Tuesday night at the Vice-Presidential debate, Tim Kaine uttered what has become somewhat vogue in politics: “I am personally opposed to abortion, but…” This is almost always followed by an explanation of how the politician cannot impose his personal views on others. Isn’t that what politics is supposed to be about? Don’t we send people inside the Beltway to right a wrong, correct an injustice, or make a difference based on who they are or what they believe?
Imagine this quote from a politician: “I am personally opposed to guns and gun violence, but the Second Amendment is the law of the land, and it wouldn’t be right for me to impose my personal views on others.” Certainly, the Second Amendment is “settled law,” yet there is no end to attacks upon it by the anti-gun lobby and those politicians who have a financial and/or political benefit to weakening it.
And then this imaginary quote from before January 31, 1865: “I am personally opposed to slavery, but it is legal in the United States, and others shouldn’t be forced to adhere to my personal, moral views.” Thankfully, there were men and women with courage and moral fortitude who were willing to fight a difficult and prolonged battle to stop the subjugation of our brothers and sisters.
This post isn’t about abortion per se, for I’ve already written about that here, where I shared the story of our first pregnancy. What this post is about is our own inconsistencies as voters in what we demand from our candidates, and the pass we give in allowing our politicians to espouse a private code while publicly acting against it.
Tim Kaine went on to say his biggest struggle between his “religion” and his public life was the death penalty! Considering the highly adjudicated process of requiring the life of a heinous criminal, Mr Kaine finds that more problematic than taking an innocent life?
I’ve asked myself why someone would be “personally” opposed to abortion… Over and over, I cannot come up with any explanation other than a recognition it is an innocent life. If it’s not an innocent life, then it’s just a medical procedure that nobody could or should oppose, like the removal of a polyp or a mole.
If a candidate says they have a moral standard, they should stand on what they know to be true! We should not allow them to seek cover for inaction while hiding behind their “religion.” It is duplicitous and guileful. And we accept it as normal. Too often, our politicians acknowledge a moral stand with their lips, but deny it with their voting record. To borrow from Brennan Manning, it’s what an unbelieving electorate simply finds unbelievable.