Why I Am Supporting Rick Santorum

This post has actually been in the works for a long time, I just didn’t get around to writing it. But I wanted to get it written before the primaries were all over, just so it wouldn’t seem TOO embarrassingly late.

Some people are reticent about how they cast their votes, but I’m choosing to lay my cards on the table and be public about where I stand. Whether or not you agree with my decision, hopefully my case will still appear reasonable.

I want to begin by telling a little story about some friends of mine. Like me, they come from a homeschooling family. Recently, they were at a Santorum rally, and I was struck by their description of the atmosphere. They said that Santorum had strong, no-punches-pulled things to say about God, freedom, and the Christian moral values our country desperately needs to return to. When the audience cheered loudly in response, my girlfriends said it was such a strange, yet wonderful feeling. “We just couldn’t believe that we were surrounded by so many people in the same place who believed the same things we did.” And it was hard to believe they were all listening to a candidate who really believed the same things they did.

In a nutshell, that’s why I’m supporting Rick Santorum. Is he perfect? No, I have my disagreements with him. And yet, when it comes to the foundations of conservatism, the values we have fought for so hard and hold so dear, he is there with us. He is willing to take flak for standing on the word of God when it comes to the sanctity of life and the moral evil of homosexuality. Moreover, he doesn’t just pay lip service to these principles, he lives them. He’s a man of honesty and personal integrity.

It seems like so little to ask, yet the other candidates left in the running fall short one way or another. Newt Gingrich is probably more intelligent than Santorum and may be more skilled as a leader, and he has a way of striking back at the left that’s fetching to conservatives who are tired of playing defense for so long. But to hear him go on and on about how wonderful his third wife is, when not so long ago he was waxing eloquent about how wonderful his second wife was… quite frankly I am left cold. This is not an honorable man. To be honest, I haven’t actually paid all that close attention to exactly what his policy positions are on various issues, because voting for him has never been an option as far as I’m concerned anyway.

As for Romney, although I concede that some of the things other people have against him are completely ridiculous (he’s Mormon, he’s white, he’s rich… puh-leeze), I don’t think he’s deeply committed to the social issues. One clue of this is his outright endorsement of the three exceptions to abortion. There’s an important distinction between voting for an anti-abortion bill which happens to contain the exceptions if that’s the best that can be done at the moment… and refusing to vote for such a bill unless it contains those exceptions. Which Romney has done. Granted, he is following in an unfortunate Republican tradition, but Republicans have been known to change their mind on these issues (Rick Perry being a notable recent case). I suggest we withhold our vote from any Republican who has not yet seen the light on this issue until they get the memo that we care about it. And honestly, Romney isn’t in this game as a culture warrior.

And as for Ron Paul… well, do we really need to go there?

Now let’s face it, Santorum winning the primary would be an upset. Romney is the favorite. And some would argue (though I’m actually not so sure), that Romney is “more electable” in the general, therefore we should put all our support behind him as the one with the best shot of ousting Obama. I disagree with this argument. I believe you should vote according to your conscience. Ask yourself simple questions, questions like, “Would I be proud to have a yard sign for this candidate?” If your answer is, “Well, not really,” then follow your conscience and don’t give your endorsement to that person. That’s what a vote is—a gesture of endorsement. I was shocked in 2008 when I was chatting with another homeschooled friend who said, in a moment of candor, “Yeah, McCain sorta stinks, but he’s better than Obama.”

Why? Why would you give your vote to somebody who, in your own words, “sorta stinks?” If Hitler and Satan were running against each other, would you vote for Hitler because he’s “the lesser of two evils?” I hope not.

And if you should stay home, this is not equivalent to a vote for the other side. It doesn’t take mad math skillz to see this. Yet you’ll hear the sound bite tossed around quite a bit as an argument for voting no matter what.

So, yes, I’m voting for Santorum in the primary. Not because I think he’s “electable” (though maybe I do, but in any case that’s irrelevant), but because I believe in him. He stands for what I stand for. He is actively seeking the support of people like me, people on the far right who are sick and tired of being neglected by Republicans for mushy middle and left-leaning voters. The strategists can hem and haw all they want about how this or that comment was “overly rash” or “likely to appeal only to the far right” or “ill-judged due to its controversial nature,” but I say good for him. Good for him.

