I voted for President for the first time in 1980. Carter vs. Reagan. I was driving back to college from Florida and my Dad called me before I left to make sure I stopped to vote in my district. I wasn't too thrilled on having to do that, but my Dad reminded me what a privilege it was to vote, a privilege I better appreciate and participate in. So I did. Being a good Democrat at the time, I voted for Carter.
Over the years voting became as important to me as it was to my Dad. So I think I surprised myself when discussing on the blogs what I would do if Rudy Giuliani was the Republican nominee. My first reaction was to say that I would never ever vote for someone who was pro-choice, especially one who was against the partial birth abortion ban. But as I thought about it, I realized that would mean I wouldn't vote at all. How could I not vote????
Some would say I'm a "one issue" voter. I think everyone can be a one issue voter if that issue is important enough to them. To me, without the right to life, all other rights don't matter. How we take care of our most vulnerable and innocent in our society really defines us as a society. We have become numb to this issue because the victims can never speak out themselves and other victims (the mothers) who do speak out about their pain, grief, and how they were manipulated, are completely ignored by the media.
I grew up in the wake of Roe v Wade, a decision based on lie after lie. I saw what abortion did to my friends. The two people at the heart of Roe, Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and Dr. Bernard Nathanson (the abortion Doctor who spear headed NARAL and spoke before Congress at the time and lied about the women dying in illegal abortion.) have admitted their lies and are now pro-life Catholics.
But this isn't about convincing you how wrong abortion is. This is to briefly explain why this is so important to me and to millions of other voters. This issue goes far beyond politics. It is a horror of such enormity that we cannot in good conscience vote for anyone who thinks this is a "right" or that it is a "choice."
When I speak to people who think abortion is wrong, but don't base their votes on it, I always ask them if they could vote for someone, who may be right on many issues, but advocates euthanizing the homeless? Or euthanizing anyone over 80 yrs old? Aren't these people mostly "unwanted?" Aren't they a burden? I think those who answer this question honestly say they would never vote for anyone who advocated that. Well, that is how pro-lifers feel about the abortion issue.
Now, one could argue that it would be better to vote for someone who promises to put judges on the court that would protect the homeless and the elderly rather than the candidate who would appoint judges that would never protect the homeless or the elderly, but in fact would favor euthanizing them. But can we trust a candidate to do this when he really doesn't believe in their protection to begin with?
But in the end, voting is a very personal and spiritual decision. You don't really make this decision based on the "lesser of the two evils." You know in your heart that your vote reflects your standards and your morals. 200 years from now, whoever is elected President in 2008 will be a paragraph in a history book, but our decisions follow us into eternity.
So, when I think about if I could vote for Rudy against the Democrat nominee, my brain tells me that I could and should. But my heart and soul ask me how I could possibly vote for someone who thinks that destroying the most precious gift we are given, our children, is somehow ok.
And if I feel that way, someone who sees the right to vote as such a privilege, how many others feel that way? Enough to give a win to the Democrats? I think so.
It's something the primary voters need to think about. Because the truth is that when the religious right stay home, Republicans lose. And it won't be just the religious right. Many who just consider the moral behavior of a man as defining him, will be turned off by his affairs, his estrangment from his children, and being hypocritical in his faith.
Most religious conservatives, like most people, don't really care about politics. Most people don't think there is much difference between candidates. It is really easy to give them an excuse not to vote. Nominating a pro-choice Republican will give them that excuse. It may make you angry, and I understand that, but this isn't about arguing whether it is fair, or right, or even smart. It's about reality. You may convince me to vote for Rudy, but you cannot convince the millions who truly see abortion as the moral horror of this century.
Most of you feel that national security is the number one issue. So why should we Republicans choose someone who could lose, when we have so many choices who are just as strong on national security? Choices that are all pro-life? And the kicker is Rudy isn't even right on immigration, gun control, gay marriage, or even campaign finance reform. It's ridiculous that this support comes from his cocky confidence and his behavior on one horrible tragic day.
On a side note, if Vanity Fair's hit piece on Rudy's wife Judith, is only even slightly true, the left will have more fun with her than we ever dreamed of having with Teresa Heinz Kerry.
So, what will I do? Will I vote for Rudy if he is the nominee? I can only honestly say....I don't know. I'll struggle with it and then I will do what I think is right.
*The pic is from Catholics Against Rudy.