Last night I had a dream in which I was trapped in an elevator with one other person, none other than Barack Obama. As best as I can recall, our conversation went as follows:

BO: “Looks like the elevator is stuck. I can’t be stuck in an elevator at a time like this.”

DD: “We could be here for a while. Let me introduce myself since you need no introduction. I write for the National Catholic Register, am a U.S. citizen and live, most of the year, in Canada.”

BO: “Canada’s a great country.”

DD: “Well, we have our problems.”

BO: “Will you be voting in the upcoming election?”

DD: “I hope you don’t think I am a poor citizen, but I am deeply troubled about the candidates’ positions on abortion and am wondering whether I should vote at all.”

BO: “Well, I believe that every responsible citizen should vote. My position on abortion is balanced. I am pro-choice and believe in Roe v. Wade, but if elected, I will bring opposing sides together in an effort to reduce the number of abortions.”

DD: “Personally, I don’t believe in Roe v. Wade. It was an act of ‘raw judicial power.’ If anybody thinks that a woman’s ‘right’ to an abortion is ‘implied in the penumbra of the Constitution,’ that person will believe anything. No wonder that no one saw that ‘right’ for 200 years. It is simply not there.”

BO: “We must honor a Supreme Court decision.”

DD: “Do you honor the Dred Scott decision?”

BO: “That was different and was eventually overturned. Roe v. Wade is still on the books after 35 years.”

DD: “If it hasn’t been overturned, it should be. How can anyone really believe that the U.S. Constitution gives a mother the right to kill her child in the womb and denies that that child has a right to live?”

BO: “Ah, but the fetus in the womb is not a person and therefore has no rights. How long are we going to be stuck here? Hellooooooo ... is anyone up there?”

DD: “Do you think I have a right to live?”

BO: “Don’t be silly. Of course you have a right to live.”

DD: “I’m not being silly. When do you thing I acquired that right? Was it before or after birth?”

BO: “Well, as I have stated before, trying to answer that question is ‘above my pay grade.’”

DD: “But you are running for president of the United States! If knowing when human beings acquire rights is ‘above your pay grade,’ I think you should be trying to figure this out rather than running for the nation’s highest office.”

BO: “What’s wrong with this elevator?”

DD: “I know that politicians are adept at not answering questions. Too much candor can destroy a political career. But let me ask you this: As an Illinois senator, you voted to kill a bill that would have stopped Christ Medical Center and other medical facilities from abandoning live infants from unsuccessful abortions so that they would die of neglect. If you don’t know when human beings acquire human rights, how can you be so sure that an infant outside the womb does not have a right to live? Roe v. Wade did not imply that a woman has a right to a dead baby.”

BO: “I have been misrepresented by right-to-lifers. I don’t believe in infanticide, of course.”

DD: “Nonetheless, as your critics point out, ‘facts are facts.’ How can you deny your own record?”

BO: “Look, abortion is a complex issue. The American people are divided on it. It is contentious, controversial, contorted ...”

DD: “Excuse me; I thought we were talking about infanticide.”

BO: “No, we were talking about abortion.”

DD: “Call me a simpleton, but the abortion issue is simple enough for me — you either have a live or dead baby. That is the rock-bottom reality that makes everything else peripheral, though certainly not unimportant.”

BO: “Ah, finally, thank God, the elevator is moving!”

DD: “At least we won’t be here for 9 months.”

BO: “What do you mean by that?”

DD: “I’m grateful we had this exchange, but I wouldn’t vote for you.”

BO: “Well, that is your choice. That’s what makes democracy in this country so great.”

DD: “But you hope that voters will choose you as their next president. Obviously, you believe that some choices are better than others. I believe that choosing life is better than choosing death.”

BO: “Well, here we are, ground zero and out into the fresh air, and ... to more press conferences. Let me just say as we part company that a great American once spoke of his dream that all people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

DD: “That’s true. That is why a candidate for America’s highest office should be informed about human rights, have integrity, a coherent moral vision, and not think that knowing when human beings acquire human rights is ‘above his pay grade’.”

Donald DeMarco is adjunct

professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.