Finger-Wagging Fest!

I thought Catholic University of America was getting better, but they’ve got this guy as a visiting fellow?  Let’s hope he’s not visiting that long.

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/archbishop-chaputs-regrettable-column

“My column this week is a collection of personal comments,” Archbishop Charles Chaput begins his weekly column in his archdiocesan newspaper. “Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.” I wonder if all the “brothers in the faith” in the City of Brotherly Love get to have their “personal comments” so widely distributed? Of course, at no time is a bishop not a bishop, or a priest not a priest, so the idea that he can take off his miter and share “personal comments” is naïve at best.

Um, Mr. Winters, you just kind of annoy me, for starters.  Next, bishops can very well give you their personal thoughts in a public forum.  Do you think that, once the miter goes on, they must keep their mouths closed?  Give me a break.  Distribution matters little.  He was presenting no formal teaching nor telling anyone who they should vote for.  

This disclaimer raises a different question though: Why? Why does Archbishop Chaput feel the need to share these thoughts on politics which he seems to understand are not a fit object for his teaching authority? Does he think they are profound? Did he have trouble coming up with something to write about this week? Is there something that makes him crave controversy? This last characteristic is not a bad trait in a blogger, but in a bishop?

Really, Mr. Winters?  You may or may not receive spiritual guidance in temporal matters, but a lot of the faithful do.  Do you know how many times I’ve seen “What are we supposed to do?!?!” asked of our spiritual fathers?  It’s come up almost every time I’ve seen a priest since the major party candidates were locked down.  Does he really “crave controversy”, Mr.  Winters, or does he just not shy away from it, unlike some? 

Let’s just be honest.  You want to play the usual National catholic Reporter game of trying to silence an orthodox spiritual leader who takes his duty seriously, while you get to keep flapping your gums.  A good chunk of us see through this little game.

When we attend to the content of the archbishop’s column the questions and concerns deepen and multiply. Archbishop Chaput writes:

“Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year. But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.”

And your internal drama is what??? Oh, yeah, he’s calling them on their garbage.  I’m sure that does deepen and multiply your concerns and ruin your plans.

My inner editor wishes to know what the first and second sentence have to do with one another. My inner analyst wants to know why Archbishop Chaput begins his column taking a swipe at Joe Biden and Tim Kaine? Did he hear Tim Kaine talk about the importance of faith in his life? Has he ever spoken with Biden about his faith? That faith may be in error as it pertains to some issues of public morality but the faith of these two men is undoubtedly real and important to them.

Wait!  Let’s just pause right there.  Some issues?  Important to them?  When you hold a faith dear, you usually adhere to it.  The Catholic faith isn’t their little toy.  It has nice set rules.  One can adhere to them, or one can chuck them at will, which is exactly what Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber do.  Please understand, Mr.  Winters, (and you’d think you wouldn’t have to have this explained to you since you are a “visiting fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies”) Mr. Kaine and Mr. Biden have delineated, most publicly, their dissent from Catholic teaching.  Nobody has to talk to them personally and hear from them how important their faith is when they’ve already spewed their driveling dissent.

Like Archbishop Chaput, I wish Kaine and Biden extended their obvious concern for the downtrodden to the unborn, but I can also discern the reasons they fail to do so, and those reasons do not add up to an “invention” of the content of their faith. They see the public application of their faith differently, and I think wrongly, but they are hardly charlatans.

Dude!  That’s the definition of an invention of the faith.  You are not FAITHFUL (that’s “full of faith”, in case you were unaware) to the Catholic Church if you dissent from her teachings.  They don’t get to see the public application of their faith differently.  We’ve got documents on that from our very own USCCB:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/church-teaching/catholics-in-political-life.cfm  Ironically this document was developed in part by Archbishop Chaput because, why?  Oh, he has the authority to do so!

Archbishop Chaput continues:

“And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

This is depressing and liberating at the same time. Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become. Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps. I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.”

How does the perception that both candidates for the White House have astonishing flaws offer “proof of how polarized the nation has become.” Could not that polarization be evidenced by candidates with less obvious flaws? Lincoln was no slacker, but he assumed the presidency at a time of enormous polarization. And, why do those flaws make it easier to “ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants” of the two parties? And, why is it ever hard for a bishop to “ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants” of the two parties? I thought that mostly came with the office.

I’m sorry, sir. (Am I allowed to use that term?  So hard to tell these days.)  Have you looked out the window?  Their “astonishing flaws” are fanning the flames of hate on both sides.  Neither of these two are Lincoln, and I doubt many of their supporters would say so.  Please tell me you understand at least that!  These two have whipped this world into a frenzy.  Not really seeing your point here. 

The archbishop continues:

“As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion. The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million. Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000. The median U.S. income is about $56,000.  Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families.  Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.

The archbishop can travel a few blocks up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from his cathedral to see a large equestrian statue of George Washington, or he can head the other direction to the statue of Washington in front of Independence Hall. Washington was a fabulously wealthy planter in his day. Did his wealth make him suspect? Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were from different branches of the same wealthy family. Did their wealth keep them from empathy with the life of the common man? Did the American people have trouble trusting any of these presidents because of their wealth? Why is the personal wealth of the candidates so important this time?

OK, fair point here. (Thank goodness there was at least one.) That said, I think the ivory tower did get a whole lot higher since Teddy and FDR.  I mean, FDR was Sec Nav and visited France during WWI to observe military activities first hand, and Teddy was a colonel in the Spanish-American War.  Trump and Clinton never got near the trenches, much less in them.  And neither of them have overcome too much adversity, unless you consider being in disastrous marriages a triumph of some sort.

