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Di Leo: Who are the Real Extremists in 2022?



By John F. Di Leo – 

Illinois users of the internet can hardly open a YouTube video without first being greeted by an ad from Governor J.B. “Second Helping” Pritzker, calling Senator Darren Bailey an “extremist” for his position on abortion.

We can’t turn on the television without seeing an ad from our local Democrat state legislative candidates (in my case, it’s the incredibly deceptive Mary Beth Canty and Anne Gillespie), accusing their Republican opponents of attacking a woman’s “right to choose.”

Perhaps it’s time to sort out just what “extremist” policy really is, where abortion and other issues are concerned, so we can tell who the real extremists are, and who is actually being reasonable, or at least, being politically responsible and practical.

It’s easy to say that anyone you disagree with is an “extremist.”  It can even be fun, for a campaign manager or volunteer, because it can provide a perceived moral high ground for one’s campaign.

But on the matter of abortion, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out what’s extreme, should it?

Here are the choices: 

Some candidates demand that abortion be allowed, encouraged, and taxpayer-funded, all the way through the entire nine months of pregnancy, from conception all the way to the very moment of birth.  No exaggeration here; that’s the official position of the national Democratic Party today, and that’s now the law in the state of Illinois.  They oppose all restrictions. Some, in swing districts, will tell voters they aren’t that extreme, but when it comes to a vote in the legislature, they vote for the Democratic leadership that ensures that abortion is open, unlimited, and taxpayer-funded all the way to the moment of birth.

Some candidates demand that abortion be banned, all the way through the entire nine months of pregnancy, for a number of reasons, including the fact that there’s no real moment that science can identify as a dividing line in development.  Once that baby starts developing, that’s an innocent human baby.  Period. And most civilized societies have a word for the taking of innocent human life.  Abortion is just a euphemism for it.

But where do most Republican candidates stand?  Somewhere in between, especially in blue states. Even the most ardent pro-lifers acknowledge political reality and will compromise in the direction of improvement wherever compromises can be found.

In Illinois, for example, pro-life candidates like Darren Bailey and Stephanie Trussell want there to be fewer abortions; they oppose abortion-on-demand, and they will work with the legislature to implement whatever reductions they can possibly win on the tragic volume of abortions that take place in their state every year.

But Republican candidates are under no illusion that a state like Illinois, a state that values human life so casually that it happily releases gang thugs, drug dealers and killers from jail all the time, and declares itself a sanctuary state to welcome foreign gangland characters in by the thousands… is going to join in the fight to put a complete end to the lucrative and popular business of abortion.

So, Republican candidates call for any improvement they can get, trusting that they serve the cause best by being reasonable and listening to the will of the voters.

In Illinois, Republicans would consider it a success if they could save babies from the abortionist’s knife who are four or five months along. We’d like to save them all, but if we could save that group, it would be an improvement, right?  In Illinois, Republicans would consider it a success if they could restore parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion for her unborn child.  In Illinois, Republicans would consider it a success if they could stop Governor Pritzker from his advocacy of “abortion tourism”, in which he tries to convince expectant mothers from other states to travel to Illinois to have an abortion.

Politics is about the art of the possible – recognizing what goals may be achievable and compromising in the direction of improvement.

Illinois Republicans hope to make progress, hopefully saving thousands of children from that knife.  They don’t imagine that Illinois is going to be able to stop abortion completely, anytime soon… but they hope to bring the laws more in line with the will of the people, rather than with the will of the abortion lobby as the laws currently stand.

By contrast, Illinois Democrats will not consider the slightest compromise, no matter where the public stands on the matter. 

The voting public in Illinois is not 100% pro-life or 100% pro-abortion.  The electorate is divided on the matter… many want to see the horror of abortion ended completely… some few activists (including, by policy, virtually all Democrat candidates for office) want to see abortion not just legal through the moment of birth but taxpayer-funded and with an expanded customer base … and most Illinois voters are frankly somewhere in the middle, expecting parental notification, opposing taxpayer funding of it, and drawing a timeline somewhere in the middle of those nine months, somewhere around the popular (though scientifically nebulous) date of “viability outside the womb.”

Knowing all this… as we all do… what is really “extreme?”  What does “extremity” really mean on this issue?

Is the word just in the eye of the beholder, and anyone can just say that if someone disagrees with them, that person must be extreme?

Or, in the context of an election battle in a constitutional republic, shouldn’t we really demand a somewhat more rigorous definition if people want to throw around accusatory words like “extremist?”

There could be external influences worth noting, of course:

Many who take pro-life positions do so because their religion compels them to support innocent life, but then, there are pro-life atheists too, and many pro-lifers oppose abortion despite disinterest in the matter from their particular religious denomination.

And many who take pro-abortion positions do so because of the sadly-popular Malthusian philosophy that “there are just too many people in the world” – so they favor all sorts of population controls, such as euthanasia, abortion, reduction of healthcare for the aged or handicapped, discouragement of marriage, encouragement of homosexuality or transgenderism, etc… virtually anything that reduces procreation is a win for this sadly nihilistic philosophy.  And, cynically, we must consider this too: some politicians may take pro-abortion positions just because the abortion lobby is so incredibly powerful, funding and driving Democrat candidacies to an overwhelming degree.

So, having considered all this… who is really the extremist?

Is it the candidate who hopes to move the needle more toward the middle, the candidate who hopes to reduce the number of abortions, the candidate who considers it a victory every time an innocent life is spared?

Or is it the candidate who stubbornly refuses to consider any pullback from 100% unlimited taxpayer-paid abortion, at any time, for any reason, at any age, for any customer, regardless of overwhelming public opinion that some compromises on some of these things really would make more sense than Illinois’ status quo?

In blue states in this 2022 midterm election, it becomes more and more evident – every day – that the Democrats have determined that they have only one hope: to sway voters on abortion because every other issue is so overwhelmingly on the side of Republicans.

Strange, isn’t it, that the Democrats have decided that the only lifeline for them requires the elimination of a lifeline for others.

Copyright 2022 John F Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, and former president of the Ethnic American Council, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.  

 A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

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