Don’t Be This Person in the 2024 Election

Don’t Be This Person in the 2024 Election March 19, 2024

an American flag with an image of a cross shining through it
image via Pixabay

 

I keep thinking I’d better write about the presidential election again.

This is hard to do, because the news keeps pouring out in a steady deluge. It’s so hard to write about the election because it changes hourly. Everything I say is old hat by the time I hit “publish.”

Since I last wrote about politics, we’ve found out what could have already been guessed: the presidential election will come down to what amounts to two incumbents, Joe Biden and Donald Trump. My longtime readers know that I tolerate Biden and view Trump as an existential threat to our democracy. That hasn’t changed. If anything I like Biden a little more now, and like Trump a lot less.

Last week we learned that Trump’s trial for the crime of interfering with the 2016 election by making illegal secret payments to the porn star who spanked him will be delayed until April. His state and federal trials for trying to overthrow the 2020 election will not come for a bit yet. His trial for refusing to return classified documents he shouldn’t have had in the first place will happen after the cows come home. He’s been adjudicated in civil court to be a sexual assailant (and, the judge clarified, a rapist) and a business fraud. His own vice president and scores of people from his cabinet have said they won’t vote for him again. And Monday we found out that he’s not really a billionaire, because he doesn’t have the five hundred million dollars to post bond for his appeal in the fraud trial.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden wears thick shoes.

People are still swarming on my social media from time to time, trying to tell me I have to vote for Trump instead of Biden because of the abortion issue, even though Donald Trump drove the abortion rate up sharply. I would always rather save actual lives than score ideological victories, and I’ve been over why I don’t trust the so-called pro-life movement a hundred times by now, but every time I try to talk about that, somebody informs me I’m lying and I actually like it when people get abortions. They also tell me that I have to vote for the guy who made abortion rates climb or else I’ve committed the mortal sin of material cooperation in an abortion, which doesn’t make any sense to me. Nothing about Trump supporters makes any sense to me.

I feel I need to take a moment to remind people of what ought to be obvious: There is no Catholic political party.

No, there actually isn’t. Being a member of the Republican Party doesn’t make you more Catholic than a Democrat, an independent, a Green, a Libertarian, God forbid the American Solidarity Party, or somebody who swoons over the Hapsburgs, depending on your motives. There isn’t a political party that’s completely satisfactory from a Catholic standpoint. It is ludicrous to say that you have to vote for a rapist in order to stop abortions. You’re allowed to use your conscience and your common sense.

It’s not a sin to make your best guess as to which vote will cause the least harm. It’s not even a sin to be wrong. It’s not a sin to make a mistake, or to believe a conspiracy theory because you didn’t realize it was a conspiracy theory, or to not have realized some relevant information. But it’s definitely a sin to do something because you think it will hurt people. And every time I talk about the election online, I see  Trump supporters who just want to hurt people. They are excited about Trump’s blather that he wants to deport thousands on Day One: not because they are genuinely nervous about crime rates, but because they like the idea of hurting and dehumanizing “illegals.” They like it when Trump talks about “retribution” and vengeance. They want a strong man who’s going to beat up their enemies. They want a bully.

Often enough, these people turn out to be the same people who chide me about abortion. They start out the conversation by saying things that don’t make sense about building a “culture of life,” but when I ask about immigrants and other vulnerable groups, they start calling them “illegals” and salivating about the violence.

This isn’t doing anything to convince me I’m wrong about the pro-life movement being a confidence game.

In fact, it has me absolutely convinced I was right all along.

However you end up voting this year, don’t be one of those people.

Don’t embrace violence. Vote based on something else.

 

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

 

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