How Democracy Dies Part II

“And when you stop and think about it, you won’t believe it’s true that all the love you’ve been giving has all been meant for you.” — Justin Hayward

There’s going to be a few of these and after each one I guarantee there will be a reader here and there that will think to themselves, “but I’m not a fascist and I support that.” This one will be a very important edition to read in that case. If you want an uneasy answer to that open question just ask yourself how you feel about Antifa.

See, Antifa stands for Anti-fascist. It isn’t some shadowy underground organization with an arch-villain pushing buttons and pointing fingers directing foot traffic. The fact that people think that’s true is ultimately another sign of what’s going on here. In fact, the fact that there is such a group now prominent in the United States should tell you something.

Controlled Mass Media

This one has taken on a mind of its own and has been in the works for about 40 years. The Fairness Doctrine was one that required media outlets to broadcast all sides if they were going to broadcast one of them. Ronald Reagan ended that and so Fox was born. However, you had talk radio before Fox and you would struggle to find left wing voices on the radio.

Yet, you see that is a large part of the con. We are constantly told that the media has a liberal bias. So, two things ultimately happen over time. First, we the consumers begin to assume that’s true. Yet, outside of MSNBC and maybe CNN you’d struggle to find any liberal sources in the mainstream. Sure, there are media out there like the Young Turks and other small outlets, but mass media and particularly broadcast media has become dominated by right wing sources.

Anyone around long enough can see the shift in attitudes that 40 years of constant bombardment has caused. Therefore, print media and typical corporate media bend over backwards so they don’t appear to be liberal. So, we get a “both sides” narrative based in a fantasy. Hillary’s emails become analogous do TFG’s life of crime. A few radicals outside of politics become analogous to those within politics on the other side. Fair and balanced suddenly means you can’t call crazy crazy. The fourth estate used to be about calling balls and strikes. Now it is about making sure you have just as many strikeouts as walks.

Religion and Government Intertwined

In one of her recent speeches, Lauren Boebert came out and said it. Just read the headline. If you aren’t sufficiently frightened then you should be. This one is very simple and fairly straightforward. It also leads directly into the next point. As citizens in a free society we have to have common rules that we can all agree on. Those common rules must be based on not only religious moral teaching but also moral and ethical standards all people religious and not agree on.

My college roommate (and best man at my wedding) asked me once how I could be a liberal (his term) and deeply religious. Ultimately, the answer is the same one I would give today when asked about any specific human right issue. The answer is that it is the choice I made. I made the choice to live my life according to a stricter code of conduct. I chose not to drink to excess, do other harder drugs, not have sex outside of marriage, have or support abortions, or anything of the sort.

I made that choice. I made it based on church teachings I chose to believe. Others are free to make their own choice. Anyone that is really a person of faith must come to the same conclusion. We were given free will. If we can’t choose our faith freely then is it really our faith? If we are to force that faith onto others through open prayer at school or through policies based on faith and faith alone then are we really free?

Disdain for human rights

This is the obvious payoff of both of the two planks above. Ultimately, I get that there has to be a line somewhere. We cannot let everyone literally do anything they want. There are common sense limitations to these things. Those common sense limitations almost exclusively involved children. Children deserve protection for coercion. They shouldn’t be subjugated into sexual relationships, marriage, or exploited for their innocence.

Given that, you really have to ask yourself why anyone really cares all that deeply about same sex individuals getting married. Assuming they are both 18 or older then why do we care about that? What is gained by preventing their relationship? What do we gain when we prevent someone from going through gender reassignment? What’s the payoff here?

I imagine when we look at new laws like the “don’t say gay” law in Florida what we are ultimately seeing is a perverse misunderstanding of human nature. It is the same misunderstanding that drives people in Texas to say that transgender teens are an example of child abuse. If my daughter wanted to become my son is that a decision I’m driving? Does anyone really believe that I would coach my daughter into going through all of that?