Then comes the second most troublesome part of the article. Archbishop Chaput compares the two presidential candidates, writing:

Hold on!  Here it is!  All of the other stuff was troubling, but this, this, my friends, is what troubles Mr. Winters the most!

“One candidate — in the view of a lot of people — is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president. And the other – in the view of a lot of people – should be under criminal indictment. The fact that she’s not — again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

First, I cannot ignore the qualifying phrase “in the view of a lot of people,” not least this year when Mr. Donald Trump repeatedly uses a similar rhetorical device to avoid responsibility from spreading whichever ridiculous conspiracy theory comes out of his mouth after he intones, “Well, a lot of people think that. …” We teach our children not to say things like that because it is morally irresponsible. To find such words in a column by a bishop is frankly shocking.

The horrors! The Archbishop uses a same phrase that the Trumpster uses!  Shocking, I tell you!  Except it’s not.  Are you really questioning that a lot of people think that???  Of course not.  You’re just trying to suggest the Archbishop is in the Trump tank.  Good luck with that.  You do realize that clergy who are backing Trump usually just say we cannot vote for the party whose platform is the antithesis of Church teaching.  Easy peasy if that’s where he was.

Second, there is no comparison between the two charges. Mr. Trump’s eccentricity, his bombast and buffoonery, are all things about which any viewer can form an opinion. The charge of “defective ethics” is more difficult but still the kind of thing voters routinely need to assess about a candidate. The charge that Mrs. Hillary Clinton “should be under criminal indictment” is a matter for a trained, and empowered, prosecutor to make and, in Clinton’s case, the relevant prosecutor, acting on the public advice of the Director of the FBI, James Comey, who said that no responsible prosecutor would indict Mrs. Clinton. Does Archbishop Chaput have information that Director Comey lacked? It is true that Republican Party surrogates have disparaged Comey’s claim but has anyone any basis for refuting it?

Perhaps Mr. Winters forgot what he wasted the ink in the previous paragraph telling us?  You remember “in the view of a lot of people”, don’t you Mr. Winters?  What part of the archbishop’s statement don’t you find accurate?  A LOT of people do think Hillary Clinton should be indicted!  Are you really trying to deny that?  In fact, CCN (hardly a conservative bastion) found that 56% of American adults (last time I checked that was a lot of them) DISAGREE with NOT charging her.  http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/11/politics/hillary-clinton-fbi-charges-poll/  I guess the editor in you missed this.  If you’re going to try and quote the archbishop, you might want to get it correct.

Archbishop Chaput then pens what are to my mind the most regrettable paragraphs of the entire column. He writes:

 I guess your “inner editor” wasn’t on the clock today.  Seriously? “Concern,”  “Second most troublesome,” and now “most regrettable”?!?  What’s next?  “Super most regrettable?”  I think we’re going for fever-pitch, but it’s just getting silly.

“So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters?  Note that by “Catholic,” I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.

Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself — and even more importantly, misleading others.”

“I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men. …” Apart from the general unattractiveness of finger-wagging, why this diversion from his main theme? Does the archbishop want to let the Catholics of Philadelphia know that he is on to them, that he knows which among them are not real Catholics, that they are fooling themselves? And who are these less-than-real Catholics? Those who do not see the world the way the archbishop sees it? Can you imagine Pope Francis writing this? He certainly challenges all of us, but never without words of encouragement and he reserves his harsh judgments for the clergy and the powerful, not for the people.

Oh the hypocrisy!  Finger-wagging is apparently unattractive unless you are Mr. Winters. Then it’s just fine as shown in this lovely piece. Personally, Catholic should be enough, but when you’ve got Biden and Kaine touting their Catholicity, somebody needs to do some ‘splaining.  You are a less-than-faithful Catholic when you are a less-than-faithful Catholic. Being a faithful Catholic doesn’t mean you’re not stupid and sin sometimes.  This means you try to live the teachings of the Catholic Church and you don’t go around dissenting from them.    For example, yes, I consider myself a faithful Catholic and try to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Do I fail?  Often, but I don’t go around telling everyone that’s peachy because my public and private life are separate, or that the Church’s teachings are superseded by situation ethics like Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.  In other words, you don’t try to justify your mistakes like these two.

I call the attention of readers to one hopeful sentiment in this. Archbishop Chaput writes of those “who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.” The Church recently offered guidance in the area of family life and marriage. That guidance took the form of the deliberations and resulting documents from two worldwide synods of bishops and a concluding Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia. Archbishop Chaput has issued “guidelines” for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia in his archdiocese. As I wrote at the time, those guidelines struck me as if they could have been written before the synods took place or Pope Francis wrote his exhortation. But, what do I know? Archbishop Joseph Kurtz appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead a committee of U.S. bishops to discuss the implementation of Amoris Laetitia.

What do you know?  Not much on this issue.   Are you saying that Amoris Latitia is breaking with the tradition of the Church?  Did Fr. José Granados, vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and consultor of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops not say Amoris Laetitia that must be read in “doctrinal continuity”?  Is Archbishop Chaput somehow not reading it in that light? If so, let’s not allude.  Let’s through out a few little facts.

