Small steps to avoid destroying the very thing you’re fighting for

Long before election day, I gave up trying to change anybody’s mind about politics. I jumped into conversations about it from time to time, but I always jumped right back out again before the muck on the bottom could rise up and envelop my ankles.

It wasn’t just that political wrangling is unpleasant, and it wasn’t just because I didn’t want to lose friendships, although both of those things are true. I have been thinking about a quote that I thought was by Winston Churchill. Someone allegedly asked Churchill about cutting arts funding to pay for the war effort, and he responded, “Then what are we fighting for?”

It turns out Churchill probably never said this; but the point stands. If you sacrifice everything to win, then what have you won? You cross the finish line in triumph, and you turn around and, oh dear, there’s nothing left in your wake but a wasteland.

This is what the political arm of the American pro-life movement did when they championed a man who clearly despises the weak and who has no understanding of the inherent dignity of human life: They hollowed themselves out. They made it abundantly clear to the world that it was victory they craved, and nothing more.

Some in the pro-life movement backed Trump cynically, calculating that they could enrich themselves this way; and many others did it out of fear, thinking there was no other way open to them. I think of a scene I saw once in a TV crime show: A terrified mother crouches under the table, hiding from her abuser. She’s so afraid her precious baby will cry out and betray them that she holds him tighter and tighter — and she ends up crushing him to death.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly

For some reason, the link above is not working for some people! Sorry about that. Here is the correct link to the full essay:

Simcha Fisher: When fighting a war, don’t destroy what you’re defending

Image: Detail of sculpture from Frogner Park, Oslo via Needpix

In which a real American explains the election to Australians

[Note: I wrote and submitted this essay on Nov. 12, which explains why it is, even for an essay by me, unusually obnoxious. Read at your own peril.]

When The Catholic Weekly hired me a few years ago, they made a few things clear: We’re really Catholic; we’re not terribly uptight; we spell things weird sometimes; and most of all, we do not want to hear about American politics. All of this was fine with me, especially that last part. Even in those innocent days of 2016, American politics was already just about intolerable, and I didn’t want to hear about it, either.

But here we are in 2020, and I’m getting a steady stream of Australian friends and readers helpfully giving me the inside scoop about what goes on in these United States. So either you’re all a bunch of masochists deliberately exposing yourself to our political system as some kind of elaborate form of penance, or else there is some part of you that can’t look away.

So be it. I will indulge your unholy fascination with this ominously pulsating egg sac we’re calling an election season. You want to hear about American politics? Hold onto your butts.

The short version is, Trump repeatedly promised his followers that, if they elected him, they would get tired of winning. And so it has come to pass! They are so tired of winning that they, in fact, lost.

Really, that is what happened. I know it hurts some of you to hear this, for some reason, but he lost. Lllllllooooosssssssttttt, lost, lah-lah-lah-lost, L.O.S.T., as in “lost the election,” as in “did not win the election,” as in “failed to secure victory in the election,” as in “you can take those ridiculous flappy flags off your boat now, you weirdo.” He lost because, even though a shamefully high number of people did vote for him, one cannot win an election simply by being shameful. No, not even with the help of the [haunted house music] electoral college.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly

Image: by Jericho on Deviant Art Creative Commons

 

Doesn’t anyone vote against their self-interest anymore?

Today the Supreme Court will begin to hear a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. I don’t know how to talk about this without coming across as unbearably self-righteous, but mainly I just want to know that someone else knows what I’m talking about! Here’s the situation.

The ACA is what is making my family’s life tolerable right now. My husband and I are both self-employed, and even when one or the other of us worked for some company that offered employer-sponsored insurance, we couldn’t afford it. So, except for me when I was pregnant, we both went for nearly two decades without health insurance, and therefore with very little health care. This meant we always had the choice between risking bodily or financial ruin. We got away with it, more or less, because we were young. Now we are both 45, and the ACA, and the expanded Medicaid it funded in our state, came along just in time to save our bacon as we begin the long downhill slide into decrepitude. 

So I am following these hearings with fatalistic interest — interest because the decrepitude is speeding up, and fatalistic because there is nothing I can do about what the court decides. If the ACA is found unconstitutional and repealed, all I can do is petition my state reps to work out something else. That’s not nothing, but it’s not much. 

