… a partial accounting. Others may come to a different course of action after praying and thinking on it, of course. This is my omnibus pre-election post, subject to updates as needed.
UPDATED 10 October 2012
The final straw
I already sat-out the GOP presidential primary due to my deep moral ambivalence about Mittley and each and every one of his primary challengers. The final straw?
Mitt Romney, while heading investment firm Bain Capital, chose to invest with a company called Stericycle; he chose to profit from the disposal of the bodies of victims of the present-day abortion Holocaust, according to a well-sourced piece done by the leftist publication Mother Jones! Hideous. Words fail.
My vote changes me
Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It has generally excellent political commentary, and has had a great influence on my own conclusions. It was his post that originally alerted me to this story. As Shea frequently reminds us, the votes we cast may not change the outcome of an election, but they do change/mark us, and I don’t want the mark of that vote on my soul.
Since my (California) vote would be subsumed into the Democrat mass/mess anyway, withholding it has no real effect on the election (read-up on the electoral college if you don’t understand what I mean), but even if it did, even if my refusal to vote actually contributed to re-electing Obama — a man whose policies I loathe intensely and of which I fear the result — I would still never, ever, ever cast a single vote for a man who chose to profit from the disposal of the bodies of victims of the present-day abortion Holocaust! How is that any better than voting for an abortion supporter?! It is not good enough that Romney is not Obama or that he is of the GOP!
Some have frantically attempted to rehabilitate the GOP candidate, but their arguments are unconvincing for a number of reasons, including:
- LifeNews simply takes Bain’s word for when Romney left the company, even though the Mother Jones piece clearly cites SEC filings with Romney’s signature that prove otherwise, and the millions of shares Romney continued to hold in Bain. Mother Jones reports, with hyperlinks to the filings:
The document also states that Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder” of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm’s stock—the largest bloc among the firm’s owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.
But the document Romney signed related to the Stericycle deal did identify him as a participant in that particular deal and the person in charge of several Bain entities. (Did Bain and Romney file a document with the SEC that was not accurate?) Moreover, in 1999, Bain and Romney both described his departure from Bain not as a resignation and far from absolute. On February 12, 1999, the Boston Herald reported, “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.” And a Bain press release issued on July 19, 1999, noted that Romney was “currently on a part-time leave of absence”—and quoted Romney speaking for Bain Capital. In 2001 and 2002, Romney filed Massachusetts state disclosure forms noting he was the 100 percent owner of Bain Capital NY, Inc.—a Bain outfit that was incorporated in Delaware on April 13, 1999—two months after Romney’s supposed retirement from the firm. A May 2001 filing with the SEC identified Romney as “a member of the Management Committee” of two Bain entities. And in 2007, the Washington Post reported that R. Bradford Malt, a Bain lawyer, said Romney took a “leave of absence” when he assumed the Olympics post and retained sole ownership of the firm for two more years.
- Similarly, LifeNews simply assumes that Stericycle did not begin burning babies’ bodies until pro-lifers began protesting it, when it is very likely that it had been happening without public notice and therefore protest for years. At a minimum, LifeNews fails to show when the odious practice did begin, ony noting the date of the first piece of pro-life documentation.
- LifeNews simply writes-off the reporting done by Mother Jones because it is a leftist publication with an obvious interest in buttressing Obama. The way to undermine a hostile piece of reporting is to convincingly dissect its flaws. LifeNews failed fully.
- Most importantly, Romney apologetics fail because he himself continues to add to his anti-life record even now, proving that he is not pro-life, regardless of his claims!
Romney’s current anti-life record
In the ads from both the Obama campaign and Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund, Romney is accused of favoring a complete ban on abortion in all circumstances.
He actually supports exceptions in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened.
The Romney campaign has termed the ads “viciously negative and false” — and nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from “disastrous” economic news. But the ads do contain quotes from Romney himself, vowing to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. The candidate apparently stands by that pledge.
Ever-weaker candidates and third-party?
Finally, I have two general observations borne-out by the current presidential campaign.