The ultimate human right is in being safe to be who you really are. It is in being proud of who you really are. It is in freely accepting the past so we can ultimately heal and do better. It is in allowing people to love themselves fully and also love someone else fully. The fact that we could move away from that has to be frightening. It is quickly becoming one white man with one white woman or one black man with one black woman. Anything outside of that paradigm is becoming verboten. So, ultimately we utilize religious zealotry and right wing media to reinforce the narrowing of our world view. See, these things all go hand in hand.

How Democracy Dies Part I

“There’s a battle ahead
Many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re travelling with me.” — Neil Finn

There are numerous sites we can go to on this, but I want to take a few posts to chronicle exactly what fascism is and how it happens. It’s easy to just list the characteristics. However, there are multiple spots that do that. There is another site that has most of those as well, so we will simply go with the twelve they agree upon.

Instead of focusing on each one in a separate piece, I will try to link a few together each time to demonstrate how these characteristics go hand in hand. In many cases, I’m sure the people calling for these things may not grasp fully what they are calling for. That’s certainly true of supporters. However, there are clear forces that know exactly what they are doing.

Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

There is absolutely nothing wrong with patriotism. However, let’s consider some isolated news items. Apparently the state of Texas is toying with the idea of not calling slavery what everyone knows it is. Of course, that didn’t work yet, but they have banned critical race theory without a full understanding of what critical race theory is. Instead, it is has become a campaign to avoid the topic of racism in general. It makes people feel bad.

Nationalism is nothing more than the intense feeling of loyalty to the state. That’s easier done when we remove the more negative aspects of our history. In this case, it is important to think of the United States like your local sports team. It is possible to love your team, but not love all the things your team does. Then, you can demand more from your team.

Identification of enemies as a unifying cause

This starts off innocently enough, but if you take the above as a strengthening of “us” then the next logical step is a hatred of “them.” Of course, the bugaboo is in determining exactly who “them” are. It could be something as innocent as foreigners, but slowly evolve into anyone that doesn’t subscribe to the “America is great” mindset.

Notice how fiercely we are fighting over “critical race theory” and acknowledging racism and slavery. They say that it interferes with student’s self-esteem because it gets them to internalize what happened and accept undue blame for what their ancestors may have done. So, teachers that teach “that stuff” are calling their child racist. It doesn’t take long for the events of the past that zealots don’t want taught to become “fake news” and therefore just wayward beliefs held by enemies of the state.

Obsession with national security

These things flow naturally. If we have intense love for our country and we have intense hatred for outsiders, then we need protection from outsiders. We need to build a wall. We need more forces on the border to stop the influx of caravans of criminals that are flowing across the border. We gotta lock that shit down and stop everything at the source.

So, imagine how that whole issue is framed. Someone that doesn’t want to spend more money on the wall or want to expand security is for “open borders”. Notice how people from countries south of us are characterized. They are not sending their best. They are murderers, rapists, and drug traffickers. I guess some of them are good people.

So, if people from south of the border are bad people then they are a threat. We need to protect “us” versus “them.” Anyone that doesn’t speak in these absolutes is also an enemy of the state. They are a threat to your way of life. So, we can justify increased security because that is the only way to prevent “them” from infiltrating “us.” Naturally, once you have increased security, convinced people that if you don’t love the America they sell you, and if you aren’t sufficiently like them then you are a threat and they now have the ability to neutralize threats.

The First Step

“My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no, uh
You need to let it go, uh.” — Meghan Trainor

I have conservative friends and members of my own family. Usually, that’s one of the go to lines for racists, sexists, homophobes, and xenophobes as well. “Some of my best friends are ____” is the basis of most jokes told at their expense. However, I say that in the most lovingly and least ironic way possible.

There is one path forward for those that want the United States to continue to be a republic. There is one path forward for those that want individual rights and individual liberty to be a thing moving forward in the United States. There is one path forward for those that want the church over here and our politics to be over there. There is only one path forward.

You must vote and you must vote for Democrats. If it’s Joe Biden then it’s Joe Biden. If it’s your moderate senator or milquetoast representative than so be it. If it’s Skippy the kid who used to run the video store for dog catcher than so be it. If it has a D you vote for it. If it has an R you don’t. It really as as simple as that.

