Skip to main content


Showing posts from February 21, 2016

I Don't Think Fascism Is Too Strong A Word

Donald Trump may simply be a vicious, self-interested, ignorant buffoon, but it's about more than just him; it's about the resentment and hate that he's uncovering. Do you want to put your name on a party that puts his name on their brand? I'm not sure I can. In fact, I know I can't. If we don't beat him, and sanity doesn't eventually prevail, I'm leaving the Republican Party. I'm still ideologically whatever I am, but I don't want to have to explain why I did nothing, while evil triumphed. Lincoln wouldn't stay. Reagan wouldn't. And I can't. Call it sanctimony if you will, but I can't chase the votes of angry, disaffected blue-collar whites with a wink, either. Losing with your dignity is better than selling your soul to win. I definitely respect those folks who--on account of abortion and euthanasia--will do their duty, and vote against Clinton or Sanders. We're Catholics, after all. I just can't vote for the man. Fo

The Three Questions That Change A Political Philosophy

Ever since I was 21 or so, I self-identified as a political conservative, and a Republican. A reasonable person could easily argue that I came by it a little emotionally, and not by reason. A big part of it was simply wanting to hear an opposing view, unwilling to concede as a starting point that "liberals" are more intelligent, more informed, more compassionate than everyone else. I maintain a visceral distaste for smugness, though of course I am a hypocrite. I can be very unfair if I don't like someone, or some thing. Anyway, the most basic question concerns the goodness of government as such. If governments of people hold power because those under its influence lack the force to overthrow it, or the willingness, one should say that that government is a permissible evil. Short of that position are countless others, advocating for more or less intervention according to preference. These are the questions that have altered the moral landscape for me. They now require

Super Tuesday Prediction

I think we're going to see a Rubio wave. 6 or 7 wins would not be crazy. He will be the clear second choice at the very worst, and the pressure on Ted Cruz will be immense. He will have to decide how long staying in the race will help the party. The media will be at least a week behind the new reality, and this benefits them, because "Actual Electorate, Now Paying Attention, Finds Broadly Acceptable Nominee" is way less interesting than, "Rubio Rises From The Dead." Marco Rubio will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States of America.

Go On

Some things are worth doing, even if you feel like dirt. Because you're not dirt, metaphysically anyway, and you are loved, even if you don't believe it. Even if you act like you don't want it, you do. God knows this, which is why we're always drowning in mercy. Go on. Go toward the love. Even if you hate yourself, go on, because your shame is the enemy's tool for keeping you away from God. I sat there, realizing that I didn't want to go to Mass. I was ashamed to go. Entrepreneur Bob couldn't make it, and so I could have stayed home. No one would have minded, and a scarce few would have noticed. But I said to myself, "I don't stop doing what I always do, simply because I made a mistake." Sins, which in the grand tapestry of God's covenant mercy will be forgotten, cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We may indeed have to decide what that means to us, but when all is made manifest, no one will be able to deny it.

Moralists, Continued

Just recently, I said here we should bring back the moralists in politics. By that, I meant that politics is both worthy and compelling to people when the relevant discussions are cast in moral terms. A possible danger is that we are all emotivists, motivated and polarized by feelings into tribes that never disarm, and never cooperate. Our polarization is quite in evidence. But empathy and civility are not simply desirable, and affectations for gaining power; they are tools to till the discussion space for a constructive moral discussion. Then yesterday, a man named Matthew Continenti (sp?) argued that America's conservative party has abandoned the realm of moral argument entirely. I think he's right, and I hope it doesn't stay that way. When he asked, "Where are the moralists?" I said to myself, "Here I am; send me!" That moral case cannot be made up of issue positions like badges of tribal loyalty, but a comprehensive case that arises out of a cohere

Abba, Father

We know that the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, if indeed by faith and baptism we have been born again, for that is what God said through St. Paul and St. John, recorded in the Scriptures. But have you ever been afraid? And more than afraid of our failures or a bad outcome, but the sort of fear that doubts the love of God. If you have, you're not alone. Here is the good news: we contemplate the fatherhood of God, because only His love can free us from our wounds, our mistrust, and our pride. We could be misled, through terrible experiences and bad examples, about what it means to call the Father "Daddy." It could ever only be an analogy, because of our limitations. Nevertheless, if we have ever known a true father's love, or at least hoped for it, we know the Father loves us more. Infinitely so, but not less. What chains would fall off if we could trust Him? At the least to say, "I don't trust You as I should, b

I Will Not Publicly Criticize Pope Francis, And Here's Why

You are free to call me whatever it is for people who march in lockstep, you may remind me of your educated pieties of the niceties of papal infallibility, as to where it does, and does not extend. I would most likely agree, in the abstract. But here in the concrete, I don't care. The reason I don't care is because the Church is the new Ark, the water is rising, and people you and I love need the grace of the sacraments, the grace of salvation. And the human man holding the very keys to the Kingdom is Pope Francis. If you want to be reasonably confident of salvation, that is, of not going to Hell, you need to submit to him, and to the Church to which he has been given charge. How inspired are your friends and family to become Catholic by the way you discuss the pope? We American Catholics treat him worse than we do Barack Obama, and then we cover ourselves with chatter like, "Well, it's not ex cathedra, and he's not infallible." True, and utterly irrelevan

Blessed Is He Who Comes In The Name Of The Lord

If I may be direct and honest with you, I was worried and distracted at Mass today. I won't make any bold predictions about my vocation(s), but I personally feel pulled toward public life. I have loved politics since before I can remember. I care about it; I was defending Richard Nixon's pre-Watergate contributions to our country in the 45 seconds before I walked into the cathedral this morning. This is who I am. I'm also a theologian of sorts, and at the very least, hopefully, I'm not boring. So, like I said, I'm worried. I don't think the current front-runner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States is worthy of it. His character is not worthy of emulation, much less to merit serious consideration for such a high office. I don't find anything to soften that. I won't, unless instructed by Church authority that the Democratic nominee would, in their judgment, be worse. But then we spoke the words we always do right before the

In Praise Of John Kasich

I will never disparage anyone who runs for president in the United States with a relentlessly positive campaign. That's part of the essence of being American: optimism. Doesn't the optimist win every cycle? Maybe it's easier to be winsome when you are winning, but I appreciate the way this man is going about things. He's not winning, by the way. And he won't. That's all the more reason to appreciate it, and him. Gov. Kasich hasn't gotten to speak in debates much, and it's also true that I have not spent a great deal of time watching all the debates, but when he does speak, it's worth listening to. Either to learn something (which is rare in this game), or to hear a person willing to risk turning down the rhetorical and emotional temperature in the debate venue, in a year we especially need it. I read a conservative commentator who mocked Kasich for attempting to be the "Counselor-in-Chief," suggesting that the warm sentiment shared betw

A Hard Truth: "Evangelical" Means White

This is the reason a wretched person like Donald Trump is peeling off evangelical, self-described "very conservative" people. It's also why you could forget Ted Cruz is Cuban. He's trying to act white. He seems white, even. Donald Trump does not appeal to actual evangelical Christians, by and large. He is supported by people who added the label "Christian" to the privilege of their whiteness, to add an air of respectability. Suppose I were older, and I had not been blessed with the chance to attend university and graduate school. Suppose I had done manual labor for my entire life. I (would) see the Democrats as the party of blacks, gays, and foreigners. The Republicans said they understood me, but they don't. Where do I go? Where do you think? We can call it "telling it like it is," or "Not PC," but what it means is, "The America we knew is gone, and we're begging for scraps from these rich, entitled, world citizen t