Elections and The Prolife Factor
I experience the independent blues whenever I vote. It's difficult to discern which candidate will least impinge and most support practical implementations of CST. Forget the party platforms: Neither can hope to even approximate an appropriate prudential application of the Church's wisdom regarding social affairs.
This election may leave independents and Catholics alike wondering just how worse off the nation now is. As with most things in life, it's not so simple.
Dr. Jeff Miras explains:
As little as ten years ago, the outcome of this election would not have been in the remotest doubt. Nor would there have been so much anecdotal evidence to belie the outcome. Of eight states voting on constitutional amendments to limit marriage to a man and a woman, seven passed the amendment. In several closely contested races, the Democrats resorted to fielding genuinely socially conservative candidates in order to win. One thinks, for example, of ex-Redskin quarterback Heath Shuler in North Carolina. And in the most obvious case, Rick Santorum, a strong pro-life Republican senator, could be beaten only by a pro-life Democrat whose family name is an icon for suffering on behalf of the pro-life cause.The Democratic Party's dependence on center-right, conservative and pro-life democratic candidates complicates their political ambitions. The rabid, far-left base of the party will make demands that these freshman Senators and House Representatives will not feel inclined to support without significant compromise. Additionally, the Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the Senate: they'll need Republicans to cross the aisle in order to enact any legislation of consequence.
That the outcome is still in doubt now is a sign of hope, and not only because Republicans might still control the Senate. The hopeful sign is that doubt exists when, by past political rules, there should be no doubt at all. For example, Ronald Reagan, who was wildly popular, never had the House of Representatives on his side even for a moment. Bush, who is far less popular, has done far better. There should have been a Democratic landslide in this election.
Whatever the result for 2006, this prolonged tension may well mean that the culture of life has gained considerable traction. In the long run, the most striking feature of this election may be hidden in the fact with which this column began: Democrat gains were only average, and the party had to tilt ever so slightly toward life to win.
The most troubling consequence for pro-life citizens, however, remains the future of SCOTUS. President Bush's confirmees had begun the high court's long march from Judiciarium to legitimate Judiciary. That conversion may now end:
In the long run, a return to the principles of natural law among the electorate will be the minimum requirement for the restoration of civilization and the protection of the innocent in America. Meanwhile, an insistence that the Supreme Court must respect the text of the Constitution can shift the culture wars dramatically, creating a long series of very winnable battles. The Court is thus critical for both the continuation of the American experiment and the creation of a political climate in which the culture of life can flourish. Reforming the Court is the most critical single step in stopping America’s drift into secularist oligarchy.
As the Senate goes, so goes the Court. There is still a very slim chance that pro-lifers may have a large voice in the next and most critical judicial appointment. If not, we will have a long time to reflect on Thomas More’s indictment of Richard Rich in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. Rich had betrayed More in return for being set over Wales. To paraphrase More’s scathing comment: “Americans, the Lord said that it did not profit a man to gain the whole world if he lost his soul. The whole world, Americans...but for Iraq?”
It's a chilling thought. Let's hope the pro-life Democrats that assume office in January honor their conviction. But let's not hold our breath.
Better yet, let us pray for our society. Only when we convert together to the Truth will our society truly embrace justice. We'll receive the faith that we ask for.
So let's keep asking for it.