Election 2016: Skip the Top and Look Further Down the Ballot

Election 2016: Skip the Top and Look Further Down the Ballot August 4, 2016

Photo Source: Pixabay, cco Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/presidential-election-usa-politics-1336480/
Photo Source: Pixabay, cco Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/presidential-election-usa-politics-1336480/

Warning: This post is not for children.


This is one of those times I don’t care what people call me. If what I’m about to write offends you, and you want to call me names for it, do your worst. Somebody needs to say this.

Publications and organizations who, in the public mind, speak for Christ, need to be very careful about endorsing monsters. This year’s presidential campaign has not given us a choice between black and white, or even between dark gray and lighter gray. It has given us a choice between shades of black.

If you are a person who votes based on your Christian values, then you do not have a candidate in this presidential campaign. Since we are Americans, we need to vote. But we should avoid creating faux versions of the people we are voting for in order to ease our cognitive dissonance about the political situation in front of us.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time dissecting the problems with the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees, for the simple reason that they are not trying to lie about where they stand. They state their pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage viewpoints, and there is no reason to doubt, particularly in the case of Secretary Clinton, that she means ever single word of it.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of our major problems in the political fight for the sanctity of human life. Their politicians mean it. They are dedicated to “saving Roe,” and most of them believe right down to the ground that they are “saving women’s lives” with their political activities.

Many of our politicians, on the other hand, just signed a dealio promising to be pro life because that is a requirement for them to get elected. Their commitment to our cause would change the moment their political party let them off the pro-life hook.

I’m not guessing about this. I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it in my daily life for 18 years as an elected office-holder, and in the years before that when I was the Oklahoma Director for NARAL.

That, more than any other single thing, is why the babies lose behind closed doors. It’s why our issues are always set aside for “more important” issues concerning whatever the tom fool the corporations want today. It’s why pro life advocates do not push for legislation concerning embryonic stem cell research; because the corporations don’t want it. Again, I’m not just blowing smoke here. I know these things.

On top of that, this year we are faced with a presidential campaign that does not give us a pro-life candidate to back. There is no legitimate pro-life voice in this campaign. Let me say that again for those who don’t want to hear it: There is no legitimate pro-life voice in this campaign.

A number of pro life advocates have latched onto Mr Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, as their great hope. I’ve even read a few publications, building up his “Catholic” witness.

I’ve got what might be called a liability when it comes to that sort of political knee bending. I have a memory. I can remember all the way back to last year when Governor Mike Pence sold us out by deep-sixing Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.

I remember when Governor Mike Pence announced that he’d signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. According to IndyStar, the law prohibited “state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the acton is the least restrictive means of achieving it.”

If he’d had the guts to stick with his action, I’d be writing an entirely different assessment of him today.

This bill is not about discrimination,” he said when he signed the bill with religious people in their full religious garb standing beside him for the photo op. In fact, he went on for a while, making all sorts of sanctimonious pronouncements.

Then, the money changers came calling, and Governor Pence did what his true bosses told him to do. He signed a second bill which gutted the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.

There are a lot of names for politicians who crawfish like that, but courageous, honest and sincere are not among them. Neither is a description of a genuine fighter for family and the sanctity of human life.

At the same time, I have an adequate short-term memory. I’ve read that the nefarious internal DNC emails show that top-ranking Dems met with those who want to destroy our religious freedoms and — get this — brain-stormed with them on how to do it.

It is a legitimate position for traditional Christians to say that Governor Pence might be a weak-kneed, untrustworthy and two-faced advocate who has shown that he will deal us away; that we can’t trust him or rely on him and that he will probably do us in behind closed doors, BUT we at least have some hold on him, and at least he’s not out to get us. That would be a truth-based assessment of our situation.

It is also the reality of the choice in front of us. I don’t know, but I believe that Mr Trump chose Governor Pence as his running mate precisely because the corporatists who run both political parties trusted Governor Pence to do their bidding.

I think Governor Pence “earned” the vice-presidency with his willingness to betray us over the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. He demonstrated, in a most public way, that he was the corporatist’s boy.

Secretary Clinton had achieved (a dubious achievement in my book) a realignment of corporate money, with a good bit of it, including $ from the Koch Brothers, going into Democratic coffers. And Governor Pence had demonstrated, in a most public way, that he was the corporatist’s boy.

