One guiding principle for voting

Don’t vote for pro-abortion politicians.

The choice should be clear and uncomplicated.

Nearly all of this election cycle has been almost historically unclear and terribly complicated. There are few certainties, and then campaign rhetoric and media spin can cast doubt even about those.

But one thing that is, was brought up at a major annual convention recently, got distorted in reporting by some media, and then clarified by an astute journalist of the highest integrity, and it all came down to one simple, concise message: Not voting for ‘pro-choice’ candidates is the least we can do.

Catholics and other Christians have helped get the country into the abortion divide for more than fifty years. Time to change that grave mistake.

How grave?

Carl Anderson (a true leader in an age with a dearth of them) Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus (an outstanding organization by any objective standard) addressed their annual convention in Toronto just over a week ago. Journalist Kathryn Jean Lopez was there, not planning to write about it, but taking notes as always. Talking with me on radio this Monday about events lately, the Knights’ involvement in international relief efforts in humanitarian crises, always protecting and defending human life and dignity, Kathryn said she saw Anderson’s brief remarks about moral responsibility in the political process distorted by some media into something he didn’t say, and decided to write about it after all. I’m so glad she did.

What this article says is so clear and concise and necessary.

Repeating something he said eight years ago, Anderson told those gathered: “The right to abortion is not just another political issue; it is in reality a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.” To his Toronto audience, he pointed out: “Forty million is greater than the entire population of Canada.” He asked: “What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation? The answer, of course, is that there is none.”

Kathryn told me that Carl Anderson went back to an address he gave two election cycles ago, in 2008, and delivered “non-partisan, uncontroversial” remarks to this gathering at this time in our history, because they applied in a timeless way. He named no candidate, no party, gave no endorsements or voting preferences other than that message about voting for candidates for office who would uphold the right of every human being to have a life in the first place, which then could be welcomed, sheltered, cared for, all the provisions the social gospel calls for as every believing Christian is called to know and to carry out.

If you won’t guarantee a human life has the right to continue to exist, you cannot make a coherent argument that any goods or rights or provisions should or must, in the name of justice, be provided human life. It’s really that simple.

As Anderson says, there is a poison in our polity. Pluralism has encountered something grave, something that for more than four decades we have allowed to become a hidden background story, as we refer to it with euphemisms and hardened activism. What we need is the truth we can see on a sonogram — along with tender mercy, especially for those who have suffered because of the mainstreaming of abortion as a faux symbol of health care and freedom, even to the point of instituting government mandates in health-insurance coverage to make us believe these things.

She expanded on theses points again on Crux.

Anderson said abortion must be a priority. He didn’t say it’s the only thing we need to care about, but he did say that when assessing a candidate it ought to be a showstopper and a game-changer, and he’s completely right.

A point worth making is that Anderson was not speaking in the context of an academic theological debate. He was making an argument for a new, non-partisan political strategy, which is that we can change policy by withholding our vote from any candidate, of any party, who supports abortion.

Anderson sees that voting for pro-abortion politicians for other reasons has not brought them closer to a moral position, or even the pro-restriction position that polling shows is held by 8 in 10 Americans. His point was that at a time when America’s fundamental moral direction seems up for grabs, encouraging a pro-abortion candidate, for whatever reason, is not a wise prudential choice.

That’s all the more so as another Catholic vice-presidential candidate wraps himself in the flag of Pope Francis. Yet Francis, as it happens, is also against abortion.

This is not complicated, and should not be easily distorted or spun.

If there’s any breaking news in Anderson’s remarks, it is that we remain stuck in an unnecessary divide. This election is an opportunity for Catholics, for other Christians and religious believers, and all people of good will.

Don’t be party people. Be a people of life.

Talking about politics and practical front-line work, Anderson said to his brother Knights of Columbus: “Every time we save a life, we change the course of history.”

U.S. in transition and heading…where?

The way things are going in Washington these days with greater government intervention in all areas of American life, some conservatives may now looking back more fondly on the Clinton years.

Victor Davis Hanson calls Clinton a “centrist pragmatist”, and takes readers on a brief walk through the modern trajectories of presidential politics.

The old progressive dream of electing a genuine leftist president was rendered quixotic by the disastrous campaigns of Northern liberals like George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry.

All this is not to say that statism did not make advances. By 2008, almost 40 percent of the population was either entirely, or in large part, dependent on some sort of government handout, entitlement, or redistributive check. The size of government, the annual deficit, and the aggregate debt continued — no matter who was president — to reach unprecedented highs.

And then came President Barack Obama.

Nonetheless, until now we had not in the postwar era seen a true man of the Left who was committed to changing America into a truly liberal state.

And here’s the key snip:

Indeed, had Barack Obama run on the agenda he actually implemented during his first year in office — “Elect me and I shall appoint worthies like Craig Becker, Anita Dunn, and Van Jones; stimulate the economy through a $1.7-trillion annual deficit; take over health care, the auto industry, student loans, and insurance; push for amnesty for illegal aliens and cap-and-trade; and reach out to Iran, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela” — he would have been laughed out of Iowa.

But ‘hope and change’ was enough, along with some raise the roof rhetoric, and what he did say he’d do he has not yet done…..practice bipartisanship, insist on transparency, end congressional bickering, keep federal funding for abortion out of his healthcare plan….among other things.

So is it political satire to suggest we’re becoming the ‘once great’ nation known as the American experiment? Is Mark Steyn’s scenario just more of Steyn’s particular brand of humor? “Is America set for decline?” he asks. “It’s been a grand run…”

What happens when the policies that brought ruin to Detroit and sclerosis to California become the basis for the nation at large? Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet. But what will ensure it is if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.

The American people overwhelmingly opposed the healthcare legislation just passed by Congress and signed by Obama. The representatives are not listening to the republic that elected them. And the newest poll numbers show it.

One place we know we’re heading is for a November election.