As a member of a 501(c)(3) I will change the names on this hypothetical to protect the job of this writer. Boris is the man, Doris is the junior Senator from New York. (Oops, did I give something away?)
The first problem I have with this scenario(RE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO VOTE PRO-LIFE? [SK]) is that if Boris and Doris are facing each other in the next general election we are in terrible trouble. Let me explain my concern. Conventional wisdom in primary elections is to energize the voting base and secure the support of the true believers. For the Republicans, this means you do not get out of the primary without some support from the pro-life evangelicals. But Boris did? Boris secured the party nomination without promising to protect the lives of the unborn. That means that the political strength of the pro-life movement is exposed as insufficient to sway a primary.
The general election is about running to the middle to secure the small percentage of votes that are actually up for grabs. If Boris got through without the support of pro-life voters, we do not represent a “voting block” threat to him in the general election. So the idea that we could punish him and the Republican party is out the window. Doris is a nightmare across the board on issues I care about so it will be a frosty one in Gehenna before this chap taps the computer screen for her. The live options are vote Boris, vote third party, or do not vote.
I could attempt to secure some measure of assurances from him about what he would do in given scenarios, but the truth is Boris thinks that it is moral to terminate the lives of innocent human beings for elective reasons. He can not represent me. This is a personal decision, not a moral judgement on how my brothers and sisters in the pro-life movement may or may not tactically maneuver. Scott was dead right in stressing that we all have the same goal. Zero abortions and full protection of the unborn. I know that Scott is pouring his life out in service to our nation and the humanity of the unborn, so it is wrong headed for tactical differences to result in one side impugning the passion or dedication of the other.
I am reminded of Frederick Douglass and Lincoln again. Douglass knew that in order for slavery to end the abolitionists (no compromise, moralist) would have to form broad coalitions with anyone and everyone who was working to undermine the institution of slavery including anti-slavery Republicans. Lincoln hated slavery, but he was not the ideological zealot that Douglass was. Anti-slavery forces saw the spread of slavery as a threat to the Union and a source of power for the increasingly demanding Southern sates. I read where many historians were confused by Douglass pulling his support on the eve of the victory of the first true anti-slavery president of the United States after speaking in support of Lincoln and working within the broad coalition. His statement was simple. “I can not vote for Mr. Lincoln.”
History proved Lincoln to be the man that our country needed to expel the evil of slavery, but Douglass did not have that vantage point. Neither do I. I do not claim to know what Mr. Douglass felt. All I know is that in the midst of all of this I can only vote my conscience and pray. I can not vote for Boris. Not because I care more than anyone else about abortion or because abortion bothers me more than anyone else. I just can’t.
I believe the incremental approach is our only choice. I believe in broad coalitions of all who hate abortion and seek to end its tyranny in the United States and all over the world. Inside the voting booth, however, I am just Jay trying to figure out what I am supposed to do. I can not vote for Boris and I will not vote for Doris. I guess that I am sitting this one out, because writing it in is the same thing. For the record, I think Scott and Dr. Beckwith are right.