As a rule, I don’t lie to my friends. When they ask me something like, “How do I look in this pair of pants?” I do my best to be honest. Of course, wanting to be prudent, not lying sometimes means “withholding the full truth.” After all, friends care about one another’s feelings. We’ve all been there and understand the nuances.
So, when one of my friends asked me, a week or so after the election, “Will we be okay with Obama as president?” I was caught off guard. Her question forced me to review the events of the months prior to the election and the few days following. I had been so wrapped up in my own emotional roller coaster that I hadn’t really taken the time to sit back and reflect. Did I feel I ought to “withhold the full truth” from this sweet-natured, worry-wart of a friend? Did I feel we would actually “be okay?”
All my friends and family are quite clear on my abortion views. I took the election results as a tremendous set-back. I cried quite a bit in the early morning hours of November 5, 2008. Like so many friends and family members who shared their stories with me and with one another, I felt I couldn’t gather the strength to get up and move on from the election.
Soon, however, I found that a network of people was galvanizing. Pro-life organizations like Father Pavone’s “Priests for Life” were regrouping and shared their newfound enthusiasm for the challenges ahead. It was easy to recognize that bonds that had been forged among people who had worked so valiantly before the election, whether in person or through the Internet, were stronger than any of the defeats at hand. Together, we were encouraging one another with the knowledge that God’s graces were already becoming evident for the tasks ahead. We were coming out of the election stronger, more committed to the unborn and, we prayed, more able to help others understand the connection between the sanctity of life in the womb and all else.
After all, it had always been evident to us that someone who could implement such sweeping abortion laws could not really care about “universal health care” or the aged and homeless or any social justice issue for that matter. A universal health care set up by a government that supports abortion also means a health care system that determines end-of-life issues. If it is “above” Obama’s pay grade to commit to when life begins (as he cleverly said in response to the pointed question about the beginning of life) and he doesn’t opt for the philosophy that it is better to err on the side of caution, well, it is easy to assume that he may also opt to end life, in his proposed health care system, when measures become too costly and the “value” of the life being saved is not deemed worthwhile.
By dinner time on November 5th, a positive ripple effect from the election became palpable. Praise God, there was an energy building within the rank and file of everyday citizens that was clearly going to be a voice with which to be reckoned. A center, right voice. As a result of the election the center-right was being energized! It could no longer be contained. California declared that marriage is the union between a man and a woman and thousands of us recognized that we were more representative of Americans than the liberal media tried to proclaim. Relieved not to have been swept up in the media craze that adulated Obama, people were finding their bearings. It was exhilarating to witness. Scripture says that “fence-sitting” is not an option and within a few precious days of the election I was watching great numbers of people hop off the fence!
Bishops gathered and became more vocal than ever. Pro-life Catholics wanted, needed, to know where their beloved Church stood on this matter and the bishops responded. Letters and statements boldly issued prior to the election, whether collectively or on an individual basis, had set the stage for their most recent pro-life stance and what some consider the strongest statements made to date. When Bishop Hermann said, “Any bishop here [the recent November post-election gathering] would be willing, would consider it a privilege, to die tomorrow if it meant ending abortion,” the pro-life constituency was given new life. The Obama administration was going to have to consider what it would mean to have Catholic hospitals around the country choose to close their doors versus uphold the “vile, intrinsic evil” of abortion. The words had a powerful impact on those who needed to hear them. Indeed, new life has been given to “Life” and so I could answer my friend with conviction and faith that “Yes, we will be okay.”