First, a pro-life strategy of compromise—rather than principle—has failed to convince the public or the courts. This offers the opportunity to refocus our efforts on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement. Second, Republican judicial nominations have failed to overturn unconstitutional pro-abortion precedents and have even contributed to them. This offers the opportunity to eschew blind partisanship and to create constructive social tension that prompts political change. And third, our constitutional system has failed to constrain the judiciary. This offers the opportunity for lesser magistrates to resist unjust edicts.
Now, if you expect that I’m cheered to see that stated so clearly, you are quite right. Obviously, I think this effort is all to the good (especially that last one, which needs a lot more clear and cogent expression, these days).
I want to add one qualification, though. I think it is important that we not treat “didn’t work” as “couldn’t have worked” or “might not ever work.” I mean simply that, while we must necessarily make judgments based on our best possible understanding of our situation, we should not discourage others or prevent ourselves from simultaneously attempting other things.
Honesty requires us to simply admit that we regard some principles–partisan consistency, usual procedure, typical courtesy, even legal niceties and fair play–as useful and generally good, but dispensable when matters of the first importance such as the slaughter of the unborn are clearly not being solved in those manners. But honesty does not require us to say that such things are bad ideas. They are “good if you can get it,” and not treating the slaughter of the innocent as a human right is “if you don’t have this, you can’t have anything else.”
It really is that simple. We always plan the next battle, and we never agree that any of the transient alliances we may make along the way have any power to bind us where matters of true importance are at play. We recognize that gamesmanship and euphemism have their place, but we also recognize that when the innocent are being killed for profit with the protection and approbation of what we euphemistically call “the law,” the appropriate rhetoric is not that of the cricket pitch but that of the battlefield.
It cannot be otherwise.
And while we plan and think that way, we also back whatever improves the situation–tentatively, and without ever offering the slightest pretense that we intend to stop there. We insist that any honest person can “at least” support whatever is already in play, because that is reality. Any honest person can, and should. And we will insist that again, the next time, too.
So my qualification is only this: let us no more make a false principle of adherence to the top-line principle “alone” than of adherence to the lesser and more transient principles, but let us use all and every means without dissimulation or hesitation.