If you are looking at your local school board election or local city offices and someone talks about how they are conservative then you don’t vote for them. You may have known them for years and you think they are a stand up man or woman. That’s great. You still vote for someone else.

You cannot vote for third party candidates. You cannot vote for the Republican because you like him/her and think they are decent enough. You cannot stay home because you don’t like anyone on the ballot. You vote for the Democrat to save our democracy. You vote for the Democrat or democracy dies. Once we preserve democracy then we can start to talk.

I mentioned Andrew Yang in an earlier piece this week. He has formed himself a new party. Some of Yang’s ideas were interesting in the last presidential primary. I definitely understand the impulse to give people more choices. I definitely understand the impulse to say that the two-party system has driven this country into a ditch. I definitely understand the impulse to say that a “vote this party or die” mantra is what got us here. 99 times out of 100 I would be saying the exact same things.

We need to acknowledge the present reality. 40 percent of the country (or at least those that vote) are taken in by the right. I could call them deplorable, brainwashed, uneducated, or any other negative adjective I can think of. They aren’t changing their vote. They could listen to stories about the ex-president sitting in a high chair and throwing food at the wall. Maybe they would hear tales of him rubbing his own feces on himself in some kind of fit of rage. Maybe they would see him take a briefcase directly from Vlad Putin and they would still vote for him and fly his flag somewhere on their truck.

They are thanking him for saving “white” lives. They are calling for the destruction of the wall between church and state. They want an end to gay marriage, interracial marriage, available contraception and affordable health care for women. They want gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, transsexuals and everyone else back in the closet. Generals in the military are taking the fifth when asked if they support the peaceful transfer of power. In short, they aren’t hiding it anymore. They aren’t using cute dog whistles or a carefully crafted group of phrases giving them plausible deniability. They are coming right out and saying it.

Now is not the time to divide the other 60 percent. Now is the time for the other 60 percent to speak in one voice and tell them no. Now is the time for the other 60 percent to muster the courage to send the most egregious to jail and the less dangerous underground. Now is the time for the other 60 percent to codify our voting rights. Codify women’s rights. Codify LGTBQ+ rights. It is time for the 60 percent to codify those norms that we just assumed would always be there into actual law.

From there, Yang and everyone else can then have their discussion about what they want the future to look like. We can discuss what the progressive movement should look like and what the choices should be. Conservatives that defect to us to save democracy can then figure out amongst themselves what their movement should look like. Maybe then we won’t have to vote for Skippy for dog catcher or against your friend for the school board. Until that day comes there is only one solution. You have to vote and you have to vote blue. Otherwise, democracy dies.

The Politics We Deserve

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — Paul McCartney

I had a long Twitter conversation with a fellow Astros fan last night following the release of a terrible story in Texas. 51 migrants were found dead in a tractor trailer and two men were charged with their deaths. She blamed the deaths on “open borders” and further wondered why Democrats were suddenly for human trafficking.

I usually let these things go. Twitter conversations are inane in nature. Nuance is never something that is best accomplished in 280 characters or less. However, I started with a basic question and ended with another basic question. The opening question? Who exactly is for human trafficking? Yet, here we were coming through that argument cycle.

See, our politics is so wrapped up in a “thoughts and prayers” model of doing business that I was almost blocked for not acknowledging the tragedy. See, I had already gone onto beginning the dialogue on solutions. I know I was wordy, but I’m a writer. Sue me. Apparently, we are supposed to wallow in somehow repetitively saying how horrible it was and not addressing the underlying issues involved.

The closing question wasn’t answered yet. If our borders are really open as you say then why are people hiding in a trailer in the first place? Wouldn’t they just come in an open vehicle and wave at everyone as they freely drive into the country? Of course, this is what happens when we avoid nuance and simply assume that something is either all one thing or all something else.