- As committed pro-lifers have been forced year after year to vote for the one pro-life candidate in the race (if we are blessed to have even one!), disregarding his competence in any other area — that is, that we are forced to be one-issue voters — the general candidate pool is weakening, therefore weakening the entire system. Now, we can’t even scrape a genuinely pro-life candidate out of the GOP barrel, let alone one whom we can choose also based on strong positions on the economy or foreign policy, for example. If we keep selling our vote cheaply to the poor GOP candidates, whoever they are, this will continue and worsen. It is time for us to simply say “No, I will not run just because you ring your bell. I will sooner not vote than vote for you!” If enough of us do this, the message may get through. Or maybe not…
- Some have responded to the paucity of pro-life candidates in the GOP by voting third-party, either out of conviction or to “send a message” to the GOP. The problem is that our current political system simply kills third-parties; they have not and cannot succeed in our environment. So, perhaps a third-party’s convictions are laudable, but to vote third-party is an exercise in futility at a time that calls for action — often action well-beyond politics. And, if we’re voting that way to “send a message” to the GOP, I would argue that this very message has been sent for years now by many part-time third-party voters — and it is not being received! We are getting worse and worse candidate offerings from the GOP. So, I’m not going to waste my time finding the “perfect” third-party candidate who cannot ever win and who will send a message that the GOP will not receive!
The responses I’ve seen to my post/this line of thinking expressed by others lead me to post some more thoughts:
1. The difference between holding one’s nose to vote for a Dole or a Bush or a McCain and holding one’s nose to vote for Romney is that: a) to the best of my knowledge, no prior GOP presidential nominee in recent memory has personally profited/sought to profit from abortion — while claiming to be pro-life, no less! Romney’s business and political fundraising decisions, however, show him doing this very thing. And, b) as far as I’ve seen, Romney has been completely unwilling to even acknowledge his odious Bain decision, let alone offer any sort of apology, sincere or otherwise. Similarly, I’m unaware that he’s apologized for the fundraiser, given back the money, or donated it to charity. If he had, this would be a different story. This level of deliberation and recalcitrance in support of the culture of death is unprecedented in GOP presidential politics and deserves our condemnation, not our support.
2. I’ve seen no real attempt to respond to the specific arguments I’ve made in this post and others have made elsewhere. The sum-total of the defense of Romney seems to be that demonstrable facts are somehow wrong and that “he’s not Obama, and if you don’t vote for Romney, you’re supporting Obama’s evil/Marxism/etc.” Since when do the ends justify the means?! How do we show that being anti-life is gravely wrong by helping put into office a “less anti-life” candidate (whatever that means)?! Perhaps it’s time to deny our votes to a man who continues to do evil unapologetically — even if it looks like we’re bound to lose still more in an earthly perspective! — and then see how God responds! Is this not a more fitting way to show our fidelity to and trust in a God of Justice?
3. If I’ve decided to show my fidelity to and trust in God by sitting this one out, what am I doing? What’s the alternative? I’ve written a number of ideas in my post about persecution. In regards to this election, specifically, however, I would argue that what a Christian might best do is make reparation.
Some of the most proven fruitful ways of doing this are genuine, approved Marian devotions (all of the good fruit some have obtained by returning to the Church’s sacraments at Medjugorje, without that place’s poisonous “fruits” of disobedience and division!), such as those requested by Our Lady when she appeared to the children at Fatima, specifically the simple prayers she taught to the children, accompanied by willingly accepting and offering-up the little sacrifices that come into our lives each day, much like St. Therese’s “Little Way.”
This is all rather neatly bound together in St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the way of many saints and popes. (33 Days to Morning Glory is an excellent enhanced preparation for the Total Consecration that I am presently reading. It distills de Montfort’s insights, as well as those of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed John Paul II.) Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Bl. Francisco and Bl. Jacinta, pray for us. Sr. Lucia of Jesus, pray for us. St. Therese, pray for us. St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us. Bl. John Paul II, pray for us.
So, yes, there is plenty we can do besides sit it out. 🙂
Psalm 146 turned-up in the daily Mass readings not too long ago (emphasis mine); it tells us where to put our trust (“LORD” is repeated 11 times, by my count!) and where not to place it (“princes”):
1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! 2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; 8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
It is clear to me that Mitt Romney will do absolutely nothing to address abortion (or other threats to life and family) in office — and may in fact “go along to get along.” Even in front of a friendly audience, he refused even to simply state that he would undo the odious HHS mandate that is violating our religious freedom. (In fact, his “RomneyCare” set a precedent of forcing Catholic hospitals to violate the Faith!) Further, we see that advancing the Culture of Life does not even rate a tiny spot on his agenda! Ask yourself: If you truly believe that abortion is taking millions of innocent lives and maiming hundreds of thousands of mothers each year in this country, would you not — on day one in office! — try to limit abortion in any legal way available to you — to save the lives you can! — and make it a key item on your agenda? Does anyone really believe that Romney will do anything like this (any more than the Bushes generally did)? Or, does it seem more likely that he will only support life/oppose death when it advances, or at least does no harm, to his real priorities?! Romney remains a poor prudential vote for pro-lifers!