When I registered in Kentucky, I faced a dilemma. Illinois has an election-day open primary. Sure, according to the official rules you has to declare a party to vote in a primary. But, and it’s a big qualifier, you can decide at the polling station! You or I can walk up and say “I’d like to be a Republican today.” The official marks that down, and you or I get a Republican ballot. This allows people like me to officially register as independents, but vote as desired. I consider this an Open Primary.
Kentucky, on the other hand, has a closed primary system. I can’t decide on Election Day which ballot I desire. I had to make a choice when I registered, or by December 31 before the primary. This posed a dilemma, because neither party represents me well. After some consideration, I registered as a Democrat. Part of that is where I live. The Highlands is heavily Democratic, meaning the Democratic primary is far more important. I wanted more voting power. To a small extent, my position is historical. Democrats populate my family, like my parents and my Catholic grandmother. Grandma went to the 1984 Democratic National Convention as a delegate from Pennsylvania. We never really discussed this issue, since I was 13 when she died, but I suspect she was pro-life.
More surprisingly, even as an adult, I’ve generally been Democratic. This surprises a lot of people, because of abortion. It should surprise no one that I strongly support the Consistent Life Ethic. Abortion is homicide, slaughter, murder. The only acceptable number is zero.
The reason and the problem, the real problem, is that I grew up in Pennsylvania, one of the centers of Democrats for Life. In Pennsylvania the parties make more sense. Back in the 1980s, I would have said that the pro-life party in PA was the Democratic party. That was true; over 100 Congressional Democrats in 1978 were pro-life. Now there are perhaps 30. Yet in Pennsylvania, the parties are mixed. According to the National Right to Life website, Democratic Senator Robert Casey has a stronger pro-life record than Republican Arlen Specter. Six of the ten Pennsylvania Democratic Congresspeople caucus with Democrats for Life. (This includes the Representative of my parents, John Murtha. There’s a wry story here. Because my grandmother, my mom’s mom, was an important Democrat, the wedding attracted some attention. As a state Democratic representative, Mr. Murtha sent a gift.)
At least in Pennsylvania, the abortion debate is still open. In many other issues, the Democratic Party protects the weakest. Why does it here? In some ways, abortion is a means to equality, but it’s parity, not justice. Now, women can kill as men do, and they do. That is not the equity I desire. It’s not the equality anyone should desire. I firmly refuse the lesser standard of parity that pro-abortion groups propound. Happy, healthy, loving, intimate relationships don’t need assassination. Much of my professional career is devoted to ways to help women and men nurture happy, healthy, loving, intimate relationships. Why would I ever set a lower goal?
As of this evening, I’m an official paying member of Democrats for Life, though in thought I was long ago.