The New York Times has posted some letters in response to a recent op-ed column about abortion politics. In the op-ed piece, Ross Douthat quotes Christine Whitman as saying that the Republican party lost in the 2008 elections because “the party was taken hostage by ‘social fundamentalists,’ the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion.” Mr Douthat goes on to summarize that and similar comments by others: “The message is clear: If the Republican Party would only jettison its position on abortion, it would be back on its feet in no time.”
I take note of, and issue with, one of the responding letters in particular, from one Michael J. Burke:
To the Editor:
I have been forced to vote twice for George W. Bush and once for John McCain precisely for the reasons expressed by Ross Douthat in his Dec. 7 Op-Ed article.
The dismissal of my concerns, even by so-called pro-life Democrats (my natural place as a voter) who have given in to the radical, and I would say rabid, demand for “freedom” (in truth, license), has left me no alternative, even before such an impressive figure as Barack Obama.
However much I knew my vote was for the incompetent candidate all three times, I would subject this country to that rather than allow such distortion to stand. As a Roman Catholic, I despair for a court that has so obviously passed judgment on itself.
It is only political force that will, as it did with slavery, break a failure in reason, law and civility.
Michael J. Burke
Stoneham, Mass., Dec. 8, 2008
Mr Burke finds President Obama to be exceptionally “impressive”, and clearly competent and worthy of the presidency. He implies that he agrees with Mr Obama and the Democratic Party on many issues. Perhaps on most, in fact. Perhaps, even, on all but one.
And yet, for that one issue he has been “forced” to vote for “the incompetent candidate”, openly saying that he “would subject this country” to an incompetent president in order to make his one anti-abortion statement.
To an incompetent president who has trashed the country’s economy. To an incompetent president who has trashed the country’s international reputation as a peaceful consensus-builder. One who has done his best to abandon science and trash scientific and medical research. One who has set aside environmental concerns. One who has sidestepped the Constitution and the law, and has consistently abused his power. One who has supported the executions of hundreds of Americans, has lied to get approval to invade another country, has engaged us in a war that’s resulted in the deaths of thousands of our soldiers and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, has taken political prisoners and presided over their torture. One who has illegally intercepted Americans’ phone calls and lied when confronted with evidence of the program.
I could go on, but I think the point is clear.
Mr Burke knowingly and willingly made himself part of subjecting our country to all that and more — no, no one “forced” him — in order to make a statement about “saving” fetuses.
And he has the appalling crust to compare it with the fight against slavery.
This makes me sick.