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Posts Tagged ‘romney’

I am sitting here, listening to yet another pounding rain, watching election returns.

I have been praying for weeks that God would please not give us what we deserve, which would be another four years of Obama, the continued acceleration of the destruction of the unborn, disastrous overseas policy, lies, cozying up to Comrade Putin (who seems increasingly oblivious to the end of the Cold War), the ruin of the economy, the spreading persecution and villification of anyone who dares say homosexual behavior is wrong, the vast expansion of the GIMME GIMME GIMME welfare/entitlement state, etc., etc.

On Facebook, where my husband maintains a very limited personal account, a number of acquaintances have come up with such gems as, “The Republicans’ support is all stupid, white men; doesn’t that explain a lot?”  Wow… let me sit and ponder that one.  With all those degrees, that’s really all the logic she could muster?  My opinion of advanced degrees and certain “prestigious” universities continues to plummet as I meet women with lots of framed paper on their walls and not one ounce of sense, but an overarching fear of being called our for it, masked by an obnoxiously loud and strident proclamation of how smart they are for not being like one of those stupid pro-lifers and/or conservatives.  A complaint about the Republican platform would be fine, but this is just middle school name calling.

Of course, Facebook has also hosted its share of general rants about how Romney should ask women what they think about contraception.  Well, I’m a woman, last I checked (I know, I know: “She’s not a woman!  She’s a Republican!” as the line went about Palin), and I think contraception is about the stupidest thing we’ve done with technology.  We managed to strangle our future generations while wrecking havoc in the stability of our own (divorce rates follow the availability of contraception, and it doesn’t go down, like contraceptives’ proponents say), all in one fell swoop.  How’s that for scientific efficiency?  And then, even though Hugh Hefner embraced contraceptives as the greatest gift to lust-ridden, irresponsible misogynist pigs everywhere… somehow, women still were convinced that they had to have contraceptives for their own good.

America, the Jesuit magazine for “thinking” (which is code for “dissenting”) Catholics, and the Huffington Post (almost equally useless in their ability to identify or promulgate sound Catholic doctrine) apparently both ran articles explaining to Catholics why Obama (since all Democrats are better for the economy, and abortion is really just about financial inability to raise a child) is really the more pro-life choice than Romney (who hates women and wouldn’t really have anything to do with the legality of abortion, you know).  Scarily, some people actually reposted these articles as a “something to make you think” kind of thing.  Yes, it makes me think we’re pretty stupid to accept that “financial hardship” is the real reason for the abortion, and not actually a symptom of the disappearing father, embarassed or coercive parents, unfeeling school administrators, etc. who all made it painfully clear to the pregnant mother that they would abandon her, penniless and homeless, unless she got the abortion and stopped making demands on them.  And yeah, it makes me think… that catechesis in the Catholic Church in this country has absolutely and almost universally stunk, quite literally, to high heaven for decades, so that we’ve turned out a bunch of religiously illiterate adults who can’t perceive the moral difference between government handouts being somewhat decreased and government-funded murder.

And then we promoted some of those adults to the head of CCD programs and parishes, where they spout about the unfairness of working conditions in Nike factories in Asia and the evil, hard-hearted, poor-hating jerks who argued against Obamacare… but NEVER utter one word about the millions dying every year around the globe and around the corner because of the evil of abortion.

Of course, these people were shocked- absolutely flabergasted!- to find out that those crazy, extremist pro-lifers were right about Obamacare being doomed to bring with it mandatory abortions and contraception for everyone, religious objections be damned.  (I’m not holding my breath for an apology.  Apparently, being liberal means never having to admit you were wrong about the actual long-term consequences of your ill-considered idealistic actions.  At least the bishops finally realized the danger they were in and sued the government over the HHS mandate.)

This morning, I spent two and a half hours in line to vote down here in southeastern Virginia.  Our polling place made the local news, and, sadly, we weren’t the worst of it.  (Four years ago, the line was outside for the first hour, and the wait took more like 3.5 hours.)  Two extra computers for checking voter registration finally showed up after we’d been in line for two hours and had only finally made it to the far end of the school cafeteria from the voting booths.  (Yes, I had all four of my kids with me.  They were remarkably good, something I was very thankful for.)

