand what laws realistically can be passed, given the current political situation and state of public opinion. Second, they don’t grasp what role even limited legislation can play in moving public opinion in our direction. Third, they fail to understand that such laws refocus the debate on the plight of the babies and the abuses of the abortion industry—away from the empty rhetoric of “choice,” the hard cases, and invented “constitutional” rights. And fourth, such “imperfect” laws save lives.

Supporting the pro-life cause takes lots of work and money. Please do your share.