I’m not here to address immigration as an issue. It is way too complex and intricate to explore in a few paragraphs. See, that’s really the problem now isn’t it? We get the politics we consume and the politics we demand. If we consume crap and demand crap then we will get crap. If we exalt carnival barkers then we will get more carnival barkers. If we demand dialogue, thoughtful actors, and collaborative decision makers then that is what we will get.

We won’t hear talk of border walls and open borders. We won’t hear talk of Dickensian politicians killing children in cages. These things might all be true or none may be true. Yet, they are all conversation stoppers. We won’t hear talk about how needy and troubled refugees are. We won’t hear talk about how deplorable or criminal they are. You’ll simply have a conversation about who is coming across the border, why they are coming across the border, and what we can do about it.

The one think she said that stuck with me though was that there was nothing that we could do. It is a shame to feel so powerless to effect change. Even if we can’t personally do anything we can certainly demand more from our politicians. We can demand people that will work with others and not grandstand for more airtime. We can vote in November. If we feel so inclined we could get into the process ourselves. We can do more than think and pray.

Value Statements

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” — Mark Twain

Labels have ruined our politics. I could parcel out which side does it better or more often, but what would be the point exactly? The general problem is that I can throw a label at you and immediately brand you as something positive or negative just based on the connotation that the label has. In many instances the definition in people’s minds aren’t even accurate. So, following are a group of statements that fit as definitions for terms thrown around in public.

  1. Different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.
  2. Men should hold the power and women should largely be excluded from it.
  3. Most of the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
  4. A political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor where opposition is not permitted.
  5. The enforced separation of different racial groups in a country or community
  6. People should be able to marry whoever they want regardless of race, gender identity, religion, or age.

I’d imagine you could play an old-fashioned word matchup game and match each of those with their correct term. For many of you, you wouldn’t need a word bank. I could add many more such statements that would have a direct link with what is going on right now.

If I spent enough time focusing on it, I could likely craft a series of statements that those on the left would subscribe to and those on the right would subscribe to and simply remove the label. It would be interesting to see how many statements we could get people to agree to. Would people that consider themselves as progressive or conservative actually continue to support progressive or conservative ideals?

I’m sure many of you recognized fascism and socialism above. Obviously, the first issue is that many in the political sphere know that the common person has no earthly clue what those things actually are. So, they can throw that label at anyone and have it stick because the label can fit anything. Since the label is harmful then using the label becomes a weapon.

This is also unfortunately where we descend into questions of good and evil and what those terms really mean. Does the mere belief in something make someone good or evil? Or, do we have to wait and see how those beliefs manifest themselves to determine if the individual is good or evil? Certainly, I think we can acknowledge that numerous people believe numbers one, two, and five.

We could throw number six in there too, but I added a little something extra to six to make it a much more difficult statement to support without qualification. I suspect a lot of these statements have “yeah,,,but” thoughts attached to them. That’s what makes politics so difficult. The world is rife with “yeah…buts”. No matter what personal moral code one follows, they all would agree that what we do is far more important than what we say. I have a sinking suspicion that if we allowed people to openly accept or reject such simple statements we’d see much more agreement overall and many of our politicians would be left in the cold looking for a place to land. Then again, I could be wrong.

While you were gone

“I can’t help it
When you fall apart
And I can’t help it
Guess you better start.” — Ric Ocasek

Stuff always seems to happen while I am away, so today you get two posts for the price of one. Everyone is reeling by the loss of women’s rights following the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Conservatives have already targeted gay marriage and other rights. Then, there is this.

Cornyn hasn’t publicly commented on this tweet and hasn’t even been confronted for this. Maybe he will claim his account was hacked. Surely that was it. No sane American politician would argue for segregation would they? Surely, that has to be true.

However, I am going to assume that this opinion is what many GOP members are secretly thinking. The fact that at least one of them is willing to speak it out loud shows you how bulletproof they feel right now. The fact that you have heard them talk about overturning gay marriage rights and even interracial marriage rights shows you where these people are.