The polls tell us that many people only made up their minds about who they’d vote for in the last few weeks.

It would seem more people have solid opinions about who they root for on “Jersey Shore” or in the “Twilight” series than in politics.

It sure looks like a huge chunk of the U.S. population thinks the government owes them and/or others, not that they have the responsibility to work to provide for themselves, their families, and the poor in their own communities.  (Yes, Vice President Biden, I’m talking to you.  Crap, I give away more money in a month than you did in a year as a senator, and I know my household makes a heck of a lot less than yours.  No, Catholic social teaching does NOT support the idea that voting to give away other people’s tax money to programs for the poor is the same as tithing, the CCHD notwithstanding.)

It would also seem that most women, especially “educated” women, are dumb enough to believe that they have to vote Democratic, or else they’ll be seen as stupid.  Or not worthy of their “lady parts”.  Or that they’ll be chained to the kitchen sink, barefoot, and forced to have babies until they die, while being deprived of proper reading material, like the HuffPo.

I’d like to think we were smarter than this, that a clear explanation of things would open eyes, that we would not fall to what John Adams said could ruin our country: lack of morals and the realization that we could vote ourselves money out of the public treasury.  The election should be obvious and not close at all, if we still remembered those things that made our nation great (faith, the rule of law equally for all, civic involvement, personal as well as group responsibility and charity, etc.).  No matter who wins tonight, this election is too close to be excusable.  Everything in our history says we should be smarter than this.

Thank God, I am solidly aware that my true citizenship is not here, that my deepest loyalties are not to the United States of America, and that all man-made kingdoms will fall and fade, otherwise, I would despair.  (Besides, I learned more than what my pitiful CCD program bothered to teach me, so I also know that despair is expressly forbidden; it is a sin against God’s goodness.  I have thanked God and blessed the Archdiocese for the Military Services repeatedly over the years for those marvelous, holy chaplains assigned to the Naval Academy.)

But I am losing heart in the power of words, logic, and even personal example to change most peoples’ minds.

Kinda a problem for someone trying to keep up a blog.

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The last presidential election cycle, I was heavily commenting on all the minutae of the race.  More so on the later phases than the primaries, but I had watched the primaries.  I’m not wasting as much time on it this time around.

Perhaps I’m a bit jaded after the experience of paying closer attention.  I did not particularly like John McCain as a candidate.  Contrary to what his ditzy daughter keeps saying on every talk show she can get on, “moderate, sort-of Republican on… um… most issues” is not really inspiring.  Let’s face it; most conservatives and/or Republicans (the groups do not entirely overlap) were more inspired by Sarah Palin, and the volunteering rates and donations showed it.

In short, the primary process is a bit short on principles.  It’s very long on guessing what the hypothetical swing voter will go for.  “Well, Candidate X is nice, conservative, and photogenic, but he isn’t electable.”  It’s great for torpedoing candidates without having to really explain why, I suppose, but it really guts the process of any principles it may have had.  Candidates aiming for the electable middle ground don’t have to think too hard on principles, just say something vaguely pro-Constitution, add some “this country is great” stuff, and sway with the pubic opinion polls.

It looks like Mitt Romney is going to win the Republican nomination.  Why?  “Oh, he’s electable,” the pundits gush.  Apparently, “electable” means “passed a failing state-run mandatory health care program, but he’s got great hair.”  Oh, yeah, and during the debate, Romney said he’d just write presidential orders to stop Obamacare.  And Romneycare is ok, because the state is forcing people to buy health care, not the federal government.

