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Friday, July 24, 2015

Mark Shea, If People Think You Are Liberal (And Frankly, That You Flat-Out Don't Like Them) You Are Earning It

All teasing aside, which I've done in several posts I don't care to link, I love your stuff. I actually like your "edge." We all know I've got one. We've got several noble friends in common, and they don't hesitate to speak well of you. In light of that, I strongly desire to speak well of you, also.

Also, I can tell that you are strongly motivated to affirm all that the Church teaches without exception. We are of the same mind and heart in this. I will not say that being involved in American political activity makes this easier. I also can't say that I have fully understood all of the implications of the social doctrine, especially as it applies to acting politically in public, for the common good.

But I'm really trying.

I need you to give Republicans a break. Honestly, give politics a break. To speak truth to power by means of the social doctrine is an important task, and an urgent one. Nor do I dare to take away satire as a means of doing it, when appropriate. Is this all we are now, though? Is that all you care to be, when you speak about issues that matter?

I think it's highly possible that a right-leaning person could conclude that you despise them, and everything they ever dared to stand for, by reading your posts lately. Are you dismayed that the present state of conservative politics and rhetoric is irreconcilable with Catholic faith, or are you simply angry?

People tell me that these open letters are lame and passive-aggressive. Well, we don't actually know each other, and you're Mark Shea, a really important public figure. I think that when a highly-public figure errs in a highly-public way, there's a certain leeway that must be granted to critics.

Politics is passionate, and intense. If people judged me for every passionate word I spoke on that subject, I would have no friends. We're 18 months out or so from the election; does whatever Donald Trump said yesterday matter? Does anyone who stopped to listen for a moment--even a moment--become suspect and defective as a Catholic? I'm asking, because I honestly don't know your answer.

The biggest thing I don't know--that I need to know--is whether you realize that a lot of us are out here, trying to be faithful, not trying to simply carry water for the GOP or whomever. I may not pick up on the faulty arguments as fast as Confirmation Sponsor Guy, but I'd like to. I'm also not going to verbally crucify someone because they liked what a libertarian said one time, or even more than that.

I'm the most partisan Republican I have ever known, for good and ill. I'm also a person who wonders if I should leave the GOP every single day. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest; I'm that same person. Take it from a friend: You need to think about giving someone some grace, because the committed and the uncertain in this game of politics are often the same people. I could give you a passionate opinion right now, knowing that a "but I don't know" hovers in my soul in most things, even if I don't say it.

Take it all before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; if there is value in what I say, take it. If not, I'm just a keyboard-jockey who doesn't know you, anyway.

Thanks and blessings in Christ,
Jason Kettinger

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