We do know that Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, has emerged as the designated interpreter of Amoris Laetitia, and that Civilta Cattolica is running a series of essays on the document that re-affirm what the synods and the Holy Father intend. One such essay, by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and Fr. Lou Cameli of the Archdiocese of Chicago, looks extensively at the issue of discernment in ways that are in stark contradistinction with both the tone and the content of Archbishop Chaput’s guidelines, wherein he only mentioned discernment once and that was when he was quoting the pope. I think that the principle of non-contradiction is too often invoked in ecclesiastical discussions, and that philosophic principles must be applied gently and even a bit loosely to messy human lives. Still, the two divergent interpretations cannot co-exist forever. I am betting it will become clear to all, if it is not already, that Archbishop Chaput is staking out a position at odds with the pope and the synods.

And, who are you again?  Where exactly does your knowledge come from?  I mean, I’m not knocking a lack of degrees, but some tangible understanding of Catholic doctrine and Canon Law might be helpful before you try to cast aspersions on an archbishop simply because his narrative doesn’t fit yours.  It’s laughable to think that the tone and content is contradictory because he only mentioned discernment once.  I missed the Congregation of Whatever saying that Archbishop Chaput is at odds with the Church.  Anyone else?

I admit that I find it tiresome to have to continually criticize Archbishop Chaput. I do so in sadness not in anger. But, it must be said: If I were writing a work of fiction and I wanted to create a caricature of a culture warrior bishop, I do not think I would have the courage to create one so reckless, so uncomplicated in his moral sensibilities (and not in a good way), and so quick to render judgment against others, so willing to ignore the pope, or to cite him, as it suits his own purposes, so intellectually thin and so edgily partisan, as Archbishop Chaput’s columns show him to be.

Oh, you poor, poor man.  Here’s an idea.  Stop.  You do a pathetic job of it.  You didn’t even seem to know he’s neither a Democrat nor a Republican.  He’s a registered Independent, for goodness’ sake.  Where does his heart lie?  Uh, maybe with the Church?  Too bad it’s not the same for the “Catholics” in the race. 

Ask yourself, Mr. Winters, has the archbishop been taken to task for his instruction on Amoris Laetitia (by anyone of the hierarchy, not just you and the Reporter)?  Of course not.  Why?  Because the archbishop’s instruction is spot on and, here’s the kicker, he’s completely consistent with Church tradition no matter your ridiculous opinion.

[Michael Sean Winters is NCR Washington columnist and a visiting fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.] Still finding this hard to believe.  Please understand that a “visiting fellow” really means zippo.  I’d love to find the full biography of his Catholic education, but I’ve yet to find anything.  Does he have any higher Catholic education, or is he just beer buddies with Fr. Martin, SJ?  Oh, and can I be a “visiting gal” Catholic University?

I’m with Him!

In case you’ve been wondering about my absence recently, I’ve been traveling A LOT this summer.   God’s just had me incredibly busy.  Of course, every time I wrap up a school year, I think “Vacation!”, but I might have finally realized after almost 20 years that I’m busier in the summer, so I’m looking forward to my next homeschool stay-cation.

Anyway, I’m trying to jump back into the blog scene.  Many things – wonderful and tragic – have occurred since my writing slowed down.  That said, there’s one thing looming like a big black cloud, and that’s the election.

I’ve spent a great deal of my summer talking to the “famous” people of the Catholic and pro-life world, and the conversation always turns to “Who are you voting for?”  It’s a conversation I’ve come to dread.  I usually get a few words out before I’m told, “You’re judging Trump’s soul!”, “You’re not thinking about the babies!”, “You’re just being prideful!”, “You’re not thinking about the Supreme Court!”, “You’re voting for Hillary!” (I would never advocate that, so don’t break out in hives!), etc.  The proverbial kitchen sink has been thrown at me without one thought that I might just have a thought or two of my own.  I mean, seriously, I’m not thinking about the Supreme Court and I’m not pro-life?  Saving babies and their mothers has been in my brain, just about non-stop, since I was sixteen.  Save it.  I’m in agony here.  “What else are we going to do?!” doesn’t cut it with me.  It’s far more complex.

I felt a sigh of relief when this came across my desk: http://catholicphilly.com/2016/08/think-tank/archbishop-chaput-column/some-personal-thoughts-on-the-months-ahead/.  Rather than casting aspersions on some really great, faithful people, I think this is the way to handle it.  In short, shut up and pray like crazy – every last one of us!  I think the good archbishop realized that the Christian faithful are tearing each other apart over this.  Quite frankly, it’s been rather sickening to see.  Vigorous debates are good!  Keep having them.  Saying good Christian souls of good-will are (crazy, etc., fill in the blank) for voting for whomever is ridiculous and quite pompous, and those engaging in this tactic might need to schedule some plank removing time.

Because links sometimes aren’t followed, let’s break this one down.

Archbishop Chaput’s column

Some personal thoughts on the months ahead

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

 

Posted August 12, 2016

My column this week is a collection of personal comments.  Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.

Understood!  That’s pretty much a caveat for the ACLU and the rest of the liberals who are ready to pounce at the slightest.

Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year.  But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.  And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

It is possible for someone to say that they are not sure who they will vote for, or even if they will vote, without saying that these two loons are peachy and we’re fine with them being in office.  Don’t believe me?  Read on.

This is depressing and liberating at the same time.  Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become.  Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps.  I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.  Both major candidates are – what’s the right word? so problematic – that neither is clearly better than the other.

And this is where I think “Finally!  Somebody gets me who’s not related to me!”  They are BOTH hugely problematic.  Please “Catholic 4 Trump”, stop candy coating him for a win.  Trump is highly problematic.  I don’t care if you pray, fast, think and vote for him anyway, but we have to admit that.  Defending him on his over the top ideas is just downright shilling for him.  If you feel you need to vote for him to stem evil, to save SCOTUS, etc., I can see that argument.  Saying he’s great?  Not so much.  Hillary?  Well, that goes without saying.  Almost all if not all of her policies are plain evil.