I want to close with another story. This is a story from a summer I spent campaigning for a friend who was running for U. S. Senate against the more liberal Republican incumbent. It was a long summer. Others worked even harder than I did, but I put in many hours of volunteer labor. Data entry, folding T-shirts, licking envelopes, phone calls, phone calls, phone calls… and did I mention phone calls? But I vividly remember one phone call in particular. I was working alone in a room, with one laptop full of names and numbers and one cellphone. I dialed one number and waited for the next person on the list to pick up. It was an elderly lady—I don’t even remember her name. But she picked up, and I trotted off my little half-scripted, half-improvised introduction. We had been told to focus mainly on economic issues in our initial spin, so that was essentially what I gave her.

I still remember the pause. At this point one of several things might happen. She might say something polite and hang up. She might say something rude and hang up. She might say nothing and hang up. Or maybe, just maybe, she might ask for more information. I waited with the cellphone pressed to my ear in anticipation. Then, she cleared her throat and asked, “What’s he like on the abortion issue?”

My heart leaped. Honestly, the economic stuff all made sense to me, but deep down I knew those weren’t the real reasons I was working for this man. And suddenly she was asking a question I could answer from the heart. Fortunately I had been given some information I could provide on the topic if people requested it. So I told her all about the candidate’s commitment to life. I told her how he had personally helped found our local Crisis Pregnancy Center. And then I began to tell her that I knew him personally, and that he was a good man, an honorable man. I told her he lived what he believed. Finally, I stopped and waited, again. There was another pause, and again she responded, “Oh my, that is so good to know.” Then she told me that she was a Christian, and that the abortion issue in particular was very close to her heart. She was moved by what I had told her about the candidate’s personal integrity. She was so glad to know that he was a man of God. We chatted a little more. She said she would like to have even more info, and I got her physical address down so we could mail a packet to her. Then it was time to move on in the list. She thanked me repeatedly for calling her. And I thanked her.

It was a sweet moment. A sweet moment. And somehow, after I got off the phone with her, the other names on the list mattered less to me. I had reached one person about this man, one person who didn’t know his name and was now very, very glad to know it.

It brightened my day. It brightened the next day too, and the next, and the next. It kept me going for the rest of the campaign. And even though we lost, I wasn’t sorry.

So I pass this on to you, my dear readers: Vote without regret. Don’t be sorry.

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35 Comments

Filed under Faith and Culture

35 responses to “Why I Am Supporting Rick Santorum

  1. Huh…interesting post. I would have to say I agree with Santorum MOST of the time. And I hear you about Romney. My impression of his speeches is: “I love America, because it is full of Americans who are just so American and stand for America and American values, American Americans are all together here hoping for America and working for America. That’s just so American. I love this country.” hahahaha! I mean….nothing wrong with patriotism at ALL, but WHAT on earth is his message!?!

    • He doesn’t seem like a very passionate kind of guy. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I mean not everybody is, but… in this culture you have to be vigorously counter-cultural. Mitt comes across very bland. Not what our country really needs right now.

  2. mark

    I also agree with most of what Rick Satorum has stated as his beliefs. I have a co-worker who is also from home-schooling family and told me one of his main reasons to vote for Santorum was he home-schooled his children. Home-schooling or not is a private issue for parents to decide, but has absolutely nothing to do with how a person might govern. My wife and I send our daughter to public to school so she can be light in the darkness. (BTW, she led a gay classmate to Christ on the playground just last year). Just my 2 cents…..

    • You know what, I’d have to take issue with that philosophy. You can say “We want our children to be salt and light in the schools,” but at this point the atmosphere is just too toxic and biased to be safe for our children. Even if your daughter emerges from her public school experience with her faith and morals intact, how many things did she learn that she didn’t need or want to know? How much misinformation was she forced to absorb? For that matter, was the quality of the education she received anything to write home about from a purely objective standpoint?

      I for one would not place my children in that position.

      • mark

        I don’t know where you live, but here in Texas where I live it is not so toxic. As a matter of fact many members of my baptist church that I attend teach and are administrators in our public school systems. I have nothing against home-schooling if you choose, I have many friends who do, but it is not any better education in my area that the public system. Thses same friends for the most part, not all, have children that are finding it hard to adjust to the real world as adults. Some of the parents have told me they wished they had put the children in more social environments when they were younger.

      • Well, that sounds like a very unusual situation. For the vast majority of public schools in America, that’s not the case.

