How’s that for a provocative title? I’m all about the clickbait.
This question has weighed heavily on my mind and on my heart since this election began shaping up into the monstrosity it currently is. There have been more bitterly fought elections, I am sure, but in a time when any village’s idiot has a keyboard and facebook is available to anyone with an email, it has become dangerous territory out there. No longer do people care about discourse, we care about being “right.” About “winning.” Sound familiar?
Listen, I’ll give you my closing line first: There is nothing left to win. Barring something extreme coming out of Cleveland, the two nominees have been decided and America has already lost. So what do we still have to fight for? What is a politically involved, civic-minded, pro-life person to do?
I’m not going to try and tell you how to vote, but I am going to lay out what I perceive to be the consequences of the options.
First, when history holds us accountable for our actions, when the world holds us accountable for our actions, the conversation will not be “Well, at least they didn’t elect Hillary!” We must vote for our leaders on their own merits, not because we really, really hate the other guy. I have heard over and over that I must support Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton is so terrible. I agree about Clinton! Her record speaks for itself, her positions are, to my views, abysmal, and I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her. Despite my recent forays into kettlebell training, it’s still not very far.
But is that enough to support her opponent? Barack Obama isn’t Hillary Clinton- does the logic still hold true? How about Elizabeth Warren? Nancy Pelosi? They all meet the criteria used above, and yet, of course, the obvious answer is no. No, because we see the damage that they, equally, would inflict. “Which pool would you like to drown in?” is not much of a choice, after all.
So we must view the merits of Donald Trump as they stand, independent of who his opponent is. Is this a man who will represent our nation? Is this a man who will represent the pro-life movement? For he will, whether or not we want him to. He will be a millstone tied to the neck of any pro-lifers who support him, and every comment he makes, everything he does, will reflect upon our movement and everything we have worked so long and so hard for.
Single-issue pro-life voters look to record and policy, but, as a businessman and celebrity, he has no recorded votes on the issue, only his word that he has evolved.
His spin team worked overtime this year when he spoke of “punishing” women for abortions. Truly, he speaks on our issue as though he was satirizing what abortion-proponents think pro-lifers believe.
With his sketchy past, uncertain future, clearly documented lies, flip-flops, casual racism, misogyny, and bullying, pro-lifers must carefully weigh the consequences of being associated with Donald Trump.
I have seen in recent days a few pro-life groups announcing their support, and my heart has been broken. Not only is there no good reason to announce support right now (if at all) but there are several good reasons not to.
With Cleveland still to come, and a vocal contingent of the Republican Party working to take it back from this celebrity businessman who at nearly ever turn makes a mockery of what the party has stood for, there is a real possibility that things may yet change.
For a single-issue organization that believes they can afford to look past the vileness of Mr. Trumps behavior and his erratic policies, perhaps announcing support or an endorsement may make sense when it’s before an election, when it feels that there are no other options. But he is not even the official nominee yet, and a lot can happen before November. There is still plenty of time to engage the troops if that becomes necessary, but there is no good reason to come out now with support.
For those of us watching in shame as pro-life leaders (those who stand for women, children, and the disabled) now support a man who funded obamacare, disrespects women, has held abhorrent views on abortion, and still doesn’t have a coherent position on it, and mocks the disabled.
Perhaps the day will come as the election draws nearer that you may find it necessary to support him, having come to the conclusion that you would rather have the devil you don’t know rather than the one you do. But be aware that your support will sully the name of the movement and help cement every false and terrible thing that our oppnenents have ever said about us.
I beg of you, if you must support, at least wait until we know that he is actually the nominee. At least wait to see what kind of running mate he chooses. At least wait until you are certain the movement can survive your decision.
This is a turning point moment, with clear lines to be drawn. For myself I am #nevertrump because I have worked too hard to fight for the weak and marginalized just to have all of that undone by standing behind someone like Donald Trump. And if it sounds like it’s personal, it is. He’s claiming to be one of us, so every terrible and outrageous thing he does and says reflect directly upon our work as long as we continue to provide him cover. He must be denounced, and loudly, if we are to retain our effectiveness, much less our integrity.
We have long talked about the need to change hearts and minds, and this is our Waterloo moment. Throwing our support behind Donald Trump will absolutely change hearts and minds, but not the way we want. If we win the battle but lose the war and our principles in the process, where do we go from here?
Supporting Donald Trump will have serious consequences for the movement, and I only pray we can survive them. And I pray even more that pro-life leaders will have the courage and the conviction to do the right thing. We cannot salvage this election, but we can salvage our movement.