As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion.  The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million.  Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000.  The median U.S. income is about $56,000.  Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families.  Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.

That’s a big ask.  One candidate — in the view of a lot of people — is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president.  And the other – in the view of a lot of people – should be under criminal indictment.  The fact that she’s not – again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

I could have added a little more, but I can live with this, since he left us a nice “Animal Farm” quote. (Please parents, have your kids read.)

So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters?  Note that by “Catholic,” I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.

Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself — and even more importantly, misleading others

Cough! *Pelosi, Biden, Kaine* Cough!

The American bishops offer valuable counsel in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (available from the USCCB), and this year especially, they ask us to pray before we vote. This is hardly new “news.” Prayer is always important. In a year when each Catholic voter must choose between deeply flawed options, prayer is essential. And prayer involves more than mumbling a Hail Mary before we pull the voting booth lever for someone we see as the lesser of two evils. Prayer is a conversation, an engagement of the soul with God.  It involves listening for God’s voice and educating our consciences. (emphasis mine)

 

So, dear friends who’ve told me I’m doing everything from voting for Hillary to forgetting about the babies killed by abortion, do you honestly think that I’m doing this because I haven’t arrived at the same conclusion you have? This does go both ways my friends.  Do you really believe that people voting for Trump are selling their souls?  If you do, don’t you think that maybe they’ve prayed, fasted and given a lot of thought to their position?  Of course, I will say I’ve heard far more of the former than the latter, but I recognize that it does happen with people not voting for Trump..

It’s absurd – in fact, it’s blasphemous – to assume that God prefers any political party in any election year.  But God, by his nature, is always concerned with good and evil and the choices we make between the two.  For Catholics, no political or social issue stands in isolation.  But neither are all pressing issues equal in foundational importance or gravity.  The right to life undergirds all other rights and all genuine social progress.  It cannot be set aside or contextualized in the name of other “rights” or priorities without prostituting the whole idea of human dignity.

Well, that was a not-so-subtle shout out to Cupich, McElroy, and the rest of the seamless garment crowd.  I’m sure there are a whole lot of Catholics in their dioceses wishing Chaput was their archbishop.

God created us with good brains.  It follows that he will hold us accountable to think deeply and clearly, rightly ordering the factors that guide us, before we act politically.  And yet modern American life, from its pervasive social media that too often resemble a mobocracy, to the relentless catechesis of consumption on our TVs, seems designed to do the opposite.  It seems bent on turning us into opinionated and distracted cattle unable to gain mastery over our own appetites and thoughts.  Thinking and praying require silence, and the only way we can get silence is by deciding to step back and unplug.

Whether or not your final decision matches mine, I trust that faithful Catholics everywhere are attempting to do this in such a tumultuous year.  I also trust that many will do the 54 Day Novena which starts TODAY!  https://www.novenaforournation.com/ If you’re worried about this election at all, you will do this!

This year, a lot of good people will skip voting for president but vote for the “down ticket” names on their party’s ballot; or vote for a third party presidential candidate; or not vote at all; or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates.  I don’t yet know which course I’ll personally choose.  It’s a matter properly reserved for every citizen’s informed conscience.

Wait!  That’s just crazy talk!  If you’re voting for someone other than the person I’m voting for or not voting for, etc., you can’t possibly be good!  That was sarcastic in part, but I’ve actually been told that, people!  Can we go over my favorite part of that, one ore time, and kind of where I am at this moment?

or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates.

I still haven’t found that calculus, and it looks like I’m in good company.  Are my well meaning friends now going to tell the good archbishop that he’s voting for ‘Killary?’

But I do know a few of the things I’ll be reading between now and November.  The list is not exclusive or comprehensive.  But this year these particular titles seem especially urgent:

Living the Gospel of Life. This 1998 pastoral letter of the U.S. bishops remains the best brief guide to American Catholic political reflection yet produced.

Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society by R.R. Reno (Regnery) and It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies by Mary Eberstadt (HarperCollins). Both of these books are new, important, a key to understanding the current moment in our national life, and deeply engaging.  They need to be discussed and shared widely.

And finally two essays by the late, great Czech writer, Václav Havel, “Politics and Conscience” and “The Power of the Powerless.” Both are collected in Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 (Vintage Books).  Havel was not (to my knowledge) a religious believer, and he wrote as a dissident during an era of Soviet Bloc repression.  But his commitment to what he called “living in the truth,” and his understanding and critique of the weaknesses in Western societies like our own – not just Marxist ones – were remarkable.  They remain relevant right now, today.

It looks like I’ve got some more reading on my plate!  How about you?

The next few months will determine the next decade and more of our nation’s life.  We need to be awake, we need to clear our heads of media noise, and we need to think quietly and carefully before we vote.  None of us can afford to live the coming weeks on autopilot.

Right!  Autopilot bad.  This is the one thing I don’t think I’ll ever understand.  We, as a nation, took the carrot away from Trump to behave in a manner fitting of, well, almost any position we hold dear.  We said, “Hey!  We’ve got no choice! We’re voting for you!” instead of “We still have a choice to ditch you at any time because we’re not on autopilot and we can course correct if needed!  You better earn our vote!”  It’s not too late.  We can still do that.” We don’t have to be living examples of “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” I think some of the many “thinkers” already came to that conclusion or were there in the first place.  They need to figure out a way to put Trump on notice and hold his feet to the fire.

