Let me state as a consistent thirty-year third-party voter, I had no undue hopes for the new 2009-2013 administration, whatever it was to be. I think the Republicans were and are still a disaster on several fronts: as the ruling party 2000-06, they showed themselves unable if not unwilling to protect the homeland (Exhibit #1: Katrina), their arrogance and corruption damaged the nation, their policies violated the constitution. If I’m given a choice to vote for an unrepentant representative of a corrupt, opportunistic, and immoral party I must refuse.
I appreciate the handwringing on the alternative, a representative of a political party almost as corrupt and almost as deeply in the pockets of those who are seeking world domination economically. Life issues are almost a wash in my thinking. The previous administration was up to its armpits in immorality, a direct link to murder that is hard to dismiss. The Democrats’ sin is standing by and allowing millions of mothers to opt for abortion. To the best of my knowledge, President Obama and other Democrats on the firing line have never actively cooperated in procuring an abortion for someone, a sin that is worthy of excommunication.
As a cynic, I have little hope of seeing change on the national level in this country. I’ll admit I voted for Senator Obama, and I don’t mind saying I didn’t think I had a third-party alternative this year. I still think that independent, non-party local politics is the way to get things accomplished. I will be active in my local community and in my parish. And to a small degree, on the blogosphere, too.
I can’t really end a honeymoon I never went on to start with. Some people vote (or get married) and they go off the work the next day as if nothing happened when they marked their ballot (or exchanged vows). When I married my wife, to a degree, my feelings didn’t change on the honeymoon in the sense I still loved this woman just as I did the day before and the day before that.
What I’d like to do is say my honeymoon is over with my sister and brother Catholics who continue to embarrass me and the rest of the Church with their self-promotion to ecclesiastical court. But the readers here know I saw through the worst deceptions of the political side of the pro-life movement.
Since the election, we’ve seen some prominent pro-lifers used by political operatives for personal profit and showmanship. Sam Brownback’s name allowed one Republican group to generate cash for its coffers. Archbish0p Burke was used by another public figure for his own gain. FOCA is still missing nine-and-a-half weeks after it was presumably the new president’s number one priority. It’s a tough economy, and I’m sure those poor Republicans were hurting for donations after the double whammy of a crushing political defeat and a self-created economic disaster.
My line from the beginning is to expect little from politicians, either elected or lobbyists, and turn attention, compassion, and resources to the local level to help women with unexpected pregnancies who are considering abortion. Birthright, other organizations, and their volunteers will get more done for real people. The people who will be helped will be our neighbors, friends, and folks who ride our busses, eat in our restaurants, and worship in our churches.
Few people are going to be martyrs, at least not unless the US turns into China with its forced abortions, death squads, and such. The harder work of sainthood is the day-in, day-out tenacity of prayer and serving others. Mother Teresa knew well the darkness of endless hours and years of labor not knowing if God was there to make any kind of difference. It seems as if too many rank-and-file pro-lifers expect some leader (Archbishop Burke, Sarah Palin, or Randall Terry) to come riding in and rescue the world from sin and death.
The defect in this ideology is that Jesus came as Savior and Messiah twenty centuries ago. He put the onus on us, the community of believers. It’s hard and, unlike Archbishop Chaput’s book tours, not very affirming. But the work of ministry, of reaching out to individuals, is essential to the Gospel. If, however, your Gospel is a political manifesto, then, by all means, continue on the same path. It hasn’t really worked in thirty years. But if you shout a little louder, stamp your foot a little harder, scream till you’re a little hoarser, who knows?