TURBULENT TIMES REQUIRE
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
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
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
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.