        As for the concern about socializing, I am not familiar with your specific friends’ situations, but even if there are some genuine concerns that can arise there, the solution is not “send them to public school.” Any benefit that could be gleaned as far as “real world interaction” will, 9 times out of 10, be far outweighed by the overwhelming negatives of such an experience.

  3. mark

    I guess you’re right, Jesus never went to toxic or unwelcoming situations. He just wanted to hang out with all the religous people of the day…..LOL

    • That’s a weak parallel if ever I saw one. I have a little extra time here so let me dissect it for you…

      First of all, Jesus was God incarnate, voluntarily coming to earth with the specific mission of redeeming mankind from their state of sin. Before his death and resurrection, he conducted a ministry which involved interacting with a variety of people. Though, contrary to the popular image of “hippie Jesus hanging out with the junkies and hookers,” the circles he moved in were overwhelmingly upper/middle-class. This was a straight-laced society. There was no “junkie/hooker hangout.” It does say he ate with tax collectors, but those are “white-collar sinners,” if you will. So if by “toxic and unwelcoming” situations, you mean Jesus regularly rubbed elbows with/hung out with unsavory characters… nah, not really.

      But, aside from that, even if he had, I repeat—He was God incarnate with a mission to redeem humanity. He had the power to forgive sins for crying out loud. He had the power to perform miracles as a sign of who He was.

      For you to take Jesus’ ministry and attempt to make a parallel to volunteering our kids as missionaries in public schools is just plain silly. Yes, ultimately all kids must grow up and move into the world, but that’s different from their spending all formative years IMMERSED in an atmosphere where they are in constant contact with hostile, toxic influences/information. They can’t escape peer pressure. They can’t escape misinformation. They can’t escape filth. When we are simply moving in the world, we can make choices about what and who we interact with. Put your kids in a school environment and they ain’t got much of a choice.

      Don’t try stuff like that on a philosopher. I mean, not that you can’t if you feel like it, just prepare to be methodically shredded. Intellectually speaking, of course. ;)

  4. mark

    Then we wonder why lost people view christianity the way they do……God bless you!

    • I’m not sure I take your meaning, but God bless you too!

      All right, I’ll take a stab at responding to what I think you meant. “How will they know unless we tell them,” right?

      My response is that there are many ways to minister. We can minister simply by being an example of godliness in the middle of a fallen world. If we hold our candle high, they will see the light. But we don’t always have to place ourselves (and ESPECIALLY not our children and loved ones) in a place of literal moral peril in order to do so.

      If a young, single man feels called to start an inner city ministry, or if a husband and wife feel led to travel around the world preaching to the lost, that is their ministry and God bless it. But not everyone is called to do that. Furthermore, one must always, always make a distinction between taking a risk with one’s own soul and taking a risk with another’s.

      • mark

        In our southern baptist church we teach that everyone is a minister and a missionary because thats what we believe the bible teaches. You make a good point that we must be a Godly example in the middle of a fallen world. I guess our difference in opinion might be where the middle is.

      • Indeed, it looks like that may be where we part ways.

        I thought of how to put a finer point on my critique of your parallel to Christ—Christ had the divine power to resist temptation! Our children don’t. Or, to be clearer… yes, we can resist the devil through the power of Christ in us, but there is a big difference between that and literally BEING God.

  5. K. Payne

    I would agree on Santorum. My only concern would be on whether he can get elected. Romney is just to slick for me. Gingrich would have Obama’s head spinning and I don’t think Obama’s writers could type fast enough on the teleprompter to dispute the facts! On the school front, I traveled the country singing during the summers and went to public school. After my sister graduated college, we traveled full time and I was homeschooled on the bus (at 65 mph) and I was able to see more of the history of the country. I think that both sides have their ups and downs. My wife is a 5th grade teacher in a Christian school and my kids go there as well. The education there is better, but this year we have seen some of the world also come into the school because of some of the students who have been kicked out of public school. Times have changed since I graduated (’79) and now. We really have to be careful of things our kids may encounter whether it be at school or anywhere else.

    • Santorum doesn’t have a “money machine,” that’s for sure. Yet in a way that’s part of what I like about him.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on schooling. It’s interesting to hear that about Christian schools. My impression is that they tend to be better than the public schools on average but not perfect, as your experience seems to confirm.