Problem 1: Any pro-lifer can tell you presidential orders are fairly useless, as they are trumped by actual law.  We learned that painfully in the health care bill passage, when the pro-life Democrats defected because, “Oh, Obama wrote a presidential order, so this bill won’t fund abortions!”  How’s that presidential order thing working out for you?  It took a while, but the Catholic bishops’ conference just recently woke up to the fact that abortion is going to be shoved down their throats by the law, promised conscience protections be damned.  Hate to say we told you so, but…

Problem 2: We’re trying to get rid of an over-reaching president with a loose grasp of “checks and balances”, why do we want another one?  When Virginia elected a Republican governor the last time around, one of the big issues first on his plate was the re-regulation of abortion clinics as ambulatory surgery centers, not just doctors’ offices.  Some people argued that the governor should just sign an executive order right away.  Governor McDonnell insisted that no, this needs to be done the right way, through the General Assembly.  Otherwise, the next governor could just overturn the regulations again.  He was right, the regulations were passed, and the abortion clinics are scrambling, because many of them don’t meet the requirements.  If our problem is overreaching government that pushes things through against public or legislative objection, then I don’t want someone abusing the system for causes I believe in, either.

Problem 3: I don’t want any level of government telling me what I have to buy.  From where I sit, it’s about the same level of interference if the federal government tells me I’m required to buy health care or if the state government tells me.

So, Romney may win, but I can’t say I’m thrilled.  He wins on the politics, but fails on the principles.

Personally, from the beginning, I was rooting for Rick Santorum.  Yes, he played politics some as a senator, but so did everyone else (including Ron Paul, so don’t write to tell me he’s pristine!).  Yes, he worked for lobbyists and made money (do we have a problem with making money?  did he do something unethical?).  More importantly, Santorum understands and clearly explains principles.  Welfare isn’t problematic because of cost, but because its structure does a poor job of encouraging people to take back responsibility for their own lives.  Health care reform isn’t problematic because we’re all snotty rich types who pay for our own, but because government does a poor job at micromanaging, and it shouldn’t be doing it.  And, more than anyone else running, Santorum believes in encouraging and supporting the family and the unborn.

Former senator Rick Santorum at the annual March for Life in DC, 2011.

Santorum also walks an important line: where should government end?  Ron Paul would tell you the federal government should shrink to nearly nothing.  Other candidates would shrink some areas but grow many others.  Big government with a Republican flavor just becomes big government with a Democratic flavor when the winds shift.  Shrinking government for the purpose of shrinking ignores the question entirely.  The real question is, “How big is just big enough?”   Our Constitution laid boundaries for the federal government, many of which have been extended to curb the states’ powers as well.  At the same time, however, precedent has been used over and over to extend government’s reach, often on the excuse of “regulating interstate commerce.”

Santorum espouses more of a “we need to right-size government,” which is a much sounder principle to argue on.  I would also point out that it is a very Catholic principle.  Catholic social teaching is rooted in the idea of subsidiarity, that the lowest possible level should handle problems.  The national government should not interfere in what the states can handle, the states shouldn’t step on the cities and counties unless necessary, and, if the family can handle it, no government should interfere.  Much of our problems with government stem from the accretions of unwarranted interferences from more distant levels into more local decisions.  In so many departments, money flows from the states to the federal government, just to have some skimmed off by the DC bureaucracies, then handed back out to the states with strings attached.  At the same time, some things are so foundational, like equal rights for all races and the right to life, that they have to be federally enforced.  (Ron Paul is pro-life, but says the states should decide if people in the womb are yet people.  That’s better than a pro-abortion federal government, but not much.  I seem to remember we had a bit of a problem with some states declaring that certain people were not, in fact, people, based on the color of the skin.  “In this state, you’re a person, but in that state, you’re just property.”  Are we really ok with that?)

A ship sails more efficiently when the barnacles are scraped off regularly.  We argue too long about which barnacles are necessary because “people are used to them.”  We point at the other side’s barnacles instead of our own.  We fritter away time and effort on justifying tolerance of some “necessary evil” barnacles while small, weak sailors are being thrown overboard.  Others overreact to the barnacle problem and shout loudly that we should tear off the entire hull planking.  And we miss the point.  The point is the ship, the crew, and the mission.  The point is principles, not the programs nor the parties, which may or may not serve the principles anymore.
 
But if you don’t know what the principles were, you wind up arguing about barnacles.
 
Which makes for some really boring debates and a sinking feeling that we’re going to get the “electable” candidate from the mushy middle again, with few hard principles in evidence and only a steadying in course, not a correction, for the next four years.

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