My father and I had a disagreement. The year was 1972, the first time I was eligible to vote in a presidential election. Dad believed in Richard Nixon and supported his candidacy for president of the United States. For me, Viet Nam was the major issue. I drew a high number in the very first draft lottery and was not drafted, but many of my friends were. Nixon’s opponent, George McGovern, seemed like the best candidate to quickly end the war, at least in my eyes. We had respectful conversations about out differences, but agreed to disagree. Nixon won the election handily, but I know my father was very disappointed in him when the Watergate scandal came to light. Dad died a year after Nixon resigned.
Today, I would reject McGovern as a liberal, but I didn’t think that way when I was 22 years old. I grew up a Catholic who saw the first Catholic president get elected and then assassinated. Most Catholics considered themselves Democrats and my Protestant father was a Republican. That is just the way it was. Shortly after Nixon’s election, however, things changed. In 1973, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade made abortion legal, and the Democratic Party took a ride down a very slippery slope.
I eventually switched parties because of abortion. How can any faithful Catholic support a party that promotes legally killing unborn children? Abortion is a deal-breaker that trumps all other issues. Loss for respect of life requires a spiritual depravity that comes from ignoring the existence of God. Lack of self-discipline and personal responsibility, marital infidelity, and immoral behavior become palatable when a person comes to rationalize killing the unborn. Marriage, families and religious freedom become vulnerable. This mindset harbors a tendency to carelessness, conflict, and violence. I believe there is a direct correlation between violence perpetrated on an innocent child and violence in our inner cities.
So, as a Catholic, how do I cast a vote in a presidential election where both candidates are extremely flawed? I must cast my vote based on party principles and not particular personalities. Promoting the right to choose abortion by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party is completely unacceptable. Supporting a platform that promotes evil makes one an accessory. Casting a vote for Hillary Clinton would be a mortal sin for me. I would not risk my salvation even if I agreed with her on other issues. That means I have no other choice but to vote for Donald Trump, despite knowing he is defective. Yes, I could refrain from voting altogether, but doing so could aid Clinton’s election, and I cannot take that chance. I hope my Dad would agree.