This is where numerous forces descend on us and tell us their feelings on the matter. You will see lots of tweets about how both sides have failed us. You will see lots of voices talk about how both parties have brought us here. They will tell you that there is plenty of blame to go around.

Mr. Yang has quit the Democratic party. If you peruse his twitter feed it is full of statements about how the two party system sucks. Great. He isn’t alone. Other celebrities champion third party candidates and speak longingly of a system where their specific brand of politics is represented. If ifs and buts were all candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

The so-called search for “balanced media” has brought us to this point. One party wants to move us to the 19th century. One party wants to roll back rights. One party wants our nation flush with guns. One party wants the one percenters to have even more than they do. One party wants to remove all of those protections that we have worked over a century to build. That includes environmental protections. That includes workplace protections. That includes civil right protections. That includes protections for women and children. One party wants to return us to the state of nature where Thomas Hobbes said that “life outside society would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Sure, you could claim Democrats have been ineffective in stopping that. That is likely for two reasons. First, they cannot get everyone on board to do what needs to be done. Secondly, too many Democrats are committed to politics as usual. This is blood sport now. We are playing for keeps as the other side wants to bring us back to the 1890s.

That is not an opinion. Those are the facts of the situation. An opinion would be to call that evil, depraved, draconian, or any other adjective you could think of. I’m not going to call it anything. You can decide for yourself. That’s what one party wants. To stop it you must support the other party. Sure, a system with more than two choices would be great. That’s not what we have. You vote Democratic or you usher in the Handmaiden’s Tale. The choice is yours.

Mind the Gap

“Feel the pain
Talk about it
If you’re a worried man, then shout about it
Open hearts, feel about it
Open minds, think about it
Everyone, read about it
Everyone, scream about it!” — Roland Orzabal

Funny how things always seems to happen when we are away. We went on a family vacation to San Francisco. It used to be that you could go away and leave your troubles behind. With connectivity, all of our troubles seem to follow us everywhere. In the span of a week we saw two landmark Supreme Court cases hit the news. One overturned a New York gun law and another overturned Roe v. Wade.

I’ve talked about guns and abortion before. In fact, I’ve talked about what I’m about to talk about as well. Everything old is new again. It would be wrong for me to suggest the court is reaching new ground here. In a way it is, but for the most part we have been here before. Brown vs. Board of Education created new law back in 1954. It also likely went against what the majority of the population felt at the time. We had no public opinion polling back then, so that is merely a guess, but I feel like it is a good guess.

The court is there to interpret the constitution and not to bend to the whims of a fickle majority. I think we can agree with that much. However, it is fair to question whether following legal precedent matters and conservatives have long maintained a disdain for activist judges. The court (by vote of 6-3 both times) just actively created new law on both counts. The created two radically different interpretations of the constitution on both counts. Those two interpretations make citizens less safe and their health more in peril. There is no denying that.

There is also no denying what they are after. Clarence Thomas mentioned gay marriage in his majority opinion and we know our very own John Cornyn mentioned Brown vs. Board of Education. It doesn’t take much of a stretch to include interracial marriages as well. We are literally going back a century on human rights.

In an odd way, the backdrop of San Francisco is kind of telling here. You have never seen a town more into Pride Month than San Francisco. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a pride flag. Stores had pride messages painted on their windows. Different companies offered pride products. It was the most inclusive, welcoming environment I had ever seen. How does all of this happen in the same country?

It happens because a minority of citizens have managed to control government and the courts. The GOP has effectively won a majority in a presidential election once since 1988. Many of their politicians have suggested that we live in a center-right country right now. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that based on national voting records or public opinion polling. None.

What there is evidence of is plenty of gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics that have kept progressivism at bay. This is where things get dicey. It is fair for people to look at Democrats in general and liberals and progressives specifically and claim they have failed. They didn’t codify abortion into law. They have been ineffective at stopping gerrymandering and have allowed the courts to be dominated by conservatives. There is no denying that.

