The Mandate To Bush: Move Swiftly In Ridding The Nation Of A Tremendous Evil
The president of the United States deserves congratulations. It was a hard-fought election and George W. Bush literally poured sweat into it. He deserves a little breather. It's great to have a professed believer in the White House. That's terrific.
And yet we must come right at him with this:
Mr. President, you must immediately -- urgently -- tackle the issue of abortion as you did not in your first term. It can no longer wait. There is no more time. You must move on this above all else. It should be at the very, very top of your agenda. You were voted in by evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics -- the latter of whom gave you a decisive lift in states like Ohio and Florida -- and the huge turn-out was largely propelled by Christian groups.
They were overwhelmingly on your side because they are terrified of the moral landscape.
And now -- immediately -- that must be addressed.
Our pastors and bishops and ministers made clear that the pro-life issue was a big one, and largely as a result, you increased your margin of victory among Catholics in Ohio from five percent in 2000 to nine percent this year and tripled your margin in Florida from five percent in 2000 to 15 percent this year, "an incredible feat given that John Kerry is at least a nominal Catholic," noted one news site. You won the Catholic vote in Ohio by 55-44 percent (among weekly Mass-goers, 65-35, according to one survey).
Meanwhile, the evangelicals came out in force. Three out of four white voters who described themselves as born-again Christians voted for you, according to an exit poll of more than 13,000 voters conducted for the Associated Press and television networks.
That represented about one-fifth of all voters. And they are upset.
Shock jocks dominating the air.
Explicit sex on mainstream television.
And of course abortion.
More than 40 percent of voters said the issue of abortion affected the way they voted in this election.
That's because nothing threatens us more than abortion; not Iraq; not Osama Bin Laden. Whether or not the pollsters pick it up, the average American has a visceral knowledge that these are great evils, more important issues than terrorism or Social Security or anything else on the "agenda."
You said a few times that while you are personally opposed to abortion, the culture is not yet ready for a ban on most forms of it. Mr. Bush, abortion must go whether the "culture" is ready or not, and your mandate is to get rid of it. This is where leadership comes in. Leadership can (and must) change such a culture. Meantime, opponents like Senator Arlen Specter -- who says he will oppose pro-life judges -- must be quickly dispatched.
In your first term, you got rid of the horrendous procedure called partial-birth abortion, and that was terrific. Again, Mr. President, congratulations. We applaud you for it. But such abortions are only a fraction of the total and so it was only a start. With all due respect, far too little was said from the "bully pulpit" about other, more prevalent kinds of abortion. In some states, including Kentucky, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, abortion increased most years of your presidency and overall about as many regular abortions were performed under your administration as the previous: around 2,700 a day -- as many as died in September 11.
Moreover, under Title X, federal funds still flow to Planned Parenthood.
Mr. President, we need you to attack this issue as aggressively as you attacked the regime of Saddam Hussein. It is every bit as evil. It is more of an evil. It is more of a threat. Mother Teresa said that "the fruit of abortion will be nuclear war."
And so it needs to be tirelessly campaigned against, brought constantly into the nightly news, lobbied against incessantly -- the real focal point of your second term if we are to regain our status as a moral nation.
When vacancies arise on the Supreme Court, we urge you to employ more caution than your father -- who could have tipped the Court into a pro-life mode but instead chose Justice David Souter, apparently without realizing that Souter was not pro-life. This can't happen again. It would be a disaster.
Please, Mr. President, go to it; you have the courage and right now you also have the political capital. Rail against it. Use the bull pulpit. Rail against shock jocks. Rail against gay marriage. Rail against half-time at the Super Bowl. We really need to hear that.
Get out there now and rail against Hollywood and the dissembling of the family and the cold way we now treat the Creation of God.
November 11, 2004
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