Here’s the part I’m having trouble conveying without sounding crazy. Several of my more liberal friends openly insisted that I oppose the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court specifically because they believed she would certainly favor ACA repeal. They made it clear that I was doing something bad to vulnerable people by not taking a stand against Barrett. And never mind that there was literally nothing I could do to change the course of events — and that events were by no means set in stone. The question of whether or not the ACA is constitutional was deemed irrelevant on the grounds that it’s very hard to be poor; and the fact that I know what it’s like to be poor just made my point of view more offensive in their eyes. I offended them just by not being personally angry at Amy.

I have a confession to make: I think the ACA is unconstitutional. Or it may be. I don’t really know, because I am a housewife who knows how to type, and those are my qualifications to speak on the topic of constitutional law. I very much hope our legislators find a way, with or without Barrett, to keep the ACA in place. I hope the courts decide it is constitutional, or that they can preserve the constitutional part that is useful to poor people. But I also hope that Supreme Court justices see it as their job to figure out whether something is constitutional or not! I’m really attached to this idea! 

There is no power on earth or under heaven that will keep you from instructing me, in the comments, about why I’m wrong about constitutional law, so go ‘head. But that’s not really my point. My first point is that I would never vote for a president based solely on the likelihood that he will appoint a judge who is likely to make a decision that I think will benefit me. This is partly because there are too many variables in play, and I’d much rather vote based on things that are indisputable, rather than things that are hypothetical.

But my primary point is that that every adult should vote against his self interest from time to time, and I will never stop being dumbfounded at how many people can’t accept this as normal, everyday virtuous American behavior. When I say, “I think so-and-so will happen, and that will likely hurt me, but thus-and-such is indisputably true, so I’m going to proceed based on that,” people look at me like I’m some kind of moron, and the want to argue with me that so-and-so will be BAD for me, BAD, you see. But I don’t make all my decisions on whether they will be bad for me or not, because I am not a psychopath. 

Don’t think I’m saying it’s only liberals who make these arguments. Conservatives do the exact same thing, just for different issues, and they’re just as baffled that I would ever vote for someone who has promised to do something that might hurt me. 

Am I missing something? Didn’t it used to be a quintessentially American thing that we cared about what was right, even if it wasn’t personally good for us? Didn’t there used to be such a thing as ideals that are separate from self-interest? Or am I laboring under some kind of penumbra of American Catholic masochism, wherein things that are hard and unpleasant automatically seem more virtuous? Or what?

I already know that I’m some kind of impossibly starry-eyed idealist because I still care about the separation of powers. Whatever. All I know is people I used to respect are straight up making arguments like “This vote is necessary to protect my stocks” or “I heavily depend on the coal industry, so I’m proud to give him my vote.” 

Don’t misunderstand. I get making compromises. I can’t remember the last time I went through a day without making compromises, political and otherwise. But I don’t get being okay with it. I don’t get pretending like it’s not a compromise. Making compromises should make you unhappy, either because it hurts your conscience or it hurts your bottom line. Voting should make you unhappy! Why aren’t more of you people unhappy? That’s what gets me. 

Maybe we really should be restricting who gets to vote — not based on land ownership or bank accounts or education, but based on your ability to even consider voting against your own self interest. Maybe voter registration should be designed like one of those wretched social experiments they perform on kids: You can eat this piece of candy now, or you can give two pieces of candy to your mommy. Except your mommy is the constitution, and the candy is your self-respect.

Listen, whatever party you belong to is going to screw you over eventually, because that is what parties do. If you think your party is going to always help you out all the time, that’s a sign you’ve become an absolute amoeba, and have simply learned how to brainwash your own self into believing good is bad. Voting against your self-interest is like swallowing something prickly because you’ve been gorging on pudding so long, you’re in danger of forgetting how to chew. Snap out of it! Especially if you make a big deal about honoring the founding fathers. It’s as if people think the point of democracy is so everyone gets their chance to be their very own King George III.  

Voting against your self-interest reminds you that no system will save you. The constitution won’t save you, either. But at least it’s something outside of yourself. You do remember there’s something outside yourself, right? 

Remember the scene in The Silver Chair, when Puddleglum stamped on the witch’s fire, and the children woke right up? He broke the spell partly because the magic fire was out, but also partly because the room now smelled like burnt Puddleglum. That’s what democracy should smell like: A nice, pungent stink of self-sacrificial burning flesh, that breaks the trance and reminds us we’re not in paradise here and never will be. More Puddleglum, please. 

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Image via Pxhere. (Creative Commons)

Pray for our country, but try not to get too attached

“I felt so sad that I groaned aloud an Old Testament lamentation AAAAIEOOOOOW! To which responded a great silent black man sitting next to me on the blocky couch: ‘Ain’t it the truth though.’ After that I felt better.”

