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Posted in: Jihad & Terrorism, Culture Wars & Censorship

Published on Sep 02, 2008 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

When Obama vs. McCain is an Agonizing Decision


The decision about whom to vote for in the race for President and Vice-President is a wrenching one for many Americans. It is for me.

I agree with Joe Lieberman that this is neither an ordinary election nor an ordinary historical moment. (Yes, he also said that John McCain is no ordinary candidate.) I also agreed with Fred Thompson who said that, unlike their opposition, McCain and the Republicans believe that we live in the best country in the world, one worth defending with honor (as opposed to viewing America as the worst country in the world and making speeches abroad to please America’s enemies). In addition, I agree with Thompson that character, judgment, courage, humility, a sense of duty, wisdom and honor are traits that a war-time President requires.

The Democratic candidates talk a language with which I’m familiar, a language which opposes racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty–and yet I am stirred by the fact that John and Cindy McCain have also “walked the talk” by adopting a special needs orphan girl from Bangladesh. Although I have viewed adoption as a complex and not always as an altruistic affair, in this case, my heart was opened by the McCain family’s magnificent service to others. And, John McCain has certainly “walked the talk” of a soldier by behaving with unbelievable courage and moral strength while enduring a terrible and torture-filled captivity in Vietnam.

Thus, here are some wrenching bottom lines: Do we vote to keep abortion legal and to stop the anti-Choice conservatives from taking over the Supreme Court–or do we vote to make sure that the American military is allowed to stop the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in their tracks? Can we really achieve both goals by voting for one candidate? If not, then what is the more pressing priority? For ourselves, for our country, for the world at this moment in history?

If American women retain the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term–in my view, a prerequisite to female human freedom, what does this mean if the jihadists bomb the country back to the seventh century? If the jihadists triumph, American women will be forced to convert to Islam, to wear veils or burqas (body bags), and risk being stoned to death, hung, or honor murdered if they want to choose their own husbands, attend college, dress like modern American girls do, or convert to another non-Islamic religion.

Leiberman was tactically brilliant in suggesting that Americans, including his fellow Democrats, should care more about their country than their Party; being a Republican or a Democrat is nowhere near as important as being an American. “We need a President our allies will trust and our enemies will fear.”

I can’t wait to hear Governor Palin speak tommorrow night. I understand that she has invited both her pregnant daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend/future husband to join her at the Convention. Classy. Gutsy.

Mind you: Senator Obama’s eloquence is thrilling and the good old laundry list, beginning with abortion, matters a great deal to me. But jihad is here and here to stay and I would need to be persuaded that Obama and Biden really understand that. Also, since anti-Semitism, disguised as anti-Zionism has arisen today on the Left, not the Right, as has the academic feminist betrayal of a universal vision of human rights for everyone, everywhere, including Muslim women and dissidents, I would need to be assured that voting for abortion does not mean that I end up voting against Israel, against the Jews–and against Muslims who are under Islamic seige.

Please share your Bottom Line dilemmas with me.


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