In conclusion, I respect most of you who read this blog, whether or not you’re voting for the person I’m voting for come election day.  Save the rhetoric and realize that people can pray, fast, search for answers and come to a totally different conclusion than you and still be a faithful Catholic trying their best to follow God’s will.  Regardless of who ends up as president, there’s A LOT of work we all need to do to clean up this country, and it’s much easier to do if we haven’t taken a sword to each other over this election.  We know who we can’t vote for, and now we need to figure out who God wants us – each, individually – to vote for.  “We don’t have a choice” is not a good reason to vote for someone.  We always have a choice.

 

 

A Comedian, Social Media & #NeverTrump

Super Tuesday has come and gone and I am ecstatic in the results. As regular readers know, I am a Cruz supporter, and Cruz supporters all know the frustration of hearing time and again that he can’t win. Repeatedly. Every. Five. Minutes. It doesn’t matter how well he does, all we hear was how Rubio is our only hope of defeating Trump, and Cruz could not win nor could he beat Hillary. Really? Based on? Yeah, nothing. It’s kind of laughable to think that Rubio was supposed to be our saving grace when he’s not even going to win his home state. That’s kind of telling. 

Anyways, things changed radically right before Super Tuesday. So radically we have Cruz and Trump being less than one hundred delegates apart and Lindsey Graham suggesting that Republicans might just have to support Ted Cruz.  What the what?! So what happened?! A few things occurred which seemed to big impact.

First, Rubio started employing Trump gutter tactics. His numbers were already not adding up, but then he chose to take the low ground to boot. Fence sitters who were hoping he was the “moral guy who could win” vs. Cruz, who was supposedly the “moral guy who couldn’t win.” They started looking a bit more at the numbers, and people I had been having discussions with began to see the reality that Rubio really couldn’t beat Trump and Cruz could.

Next, another little gem fell into our laps. Now, I’m sure I’d disagree with John Oliver on quite a few things, and I so hate the crass factor he employs, but he is entertaining, smart, and the Americans who need to be entertained to keep their minds working really paid attention. If you haven’t seen it (because you, say, gave up social media for Lent), you should watch and share, but please see the crass warning and don’t watch with little ears around.

That was twenty minutes of a full-throated take down.  (Thanks to Thomas from Michigan for flagging that one and giving me a nice description which I will keep stealing.) It was entertaining enough to keep the country engaged. After about ten different articles (including mine) on why Trump was hardly worthy of anyone’s vote, much less than any Christian’s vote, I saw this video posted EVERYWHERE, because, well, it was better! It connected! Again, I hardly think John Oliver shares my political views or religious values, but he engages in the comedy of “Captain Obvious” and makes fun of things that should make us all say, “Duh!” It’s kind of like making fun of Kanye West. It sooooo obvious.

One other thing that appeared shortly before the John Oliver take-down was #NeverTrump. Personally, I liked #DumpTrump, but I’m a convert now mainly because it’s forced the establishment to look at reality. Hillary is going to be president if they don’t do something smart instead of their preference. This hashtag trended on Twitter along with #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain (if you didn’t have time to watch the Oliver video, you won’t get that one) from Friday night through Super Tuesday. There was a small attempt at #AlwaysTrump, but that died after a day. Could it be that users of that hashtag realized that it made Trump sound like a monarch (Napoleon, maybe) or a cult leader? Of course, I might be thinking that because thousands of memes were tweeted and posted on Facebook with the “signs of a cult.”

MILLIONS of tweets went out in the span of four days, the hashtag “revolt,” as it started being called, was picked up by the media (because that’s what happens when you can get things trending on Twitter or Facebook), and it became a huge chink in Trump’s armor. Those hashtags, as well as thousands upon thousands of links to the Oliver video, were attached to a whole lot of news stories that had previously been swept under the rug and ignored by, well, almost everyone. No longer was he the “Teflon Don.” People actually saw that he had some serious flaws other than just being loud and obnoxious. He wasn’t just a bully who was going to change things in Washington, he was a really immoral megalomaniac.

Let’s talk about the #NeverTrump hashtag itself. When everyone started using it, I’m reasonably sure that many of us thought it was more like #NeverTrumpInThePrimaryWhenWeHaveBetterCandidatesButWe’llHoldOurNoseAndVoteForHimIfHeIsTheNominee. That said, it’s spurned a bunch of articles on why people really and truly are going #NeverTrump.

When #NeverTrump is discussed, you see two things. One side says, “Well, you don’t mean NEVER Trump, because if he’s our nominee and you don’t vote for him, you’d be voting for Hillary, which would be infinitely worse!” Or, “I am never voting for Trump, because he isn’t the lesser of two evils. He’s the same evil.” I have to say that I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought at first, because, simply, Cruz should be the nominee, and I’m going to fight like heck to make sure that’s so. That said, after reading a bunch of articles on both sides of that coin, I’ve found myself in the #NeverTrump camp if for some awful reason it comes down to Dumb and Dumber.

