The poi­son in our pol­i­tics is more than just pres­i­dents

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION - Kathryn Lopez Colum­nist

“Hil­lary Clin­ton is evil in­car­nate.” I re­mem­ber where I was the first time I heard some­one say this. I also re­mem­ber the feel­ings of re­sis­tance, repul­sion and sad­ness that were my re­ac­tion. She’s not. Look, I worked at the con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Re­view dur­ing Bill Clin­ton’s im­peach­ment trial. That the Clin­tons aren’t mod­els of moral lead­er­ship is not some­thing you have to con­vince me of. Fur­ther­more, as I’ve writ­ten through­out this cam­paign, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s stub­born ex­trem­ism on abor­tion is some­what as­ton­ish­ing. Yes, she’s a lib­eral ide­o­logue who has been ad­vo­cat­ing these things in­ter­na­tion­ally for decades. But now more than ever, Amer­ica needs a leader who would seek to unite us in ways that re­mind us of our in­cli­na­tion to gen­eros­ity and our most val­ued free­doms. Polling shows that there are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties on many is­sues, in­clud­ing abor­tion, for this.

In­stead, Clin­ton spent the first two ques­tions of the last pres­i­den­tial de­bate dou­bling down on the gravest poi­son of our po­lit­i­cal ex­is­tence.

I guess I’m ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lit­tle more free­dom this elec­tion, be­cause I’m not vot­ing for any­one on the bal­lot. I’m opt­ing for the write-in op­tion. I know there are peo­ple read­ing this who think that this is a reck­less copout, but the time has long come to stop pre­tend­ing that things are all right. Trump didn’t start the fire -- he is not evil in­car­nate, ei­ther, for the record -- but he may just pro­vide a piv­otal op­por­tu­nity to say “Enough.”

Some­thing I find my­self think­ing about in re­cent days is friend­ship, specif­i­cally friend­ships after Elec­tion Day.

What is it about this elec­tion that has put a strain on per­sonal re­la­tion­ships? I don’t think ei­ther Trump or Clin­ton have the power to de­stroy friend­ships. But what is go­ing on when peo­ple write off mag­a­zines they grew up with, sun­der them­selves from peo­ple who have long been a part of their work­ing days and ban­ish fam­ily mem­bers? What is be­hind some of the vit­riol on so­cial me­dia?

I my­self have been in­formed of all the ba­bies’ deaths I will be re­spon­si­ble for be­cause I’ve crit­i­cized Trump. I’m not vot­ing for him, and I don’t see that as a vote for Clin­ton, as many in­sist. We’re on our fourth decade of le­gal abor­tion. This is an un­nec­es­sary re­al­ity, not be­fit­ting of the gen­eros­ity of our peo­ple and his­tory. Polls in­di­cate peo­ple know this, but we’re so over­whelmed by ma­nip­u­la­tive lan­guage, frus­tra­tion and a lack of hope. And the anger of this elec­tion is not lift­ing us out of it.

I’ve been in Florida for the last week, study­ing St. Ig­natius Loy­ola’s rules for dis­cern­ment. Fr. Ti­mothy Gal­lagher lit­er­ally wrote the mod­ern-day guide­book to them, “Dis­cern­ment of the Spir­its,” and as I walked to his morn­ing class at the Ce­na­cle of Our Lady of Divine Prov­i­dence’s spir­i­tual-di­rec­tion school, I couldn’t help but no­tice a New York Times opin­ion col­umn about Trump lack­ing dis­cern­ment. But truly, it’s some­thing we could all use a lit­tle more of.

Ig­natius says we should “work to be in pa­tience” when in des­o­la­tion. What­ever you do on Elec­tion Day, what­ever hap­pens, who­ever wins, we’re not go­ing to be a win­ning peo­ple, a light to the na­tions, un­less we con­sider that work in deal­ing with each other. Maybe that’s the real art of the deal.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is se­nior fel­low at the Na­tional Re­view In­sti­tute, ed­i­tor-at­large of Na­tional Re­view On­line and found­ing di­rec­tor of Catholic Voices USA. She can be con­tacted at klopez@ na­tion­al­re­

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