By Michael Novak
Originally published November 15, 2016 on FirstThings.com
Most of my friends decided very early to join the “Never Trump” ranks. Now that Trump has quite astoundingly been elected president, they must still be haunted by many fears and gloomy prognostications. These may, after all, turn out to be right. Who knows? But I do see a few remarkable silver linings among the dark clouds.
Going to bed on Monday, November 7 and trying to be bleakly realistic, I felt myself getting ready to accept the almost certain terrors of a Hillary Clinton victory. I dreaded the exultation of NARAL, Death With Dignity, and other extremist advocates of death. I dreaded a more intense and persistent persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor. I mortally feared the naming by a President Clinton of two or three more Supreme Court Justices and scores of other federal judges, pro-death all. I imagined a President Clinton announcing that the supervening issue is “women’s health”—meaning that those holding religious objections to abortion and contraception would simply have to adjust their ideas, modernize themselves, and accept new measures such as the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
These may have been only nightmares, but I dreaded what seemed like a descent into religious repression. We had already seen enough signs of the moral and political intolerance of the new gender imperialists.
So it was amazing to wake up on Wednesday, November 9, and experience a normal bright dawn with all these dark fears evaporated. Gone.
I could hardly believe the sense of relief I felt for the future integrity of the U.S. Constitution, the legal profession, and the brighter prospects of those who cherish the lives of the unborn.
Whatever the inward intentions of President-elect Trump, one of the consequences of his shocking victory is the possibility of a reprieve from the death sentence otherwise awaiting millions more unborn persons. Candidate Hilary Clinton showed not a hint of pity, even for those whose heads had partly emerged from the womb before being deliberately crushed to death. That is how far her extremism went.
I suspect that other fears of those who joined the “Never Trump” chorus (many friends I much admire) have not yet dissipated, and their pessimism may yet prove to be correct.
But for myself at least I rejoice in the faint silver linings I now see: The dread I felt about the election of Hillary Clinton has lifted; hopes for the integrity of the Court are much strengthened; the religious liberty of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and many others, is still safe; and the morale of the pro-life cause has been uplifted.
I was especially heartened that those “unmeltable ethnics,” who in the 1980s became Reagan Democrats, rose up again against so many politically correct passions of our elites in politics and the media. I was most heartened by the votes of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where so many of these good people live. In the past the Catholic “ethnic” vote has usually been something like 55 percent for Democratic candidates. This year white Catholics (that is, those we called in the 1970s “white ethnics”) voted 60-37 percent for Trump. Catholics who know they are sinners are usually reluctant to throw stones at other sinners.
Michael Novak teaches in the Busch School of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America.