Monday, April 12, 2004

Another weighs in on Kerry Peter Nixon sums up closely what I would be trying to say about the forces of good under the banner of "orthodox Catholicism" riding out to battle the forces of evil (John Kerry and the NARAL colors). Try as I might, I find I cannot maintain the political aloofness I attempted earlier this primary season. Of course, it was all a done deal by the time the Missouri primary hit town. Maybe I can heap on my personal expressions of disgust at what passes for presidential democracy in the two-party system. Then you'll know why I'm leaning more and more toward voting for Ralph Nader, who, alleged megalomania aside, remains a far more honorable candidate than any of the guys getting major press time these days. 1. At the Iowa caucus in 2000, survey sheets were passed around urging party leadership to consider a woman nominee for VP. I crossed out "Vice-" on the sheet, signed it and returned it. I would have liked to think that in a caucus, we would be theoretically open to ideas other than the guy Bill Clinton picked eight years ago. Decent enough veep, sure. But what's the difference between smoke-filled back rooms picking the candidate before a convention and ... well ... smoke-filled back rooms picking the candidate eight years prior to the primary season? Seems pretty much the same to me. The D's have stopped calling me, but if they do this year, I'll tell them helping my daughter with her homework will have more impact on the good of the nation than any equal time participating in the two-party system would. 2. I've said before that bishops need to tread carefully this election year. They remain a liability for any message associated too closely with them. Sure, they need to maintain the teaching aspect of their office. But the Catholic faithful want teachings to be underscored with actions and personal example, not words. A bishop feels he needs to ban a speaker? Fine. Come out personally to the talk and explain it. Hiding behind press releases and playing the publicity game is not what being a pastor and overseer is about. 3. John Kerry's position on abortion rights is deeply troubling. Unfortunately, nothing really inspiring is coming out from the Pro-Life side. And I know the Republicans are bankrupt on the issue behind their fuzzysmirks. Bishops protesting at clinics is one thing -- not even the Republicans do that. But the US citizenry has been deluded into thinking that abortion-on-demand is an expression of caring toward women. A quick fix and an expensive form of birth control is closer to the mark in most cases. What is needed to move opinion and begin conversion are some dramatic steps by the bishops, not excommunications. That bishops actually care about women is just not believable. Bishops protesting at clinics? How would that be different from aiding their most ardent supporters? In part, it looks like its own version of playing politics, especially if Pro-Life Catholics have deep pockets. What I'd like to see is bishops turning over episcopal residences to unwed mothers, then hitting the road themselves to reconnect with the people. Sarcasm alert: I would not say any bishop is directly duplicitous on this, but I would stress that actions always speak louder than words, even words spoken through a bullhorn. 4. Just don't get me started on the Republicans. They're every bit as bad as the Other Party, only they have less to say on just about every other issue of Catholic concern. Except abortion, of course. And on that matter, I deeply suspect they're just fine with the status quo of abortions in this country: it keeps a tidy satchel of votes in their pocket so long as enough people rage about the inhumanity of it all. In sum, John Kerry has a lot of work to do to convince me to vote for him. But Republicans need not apply. A vote for Bush is a vote wasted. Lastly, I should mention that the link above is essential daily reading. Essential. I aspire to Peter's calm, clarity, and spirituality. If you click on this page before reading his, just go back, check his first.

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