ARLINGTON, VA — Most pro-lifers, leaders and followers, are
politically naïve. Our obvious lack of success is the only proof
of what we need.
Our 45 million Hispanic Americans exercise almost decisive influence
over the shape of immigration law. Our 40 million African Americans
define the parameters of our national conversation about race and helped
elect one of their own as president. Our 40 million senior Americans
have made social security the third rail of American politics — no
one dares touch it. Fewer than six million Jewish Americans (with a
huge assist, to be sure, from millions of Evangelical Christians) have
made unwavering support of Israel almost a precondition of capturing
and holding public office in the United States.
Yet, the 75 to 100 million Americans who consider themselves pro-life
were almost irrelevant in last year’s presidential contest. Nor
can they point to a strong caucus in the Congress. The national media
will label anyone as extremist anyone who opposes abortion in cases
of rape or incest.
The naivete has taken a number of concrete forms.
1. Perhaps most damaging was the initial preoccupation with a Human
Life Amendment. It was a logical response because Roe v. Wade was the
fruit of brazen fiddling with the Constitution by the court established
to protect it. Still, anyone with an ounce of political sense would
have known that constitutional amendments can be achieved only with
overwhelming popular support. Roe v. Wade can be overturned by a bare,
but determined, majority. The Human Life Amendment was a huge waste
of money and political energy.
2. The second worst mistake was to hitch the pro-life wagon to
the fortunes of the Republican Party. This seemed logical, too, because
pro-abortion passion is the very sap of the Democratic tree. The
Republican Party, didn’t you know, has had a pro-life plank
in its platform since 1940.
In 2002, this writer ran as an independent against pro-abortion Republican
Congressman Tom Davis in Virginia. The Democrats had not fielded a
candidate, so I was Davis’ only opponent. During the campaign,
I went out to distribute campaign materials to people attending a pro-life
demonstration. One gentleman holding a fervently pro-life placard asked
me if I was a Republican; when I replied no, he refused to take my
I still wonder if the guy yet understands how the Republican Party
has consistently played pro-lifers for suckers. It will be able to
do so indefinitely so long as pro-lifers validate the Republican premise
that they have no where else to go by voting, in every election, for
the “lesser of two evils.”
3. The third mistake flowed from the second: We pinned our hopes
on a change, by Republican presidents, in the composition of the Supreme
Court. The futility of this approach should have been evident at the
outset. Roe v. Wade was decided by a 7-2 majority. Five members of
the majority were appointed by Republican presidents (Eisenhower and
Nixon); one of the dissenters was appointed by Kennedy.
The pattern continues today. Republican appointees O’Connor,
Kennedy, and Souter all became reliable votes to uphold Roe v.
Wade. Anyone who believes John McCain would have appointed someone willing
to overturn the monstrosity… well, sell that poor soul some
I will be the first to admit that it will be extremely difficult
to bring about a course correction now. The two-party system is deeply
ingrained in our national political culture. Nor do I expect that to
change. Additionally, every voter is understandably reluctant to “waste” his
vote. If Democratic and Republican candidates are on the ballot, voting
for a Constitution Party, Libertarian, or Green candidate cannot be
seen as anything more than a protest vote.
All of this, I believe, leads to an inescapable conclusion. A new
party must emerge to replace either the Republican or the Democratic
Party. Without this, widespread abortion will never be eliminated from
American life. Because the Republicans are the ones who have been playing
us for fools, I nominate them as the party to be replaced.
The barriers appear formidable, but they are largely psychological.
If all Americans who are serious about removing this scandalous stain
on our history were to accept this inescapable conclusion and agree
that the Republican Party must go the way of the Whigs, things could
actually develop fairly rapidly.
We have formidable numbers. If we agree on goals and act in concert,
we will gain momentum and quickly become a force that neither the parties
nor their media allies can ignore.
Let the pro-life revolution begin with the following resolution:
We will never again vote for the lesser of two evils — for that is
always to vote for evil. We will never again vote for a Democratic
or Republican candidate — for both of those parties are party to the
culture of death.
If there are pro-life Republicans who think they deserve our vote,
let them abandon the Republican label and come to us, to build together
with us a genuine party of life. Firm adherence to this resolution
will get the ball rolling — but it still will not be sufficient to
bring victory. We will discuss what else is needed in coming columns.
The Unrepentant Traditionalist is copyright © 2009 by Frank
Creel and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation.
All rights reserved.
Frank Creel, Ph.D., a columnist and author, was an English teacher
in the Peace Corps in Turkey. He is fluent in the Turkish language
and in Arabic script.
See a complete biographical sketch.
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