Monday, March 22, 2010

In (Partial) Defense of Bart Stupak

(For anybody who comes here expecting to read nice family stuff: if the title of the post didn't tell you, this is a political semi-rant. Come back some other time for more of the usual....)

I, as a pro-life conservative (social AND fiscal), am very disappointed by the vote in the House of Representatives passing the so-called "Health Care Bill." I believe a more accurate title would be "Socialized Medicine Bill." But I am also very disappointed by the flood of articles I am seeing which state that passage of this bill indicates that there is no such thing as a "pro-life Democrat."

I was raised by a life-long (Old) Democrat who was also totally pro-life. When it became apparent that the modern Democratic Party had bought into abortion at the platform level, he faced a rough choice. He'd never voted for a Republican and wasn't about to begin, but he couldn't in good conscience vote for a pro-abortion candidate, either. I'm sure that the township clerk was regularly confused -- this was in the days of paper ballots -- by the write-in votes for some Minnick or another. My dad's solution was ingenious; if the Democrat wasn't pro-life, he'd vote for one of his brothers. Now of course, in terms of who won those elections, this was exactly the same as if he hadn't voted at all. But it satisfied both Dad's duty as a citizen AND his conscience.

I happen to believe that Bart Stupak made a mistake in judgment in believing that an Executive Order would prevent this bill from funding abortion. But I think those who are ready to write him off as "not pro-life" are also making a mistake. They forget that the second word in "Pro-Life Democrat" is Democrat. Representative Stupak wanted this bill to pass, badly. (I also disagree with his judgment about whether that is a good thing, but that's another post.) I suspect most of his detractors made the mental error of equating "pro-life" with "conservative." That's like equating "red" with "apple." Yes, many apples are red, but the two categories are only overlapping, not identical.*

Time will certainly tell whether Bart Stupak violated common sense in voting for the "Health Care Bill" on promises of an executive order. But I think in fairness that unless the future proves otherwise,we should believe that it was only common sense that he violated, and not his pro-life principles.

* Funny story for those of you who stuck out the politics -- The parents of one of Roger's boyhood friends took their son to kindergarten round-up. Afterward they were told by concerned school staff that he might be mentally slow; he couldn't tell the tester what color an apple was. The parents laughed their heads off! They ran an apple orchard, and the son wanted to know what kind of apple before he answered. Apple doesn't always equal red.


Anonymous said...

Very well put. I also like the gem at the end!

Miriel said...

Gosh, Mom. I thought that we would be able to keep all of the political divisiveness confined to our EXTENDED family. (Tee hee.)

You're making two points here and only one of them is valid. It's true that there is such a thing as a pro-life Democrat, but in a qualified sense. A pro-life Democrat is a Democrat who departs radically from his party's position on a very important social issue. That's why it is more questionable whether there is such a thing as a pro-life Democratic Congressman, because of the danger that party loyalty will trump dedication to life, but I'm willing to entertain the possibility that you could find someone who identified with the Democratic Party on everything but abortion and would always choose life over party on that issue. Fair enough.

That being said, any sort of vindication of Stupak on those grounds in this particular case won't hold water, and you got me so riled up about it that I wrote a whole post on my OWN blog, so go over there and read what I have to say about the Constitution. My favorite thing!

Love you!