At a recent campaign event, I participated in a conversation that I found quite troubling. A Republican candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner stated, among other things, that he is “pro-life, pro-God, pro-gun…” etc. Upon concluding his remarks, I was introduced to a young lady who was quite upset that the candidate mentioned his pro-life stance. She said that Republicans must drop the abortion issue if they want to succeed in unseating and defeating liberal Democratic opponents. She said that restricting her right to choose an abortion is contradictory to a truly conservative pro-Constitutional stance. If government is to leave us alone, she said, it should not meddle with a woman’s right to choose. She told me that she is a fiscal and a social conservative, but further said that most Republican women, unless they are Evangelicals, are pro-choice. She said the party risks losing their support if conservative members of the party continue to make abortion an election issue.
As I was about to engage her points, which were well conceived and rather persuasive, a gentleman joined our conversation and agreed with her. He said Republicans must put fiscal issues first and avoid discussion of social issues. In other words, if we don’t get our financial house in order, none of the social issues really matter (not a direct quote; rather, my interpretation of his main point). I’ve heard this song before, and I’ve never liked it, for I consider this perspective to be completely backwards.
So what, really, is fundamentally important? Does the accumulation and management of wealth top the list, or is there something even more important than money?
I understand the logic behind the “fiscal first” mentality, and I believe it is well intended. Without a strong economic base and a responsible fiscal policy, our society will ultimately meet its demise. This is, in large part, the burden I carry for our country. Our federal government is grossly negligent in its management of its financial resources. It has constructed an onerous and punitive tax system. It spends far more than it collects. Those whom we have elected to lead, Republicans and Democrats alike, have failed to offer long-term solutions. If we continue down this road, we will surely lose our country.
As much as I agree with the need to elect leaders who will insist upon fiscal responsibility at all levels of government, I do not agree that this is the issue of most importance. America’s social values have evolved over the years, but not for the better. What some call “progress” I call “travesty”. In the United States, it is legal to terminate the life of a child in the womb for any reason. We euphemize abortion by labeling it as “the right to choose”, an issue of “women’s health”. We rationalize it by arguing that it is somehow compassionate to terminate an “accidental” or “unexpected” pregnancy by not bringing an “unwanted” child into the world. What wiser people would have once considered twisted logic has embedded itself into society’s mainstream to the point at which many who once fought to defend the defenseless are abandoning that fight in the interest of the “fiscal first” philosophy.
Even worse, people on both sides of the abortion debate use this issue as a means to divide and conquer their political opponents. Rather than focus on the innocent lives that are taken and the women whose lives are forever impacted by their decision to abort, we instead use these victims of abortion as ammunition in our political battles. Even as I type these words, I am amazed at how cold and callous our society has become.
Is there something more important than money? Yes, of course there is. You are more important than money. I am more important than money. People are more important than money; yes, even that “unwanted” child who is growing and developing in her mother’s womb is more important than money. If we who advocate for life succumb to the temptation to abandon the fight in favor of “fiscal first” we are no better than the abortionist who coldly takes that innocent life with his instruments of death.
I believe very strongly that a society that advocates and celebrates such misguided social principles cannot survive long-term. For that reason, I will continue to support only those candidates for office who advocate for life. Might we lose a few battles along the way? Perhaps. But in advocating for life I believe we will ultimately win the war.