                                                                —Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

 

For the last several months, I’ve slowly turned into Father Rinaldo Smith, and wish to spend my days in a tower, watching for fires, pooping into a bucket, and most of all not talking to anybody. It may not be helpful, but it feels like the least bad thing I can do in a most bad year. But today’s the day, so here’s my little speech:

If you’re a Catholic voting for Biden because you just love tearing innocent babies limb from limb in their mother’s wombs, don’t do that! That’s bad! Bad Catholic voter!

If you’re a Catholic voting for Biden because you think he has the guts and the grit and the vision and the know-how to turn this country right around, please send me your address so I may invoice you for your new bridge.

If you’re a Catholic voter and your parish has started playing the Star Spangled Banner at the elevation at Mass, and you definitely don’t want to vote for Biden, and yet HERE WE ARE, I’m with you. I’m going to vote for Biden, because I’m pro-life, because I still stupidly believe in the Constitution, because I don’t want war, civil or otherwise, and because some things are just not tolerable. It’s not a sin to do the best you can in a crappy situation, no matter what bozo told you what bozo thing, even if it was a priest. I’m with you. 

I’m going to a little town to pick up election results for an election night results aggregator, and I keep wondering if I should bring a gun in case someone flips out and gets violent (and despite the repeating riot loops you’ve seen on Fox, it’s many, many, many times more likely to be a far righter flipping out and getting violent than a far lefter). I doubt it’s necessary, but it pisses me off that I even have to wonder. Get it together, America. We will always have 99 problems but this should not be one of them. 

I guess before I leave, we will pray this litany to Mary under all her various titles as patroness of each state. (And get it together, Colorado!)

“You’re a fake Catholic going to hell” comments will be given the Mr. Tiddles the Obliging Kitty Cat treatment, so if you want to waste your time and mine, feel free. I’m just sitting here making meatballs anyway. 

Before I go back to my fire tower, what I really want to say is: Our duty today is the same as it ever was, which is: To keep our humanity, to remember the humanity of everyone we meet, to walk away if we’re having a hard time with that last one, and to remember our death. Pray for the dead. Pray for my friend Elizabeth who starts chemo today. Pray for my friend who’s having a very important disability hearing today.  Avoid useless fights. And pray for our country, but try not to get too attached. 

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Image by Royalbroil via Wikipedia (Creative Commons)

This 4th of July, read the Gettysburg Address

My father usually reads the Declaration of Independence out loud when we get together on the Fourth of July.  We’ll do it again this year, if only to savor the beauty of the cadence of those words. 

It will be a happy day for the kids, full of sparklers and hot dogs and marshmallows, and it will be good to have everyone together again. I don’t want to muck up the fun with any heavy irony. But the Declaration doesn’t fall on my ears the way it used to. 

When I was young and listened to the Declaration of Independence, I used to feel pride and gratitude for our country, flaws and all; but now, when I think of what we have become, I am so mired in anger and dismay.  The “long train of abuses” that stirred the founding fathers into revolution are nothing, nothing at all, compared to the abuses the vulnerable suffer from our elected government now; and the people who cry “America!” the loudest let these abuses happen without a murmur, or heartily cheer them on.

We are still the freest country in the world, at least for some. We are still more or less at peace, at least within our borders, at least for some.  We do have a free press, at least for now. It’s not nothing, that our nation manages to transfer power peacefully every election.  Nobody dies when we throw out one bum and bring in the next.  But good grief, I’d like to see more than that.  I’d like to see that it’s still possible to bring about change using the system the founders designed, but the gears have become so clogged with money and lies, it barely functions When something good happens — when a decent, moderately virtuous candidate does appear, or a sensible bill gets passed, or a monstrous one is defeated, it’s almost like a fluke.  We’re the land of ten thousand monkeys, and the democratic process is a typewriter. And if you think I’m speaking about just one party, you’re willfully blind.  

Maybe a different document would be better to read. 

A few years ago, we passed the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In this astonishingly compact speech, Lincoln looks back at our founding, and then he looks around at the rubble and the blood-soaked ground. 

And then he does something extraordinary:  he looks forward.  He says,

It  is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us —  that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for  which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve  that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall  have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people,  for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

He stood on the blood-soaked ground, and he looked forward.

