Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What I think

I've been asked my thoughts about the election outcome. I don't want to go on at length, but I responded to a post of Amy Welborn in which she quoted Greg Sisk:
And when emboldened pro-choice Democrats move to enact the Freedom of Choice Act that would strip away even the minimal protections currently in place for unborn life (and they will), we should expect that Catholics for Obama will speak forcefully against it and insist that its enactment would undermine the Obama pledge to unify the country. And when pro-choice Democrats seek to repeal the Hyde Amendment and use taxpayer money to finance more abortions (and they will), we should expect that Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec will speak as publicly and vigilantly as they did urging his election to remind President Obama that using the wealth of government to fund the industry of death contradicts the theme of the Obama campaign to move beyond the politics of division.

(Okay, are you all with me through that confusing trail of attributions?) Here's what I had to say.
Something about all this has not been sitting well with me. If we discuss the implications of the election and the “what comes next” with the assumption that the results are a result of rational processes, we risk careening off into unreality.

In my view, the tide of popular enthusiasm of Barack Obama cannot be attributed simply to the media’s bias, voter registration drives and the imbalance of campaign funding. Mark Levin of the National Review Online expresses something we ought to ponder:

“I honestly never thought we’d see such a thing in our country - not yet anyway - but I sense what’s occurring in this election is a recklessness and abandonment of rationality that has preceded the voluntary surrender of liberty and security in other places. I can’t help but observe that even some conservatives are caught in the moment as their attempts at explaining their support for Barack Obama are unpersuasive and even illogical. And the pull appears to be rather strong.”

The rationalizations of “Catholics for Obama” that at some level Obama was the preferable “pro-life” candidate are a sterling example of the victory of wishful rationalization over reasoning. In Barack Obama’s own words:

“With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women’s fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”

If prominent Catholics not only supported Obama but went as far as to begin political organizations based on such fatuous foundations in the face of the avalanche of evidence that was available, how can we expect that rational accountability and re-evaluation will ever take place? If we are dealing with elements that are (dare I say it) delusional, it is equally delusional to expect them to play by the rules of the Rational Game.

I don’t mind making logical arguments in the public forum. I just think it’s a misguided use of resources to expect that they will have much impact. Amy, I don’t know anyone who was directly influenced by Catholics for Obama, but they didn’t need to be. The tide sweeping the U.S. (of which Cs for O is a symptom, not a cause) picked them up and carried them off just fine.

So what do we do now? I’m feisty and I’m not just going to sit here. And, figuratively speaking, I can see Russia from my house.


kc bob said...

A few realities about the elction:

1) President Bush alienated many of the people who voted him in. We all voted for a compassionate conservative and what we got didn't resemble either.

2) Conservatives splintered in the primary elections and a nominated a moderate that most conservative talking heads did not like.

3) McCain ran a bad campaign and made some bad choices.

IMO I think that the mandate that conservatives now have is to look to 2012 and somehow coalesce around one candidate that we can fully support.



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"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

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