Post-Dobbs, social conservatives must take the lead in the conservative movement.
The overturn of Roe is a matter of great rejoicing. This is also a small cloud that marks the end of the beginning. It promises more rains and storms. America raised the issue of legal and human personhood before. It was a divided house that did not work out well.
We who have prayed and labored for life have had 49 years to consider what might come after Roe. We are still a surprise to a people with little faith and too limited an imagination. This is the moment America could be considered a lab for democratic self-rule, and every state an experiment. But it’s disappointingly still Gov. Glenn Younkin, Virginia governor. Ron DeSantis in Florida have only summoned forth the will and creativity to do the bare minimum expected by pro-life voters, a 15-week restriction, more liberal than France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Redder states with strong trigger laws that prohibit the killing of unborn children might have expected the reaction of the left. It was only a beginning. Shouldn’t this have been a guideline?
Reaction, yes. Reactive, no. The time has come for champions of the life to get on the offensive. There should have been a performance. Both the most emotional rhetoric used by the proponents of slaughter, and the acts of nonprofits and businesses over the past few days are not surprising. While this is not to suggest that abortionists must be believed, it does mean that red states may have been able to largely counter them. It could have been possible to reform state health systems, foster systems, and the adoption process. Congress could be defeated by governors in the creative promotion of marriage, family and children, including child tax credits, housing assistance, and policies to improve job opportunities for those without college degrees. For helping to kill someone in a state which protects their life, corporations and other organizations should be penalized. It is impossible to destroy the Moloch high places without also resisting Mammon.
All this assumes that pro-life politicians mean what they say. But we in fact know that many of them don’t, and that many are as confused about the relationship between international corporations and the businesses of their own states as they are about the imago Dei in the human creature. A telling quote appeared in a recent New Yorker feature, courtesy of Mac Stipanovich, the chief of staff for former Florida Governor Bob Martinez.
There was always an element of the Republican Party that was batshit crazy. There were many names for them: they were John Birchers and movement conservatives. They were also the religious right. We exploited their weaknesses, just like every Republican candidate. They went to the polls. We discussed abortion. We made promises, but we didn’t keep them. Although they could grumble, their options were very limited.
Well, we always suspected.
Stipanovich helpfully continues. So what’s the story? “So what happened? Trump opened Pandora’s Box and allowed them to out.” We owe in large part the overturn of Roe to a president who didn’t know how things were supposed to work and didn’t care. While the Dobbs opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, and the most forceful concurrence came from Bush Sr.-appointed Justice Clarence Thomas–who once again is receiving the special opprobrium of a Joe Biden-figureheaded left–it could not have been decided without Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. But as President Trump said in an interview with Fox News after the decision was announced Friday, “God made the decision.”
The hardest political battles have only just begun in what is a long spiritual war. It is Christians and the religious right who need to let their imaginations run wild, and step up in faith for the task ahead. The faithful American church has always sought out the help of mothers and children, as well as the unborn, through love and generosity. This must be continued. It is not enough to act as a third member of an unstable coalition. Financial interest and national security must be the driving forces behind government policy. It is now that we have to take the lead. Let us demand that the election this November reflect the dream of a better land, and hold those officials who have made vain promises to account. We are thankful for the achievements so far but we also remember that presidents and the Court can take what they give away. Don’t trust the princes but still have hope.
about the author
Micah Meadowcroft is managing editor of The American Conservative. He is also a 2021-22 Robert Novak journalism fellow for the Fund for American Studies. Prior to joining TAC, he was White House Liaison for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and helped with speechwriting. A graduate of the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in sociology, he has also written on political theory. He was previously an associate editor for the Washington Free Beacon .. He is currently in his second tenure at TAC. Not too long ago, he worked as an editor assistant. He graduated from Hillsdale College with a BA in history and a minor in journalism. Micah is from the Pacific Northwest and, like Odysseus, hopes to one day return home after a long period of exile in East.