It may seem silly to talk about hope for a culture of life in the wake of the 2008 election. After all, the Register, along with the Catholic bishops, was adamant about the necessity of voting the right to life — but pro-life votes failed to prevail in four state initiatives, and the most pro-abortion president in history was elected.
It might seem like things are bleak and getting bleaker.
The truth is, there are several things we can do to either ensure that this is the first step of a crushing defeat on the one hand, or the beginning of a new victory on the other.
One thing we can do to ensure defeat: become polarized by rage like those who opposed George W. Bush.
When Bush won in the year 2000, his opponents introduced “BDS” — Bush Derangement Syndrome — to the world. They hated him so much, they imagined he was another Hitler, out to turn America into a police state. They wore their rage on buttons and bumper stickers and taught their children to ridicule him.
Four years later, their hatred got them — four more years of Bush, re-elected by a higher margin than the popular Bill Clinton ever got in a presidential election. Americans generally react to attacks on their president by defending their president.
Because of his pro-abortion record, many people campaigned hard against President-elect Barack Obama. Now, our temptation will be to give vent to our worst fears and judgments about the man.
But the truth is, Barack Obama is a civil and decent man with many qualities to recommend him. We can recognize those qualities and celebrate the good he does even while we stay on the lookout for any attempt he might make to undermine the right to life.
He is the first black American elected president and so has accomplished something great and historic. Many, many people will be celebrating his achievement, with good reason. Many of these people are pro-life, but have yet to connect their pro-life convictions to their voting decisions. Many of these people have bracketed abortion in their minds as a difficult subject and could become pro-life if a loving, compassionate voice told them how to help both the mother and the child.
They don’t think of Obama’s positions and politics; they just react to his qualities and feel good about America. If we stand before the great wave of good will that is the Obama victory, shaking our fists and puckering our faces with bitterness, we will find ourselves four years from now in the same place the BDS people found themselves in — with four more years to rue.
We should keep lines of communication with our neighbors open by making it clear to them that we aren’t small-minded or unfair when it comes to the president of the United States. Our president.
Meanwhile, we need to be very busy building on the pro-life majorities that already exist.
That’s where the Register will come in.
In order to convince people of the truth about the right to life and marriage, tell stories that reveal the truth.
Today we know that in an embryo as small as a pinpoint, DNA has already determined whether the child is a boy or girl, how tall she’ll be, and what field position he’ll be best suited for in baseball. Tell people that, but also introduce them to the children who were once frozen embryos set to be killed but whose parents rescued them. Look to the Register for their stories.
Today, many American parents see their children’s faces for the first time in ultrasound photos. Remind your friends and family of that, but also tell the amazing stories of hope from mothers who saved their children from destruction after seeing an ultrasound. We’ll provide you with those, too.
In a way, the election is an opening for us. We never had high hopes for John McCain, who voted to take money from our paychecks and use it to pay scientists to kill embryos. Our hope is in the Holy Spirit, who is far more powerful than the media at getting our message out.
With his help, we can win this. And we must.
Reality is slowly overtaking the abortion debate. Each year, a larger majority of Americans reports to pollsters that they are pro-life. It is only a matter of time before revulsion against abortion will reach a critical mass — a “tipping point,” to use a marketing phrase. At that point, predominant cultural attitudes toward the right to life will swing so far so fast, they will appear to have changed “overnight,” while in reality this respect for life will have been growing incrementally for years.
Read the Register’s campaign of compassionate truth that we will conduct throughout the months and years to come, consistently delivering stories to you that you can use to convince people of the truth. And let’s win.
Next week: the hopeful news about immigrants, minorities and marriage.