We cherish our good health, and for good reason. Without it, life can be really tough. Good health allows us to perform at our peak. It keeps our spirits high. It is the gateway to enjoying a long and full life.
We haven’t always been so health conscious. In the move from rural to urban society, we became far too sedentary. The result was an increase in deadly heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems. Something had to change, and it did. Today we eat healthier. We pay attention to medical concerns. And we’ve learned the value of regular exercise. It isn’t always convenient; it can be downright difficult. But it pays long-lasting dividends.
The health of our country also requires regular exercise. It is the exercise of voting, and its importance cannot be understated. A hallmark of freedom, voting is far more than a choice between candidates A and B. It is an opportunity for individuals to peacefully shape the values and direction of a community. Voters are a community’s conscience.
The right to vote is not universally recognized, which is why its attainment is so exciting. Remember those purple thumbs of the Iraqi and Afghan people who braved even death to vote? But like anything else, voting can be misused. In ancient Rome, spectators at the gladiator contests signaled with their thumbs whether humans thrown into the arena should live or die. Tradition suggests that a thumbs-up signal was a positive sign meaning survival; historians now suspect that it meant death. Whatever the signal back then, it became a symbol of a decadent culture too morally rotten to survive.
Almost forty years ago, there was a vote right here on a life-or-death matter. In a country of about 211 million, only nine people-none of whom were elected by the people-were deemed worthy to vote on the matter. Seven of them voted that the people of a state may no longer decide for themselves whether unborn human life should be spared. In today’s parlance, the Supreme Court turned thumbs-down on an entire class of human beings. The abortion laws of virtually every state were wiped off the books. In a single vote, the conscience of a nation was silenced. That vote has directly led to the most massive destruction of innocent human life in all history. So far, over 55 million unborn babies have been put to death. Countless women have been killed or physically and mentally scarred, many for life.
Our constitutional system gives federal judges lifetime power. They do not answer to voters. Judicial independence can be a good or a bad thing, largely depends on a judge’s philosophy. Some incorrectly believe that their mere appointment empowers them to decide the major issues of life-like abortion. Others more correctly believe that the Constitution gives that power to the people to exercise through our elected representatives in the states. Which philosophy will control our national destiny? It depends on the President and the Senate. The President nominates judicial candidates; the Senate votes them thumbs up or down.
And we vote on both. This year’s national election may be the most important in our lifetimes, possibly in our history. In the next four years, the elected president will nominate two or three judges to the Supreme Court. Both candidates have clearly expressed their preferences. President Obama wants judges who will uphold legal abortion. Governor Romney wants judges who will follow the Constitutional mandate to let the people of each state decide the issue. Competing senators also have these drastically competing judicial philosophies.
In a very real way, we the people will soon vote on the survival of human beings. So ask yourself these questions. If you were a spectator in a Roman arena, how would you have voted? If the abolition of Negro slavery were on the ballot in 1860, what vote would you have cast? If you could have voted to end the Nazi Holocaust, would you have done it? Knowing what we know now, we’d like to believe that we would have voted the right way.
Right now, we know all we need to know about legal abortion. What it does, and what it will continue to do. On November 6, we can vote to either continue the legal slaughter of the unborn or to restore the power of the people to end it. Let us choose the latter. Together, we can renew the meaning of the inalienable right to life recognized by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence. We can give every unborn baby a chance to develop into the person God intends. That is one of the many beauties of life: He gives us the unexpected. He mostly does it through human life.
We can vote to end the real war on women. Every day, we ask women to vote thumbs up or down on the lives of their own children. No wonder they are hurt so badly. Legal abortion is not about women’s rights any more than stealing a car or owning a slave is about women’s rights. Legal abortion is really about men’s thirst for political power and their willingness to put women through all sorts of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional hell to keep it.
And we can vote to re-establish our right to form the consciences of our communities as we see fit. No one-no president, no senator, and no judge-has a Constitutional or moral right to order free citizens to live under a system that thumbs its nose at the law of God and nature. The American people are wise enough to decide what God wants of them.
November 6 is our chance to vote. For true freedom. For dignity and decency. For life.
Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois, and have six kids.
© 2012 Paul V. Esposito. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Comments? Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/