Again, I don’t know, but I think he got where is for betraying us.

Now, let’s talk about the presidential nominees themselves. Again, I’m going to make short work of Secretary Clinton for the simple reason that nothing is in dispute. She is a pro abortion stalwart. When her husband was president, he helped pass the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act that her own party has been working behind the scenes to destroy.

What would she do as president? How would her Democratic party shape up on the issue of religious freedom? I honestly don’t know. I don’t think she’s out to get us the way President Obama has been. But she’s a political realist. If the party pressure is strong enough, she might turn and attack religious freedom as her predecessor has.

Mr Trump is not pro life. He has filled out a questionnaire from a major pro-life advocacy group in which he said all the right things. And he switched from being “very choice” to newly-minted pro life.

Now, I’m not saying that people don’t convert on this issue. I’m an example of that myself. But Mr Trump didn’t “evolve” (his word) on the issue until he was in the middle of this presidential campaign and realized that being pro choice was standing in the way of his winning the Republican nomination for president.

I paid a dear price for converting. My own party came within 50 votes of censuring me over it. Mr Trump switched when it was politically necessary and he did so in order to gain the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

He’s not pro life.

He’s also not pro family. I’m a little aghast that voters who support family values can go in the tank for a man who has been married three times, each wife looking like the last, and increasingly younger than him.

I’m flat-out disgusted that anyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ can support a man who talks about women like they are dirt, calling them pigs. But, for us to support a man who repeatedly jokes about having sex with his daughter? How can anyone support that?

Mr Trump has repeatedly made comments to the effect that his daughter, Ivanka, has a “great body” and if she wasn’t his daughter, he’d “date” her. If you can’t figure this out, let me clue you in: Normal men don’t make jokes like that. In fact, normal men would be inclined to punch other men in the face for saying things like that about their daughters.

Then, let’s talk about Mr Trump’s wife, our potential First Lady. Mrs Trump is a former model who has posed nude in a sex scene with another woman. I am not going to link to this article because the photos are pornographic.

According to interviews with GQ, Mr Trump was “eager” for his wife  (who was his girlfriend at the time) to appear in a yet another porno shoot for their magazine. Mr Trump evidently went so far as to allow the magazine to use his own jet as a backdrop for the photo shoot.

I thought about saying that Mr Trump has the personal morals of an alley cat, but that truly does insult alley cats. He jokes about sex with his own daughter, encourages his wife to appear in a pornographic photo shoot, has been married three times, and is pro life for political reasons only.

I’m going to repeat something I said earlier in this post. Those who, in the public mind, speak for Christians, Christianity and even Jesus Christ Himself, need to be very careful about endorsing monsters. They will end up besmirching the name of Christ.

Traditional Christians do not have a candidate in this year’s presidential election. But we are Americans, and we must vote. I think there are legitimate judgements that we can make that could lead us to casting a vote, but we have to do this with our eyes open and without lying to ourselves.

Do not lie to yourself and try to turn these straw men candidates into pro life, pro family pro religious freedom gold. Do not demonize them, and do not deify them. To use a slogan from Alcoholics Anonymous, accept reality on reality’s terms.

I don’t endorse candidates with my writing. That is not why I write. I want to make it as clear as I can that I am absolutely not endorsing anyone in this race.

I think we need to vote as best we can, but with the full knowledge that we’re going to have to watch whoever wins and be prepared to fight them for what we believe. We also need to look further down the ticket for our pro life, pro family, pro religious freedom leaders. Because there are none at the top.


Note: I ended up linking to the GQ photos of Mrs Trump, which are the ones Mr Trump evidently solicited the magazine to take. They are the least pornographic of the lot, and do not feature Mrs Trump in sexual behavior with another woman as some of the other photos do. I apologize but it was evidently necessary to let people seem at least a bit of this. If you want to avoid seeing this smut, don’t click on the link “another porno shoot.”

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26 responses to “Election 2016: Skip the Top and Look Further Down the Ballot”

  1. Glad to have you back in the fray. I continue to pray for your health. Mike Allen was asking about you just last night.

    I value your opinion more than any other commenter on this issue.