So, why would I ever allow Hillary to win?!?!?!?! Well, first of all, I live in California. My vote hasn’t counted in a long time, so it makes it hugely easier to do so. But why would I encourage anyone else in a state with a fighting chance? WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE THAT TRUMP WILL DO ANYTHING GOOD. In fact, we have decades to the contrary, and what he said in 2015/16 is not going to erase that. Now, I’m going to hear from a bunch of you saying, “We KNOW Hillary is going to do bad things, but we know Trump will do some good!” and the first example I will be given is that Trump said he’s going to appoint a Scalia-like replacement to the Supreme Court. My response to these and any other examples is going to be, “Really? We know he will follow through because why? Because he always does what he says? Because he’s such a moral guy? Because he says he’s pro-life?“ I am no longer going to roll the dice and hope this is true. I WILL NO LONGER PLAY THE GAME, PERIOD, if Trump is the nominee. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know, and that should have been proven by the Obama presidency. If I honestly felt he was the lesser of the two evils, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. I just think most of America has been taken when it comes to that.

Let’s just look at the “non-negotiables.” Do I really believe that someone who was pro-abortion and thought that partial birth abortion should be anything other than banned until about five seconds ago, someone who just made fun of a person with a handicap (Trump claims he didn’t know him, but the reporter says they are on a first name basis), is really going to use life as a litmus test for a Supreme Court nominee? Heck, he barely cares about living human beings. Good luck with that. Also, please note, nobody is asking him the important questions. How about abortion in cases of rape and incest? In cases of birth defects? He always talks of his friends’ child who was almost aborted, but he’s terrific. What if he’s not so “perfect?” Hmmmmm???? He’s getting a pass, and everyone thinks he’s against this, simply because he said he’s pro-life.

How about “gay marriage?” He doesn’t have one thing on his platform page that even discusses it. You know he doesn’t give a darn about that. He’s NEVER going to appoint justices to overturn that. For the life of me, I cannot believe why Christians are acting on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with this one. You know this is why Tony Perkins is going Cruz and not Trump, don’t you?

Euthanasia? NEVER UTTERED THE WORDS. Not a priority.

Stem cells? Last I heard, he was undecided!

Please, please give me some kind of proof that he’s the “lesser of the two evils.” I just have no data to show me this is true. I mean, if you look at the non-negotiables, Bill Clinton might have been considered the lesser of the evils between Hillary and Trump and he was kind of a disaster. 

So, if Trump ends up as the nominee, I encourage you to stop playing the game. Republicans, Conservatives (or whatever you label yourself), we are going to continue to get Trumps. They will be unstoppable. I’ll let you in on a little secret.  This isn’t the long game of monopoly. It’s roulette.

Because the South Carolina Primary is Tomorrow…

I’m going to repost!  I still have hope and things a looking really good. Many astounding things have come to light in the Trump and Rubio camp and some highlights can be found  here: https://www.facebook.com/OneMadMomBlog/?ref=hl!  Offering as many prayers as I can!

https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/south-carolina-dum-spiro-spero/

South Carolina: Dum Spiro Spero!

For those of you not into Latin or Googling, South Carolina has a state motto that really defines me. Translated, it means “While I breathe, I hope!” They actually have two, but this is my favorite by far.

What am I hoping, South Carolina? I’m hoping that you will dump Trump and go with someone who is not trying to take you for a ride. I mean, really? Trump is ahead by double digits in South Carolina? What in the heck is wrong with you? You’re in the South, for heaven’s sake. Your polls (and no, I never believe them to be all that true) show an overwhelming belief that the guy from the North who should be offending all of your sensibilities is wildly ahead!

Please, South Carolinians, look at the events of the week and ask yourself, “Do we really want Donald Trump picking the next SEVERAL Supreme Court justices?” Hang everything else. This is really, really what it comes down to. If this happens, the South will lose the 10 Commandments, crosses will likely come down, and your court clerks will likely have to marry a lady and her cat. The Trumpster doesn’t give a flying fig about anything socially or morally conservative. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth on a daily basis and has admitted that he’s a chameleon. How about this quote: “I’m very capable of changing to anything I want to change to.”? And he will as soon as he’s elected. Is this what the south wants?

Who am I rooting for? One would think, being Catholic, that I would be in Rubio’s corner. Truth be told, I was intrigued by him and I think him a solid second place in people who might actually do something to save the country. But, again, this is coming down to SCOTUS picks. Ask yourself, if you looked long and hard at Rubio and Cruz in the eye, who do you really trust to pick authentic, moral conservatives for the Supreme Court? I think we’ve already seen Rubio do a little waffling. I don’t want a waffler. I don’t want a second guesser. I want someone who’s likely got a list of twenty Supreme Court nominees he could rattle off in less than thirty seconds who are known and already vetted to be morally conservative Constitutionalists like our great and amazing Antonin Scalia – may Perpetual Light shine upon him. Cruz is the man I see when I think of this, and, apparently, I’m not alone: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/this-is-the-presidential-candidate-republican-say-they-trust-to-appoint-sup

So, yes, I’m officially (if anyone cares) joining the Cruz Crew. I don’t want to hear that he can’t win. We’ve fallen for this way too many times. How about we put our Faith in God, pray like crazy for God’s mercy, fast, and spend some time praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament (for those who are Catholic) for the win instead of sounding like Eeyore? Wishy-washy has gotten us into the mess we’re in, and we can’t, for our children’s sake, keep nominating a wimp or a morally lax nominee. It is pointless. Again, have some Faith and remember that, with God, all things are possible. Stop paying lip service to this notion.

Also, while you are on your knees, start thinking about the fact that Ted Cruz won running against ethanol mandates in an ethanol state. Hello! This is huge! The supposed conservative governor was against him (thanks to his brother in the ethanol industry), and they were running merciless ads against Ted Cruz, yet he won! Please don’t tell me he can’t win.

