By Sam McLure
“Now, I will believe that there are unicorns.” The Tempest, William Shakespeare
The only perfect Party will be the one that Christ’s followers enjoy in Heaven. Until then, we must make the most of our imperfect associations … which, in humility, we must acknowledge are more imperfect because of our own presence.
A political party which claims to have a monopoly on justice and mercy is self-deceived. There are praise worthy platforms and shameful oddities among Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians alike.
Much to the dismay of my “conservative” readers, there are many thoughtful and sincere citizens, living within the Democratic Party, who hold pro-life convictions and seek to live out those convictions with consistency. Journey with me as I encounter three pro-life Democrats, Unicorns, and such.
1. Have you been a Democrat your whole life?
Mary: “I was raised Democrat. My father is a psychiatrist in Selma who has always been committed to social justice/civil rights issues. I was also raised in the Roman Catholic Church (though I’m now an Episcopalian).”
Melanie: “No. I was raised to be Republican. My entire family are Republicans.”
Kathy: “I have always been a registered Democrat. However, I vote my heart, if that makes sense.”
2. Have you always held pro-life convictions, or is this something that has changed over time?
Kathy: “I have actually had two abortions in the past, like 40 some years ago (when they first became legal) for reasons I thought were good at the time at the urging of my parents (who were Christians).”
3. When and how did your views on abortion change?
Kathy: “When I actually got a ‘real’ relationship with God.”
4. Do you feel like a minority in the Democratic Party?
Mary: “Haha. I absolutely do, though I like to at least hope I’m wrong in that thinking. There is always more than one side to an issue, and they all deserve equal consideration. I was also raised to be objective.”
Melanie: “In the area where I live, yes most definitely.”
Kathy: “Not until recently. I just felt like I related more with Democrats, until this election actually.”
5. What issues or platforms attract you to the Democratic Party?
Mary: “I’ve always been a compassionate person who believes in advocating for those who haven’t ‘found their voice’, so to speak. … We all have our strengths, and we deserve an opportunity to let them shine! It doesn’t mean I agree with every single aspect of every single issue though.”
Melanie: “I respect the LGBT Rights. Even as a Christian I feel they are still God’s children and should not be thought of as second class citizens. The War on Drugs. I agree with treatment instead of imprisonment. The prisons are already beyond capacity and being locked up doesn’t help getting clean from drugs. Drugs find their way into the prisons in many ways. The money in politics.”
Kathy: “They’re for the lower income ‘underdog.’ Or, that’s what I always thought anyway.”
6. Some Democrats say they are pro-life and pro-choice? Do you identify with that? Why or why not?
Mary: I consider myself to be Pro-Life, though not in the sense that most people would think. I don’t think that abortion should ever be used unless it is an extreme situation – that being cases of rape/incest, life threatening to the mom and/or the child. I feel especially strongly about the latter – but I believe that should also be a decision between the parents, and the hospital should respect their wishes regardless of politics or hospital affiliation. . . . That’s why I consider myself pro-LIFE. I believe in weighing every aspect of the issue while remembering that not every case falls into the same category.”
Melanie: “This is an area where I have struggled. I have gone back and forth with it my adult life. The only way I would agree with abortion is if there was something seriously wrong with the baby and it wouldn’t live long after birth. But as far as abortion because of rape or other issues, I think adoption is the way to go.”
Kathy: “No, I used to feel that there were some good reasons for abortions (ie: rape, etc.), but I no longer feel that way.”
7. Have you ever voted for a Democrat who ran on a pro-life platform?
Mary: “I can’t recall one that ever ran on THAT particular platform in any election I’ve voted in, no. But I like to think they’re out there somewhere!”
Melanie: “That’s almost like finding a unicorn. But if there was one, I’m sure I have.”
Kathy: “I don’t know.”
8. Do you think if a pro-life Democrat ran for office in Alabama they would have a chance of winning the primary?
Mary: “ I think it would depend on multiple factors. It would have to be someone who has enough clout with both parties, has an objective, diplomatic voice and mindset who understands that politics isn’t about them or their friends, it’s about everyone. Someone who understands that when they make a political decision, it’s not about their views or their parties’ lines. Depending on their office, they would need to have a balanced voting record or platform. But I definitely don’t think it’s impossible.”
Melanie: “That’s a tough one. I would like to think so but I sometimes think just the word Democrat has such a bad stigma associated with it according to most Republicans, I’m not sure if they (Republicans) could bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. So, No, a Democrat probably wouldn’t win. Sadly.”
9. Do know of any avenues for reforming the Democratic Party? Do you actively engage in trying to reform the Democratic Party?
Mary: “I think that with anything, it starts at a grassroots level. I live in my hometown of Selma, and I am actively involved in helping to better the community. I believe that when you can show people that you care about them and want to work for them regardless of politics, THEN you have a chance at showing them that not everyone in a party ‘follows the party line.’ Once you can make strides to accomplish that, then yes, I believe you can work on a wider type of reform.”
Melanie: “I do not actively engage in trying to reform the Democratic party because I stay away from politics. To be completely honest I don’t feel smart enough (for lack of better words) to discuss politics with anyone.”
Kathy: “No, … The more you ask me, the more I realize I don’t really know that much about politics or the political parties at all. I decided back in high school, in the 1970’s, that I was a Democrat (probably because my dad was a Republican, lol), and I’ve been one ever since.”
So, there you have it. You have just encountered three unicorns. I will leave you to your own devices when it comes to drawing conclusions. I only hope that the Alabama Democratic Party will conduct honest self-evaluation on the issue of protecting children prior to birth. I truly believe that if the Democratic Party will embrace this issue of justice and mercy, they stand to make a significant impact in our state for good.