Now we hear the words like “freedom” and “unity” coming out of the mouths of people who despise freedom, who put all of their effort into subverting unity, who see journalists as the enemy, who treat asylum seekers as criminals, who tell us we must violate our consciences in the name of patriotism, who welcome true enemies as logistical allies. And in response, we’re squandering our freedom of speech on petty name-calling, on projectile milkshakes, on melodramatic photo ops. I don’t want four more years of the gorgon, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to vote for one of these soulless, preening candidates just to chase him away. 

But Lincoln stood on blood-soaked ground and looked forward.

So I can’t hear the Declaration of Independence and feel pride in our country — not today.  But I can hear the Gettysburg Address and take courage.  I can see the struggle and grief of the nation, suffering now as it is, and I can look forward. 

If they could recover from that, then we can recover from this. 

Those of us who still love the Constitution are the living.  We’re the ones who understand that the country is not great, but it’s not over yet.  It is still, as Lincoln said, “unfinished work.”   

To the pro-lifers who refuse to be overcome by an obscene and hysterical mob, and who refuse to let the phrase “pro-life” be co-opted by racists and misogynists:  you are the living.  To the volunteers who knock on doors and mail flyers and work the phone banks to rally support for a candidate who can’t win but isn’t a monster:  you are the living.  To students who grind your eyeballs into your law books because you want to make things better, want to defend the innocent:  you are the living.  To those who see their government crushing the poor, and work doubly hard to build them up again: You are the living.  To teachers who day after day shrug off the pressing cultural gibberish because you know your children need to hear the truth; to citizen scholars who patiently call into radio shows and wade into battle on Facebook and Twitter, correcting and correcting and correcting the lies:  you are the living.

And to ordinary citizens who pray for our country every day — not because we’re on the side of God, but because God will come to our side if we beg — we are the living.

This country is unfinished work.  The battle isn’t over yet.

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A version of this post ran in the Register in 2013

Image: from the book Gettysburg and Lincolnvia Wikipedia (Creative Commons)

Mom? Dad? I think I’m politiqueer.

What accounts for the growing number of young people who don’t identify as either male or female? My friends and I floated various theories in a recent conversation. Some thought there are too many freaky deaky chemicals in the water supply, and it’s messing with our hormones. Some thought it’s nothing new, and that people simply feel more free to accept and announce what they’ve always felt inside. Some think it’s the result of cultural pressure, and calling oneself “non-binary” or “asexual” or “gender fluid” are merely the newest way of irritating one’s parents and asserting one’s individuality, like growing hair long in the early 60’s, or wearing pants backwards in the 80’s.

And some, including me, thought it’s not only a combination of the above, but also sometimes a sign of good psychological health. Let me explain.

Some of the folks I see calling themselves neither male nor female present in such an aggressively counter-cultural way, they appear to set themselves irredeemably apart from anyone who values ordinary, bedrock principles like fidelity or monogamy. But under the strident “I’m not like you” exterior, most aren’t looking for anarchy or even libertinism. Many of them are saying something true and valuable. They are saying: “I reject the idea that you have to chose between being a girly girl or a macho man. I hate the notion that I have to sign on to spending my time obsessing over either makeup or sports. I don’t see myself primarily as always passive or as always aggressive. I reject both silly, simpering, bubbleheaded femininity and slavering, swaggering, manhandling masculinity.”

In other words, they’re not rejecting masculinity or femininity, so much as they are rejecting what 2017 is telling them it means to be male or female. 2017, in case you haven’t noticed, doesn’t know its ass from its elbow. So if people are opting out of a binary system that’s pure caricature, then opting out is the right thing to do. Certainly, it goes too far to say, “I’m not male or female,” but at very least, it’s a sign that folks are embracing the idea that who we are is more than just an assemblage of clothing and hobbies. They are rejecting constrictive, reductive, dehumanizing stereotypes, and that’s a good thing.

Okay! So this conversation came back to me this morning, as I listened to the talking heads on the news chatting about the Roy Moore election. Now that our president has openly endorsed Moore, the GOP has decided to go ahead and fund his campaign after all.

This move has left a good many voters in the lurch. A lot of folks who call themselves “republican” have lost their damn minds — but a lot haven’t. They hoped (because man is, at heart, irrationally optimistic) that the party of God, family, responsibility, and values would somehow find their way to saying, “Maybe let’s not rush to elect a likely sexual predator.”

A lot of voters, like me, are basically conservative. We reject abortion. We think marriage should be between one man and one woman. We only reluctantly accept divorce as a necessary evil. We think immigration should be approached with care and caution. We think gun ownership should be protected. We believe freedom of religion exists outside the walls of actual church buildings. We think America is special, and has something to offer the rest of the world.