    • Lydia

      I wonder if part of what is happening is that Christian schools no longer feel that they can be selective in their admissions. A question does arise as to why a private school, esp. a Christian school, would have admitted kids who were kicked out of public school. Wouldn’t that be a good place for the school to exercise its greater freedom, as a private school, to say “no”? Perhaps there’s always been a tendency on the part of Christian schools to be a bit soft on this, on the theory that they are there to be missionaries to the kids they admit, but I did get the feeling several decades ago when I was in Christian school that they had the choice whether to admit you or not and might refuse (or kick you out) if you wouldn’t follow their standards. Maybe this is changing.

  6. K. Payne

    I will say that on the whole, our school is one of the better ones in Dallas. For having only 400 or so enrolled, we have managed to have 2 state championship titles in football and 3 in volleyball. In the 11 yrs we have been here, 98% of the graduates have gone on to college on scholarships. Some have also gone into the military and 2-3 have gone to Annapolis. Not bad for a small Christian school. :)

  7. K. Payne

    We are starting to see the administration take more time in going through applications for students and teachers. Sad to say, I have seen churches bring down schools and schools bring down churches. It tends to affect students who have parents as teachers. It is hard for them to separate the difference between school and church when both are in the same location. I also see schools fighting to pay salaries and have something different to bring in students. It gets to a point where they start filling space with whoever they can get through the door. Oddly enough, some of the students ( who are now being shown the door before the semester is finished ) came from other Christian schools. One student has been a problem for 7 yrs now. Due to threats against other students (my son being one) he is now suspended. His parents refuse to see it as their problem but as teasing from the other students which cause his behavior. Again, sometimes you have to learn to say “no”.

  8. david

    it’s got to more than just the president. only 1 side of congress is republican, needs to be both sides. but really needs to happen is get some new people in there that really believe what we conservatives believe. hillary, reed, pulousi, and others need to go. get some mavericks it there who don’t vote the establishment every single time. who stay the same, because they are the same, because he is the same. in other words stick to there guns. i for one don’t like any of them. why? it’s all the same. but you say it’s got to start somewhere. santorum is a start. let’s hope he goes in there and does what he says. but how many times are we going to hear and witness it, (HOW MUCH DO THEY SAY DO THEY DO)!!

    It’s got to start with us, vote for those who can kick the establishment out and start something new, (government for the people, by the people) so sick of lobbyists, redderick, double speak. don’t get me wrong i love this country, but don’t like the way it’s going. santorum is a start. i wait to see how he does(santorum) before i make my choice.

    why didn’t you elaborate on ron paul. just wondering??????????

    • Because he’s proven that he’s not really the man of principle everyone used to think he was by specifically pandering to fringe groups like the Truthers (for example). The process has turned him pretty loony and not very trustworthy.

  9. I would go with Santorum also (if I were old enough to vote that is!). He’s not perfect, I hear he’s Catholic, ect., but he’s closer to my beliefs than any of the other candidates.

    I was interested in your comment about voting for a Mormon, YGG. I would not want a Mormon as president. That is one major reason I wouldn’t vote for one of the other candidates. Thoughts?

    • I don’t think you have to be a Christian to make a good President. Now, most people who are truly conservative on social issues in fact ARE Christians, but you could reach similar conclusions by the light of natural law. It’s just that a lot of people don’t.

      • Hmmm…maybe, but I’d rather vote for a conservative Christian than a conservative sinner. ;)

        When you read about the Mormon’s past, and some of their practices, it can really turn you away from them.

  10. mark

    Luke, the same could be said about Catholicism…..IMO if Santorum is a devout catholic like he sayd he is, therefore believing all catholic doctorine, it would be hard for him to be a christian.

  11. mark

    Actually, it doesn’t really matter what you or I think about their doctorine. All that matters is what the Bible says about salvation, grace, faith and works.

  12. mark

    Well, looks as if Santorum has thrown in the towel. Seems according to the polls he wasn’t even going to win his home state. I’m not sure when republicans will get the point that they won’t win with a northern or liberal candidate.

    • I’m saddened to see him go, but I think the lack of money just crushed him. At this point it’s probably wise to cut his losses, in addition to the fact that his little girl has so many health problems. We wish him well. Now, let the yawning begin…

  13. Josh

    At this point, I’m not even sure if I’ll vote in this year’s election.

    • Don’t feel obligated to. I imagine some people might pressure you into feeling like there’s a duty to vote for whoever’s facing Obama, but I don’t feel that way.

      • Josh

        If my choice is between Obama and Romney, either way I’m basically voting for the same guy. If Paul runs as an independent I might throw a vote his way, but thats a big if.

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