Now that Mitt Romney is the official Republican nominee for president, it’s time I shared a few thoughts on why I believe I can support him. As many of you know, he was not my first choice. He wasn’t even my second or third. In fact, as the primary season began, I pointed to two people as non-starters for me as the potential Republican nominee: Donald Trump and Romney.
During the primaries, I had flirtations with a couple of the candidates before settling on Rick Santorum as my favorite. My reasons for supporting Santorum were his basic Biblical worldview and his well-reasoned philosophy of governing. When the primaries ended, I had to come to grips with the reality that Romney would be the choice.
His deficiencies remain, as far as I’m concerned. I suspect he’s not a genuine conservative philosophically—that he doesn’t have a settled, principled position—and even though some will not like this, I am not enamored with a Mormon in the White House. I’m one of those who sees Mormonism as a deviation from Christian orthodoxy. However, a number of our presidents have not been Christians, despite their public avowals of faith. What’s worse, a Mormon or an adherent to a radical liberation theology that pictures Jesus as little more than the first Che Guevara? We already have that in our current president.
Yet while Romney is not my ideal candidate, he does represent a political party that is much closer to my ideals. Generally, the Republicans want what I want: basic moral values that emanate from Biblical roots, revealing itself through opposition to abortion and in favor of traditional marriage; the government limited to its proper functions; a free market economy; a national debt brought under control; a strong foreign policy stance that stands by its allies and has no problem recognizing its enemies. This is the vision of the role of government that I wish to see implemented.
Some say the Republicans are no different than the Democrats. I disagree. The platforms for the parties spell out the clear distinctions. Others, more nuanced, insist that Republicans are the lesser of two evils, but since they are evil as well, it would be wrong to vote for them. These are the purists who claim that you can find a political party with no hint of hypocrisy and devoid of evil. I say that’s impossible in this world. Wherever men congregate to make politics, disagreements, envy, egocentrism, and all sorts of evils will arise.
If I turn to the Libertarian party, for instance, what I see is a group with which I can agree on free-market issues but not on the social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Pure libertarianism is not Christian; rather than liberty, it promotes license in some instances. While there may be a minor party out there with which I could align, I want to support a party that has a chance to turn Obama and the Democrats out of power completely. The only party that can accomplish that is the Republicans.
You see, I don’t expect utopia from any governmental leadership. If Republicans take control of both the White House and the Congress, I will be able to find policies they are promoting with which I disagree. But they will not lead us down the same path the Democrats have taken. They will not embark on a national healthcare scheme; they will not push abortion on demand; they will defend genuine marriage; and if they know what’s good for them, they will start digging us out of our fiscal disaster.
Romney’s choice of Ryan as his VP has made my decision more palatable. Ryan, I believe, is the real deal when it comes to realizing we are on the edge of a precipice and must reverse course immediately. I agree with Romney’s first decision—his choice of a running mate. I hope it portends well for future decisions.
Supporting a third party, especially the Libertarians, may draw enough votes away from the Republicans that we will be subjected to another four years of a radical presidency, years from which we may never recover. I’m not violating my conscience by voting Republican; I’m following my conscience. In politics, you rarely get the luxury of voting for someone who is precisely what you want. You have to go with the best you can get with a party that actually has a chance to win.
I compare this to the issue of abortion specifically. Personally, I want all abortions to be declared illegal. No innocent lives should ever be taken. Yet I will support any measure that reduces the number of abortions. There are those who won’t support what they call “halfway” measures; they want all or nothing. They will get nothing. And the abortion rate will continue unchecked.
I vote not to achieve perfection, but to move the political culture closer to the Biblical ideal. Any movement away from what we now have is a movement in the right direction. That’s why I can vote Republican with a clear conscience.