But we reject the caricature of American conservatism, which says that you have a moral obligation to anyone who yammers about being “pro-life” when he wants a vote, but who has no qualms about crushing single mothers and their kids, the poor, the disabled, and the uninsured.
We reject the caricature of American conservatism that says marriage is holy and sacred when you’re selling cake, but if you’re a politician, then you can swing your dick wherever you like.
We reject the caricature of American conservatism that says it’s a crime against nature to have too much melanin in your skin or too much of an accent in your voice.
We reject the caricature of American conservatism that says the Bill of Rights is mainly about not getting in the way of evil men with an arsenal and a grievance.
We reject the caricature of American conservatism that believes in a young, flat earth populated by Muslim lizard people masquerading as secret Kenyans who hate Christmas.
We reject the caricature of American conservatism that says anything America does is good, right, and just, and we can teach the rest of the world to be like us by alienating our allies and nuking everyone else.

Oh, and we reject Nazis and rapists, that kind of thing.

Since I reject all of these things, does that make me a liberal or a progressive? Not unless you’re insane.

But listen. Progressives are suffering their own descent into grotesque caricature. My progressive friends don’t have any friends in the white house right now, but they’re also not thrilled when they think of the backlash that’s likely to come next.

Remember, Americans love that pendulum swing. The moment Donald Trump is gone, a reactive voting populace will ram through some equal but opposite horror, who’ll undo all Trump’s bad deeds and replace them with a whole new set of equally bad deeds, but different ones. Read your history. This is what happens when a country allows something terrible to happen. It makes amends by lurching toward something even more terrible, but opposite.

When there’s a natural calamity — say, an earthquake or a tidal wave — there are the initial casualties, and then thousands more are left homeless in the aftermath. This is what’s happened politically. Trump vs. Clinton was an earthquake setting off a volcano, or a tidal wave triggering a mudslide, or Mothra vs.King Ghidorah, or whatever. There was no good guy to root for, but there sure were a lot of innocent bystanders left with nowhere to go after the monsters moved along.

So that’s me. I’m homeless. I’m a non-binary voter. I’m politiqueer, or something. I reject all the petty caricatures. I care about the Ten Commandments, and that’s why I reject Roy Moore. I care about women, and that’s why I reject [Margaret Sanger’s reanimated corpse, or whoever the dems will put up next].

You can’t make me say I’m on one grotesque side or the other grotesque side, and you can’t make me say that if I’m not one, I must be the other. As currently presented, neither one of them is anything worth being. There’s more to me than an assemblage of cruelty, extremism, and reflexive ideological posturing. Show me something good, and maybe I’ll vote for it. I’m a citizen of the United States of America, and I reject all the monsters.

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Images: Destoroyah: Bandai Namco Entertainment America, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48781603
Gigan: Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
ballot: Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/elections-vote-sheet-paper-pen-536656/

Dems Ditch Pro-choice Litmus Test; Secret Thoughts of Many Laid Bare

Well, that’s probably wishful thinking on both counts. We’ll see if it’s really true that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will now be willing to support pro-life democratic candidates. Yesterday,

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as Democrats seek to find a winning roster to regain the House majority in 2018.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” said Luján, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”

I’m under no illusion that there will be a sudden, widespread softening of hearts toward the unborn in the Democratic party. This is pure strategy. They finally figured out that they’ll never get Congress back if they don’t at least crack the door for pro-lifers. (I could have told them that twelve years ago, but I’m just a voter in a swing state, so who listens to me?) They’re not even pretending there is some kind of actual ideological shift. They’re just trying to keep up with the tide.

Pro-choice dems are already furious at this softening of the DCCC stance,  predictably. For many Democrats, abortion truly is the holy grail, and if you compromise on abortion, then you’re treyf.

But guess what? Republicans are also furious, because their free meal ticket is suddenly not their exclusive property. I’ve long since shed the illusion that the Republican leadership is rife with tenderness and compassion toward the unborn. “Vote for me or the baby gets it,” as Mark Shea frequently puts it, has been a quick ticket to success for republicans for decades now. All a republican candidate has to do is say, “I’m kinda pro-life, and the other guy isn’t,” and good-hearted Catholics and evangelicals will believe (and tell others) they have a moral obligation to vote for him, and will turn a blind eye to every other hideous personal and ideological flaw that would normally be intolerable in a paperboy, never mind a governor, a congressman, or president.

