Voting pro-life

By Alan Keyes

Today, we are again called to our citizen vocation, and asked to vote for local and national leadership. In this election cycle, I have been working as chairman with two political action committees: Black America’s PAC and Life & Liberty PAC. We are supporting conservative candidates running against some of the most committedly liberal Democrats in American public life.

I presume to be involved in these contests as a friend to many around the country, because these candidacies will decide the balance of power between our two main parties for the next two years. In some regards, they will also help determine the power of American conservative principle within the GOP. Given the current state of national and international affairs, these balances of political power will prove critically important not only to the future of our nation, but of the world.

Americans are a people who have realized a dream of freedom, who have taken it from an abstract hope and turned it into a living reality. What made this possible was a founding generation that understood the essential principles of liberty, and acknowledged from the very beginning that the basis for human justice, human dignity and human rights is no more – nor less – than the will and authority of our Creator, God.

The importance of this principle is definitive, because it allows us to understand that since we claim our rights by virtue of the authority of God, we must exercise our rights with respect for the authority of God.

This truth becomes a sound foundation for discipline in our use of our freedoms. It becomes a bulwark against the abuse of our powers. It becomes also the ground for our confidence that, when we claim those rights, and when we exercise them, we do not have to fear the consequences, because we are a people who exercise our rights in the fear of God.

This means that as American citizens, we can have confidence in our capacity, ability and character to take care of our own families. We can trust ourselves to raise our own children, to direct our own schools, to run our own communities and states, to do honest business together, and to generally take care of the things that need to be done for our nation and its people.

Liberals – in particular, those who dominate the Democrat Party – believe that we are utterly undeserving of the mutual trust essential to liberty, and that we should lack confidence in our capacity for it. And this is where I most part company with the liberals. They hold that all the virtue, all the decency, all the will, all the judgment, and all the motivation in America to do what’s right has concentrated itself in the hands of government. But I believe, and the Republican Party platform holds, that America’s hope for survival as a great republic rests upon whether love of the good still resides in the hearts of the American people.

So a great question before all of us today is whether our experiment in responsible self-government in fact depends on the character of our people. Which party’s philosophy is right? Do Americans have a sense of responsibility any more that can indeed take on the obligations of freedom, that can be trusted with the control of our own selves and our own resources? The answer is not cut and dried. There is a big question mark behind the capacity of our people to take on this task.

That question mark is epitomized by legalized abortion. So long as America is willing callously to disregard the voiceless cries of our helpless future in the womb, our capacity for responsible self-government remains deeply in doubt. The abortion debate rests on this truth – we can’t have it both ways. Either our rights come from God, or they come from a human choice. Either we must respect the integrity of God’s choice in every human life – because it is, in fact and principle, God’s Word and God’s will before we have anything to do with it – or not a single one of us is safe in our claim to rights and freedoms.

Deny this claim to the innocents in the womb, and we have denied it to ourselves. Harden our hearts to the innocents in the womb, and we have hardened our hearts to the need for compassion and mercy – to true charity and decency – in this world. People who don’t care about these children should stop pretending that we will care about each other. It is not so.

So we must uphold the equal claim to life and dignity that belongs to our posterity – to the unborn. Despite incessant policy horse-trading, the Republican and Democrat platforms remain clear statements of where the two major parties stand in principle on life. Many – most – Republican candidates are on the record as pro-life. But some are not. Their Democrat opponents are, almost universally, ardently pro-abortion. Whatever the party label, this issue alone, which I believe dominates our moral decline as a people, should decide this and every election cycle. It always decides my vote – whatever the party label, I will never again vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

I sincerely hope that voters will look at the stated philosophies of the two parties, their platforms and especially the records of their respective candidates. Even if there are important and legitimate areas of disagreement with the GOP, I encourage pro-life voters to stay mindful of the main challenge before us. Pro-life candidates need our support today, and the GOP as a pro-life party needs our support today.

So if a candidate is a pro-life Republican, let’s support the integrity of that avowedly pro-life party and of that candidate, stand with courage in supporting their defense of truth – and then hold them accountable for every vote they take. Where pro-life principle has been surrendered, we must of course search our conscience for the best course to take. Always, we must uncompromisingly articulate the principles, stand for the truths, and fight for the restoration of our constitutional liberties, our sovereignty and – above all – our moral discipline as a God-fearing people.

But without compromising fundamental principle, we must also support those who on common ground are willing to stand with us, fight with us and work with us. Sometimes we will fail to fully agree. So be it. I have often said, and I believe, if we fail to act with prudence to make principled election victories happen, every word will be hollow and every hope will be lost. Let us elect those whose hearts are moved by the same responsible love of liberty – and the same desire to preserve it – that moves ours.