    I’ve strongly considered voting for a smaller third party (like the American Solidarity Party) rather than leaving the vote space empty. I’ve felt that this would be a stronger protest than simply leaving it blank. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Good to read your thoughts, Rebecca. I agree with your assessment and count myself lucky to live in a solid red state. Anyone in a non- swing state can evade the presidential ballot. If Hillary takes Texas, it means she’s run the table and, again, my vote gets swamped in the tide.

    No matter who is in the White House, we need a Congress ready to check that person. We need solid state governments that stand up to the feds.

    Bless you.

  3. I’m in the same red state boat Ken. There’s a certain freedom in that which those in swing states don’t have. I agree with your thoughts. We’re in a fight, going forward.

  4. That’s what my husband is going to do, and I may, as well. My daughter-in-law is talking about a write-in vote, but, as I told her, that would invalidate her ballot, and we need votes further down the ticket. It’s great to hear from you, btw.

  5. Been wondering what you are thinking 🙂

    Thank you for pointing out there is no pro-life candidate. I have heard people say that they are voting for Trump because he “said” that he will appoint pro-life Supreme Court judges. It kills me that anyone believes anything this guys says.

  6. There’s more. It’s not just domestic religious freedom that is at state, but international as well. Under Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, the Office for International Religious Freedom (OIRF, this office was established by the International Religious Freedom Act, or IRFA signed by her husband) was gutted and reduced to a skeleton staff. An almost comically inexperienced Ambassador at Large for IRF (also established by IRFA) was appointed and made even more ineffective by giving her zero access to or support from Secretary of State Clinton or her staff. She couldn’t get rid of OIRF or the Ambassador position, but her administration did everything they could to neuter it. International religious freedom was deep sixed as a priority in favor of the aggressive promotion of LGBTQ rights around the world. Under Kerry, in contrast, a FANTASTIC ambassador has been appointed who has direct access to the Secretary of State and his staff, OIRF’s budget has been restored, they have wonderful staff and are able to actually go on fact finding visits. Between the two candidates at hand I see little hope to be optimistic for our work on international religious freedom. We know Clinton’s record and approach. Trump on the other hand talks (maybe seriously, maybe not) about banning Muslims from entering the US and/or banning refugees from ‘terrorist countries’ (many of those refugees are Christians fleeing persecution) – both policies would seriously undermine our ability to criticize other countries on their religious freedom records. Trump has shown already that his handle on foreign policy is shaky (and his friendship with Putin, who just signed into effect a law that has a chilling effect on religious freedom in Russia, is worrying) – and no one I know in the Christian international religious freedom world thinks he will be any better than Clinton on this issue. We are all preparing ourselves for at least 4 years in the desert when it comes to international religious freedom. It’s incredibly discouraging. (By the way, it’s good to have you back – I was just thinking about you yesterday and googling some of your recent articles).

  7. Amen! That has been my plan (as it was in the last presidential election). I try not to talk about my presidential candidate choices with family or friends (other than my husband) as I get tired of the, “if you vote for a third party candidate, you are really putting a vote in X’s ballet box.” My response is that I cannot, in good conscience, vote for the two main party candidates so I found one that I could vote for and still feel like I could go to mass and receive Jesus.

  8. Likewise in a red state, and the best thing about Trump choosing Pence, although I may be wrong about this but I think I’m right, is that it removes him from our governor’s office. I’ll be writing in Mike Maturen for president. American Solidarity Party. And the Democratic nominee for Senator resigned and was replaced by Evan Bayh, so we definitely need to get out the pro-life people to vote against him. It’s going to be a long fall.

  9. You tell it like it is, Rebecca, as always. Personally I don’t remember an election since I was old enough to vote that has had 2 candidates that personality wise are so completely different. But I will vote for the one I feel should be in office. I most certainly won’t pass up my right to vote. Glad to see you posting!!!! 🙂

  10. i have friends in oklahoma – for you to vote pro-life is no political act of courage…the party elites may have not liked it, but the people who vote were probably very pleased.

    Why the need to present yourself as victim?

  11. So glad I saw this in my news feed. Welcome back Rebecca–glad you are feeling better. Your reasoned and experienced voice is much needed these days–love how you turn a phrase! This is the first national election that both my children can vote and I am beyond sad for their generation. I know he’s not Prolife but I greatly admire how Bernie encouraged so many young people to get involved–appeals to my middle aged Deadhead sensibilities. I am grateful to learn here of the American Solidarity Party and hope folks make sure their state will count write-ins. Prayers for your healing, our nation and all the great posters here that I’ve missed. Cheers!