If Republicans were truly pro-life, they’d all be rejoicing at the idea that Democrats are rejiggering their platform to let in even the possibility of more pro-life representatives.

But they’re all . . . not. LifeNews reprinted a column that gives a pretty balanced assessment of the dem strategy and reactions from the left so far; but the comments on social media are filled with mockery and jeers. “Yeah, right! Don’t fall for their LIES!!!” We’re too smart to vote for some lying politician just because they say they’re pro-life!

Yeah, right, indeed. We’re too smart for that.

Meanwhile, as Fr. Pavone bids us “rejoice” in our “pro-life victories” following the 2016 election, Planned Parenthood is still fully funded, and it’s only sheer incompetence that’s saved Medicaid, the go-to source of prenatal care for poor women and their unborn children, from being axed by a “pro-life” Congress. Hoo-ray, we have a conservative on the Supreme Court. So far, he’s oh-so-pro-lifely refuse to stay the execution of eight guys who had to be executed right away for the very serious reason that the lethal injection drug was about to expire, so.  Even LifeSiteNews is not terribly impressed at Gorsuch, who was not so long ago touted as the reason Catholics not only can but must vote for Trump. (I actually like Gorsuch; but I liked Merrick Garland, too. Remember, SC justices aren’t supposed to be pro-life or pro-choice; they’re supposed to be pro-Constitution.)

The part I’m interested in is twofold:

First, I want to see just how many Democrats really are pro-life, even a little bit, but they haven’t felt free to say so. I know there are some, and I know they’ve been treated like crap for far too long. I expect to see more of it among young up-and-comers, because young people in general are increasingly pro-life. Decades of 4D sonograms’ll do that to you, I guess.

Second, I want to see just how many Republican voters will suddenly recall they care deeply about other issues besides abortion. I cannot count how many times during the election I heard: “Abortion is the only issue that matters. I’m a one-issue voter. If a candidate even just says he’s pro-life, then I have to vote for him, no matter what else he says or does.  And you also have to, or I’m telling your bishop.”

This is why we got Trump: Because he was smart enough to flick the pro-life worm right into the spot where all the conservatives were biting, and then he reeled them in, easy peasy, no actual action necessary. Throw ’em in the cooler, flick again.

So what happens when Democrats are allowed to say they’re pro-life, eh? Will that be enough for Christian voters, since it was enough when Trump was the candidate? Will they say, “Well, this democratic candidate is spouting all kinds of crap that I find personally repugnant, but he says he’s pro-life, and the other guy isn’t, so I guess I have to vote for him“?

We’ll see.

Maybe I’m just dreaming here, but if the Democrats will eventually maybe be allowed to admit that some of them are not crazy about infant dismemberment, will it eventually come about that our Republican overlords will feel more free to admit that some of them care just as little about unborn babies as they do about post-womb babies?

The renegade numbers are small on both sides. I get that. Most dems do harbor pro-choice ideas as a core part of their beliefs, and most republicans do feel pretty strongly that murder is wrong. But there is a hell of a lot less purity in both parties than we’ve been led to believe.

I am a conservative. I’m no longer a Republican, but by every sane and rational measurement, I am a conservative. If you think I’m crazy to say so, you need to make friends with the late William F. Buckley (if you can make him stop spinning in his grave long enough), or my pal Winston Churchill, because you MAGAs don’t even know what a conservative is.

I and most of my truly conservative friends haven’t had the luxury of voting for someone we actually believe in for years and years and years. Could it be that, maybe in the next election, or the next one after that, we’ll be allowed to assess and elect a candidate based on his individual principles and merits?

All I want is someone I can vote for without dying inside. I’ll probably never get it. But if we’re moving toward an era when “pro-life” or “pro-choice” lose their magical power to summon campaign funds and principled votes, then maybe at least we’ll see who really believes in what, and why.

 

Protected: Podcast 27: My interview with Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists

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Take the pledge: Today, I shut up.

You’ll find this hard to believe, but yesterday I was kind of a jerk on Facebook. I wasn’t wrong, but I sure acted like a jerk. Christina SC, I am sorry I was a jerk to you.

Here’s my plan: Today, I shut up about politics. I will not post, write, or comment about the election, about Trump, about any other candidate or political entity, or about people who voted for Trump, or about why people voted for Trump.

zipped-lips

I will try not to read anything about politics. Just for today! I want to finish up the day without feeling like this, just for one day:

Tomorrow, we’ll see. Are you with me? Want to take the pledge, just for today?