Massachusetts voters rejected an effort to legalize physician assisted suicide yesterday, narrowly, but they did it. This is, to my mind, the most important election result of the night. And the victory did not simply happen. In the early summer, polls indicated the proposal would pass overwhelmingly. What happened?
The American people have rendered their verdict. After four years of some of the most divisive partisan politics imaginable from “You lie!’ hurled at President Obama during the State of the Union to repugnant television ads from MoveOn.org, after $6 billion spent on this election cycle, after an exceedingly close margin in the popular vote, the American voters ended up ratifying the status quo last night. President Obama, Senate Democrats and House Republicans all held their own. So, this morning, we must look through our bleary eyes and face the question: What Now?
I went to my polling place this morning at 8 a.m.and the lines were very long. I decided to head back later, and not delay the line longer for those who needed to get to work and do not have the luxury I do of working from home. I just got an email from a priest who is standing in line in Virginia and the wait is one and one-half hours. So, if you have not voted yet, bring something to read. And, whatever you do, don't give up! Too many people fought too hard for the franchise for anyone who has it to abuse it by not exercising it.
One of my favorite sentences ever penned comes from the pen of Leon Wieseltier who, in his short essay "Against Identity," wrote: "I hear it said of a man that he leads a double life and I think to myself, 'Just two?'"
Whatever the results tonight, Catholic leaders -- our bishops and prominent laypeople -- must remember that the church is called to be a sacrament of unity in the world.
John McWhorter, at the New Republic, answers President Obama's black critics like Cornell West, a man whose reputation as an intellectual is truly baffling.
John Koster, a Republican candidate for Congress in Washington State, believes what I do regarding the morality of abortion in cases of rape, that however tragic the situation, the intentional killing of the unborn child is not morally permissible.
As we all relearned in 2000, the person who gets the most votes nationwide is not necessarily the person who wins the election. The electoral college has a math, and a sort of logic, of its own. There is a great website, "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections" that allows you to look at the electoral college breakdown in previous elections, including state popular vote results for each year. Easy to use, this is the best way to get a sense of the partisan history of the different swing states.
A little over a week ago, I was speaking with former US ambassador to the Holy See, Thomas Melady. We were discussing the closeness of the polling in the presidential election. Mr. Melady is one of the national co-chairs of “Catholics for Romney” so, as you can imagine, his politics are not my politics, but I enjoy the ambassador’s take on issues and always learn a great deal from our conversations. After a few minutes, Melady said, “Well, whatever happens, the country must come together after the election.” I replied, “There it is.
Blessings on Ruth Marcus for raising concerns about early voting. Of course, in this election cycle, the big news on voting is that some in the GOP have abandoned what had been a long tradition of bipartisan commitment, embodied in the League of Women Voters, to increase voter participation. It is shameful and it is also shameful that so few conservative voices have been raised against it.