The question is what happens now. We can go down two roads. One road would be for enough voters to punish Democrats either by staying home or voting for third party candidates. That way, you’d insure a Republican victory and usher in a Handmaiden’s Tale. The second road is to recognize the threat and where it is coming from. There you would overwhelm the GOP with a blue wave and then slowly rebuild what they have broken.

There are some that think the first road is tempting. After all, maybe if things get really bad then systemic change will be easier to obtain. That thinking has two problems. First, you are hurting millions along the way and secondly you are assuming there will be a democracy left to get back. Clearly, the GOP doesn’t care what the majority wants. They never have. Your only real bet is to block them from tearing this thing down any further.

Love Manifested

“Love is free. Free is love. Love is living. Living Love. Love is needing to be loved.” — John Lennon

Author’s Note: I will be leaving on a week long vacation after today and I’m not bringing a computer. Hopefully the world will not end while I am gone.

Yesterday, we talked a little about how religious people should vote. I didn’t actually identify who they should vote for really. I’ve always hated when people at church did that. Occasionally, they would give us pamphlets with pro life candidates and assert that it was our Christian duty to vote for these folks. I promised myself I would never do that. So far I’ve kept that promise, but it gets harder and harder each day.

As Christians, Jesus gave us two great commandments. The first one was to love God with all of our heart, strength, and soul. The second was to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It really was that simple. It’s always that simple. So, if our politics is to mirror our religion then our politics should be a manifestation of that love.

So, the main question from here is what love looks like. Admittedly, it can look like a lot of different things to different people. That’s why we have different political parties in the first place. Even if we just use our own children, some people believe in a tougher love than others. Some give their children anything they would ever want or need while others make their children earn what they want. Both could be seen as manifestations of love.

The Texas GOP released it’s official platform the other day. To those unadulterated to politics, the platform would be akin to the creed we say at mass. It is a statement of beliefs. The Democrats haven’t released theirs’s yet. So, we are left with the one to go over in our space here.

Jesus was kind. Jesus was loving. In fact, most people would assert that Jesus was the manifestation of love itself in the human form. He ate with the outcasts of the society. He forgave sinners. He preached about forgiveness. He made things simple while also making them complex. It would seem that the same would be true of our government.

When you love someone you take care of them. You feed them when they are hungry. You clothe them when they are cold. You heal them when they are sick. You welcome them when they are strangers. You forgive them when they have done you wrong. You provide them shelter from the cold. You see them when they feel lost and alone. You do all of these things to all God’s people because whatever you have done to the least of these you have done unto me. It’s almost like I’ve read that somewhere before.

The Texas GOP made a number of statements in their platform. I’m not going to tell you not to vote for them. After all, people must collectively decide for themselves what love looks like for them. I would just ask that everyone read that platform and answer one basic question. Is that love? Is that how we are called to love? Is it love at all?

What’s a Catholic to do?

“Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet.” — Maya Angelou

Of course, one could expand this topic to include all Christians. I give it this title because I was sitting there at a retreat for our young people and my daughter. I enjoy volunteering with them because it keeps me fairly young and it keeps me fairly busy. Occasionally, I get to offer some pearls of wisdom to them, but most of the time I just listen.

In this case, I was listening to one of the other adult volunteers and she was talking about life issues. She immediately cut into Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi because they advertised that they were Catholic and yet took stances that took them on the Pro-Choice side of things. I definitely kept my mouth shut there. She did add that she didn’t feel that the church should deny them Eucharist.

We went on to talk about life issues beyond abortion. We talked about the death penalty. We talked a little bit about war. However, the main thrust of the conversation concerned the entire timeline of issues that preserving and protecting life come to. It was a realization that no major political party in the United States supports life at all stages.

I didn’t ask her how she votes and I certainly didn’t volunteer my preferences. However, it did get me to thinking about how someone that considers themselves a dedicated Catholic or a dedicated Christian of any denomination needs to go on election day.

There are really three roads that people can travel on this issue. The old way was one where people did not participate in politics at all. They did not vote. They did not support any particular candidate because there was no particular candidate that held all of their beliefs. This was certainly personally satisfying in a way I’m sure. You could make the statement that you couldn’t support anyone that doesn’t support all of your values.

