I was overjoyed to have the opportunity on Wednesday night to actually go inside the DNC convention hall and witness our political process while witnessing to the Consistent Life Ethic. Though Life Matters Journal is non-partisan, I myself lean left, and despite my many disagreements with the Democratic Party, I still found myself excited to experience this event.
The theme for the evening was “Working Together”, a rallying cry to Bernie Sanders supporters to fall in line behind Hillary Clinton, although at this point it felt much more like desperate pleading. We came across hardly a single person outside in FDR Park who was a Hillary supporter, and even witnessed dozens of protesters chant “We won’t vote for Hillary!” just the night before. It was important for the speakers that night to appeal to this lost half of the Democratic Party, so that everyone can unite behind one candidate.
The intention to cultivate inclusion in a broken party that night was clear, but a comment by Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine referring to Hillary Clinton really underlined how lacking and short-sighted these efforts were: “She will defend Roe v. Wade.”
Just earlier that day we attended an event hosted by Democrats for Life of America (DFLA). The event served the purpose of reminding the Democratic Party that they were rejecting one in three U.S. Democrats who identify as pro-life by including in their platform blatant support for abortion “rights” and a call to repeal the Hyde and Helms amendments. DFLA was there to represent the pro-life views of the millions of voters who are left-leaning but are also advocates for the rights of the preborn. DFLA urged the Democratic Party to “open the big tent” and make room for pro-life politicians to run for their party.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards was in attendance as a prime example of the type of successful politician the Democrats need. He believes that his pro-life views gave him the competitive edge to win governorship in a red state despite running for the Democratic Party. However, with the extreme party platform that the Democrats have laid out this election, pro-life Democrats have been more or less written out of the party.
This is an unfortunate consequence, of course, given that liberals have historically been supporters of human rights and have stood for inclusion. Through our own experience that afternoon, talking with attendees outside of the DNC, many Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein supporters were open to our message. And why wouldn’t they be? Respecting the life and dignity of every human individual is consistent with the other ideals of such leftists, who preach peace and non-violence.
I reflected upon these experiences that night as I left the Wells Fargo Stadium. I had just heard the news that several angry anti-Hillary protesters outside had broken down a security fence to the convention hall, resulting in seven arrests. Whether or not the Democratic Party will be able to rally all of its once-supporters I do not know, but one thing I do know is that there is a simple solution for them if they aren’t too proud to accept it: they need to stop marginalizing the 21 million pro-life Democrats that would otherwise offer their full support. But, as Tim Kaine made very clear to the audience of the DNC earlier on Wednesday night, and Cecile Richards made clear on Tuesday, advocates of preborn rights are not welcome within their ranks. So as long as the Democrats aren’t interested in “Working Together” with me, I remain unsympathetic towards their difficulty unifying their party.