In the end, the votes were not even close. In the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the measure approving a continuing resolution to fund the government — including money for Planned Parenthood — passed easily with a vote of 257-151. In the Senate, the vote was even more lopsided, clearing the chamber by a vote of 78-20.
If this weren’t sobering enough, a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, found that six out of 10 Americans said they opposed completely eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood. Perhaps this helps explain the final roll call in the House and the Senate.
Even more surprising than the final vote tally in Congress, however, was the finding in that same poll that a plurality of Americans continue to view Planned Parenthood favorably.
This despite Pope Francis’s historic visit to the United States, where he spoke eloquently about the sanctity of life — including the unborn — before Congress and the United Nations. And this despite the series of undercover videos that show Planned Parenthood officials and medical technicians discussing the sale of organs from aborted babies.
None of that was enough. It’s clear that many Americans are either unmoved or unaware of the atrocities happening in the facilities of America’s largest abortion provider, which receives about $500 million a year in taxpayer funds.
As a social conservative, there are two natural responses to this setback: anger or despair.
This is not a cause for despair, but for motivation
Conservatives are righteously angry with a Republican leadership that promised to govern on a conservative platform and has consistently fallen short. In the case of funding an organization that peddles in baby parts, why not force the President’s hand? Shutting down the government in the name of life is a worthy cause after all.
The other response is despair. Sure, despair is a sin. But if we can’t raise the consciousness of the American people to see the barbarity and utter disregard to life, as the Center for Medical Progress videos show, then what else can we possibly do?
There is a better response than despair or anger.
Fact is, Republicans lacked the votes to overcome a filibuster by the minority party or to override a presidential veto. Despite historic gains by Republicans during the last few years, including winning a number of important Senate races during the last cycle, the votes are still not there.
This is not a cause for despair, but for motivation. Because even though, on paper, next year’s Senate races favor Democrats, Republicans should see this as an opportunity to renew their commitment to fight for the cause of life, liberty and limited government.
Success requires the hard work of persuasion. Conservatives need to win converts and translate this success into electoral victories. Seeking new voters is far less glamorous than grandstanding and receiving accolades from the party faithful, but it’s essential in order to enact conservative public policy.
Defining conservative public policy success will vary, but as Opportunity Lives Editor in Chief John Hart writes: “It’s time to invoke the General Patton Rule which says the purpose of fighting wars isn’t to die for your country, but to force the other guy to die for his country. True warriors understand tactical realties and relentlessly fight one island at a time instead of invading Japan in 1942.”
Israel Ortega is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @IzzyOrtega.