Next, think about the fact that, despite all odds, Ted Cruz came in third in NH. Third! He beat out liberal Christie and the projected possible second place guy, Marco Rubio. Rubio finished fifth, and that’s BEHIND JEB! The media wants Donald Trump and they want Marco Rubio, because Ted Cruz scares the heck out of the liberals. They know he can out-debate any of them against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. I couldn’t care less if the polls say “Only Marco can beat them!” He can’t even beat Jeb Bush! BUSH! Wake up people. This is the reason that Trump won’t do a Lincoln/Douglas debate with Cruz. It would be suicide.

I get the Trump appeal. Really, I do. We’re sick of watching wimps. That said, don’t trade the wimp for the snake. Let’s pick someone better. If Trump wasn’t in the race, we all know that Ted Cruz would be labeled THE anti-establishment, don’t-back-down guy. He’s not the type to roll over. Don’t let The Donald’s narcissistic bombast fool you. I’m sure some of you are thinking (as the media has told you) that nobody in Congress likes Ted, and therefor he won’t get anything done. First of all, SCOTUS, SCOTUS, SCOTUS. That is THE most important thing the next president will do. Next, baloney! Many people, even those that disagree, like Cruz and have publicly said so. In fact, he’s so likeable that even The Donald has said he likes him and thinks he would make a good VP. This is all media spin. I’ve met a lot of people who know Ted Cruz personally (those not living in the “mom cave”), and they have great hope in Ted Cruz. He’s picking up endorsements daily. I also think, as more and more candidates bail out of the race, Cruz’s campaign will get stronger and stronger.

As far as Cruz being a liar about Rubio’s record…uhh, I see the same things in Rubio’s record. It’s public record so feel free to call me a liar too. I think him pro-life, but I don’t think him as dedicated to the cause nearly as much as Ted Cruz. He missed some crucial votes, although it seems some pro-lifers around the country are quibbling on the crucial-ness of the votes he missed. Sorry, every other candidate who considers life precious made those votes. They were there to lean on as many people as possible. And as I recall, they were only short seven votes. Marco would have made it six, and who knows how many we may have lost not being united on it. Marco was MIA! Too busy campaigning. Next, Rubio just said Cruz didn’t speak Spanish (kind of using the liberal tactic that Ted’s just not Hispanic enough)! Umm, pot meet kettle. I think Cruz just owned Rubio on that little inaccuracy. So, Marco, when crying “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” you might want to keep your house in order.

And let’s talk about the resume. My gosh! Please spend a moment and really do some background checking on this. Ted Cruz’s resume blows everyone else away: http://www.youngcons.com/ted-cruzs-resume-is-very-impressive-should-make-him-standout-amongst-other-candidates/ Cruz can sway people to his understanding. Notice that I didn’t say “his way.” He doesn’t want to get his way. He wants to show people what America can be. Now, with the House and Senate in our corner (or supposedly in our corner), he should be able to get a lot done. If not, I have little doubt he will make his case to the people in the same way Ronald Reagan blew past Tip O’Neill and went straight to the people, who in turn pressured their congressmen and senators to vote with him. Is Cruz Reagan? Personally, I think him better than Reagan in many ways.

Lastly, how about ground game? Cruz is running circles around all of them. He learned from Obama and the silly, old Republican guard’s last loss and went high tech. I’m not sure why Republicans can’t figure out that data analytics are important. I actually saw a story the other day saying “Cruz uses data mining to find out about your personal behavior!” as if the info isn’t available to EVERYONE, and as if smart candidates everywhere aren’t already using it. Take off the tinfoil hats and embrace micro-targeting, people. All of your retailers do. It keeps them (and candidates) from wasting time and, more importantly, money. I think that shows how Cruz can embrace innovation and should make him super cool to the hipsters who develop these dang programs. Cruz has been able to spend far less of his supporters’ money with better results than the rest of the candidates. Might that translate in how he’d spend the nation’s money? I think “yes!”

So, South Carolina, what do you say? Can you have a little faith and buck the media narrative for your state? If South Carolina won’t do it, hopefully the rest of the South will put them to shame. While I breathe, I hope!

South Carolina: Dum Spiro Spero!

For those of you not into Latin or Googling, South Carolina has a state motto that really defines me. Translated, it means “While I breathe, I hope!” They actually have two, but this is my favorite by far.

What am I hoping, South Carolina? I’m hoping that you will dump Trump and go with someone who is not trying to take you for a ride. I mean, really? Trump is ahead by double digits in South Carolina? What in the heck is wrong with you? You’re in the South, for heaven’s sake. Your polls (and no, I never believe them to be all that true) show an overwhelming belief that the guy from the North who should be offending all of your sensibilities is wildly ahead!

Please, South Carolinians, look at the events of the week and ask yourself, “Do we really want Donald Trump picking the next SEVERAL Supreme Court justices?” Hang everything else. This is really, really what it comes down to. If this happens, the South will lose the 10 Commandments, crosses will likely come down, and your court clerks will likely have to marry a lady and her cat. The Trumpster doesn’t give a flying fig about anything socially or morally conservative. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth on a daily basis and has admitted that he’s a chameleon. How about this quote: “I’m very capable of changing to anything I want to change to.”? And he will as soon as he’s elected. Is this what the south wants?

