Victory Is Matter of Cultural Context
Among the magnificent effects of the Internet is that people in dramatically different cultural environments can interact in real time, offering proclamations of principle that may or may not require adjustment. Mark Shea, for example, expresses what is likely a common gripe among pro-lifers across the country about local reactions to the Scott Brown victory:
Sure it’s a “prolife victory” in that, if all goes according to plan, Brown torpedos the Abortion Care behemoth due, not to his prolife convictions (he has none) but to his economic theories. But so what? At the end of the day you now have a pro-abortion *and* pro-torture politician extolled to the prolife faithful as the guy you have to support or the baby gets it and you have the prolifers, once again, complying–cheerfully and even enthusiastically! And all just in time for Roe v. Wade Day.The GOP organ grinder plays the tune and laughs. The little prolife monkey claps his cymbals and hope he gets thrown a treat. And the tune plays on.
I’ll concede that the current reality is frustrating for those who find it to be an atrocity that our nation kills more than a million unborn children every year. Even just to type that makes me squeamish. I’ll also admit that, when I heard a woman on the radio explaining her vote for Brown on the grounds that “he’s pro-life,” I winced.
However, as I suggested in Mark’s comment section, the idea that the GOP primaries should have been more contentious so that the state’s Republican Senator would be more pro-life is laughable… or at least was laughable until about two weeks ago. The idea that a Republican could win — a candidate well to the right on abortion from just about every politician, media outlet, and non-religious cultural institution in the region — was inconceivable. Put another way, a Republican’s losing the senatorial race because he failed to get the pro-life vote would have been indistinguishable from a Republican losing the race with the pro-life vote, which is what everybody expected until very, very recently. In order for politicians to have something to lose by not garnering our votes, they have to have something to lose in the first place. Now Northeast Republicans do, even if it’s mainly momentum, for the time being.
Given context and a call to charitable treatment of others, a sense among local conservatives of “we did it” is to be permitted, and even a little excess of enthusiasm, within the week after the election, is to be forgiven. Standing across the country in purity and mocking us as wind-up monkeys is… let’s just say… not very helpful.
How we proceed — once the euphoria of having an unexpected effect subsides — is the thing. We, first, must ensure that those who would pull the Republican Party to the left understand that we haven’t made a deal with the Devil; we’ve made a political calculation that can be re-figured without compunction. We, second, must hold our newly minted political superstar’s feet to the fire, convincing him not only of our political significance, but also of the rightness of our cause.