So a couple of weeks ago, John Zmirak wrote a column in which he bitterly denounced those of us who were refusing to vote for Romney as spiritual masturbators. No. Really. That was his dominant image in speaking of “spilling one’s vote upon the ground“. It was a tour de force of angry denunciation of those of us who could not, in conscience, bring ourselves to vote for a GOP candidate who advocated several different grave intrinsic evils, and it deployed character assassination, ad hominem and non sequitur with a kind of artistry that made you sort of admire it the way you admire Triumph of the Will as a cinematic achievement until you remember what it’s saying:
Ya got yer “You are a disgusting narcissist” canard. Ya got yer “spiritual masturbator” image just to add a dash of gross. Ya got yer mathematically illiterate claim that a third party vote is so important it will swing the election and so meaningless that it’s pointless to bother casting it. Ya got yer “If you don’t vote for this baby killing Republican and instead vote for somebody who opposes killing babies, you are voting for a babykiller!” nonsense. You’ve got the totally false claim that if you don’t vote Romney, babies will die that otherwise would not have died (and the blind eye to the very real possibility that voting for Romney would mean that Iranian babies would die who would not otherwise die). But above all, you have this message: GET IN LINE. IGNORE YOUR PRECIOUS CONSCIENCE, YOU MASTURBATING NARCISSIST, AND SUPPORT THE GOP AT ALL COSTS. JOHN ZMIRAK IS VERY ANGRY AT YOU FOR NOT DOING THIS.
How manly it feels, refusing to “compromise.” How satisfying it is to flounce away from the playground with your marbles tight in your whitening hand: “That will show them. I won’t be fooled again by the party that holds out the carrot of Roe v. Wade to make us jackasses pull the cart. I’ll write in Ron Paul. Or Pope Pius IX. Or Eamon de Valera. I won’t compromise—I’m too much of a man for that.”
I felt that way and voted that way in 1996, 2000, and 2004. It helped that I lived in New York State—where any candidate much to the right of Saul Alinsky was already doomed.
But the first year I lived in a “swing state” (New Hampshire) where my vote might actually make a difference to the outcome—to the question of whether the next Supreme Court justice proposed would be a Scalia or a Sotomayor—my fun was over.
It was time to grow up. I actually had to choose between the alternative of doing my (little) best to push back against the gigantic evil that had overwhelmed my country, or toddling off like Onan to spill my vote upon the ground.
Those of you who live in one-party states like New York and California are still free to join my old pal Andrew (and the old me) out on the pavement outside the Dubliner. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling, there flat on your back, and self-satisfaction is foaming, free on tap.
The rest of you, who can actually do something to restore our Constitution and our liberties, I hope you will pretend, for a moment, that 3,300 innocent unborn lives a day might rest on your decision. As they do.
Okay. Duly noted. I thought the argument was rank sophistry then and said as much. He was welcome to do as he thought best with his ballot. He was not welcome to charge those who were obeying their conscience in a way different from him with mortal sin (which masturbation is). His way of voting to limit evil as well as ours has the Church’s approval.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear today but a post from Alternate Universe John Zmirak, who is now telling us “Prolifers Must Stop Being Pawns” and remonstrating with gullible prolifers for selling their birthright for a pot of GOP message, compromising their principles and letting themselves be co-opted, exploited, manipulated and pushed around by the GOP. The sole thread of continuity between the two pieces is that John Zmirak wants prolifers to know how wrong they are and how right he is, with absolutely no acknowledgement of what he said less than a month ago.
The chutzpah is really quite gobsmacking. But I’m glad we finally agree.