I confess that my fellow Crux contributor, Charles Camosy, lost me at the headline of his recent piece. But I’ll always read Camosy, in no small part in gratitude for his attempts to get Democrats to hear the agony that a culture of death has wreaked on American lives.
So I was open to the possibility that he might even offer a compelling argument about voting for Hillary Clinton for president, even if I was skeptical as I clicked through to his piece.
And let me put all my cards on the table up front: I’m not voting for her, and I’m not voting for him either.
I spent two weeks in Florida in October and heard Catholic Floridian after Catholic Floridian say one after another “Supreme Court” as really their only reason to vote for Donald Trump. I get it. I don’t agree with it, because I don’t trust him and I don’t trust that he will have the political capital – the votes – or desire in his “Art of the Deal” ways to deliver on the promises pro-life advocates insisted on.
I also have no real confidence that Mike Pence will have the power in the administration that some hope he does. I don’t know Donald Trump’s heart, but we do have enough experience with the man. But again, I get it and there’s something there.
By contrast, I don’t really understand when it comes to choosing to vote for Clinton. Living with her winning and accepting the consequences – and people of faith need to finally wake up to the reality of secular liberalism that wants you to change your views if you believe that abortion is not healthcare and freedom, and marriage is for a man and a woman, and gender is not fluid and reversible – is not the same as taking the action of voting for her.
(I say that as someone who has heard plenty of people tell me my refusal to vote for Trump is the same as voting for Clinton, which I disagree with for a similar reason.)
Camosy quotes the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith and then the U.S. bishops. The latter in “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” explained that there “may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.”
But to take that to mean that Hillary Clinton is acceptable seems to ignore the candidate, the vice presidential candidate, and their platform.
I’m someone who said more than once in conversation that if Joe Biden wound up the Democratic presidential candidate, I’d consider voting for him if Trump were the alternative. My reason? Chiefly that, according to reports, he was among people in the administration who protested the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, contraception, female sterilization mandate that forced the Little Sisters of the Poor to become plaintiffs in a fight for conscience rights.
“Why pick this fight?” was his instinct. You can run a book by me of reasons not to vote for him in good conscience that I’d agree with – and in the end I’m not sure I actually would vote for him, but it’s all hypothetical anyway as we face Tuesday.
But the point is that I’m open to an opening. But Hillary Clinton has given no opening, no olive branch. It’s perplexing, on one hand. Illuminating, on another. This election she’s doubled down on the party’s radical abortion agenda.
It’s tragic, as far as I’m concerned, when she could be the first woman to be U.S. president. It’s tragic when it could be otherwise. (And it would be good politics in a country that is more “pro-life” than it is wedded to legal abortion, as Marist and other polling has consistently made clear over the last decade.)
It’s tragic that a saint — Mother Teresa, before the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994 — gave her better advice, another way, and a rude awakening to the danger of abortion in the national bloodstream.
I know that I cannot in good conscience vote for either candidate, and I respect others’ freedom to come to different conclusions. And while I find the argument for Trump unconvincing, I find the argument for Hillary implausible, not without ignoring her platform, words, and advocacy.
That said, I think Camosy and I are largely on the same page, with many of our fellow Americans — this is a lousy election with no good choices. And I agree entirely with his conclusion: “Catholics cannot ‘win’ this election.” There is no cause for celebration whoever wins on Tuesday.
He continued: “The fact that both major candidates are horrifically flawed may serve as a good reminder of where, as Catholics, our true loyalties should lie. We are a pilgrim Church on a journey to a Kingdom that is not of this world. We need to be in solidarity with each other as fellow pilgrims — for what binds us together is far more important than what divides.”
Indeed. We were reminded at Mass on Friday by St. Paul that our citizenship is in heaven. We should bear that in mind on Tuesday. Pray for the country. Before and after Election Day. The most important thing we can take away from this election may be: Repentance.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has made the observation that had you asked him which political party would become the party of legal abortion, he would have never guessed it would have been the Democrats. There were simply too many Catholics in it.
And yet, whether you believe Donald Trump is committed to pro-life leadership or not (including the possibility, unlikely though I find it, that Pence will have influence over strategic appointments on that front), you know where Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are.
Catholics have contributed to current circumstances. Let’s live differently. Let’s vote differently. Let’s lead something better. I totally agree with Camosy on that longer-term campaign, on the race for eternity.