Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Political Orphans in 2008

There is an excellent piece in the Washington Post today that captures how I feel about the 2008 election. There's not an easy candidate for a liberal who is pro-life like me to support. Here is a quote:

During many elections we find ourselves facing the same dilemma: Which of
our values must take a back seat when we go to the voting booth? Do we let our
moral concern for peaceful resolutions of conflict, the environment, addressing
poverty and aggressive enforcement of civil rights guide our choices? Or do we
stand firm on another important issue of conscience and signal our hope for an
end to abortion? Often, both choices leave a bad taste in our mouths.

You can read the entire article here. Found the discussion of this article at Charlotte was Both.


Adrienne said...

MLH -- you've been tagged. Please come to my blog for you instructions. Thought it was time for you to relax and have some fun!


You'll have to copy and paste 'cause I haven't yet mastered the HTML for creating a link in a com box.

Thos said...


I'm sympathetic from the other side of aisle (though not so far across the aisle as you might think).

I don't want to reduce this in an oversimplistic manner, but suggest this (it's been on my mind lately): if one considers a pre-born Homo sapiens to be a full "person", fully "human", then the sheer number of killings can tip a *lot* of other scales in the political front. If one considers the pre-born Homo sapiens to acquire full personhood or humanity at some later point, or to sort of grow into it (so that it's not an all-or-none question, but one of degree as fetal age progresses), then there aren't "killings" but abortions. If the pre-born grows into personhood by degree, one can factor the percentage of humanity or personhood by the number of abortions that occur to determine the moral gravity of the situation compared to other concerns (e.g., like the War in Iraq).

So there are either 1,500,000 killings from abortion in this country a year, or there are zero (just 1,500,000 Homo sapiens deaths, but zero person-killings), or there's some calculated representative number: like if the average aborted pre-born Homo sapiens is 10% of a person, then there are 150,000 killings and 1,350,000 Homo sapiens deaths.

I would very honestly vote for a super-liberal socialist pro-life Democrat than a small-government free marker conservative that didn't think abortion was that big a deal.


MHL said...

I understand your perspective and I agree that we shouldn't minimize the terrible reality of abortion. On the other hand, I'm not so sure the "pro-life" presidents we've had lately have really done much of anything to stop abortion. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't remember Reagan, Bush 1 or Bush 2 putting any real effort into pushing a constitutional amendment to define the beginning of life. I know there is the issue of Supreme Court appointments, but it's hard to predict how a justice will turn out (see Souter) and even if Roe is overturned, that won't end abortion, just shift the battle to the states. And has any president actually ever shown up at the March for Life?

I'm not saying I'm right, but if the possibility of a pro-life president actually stopping abortion is pretty small, then I think it is appropriate to look at other things the president will do in office. And there are many other things upon which a president has much more direct control. War and Peace, for example.

Of course, I think the Democratic Party would be much better off if they adopted a more welcoming attitude toward those of us who are pro-life. Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath.

Thos said...


You are wise. I think that the power to make nominations is one of the highest grounds for which we should be fighting, but agree that it is narrow-sighting to see the solution as resting there (exclusively). Beyond nominations, an executive who does much to stop (or promote) abortion is probably doing a little more than executing Congress's laws (not to minimize the importance of how the executive implements particularly health regulations).

I think the election of Congresspeople is where those opposed to legalized abortion should have taken the fight from 1973 on. They control the laws, they can control the execution of their laws, and they can control who the President nominates.

But still, the power of the President is great enough that I cannot override this issue by thoughts on international politics or other social politics. I distrust a presidential candidate who claims to be convinced that we can be Homo sapiens without being fully human (if only for a time).

Peace in Christ,

eulogos said...

President Bush has spoken by telephone to the March for Life each year. I was in the crowd and actually didn't know he wasn't actually on the podium until I read about it afterwards; his speech came across just as clearly as the speeches of those who were on the podium. A good speech, too.

I think the issue of supreme court justices is very important. Yes, it isn't a sure thing, but if a president is at least trying to appoint strict constructionists we have a better chance. (And I would rather see a strick constructionist court for any other issues which will come before it as well.

The pro-life movement believes it will have a better chance in most state legislatures to get restrictions on abortion passed, and that it can move from state to state fighting this as the issue is raised. Of course a Human Life Amendment would be a good thing, but the pro-life movement has decided, I believe, that it isn't doable right now. It would have to protect human beings from conception to natural death. Ah...but what is natural death? A hoard of end of life issues intrude here. And then, protecting huuman life from conception would mean no InVitro where embryoes are discarded, and even perhaps no use of the IUD...or even lo dose birth control pills which can prevent implantation. You can't write language to exclude such applications into a constitutional amendment,which has to express broad principles, the way you can into legislation. And you have to face it that politically, anything which would forbid some types of contraception will not fly. Just won't happen.

So getting Roe V Wade overturned is the best hope for stopping or greatly reducing abortion in this country right now. If a Democrat is elected we will have Roe V Wade with us yet for years to come.

There is also the issue of, say, how to use foreign aide money. Use of it for abortion in the developing countries stopped the minute Bush came in and would start up again the minute either Hillary or Obama came in, which may God forbid.

But then, I don't see any good reasons to support the Democrats!
Susan Peterson