Who am I rooting for? One would think, being Catholic, that I would be in Rubio’s corner. Truth be told, I was intrigued by him and I think him a solid second place in people who might actually do something to save the country. But, again, this is coming down to SCOTUS picks. Ask yourself, if you looked long and hard at Rubio and Cruz in the eye, who do you really trust to pick authentic, moral conservatives for the Supreme Court? I think we’ve already seen Rubio do a little waffling. I don’t want a waffler. I don’t want a second guesser. I want someone who’s likely got a list of twenty Supreme Court nominees he could rattle off in less than thirty seconds who are known and already vetted to be morally conservative Constitutionalists like our great and amazing Antonin Scalia – may Perpetual Light shine upon him. Cruz is the man I see when I think of this, and, apparently, I’m not alone: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/this-is-the-presidential-candidate-republican-say-they-trust-to-appoint-sup

So, yes, I’m officially (if anyone cares) joining the Cruz Crew. I don’t want to hear that he can’t win. We’ve fallen for this way too many times. How about we put our Faith in God, pray like crazy for God’s mercy, fast, and spend some time praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament (for those who are Catholic) for the win instead of sounding like Eeyore? Wishy-washy has gotten us into the mess we’re in, and we can’t, for our children’s sake, keep nominating a wimp or a morally lax nominee. It is pointless. Again, have some Faith and remember that, with God, all things are possible. Stop paying lip service to this notion.

Also, while you are on your knees, start thinking about the fact that Ted Cruz won running against ethanol mandates in an ethanol state. Hello! This is huge! The supposed conservative governor was against him (thanks to his brother in the ethanol industry), and they were running merciless ads against Ted Cruz, yet he won! Please don’t tell me he can’t win.

Next, think about the fact that, despite all odds, Ted Cruz came in third in NH. Third! He beat out liberal Christie and the projected possible second place guy, Marco Rubio. Rubio finished fifth, and that’s BEHIND JEB! The media wants Donald Trump and they want Marco Rubio, because Ted Cruz scares the heck out of the liberals. They know he can out-debate any of them against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. I couldn’t care less if the polls say “Only Marco can beat them!” He can’t even beat Jeb Bush! BUSH! Wake up people. This is the reason that Trump won’t do a Lincoln/Douglas debate with Cruz. It would be suicide.

I get the Trump appeal. Really, I do. We’re sick of watching wimps. That said, don’t trade the wimp for the snake. Let’s pick someone better. If Trump wasn’t in the race, we all know that Ted Cruz would be labeled THE anti-establishment, don’t-back-down guy. He’s not the type to roll over. Don’t let The Donald’s narcissistic bombast fool you. I’m sure some of you are thinking (as the media has told you) that nobody in Congress likes Ted, and therefor he won’t get anything done. First of all, SCOTUS, SCOTUS, SCOTUS. That is THE most important thing the next president will do. Next, baloney! Many people, even those that disagree, like Cruz and have publicly said so. In fact, he’s so likeable that even The Donald has said he likes him and thinks he would make a good VP. This is all media spin. I’ve met a lot of people who know Ted Cruz personally (those not living in the “mom cave”), and they have great hope in Ted Cruz. He’s picking up endorsements daily. I also think, as more and more candidates bail out of the race, Cruz’s campaign will get stronger and stronger.

As far as Cruz being a liar about Rubio’s record…uhh, I see the same things in Rubio’s record. It’s public record so feel free to call me a liar too. I think him pro-life, but I don’t think him as dedicated to the cause nearly as much as Ted Cruz. He missed some crucial votes, although it seems some pro-lifers around the country are quibbling on the crucial-ness of the votes he missed. Sorry, every other candidate who considers life precious made those votes. They were there to lean on as many people as possible. And as I recall, they were only short seven votes. Marco would have made it six, and who knows how many we may have lost not being united on it. Marco was MIA! Too busy campaigning. Next, Rubio just said Cruz didn’t speak Spanish (kind of using the liberal tactic that Ted’s just not Hispanic enough)! Umm, pot meet kettle. I think Cruz just owned Rubio on that little inaccuracy. So, Marco, when crying “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” you might want to keep your house in order.

And let’s talk about the resume. My gosh! Please spend a moment and really do some background checking on this. Ted Cruz’s resume blows everyone else away: http://www.youngcons.com/ted-cruzs-resume-is-very-impressive-should-make-him-standout-amongst-other-candidates/ Cruz can sway people to his understanding. Notice that I didn’t say “his way.” He doesn’t want to get his way. He wants to show people what America can be. Now, with the House and Senate in our corner (or supposedly in our corner), he should be able to get a lot done. If not, I have little doubt he will make his case to the people in the same way Ronald Reagan blew past Tip O’Neill and went straight to the people, who in turn pressured their congressmen and senators to vote with him. Is Cruz Reagan? Personally, I think him better than Reagan in many ways.

Lastly, how about ground game? Cruz is running circles around all of them. He learned from Obama and the silly, old Republican guard’s last loss and went high tech. I’m not sure why Republicans can’t figure out that data analytics are important. I actually saw a story the other day saying “Cruz uses data mining to find out about your personal behavior!” as if the info isn’t available to EVERYONE, and as if smart candidates everywhere aren’t already using it. Take off the tinfoil hats and embrace micro-targeting, people. All of your retailers do. It keeps them (and candidates) from wasting time and, more importantly, money. I think that shows how Cruz can embrace innovation and should make him super cool to the hipsters who develop these dang programs. Cruz has been able to spend far less of his supporters’ money with better results than the rest of the candidates. Might that translate in how he’d spend the nation’s money? I think “yes!”

So, South Carolina, what do you say? Can you have a little faith and buck the media narrative for your state? If South Carolina won’t do it, hopefully the rest of the South will put them to shame. While I breathe, I hope!