  12. I see you are back at your game of removing any and all comments that challenge you…feeding your insatiable ego with the allowed gushing, obsequious ones… a rather unseemly and chicken-hearted quality you have.

  13. I deleted this at first, then went back and retrieved it. I’ve been through a lot in the past few months. To be honest, I feel about a hundred years older than I did at this time last year. I’m not going to be as tolerant of rudeness as I was in the past. It’s too hard on me, dealing with it.

    As for me not getting to your other comment as quickly as you wanted, it happens. I sometimes do other things besides monitor this blog.

    Learn to behave like a nice person, or you won’t comment here.

  14. Congratulations on having friends in Oklahoma. Anyone should be proud of that!

    I was first elected in 1980 as a pro choice candidate and the former director of Oklahoma NARAL. When I had my first child, I left office to stay home and raise my family. Sixteen years later, and after I’d experienced a profound conversion to Christ, I ran for the same office, in the same district, as a pro life Catholic. The same constituents elected me both times.

    So no, I don’t think my stand on this issue made a lot of difference to them.

    As for me claiming to be a victim: Not at all. The Oklahoma Democratic Party did come within 50 votes of censuring me for passing a pro life bill over the Democratic governor’s veto. I also was picketed, had party regulars try to defeat me in an election and got called quite a few names on Democratic web sites. All this is established and verifiable fact. The photo at the top of Public Catholic was taken of people who were picketing me for pass pro life legislation. They also had quite a few ugly things they shouted.

    But, a victim? Nope. It was a privilege and an honor for someone with my past to be able to go through a bit of trouble on behalf of unborn children. It hurt, I would never deny that. But it also healed me of the intense grief I felt once I fully realized the horrible thing I had done. I felt then and feel now that it was a terrible gift; an extra measure of forgiveness I did not deserve.

  15. I have decided to start over. I am likely voting ConstitutionParty.com again this year, but am actively working to get the American Solidarity Party on the ballot as the only Consistent Ethic Of Life Choice I can find.

  16. A few questions:
    – Does “Pro-Choice” always mean “Pro-Abortion”
    – Does criminalizing abortion stop abortions?
    – what “religious liberties” have you personally lost?

  17. I would add that even though its a moot point at this stage of the presidential race, at some point during this election season we had the choice of a considerably lighter shade of gray.

    There are a couple of articles written by some of your Patheos Catholic colleagues talking about the role and significance of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Arthur Rosman wrote the following article about his recent visit to the Vatican: “BREAKING: Prepared Statement by Bernie Sanders for Vatican Conference is an Accurate Reading of CST“, while Mark Shea references an essay that addresses many of the issues you’ve brought up, and in addition where Sander’s campaign fit in the overall picture: “A perceptive essay by Tony Annett

    Yet, despite this, reactions from Christians have been muted, especially when compared to all the other candidates. Christians often express the desire for candidates that best represent their values, but I often wonder, will they be able to recognize them if they see them?

    Generally speaking, we’ve all become so wrapped up in labels associated with identity politics and culture wars that we’ve become dismissive of real values and substance.

    I think more than anything, for Christians, especially Catholics, this was a missed opportunity. Even if they didn’t directly endorse Sanders’ candidacy, they could’ve used this chance to put Catholic social teaching front and center, with an audience of millions, mostly young people.

    Do you like Bernie’s message of social, economic and environmental justice? Well, the Church has been saying that for even longer; maybe you should check out Laudato Si.

    At least when it comes to the relevance of Catholic teachings within the overall society, it could’ve pushed the conversation beyond issues related to sex.

  18. Just fyi – I recently fought cancer. And it is a fight. I had sepsis, was in ICU for a straight month – very nearly died. It is a life-changing experience. So I respect your experience.

    But if you are to remove comments you find rude, please, honestly, check you own comments for such rudeness. Its your blog – but simple fair-mindedness makes for better conversation.

  19. The American Solidarity Party has gotten write- in status in Texas and I understand some other states. Worth checking out.

  20. Whether Bernie’s policies comport with Catholic Social Doctrine is worth discussion. Personally, I accept that he at least addresses Catholic moral concerns with respect to those issues. I disagree with the means he proposes to implement those concerns.

    That said, I respect his integrity and fortitude in raising these issues.