If this election season seems unusually intense, it's because for the first time in my lifetime, abortion is on the ballot in a great many states.
The chance to implement a full range of options, from absolute permissiveness to total abolition has created unprecedented volatility.
Of course, the political parties have always had different positions on abortion. The Democrats claimed they wanted it to be "safe, legal, and rare" while Republicans were generally Right to Life.
As it turns out, both were lying. The Democrats were always maximalists, but had to hide that to get election and a great many Republicans claimed Right to Life positions to secure their flank during primary elections.
Thus we have the spectacle of GOP politicians who formerly penned columns demanding the immediate overturn of Roe v. Wade now lamenting its demise and urging caution. As in so many other examples of intellectual betrayal, the giveaway is that these column never feature a long, winding and lucid account of how the author's views came to change in the manner of David Horowitz or the original Neocons.
The implied reason is that the author can't do it - it's hard to explain changing your mind from a position you never sincerely held.
In such times, then, how is one to vote?
Both parties now regard it the height of cleverness to reverse their positions once elected (usually in unison) and then to lock ranks against the public. The logic is that if both parties go all-in, the public will have no alternative.
This works for a while, and then an insurgent gets in, promises to be different and...often does the same.
So is voting pointless?
No. I think the most important use of the vote is where proposals and lesser offices are concerned, positions like school board and city council. These are easier to influence and - in the event of a betrayal - they make recall elections more feasible and therefore effective as a deterrent.
But at the macro scale, there is some utility in simply spending the next few years firing every incumbent in sight. In this, one must be patient, treating the body politic like a field overgrown with weeds and thorns. One cannot transform it into productive agriculture all at once. It will take several seasons to pull all the stumps and rocks, eradicate the weeds and shape it into productive land that produced good crops.
Put simply, politics is yet another theater in spiritual warfare. It is not the most important. Each of us is the crucial battleground for our own soul. From there, the focus broadens to the family, the parish, the community, the region and so on. To focus exclusively on politics is therefore to ignore the decisive point.
But to ignore it is to allow the Enemy the ability to constantly intervene everywhere down the line. It is interesting the G.K. Chesterton is once again in the news, as his wisdom very much applies.
Having more time to read, I think I shall dive deeper into his works.