Moral Quandary

Confessions of a Reluctant Bush Voter

“When you get drafted, you’ll be sorry you voted for Bush,” some co-workers angrily told me after they heard John Kerry was going to concede.

Considering that I’m a thirty-something desk jockey who gets winded walking up the subway stairs, that is a scary thought � particularly for the U.S. military. But I didn’t have the inclination to argue about it or point out that the only draft resolutions brought before Congress recently were sponsored by a Democrat.

The reality is I did vote for Bush, albeit reluctantly. I considered a write-in vote for John McCain (who I believe would make a better President) but ultimately decided it would be a cop-out on my part. A major part of my reasoning � though not the only one – was the Democratic party’s position on abortion.

First, let me clarify that I don’t define the Republicans as a pro-life party. Their policies sometimes show little concern for the poor, the elderly and the disenfranchised. With parents who are senior citizens that rely on some obscenely expensive prescription drugs, the Republicans being in bed with the pharmaceutical industry makes me particularly uncomfortable. And of course the Republican “Rah-Rah for guns and the death penalty” don’t exactly fit on the culture of life bandwagon either.

But John Kerry’s defense of his 100% pro-choice voting record bothered me deeply � especially when he kept invoking his Catholicism. Kerry’s standard line was that he believes life begins at conception but that’s an article of faith he couldn’t impose on other people. Also, when attacking George Bush’s opposition to embryonic stem-cell research (not all stem-cell research as the propaganda machine would have us believe), Kerry insisted that the President was sacrificing science for an extreme right-wing ideology. For me, that’s where the Democrat’s greatest hypocrisy comes in.

My own pro-life beliefs are not a matter of faith; they’re a matter of science. Medical tests that show the human form of a developing fetus are probably the most effective tool the pro-life philosophy has. Also, on the web site of the National Right To Life Committee, they document that a fetus can feel pain by its 12th week. These are scientific realities � not articles of faith – that the Democratic party should acknowledge. But are they doing that?

Founded in 1999, Democrats For Life of America is a group that tries to unify and give a voice to Democratic politicians and voters who are pro-life. These aren’t foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing extremists. They’re people who support Democratic policies on health care and social programs. Based on articles I’ve read about the group, they don’t expect the party to completely change its position on abortion. They would however like some acknowledgment that their views are valid and deserve respect. But the group continues to be ostracized by its own party. The Democratic National Committee wouldn’t even give them a link on their web site.

If John Kerry had shown some willingness to listen to pro-lifers and consider the realities of science that he defends so strongly, I would have considered him more seriously. Unfortunately, he decided to sacrifice science for an extreme left-wing ideology. I don’t expect a Democrat who wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade to get elected to national office. That’s not realistic. But if Democrats are as inclusive and open-minded as they like to think they are, shouldn’t there be room for those who support the unborn? And with the Democrats losing even more Congressional seats in this election, isn’t it possible they’d attract pro-life voters who support the Republican party by default?

There’s a lot of anger among Democrats that Bush won the election. I can understand their feelings and why they voted for Kerry. The truth is, neither the Democrats or Republicans offer a political home where I feel completely comfortable. So if Kerry had won, my attitude would have been “Let’s say a prayer and see where this goes.” Actually, that’s probably an appropriate response now too.