The trouble there is that if enough people do that then the votes being cast come from people that don’t share your values. Your values are not being represented. Therefore the people representing us in government would not have our values. What values would they have at that point? Would they have any values?

The second tact to take is one where you choose one or two key issues and vote on those issues. I used to have a principal that used the motto, “it matters.” It sounded really good. The upshot was that it all mattered. Everything matters. Except that’s really not true. Everything cannot matter. As harsh as it is to say, if everything matters then nothing matters.

This is why Jesus gave us two commandments. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves and if we love God with everything we got then we are following all of the important rules. If we try to follow all of the kosher laws or try to follow all of the rules of the church we will fail. We are destined to fail anyway, but no one can follow hundreds of laws religiously without fail. It just won’t happen.

The same thing happens when we try to implement a progressive agenda. We bounce to each new thing because we are caring people that care about a lot of things. Except we run into people that care about one or two things. They care about those things all the time. They care about them 24/7 and so they have the patience to wait us out and watch us move onto the next thing. So, some Catholics (and other Christians) have identified those one or two things and chosen to camp themselves there.

The final way to look at politics is simply to vote for who you think is the best person. That means taking issues holistically. It means voting for a preponderance of the evidence in terms of stances and points of view. It means that a candidate might disagree with you on a key issue. In fact, it is almost a guarantee that they will. However, you still vote for them because you know they agree with you more often than they don’t.

As you might have gathered, that is usually the way I go. A number of issues are complicated and so I try and find the candidate I think is the best person. I usually vote for one party over another and those that read this regularly know which one that is. It’s because that party agrees with me more often. My belief is that they agree with the church and my faith more often. Of course, there is always room for disagreement and there is always more than one way to look at things.

The Loathsome Self-Own

“And the sand-castle virtues are all swept away in
The tidal destruction
The moral melee.” — Ian Anderson

Stories like these have so many layers. The surface level is always easiest. The punchlines write themselves and in this case it is quite literally true. You don’t have to write anything. You just republish and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

Far be it for me to point a couple of things for Boebert’s benefit. After all, if karma is a cosmic force that rules our lives independently then we can definitely chalk this up to karma. However, I would direct your attention to the date of her tweet. It occurred in July of 2021. Allow this to be a lesson to the young. When you say something stupid there are always receipts. Make no mistake, they will be drug out at the worst (or best) possible time.

It should also be pointed out that she is not only denying the horrible rumors that made that tweet a punchline, but is also taking legal action. Quite frankly, the rumors about her and Ted Cruz are not only likely false, but also a worse punishment for progressives’ imaginations than a negative for conservatives.

We’ve now reached level two of the sordid story. I’m not sure how these rumors serve the efforts of Democrats, progressives, or liberals. Even if we pretend those three are aligned in this instance we would heed the sentiments from a similar subplot in the “West Wing” when one of the characters tried to get rid of a right wing politician. She has no power and is probably better for Democratic fundraising than anyone could be in her position.

Level three asks us to lean into the accusations for a moment. Let’s pretend she did get multiple abortions. Yes, that goes directly against what she preaches now, but we have no way of knowing whether she came to that position honestly. People are allowed to change their minds. They are allowed to seek redemption. Shaming someone (no matter how unsavory they are) for getting an abortion kind of flies in the face of what the pro-choice movement is all about. So, I’m not sure how effective the barb is at the end of the day.

Of course, the final sick layer is that of slut shaming itself. Naturally, this is one where men naturally need to wait on the sidelines. Swinging at that tweet above would be like flailing away at a slider in the dirt. Nothing good can come from it. I’ll let The Young Turk’s Ana Kasparian go there. She will have to deal with the fallout of arguing for female empowerment while slut shaming in nearly the same breath. Sure, that tweet is like a hanging slider over the heart of the plate. Swinging knocks the joke out of the park, but also makes you look petty in the long run.