26 Days

Maybe it’s that my facebook feed is getting more hammered than before with political posts, but I’m bothered more by some of the followers than by the candidates. Though it’s still a close race between the two groups. A few random thoughts on the election for the few crickets out there.

First, I find the poster-style memes not as entertaining as they once were. More annoying than anything else.

One of those memes ponders the women who read 50 Shades and suggest they shouldn’t bad-mouth Mr Trump. Frankly, I think they should feel free to do so. The books of E. L. James are romance novels about consensual sex with fetishes attached. Not my cup of tea on either front. Mr Trump’s self-stated attitudes to women in 2005 or whenever it was … are not quite about bad language or sex by dominants. Said attitudes are adolescent, demeaning, and quite believable. They are revelatory with regard to his character. Likewise his recent apologies.

Another popular drop on my page cites Mrs Clinton’s statements about the unborn. She’s probably the most unattractive Democratic candidate for president since at least 1972. But when she says the unborn have no constitutional rights, she is stating a legal fact. Read section one of the 14th:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

As a largely Republican-appointed Supreme Court decided in 1973, this section is the basis for what many pro-life people consider an extremely unfortunate ruling. Mrs Clinton is enough of a legal professional to render an impartial communication (not necessarily a personal opinion) on a matter of constitutional law. She’s also enough of a politician never to get caught describing abortion as a good thing. Except maybe in leaked emails. Many Democratic politicians have trotted out the “safe, legal, and rare” sentiment. Make of that what you will.

Except for the influence of husbands, boyfriends, parents, and the occasional domineering friend, abortion is largely a personal choice for hundreds of thousands of American women and girls each year. My own sense of the politics is that each major party has its constituents just where they want them: not-so-happily watching pitchforks and torches, donating, and voting with the flock.

Check this statement: abortion law in the US will never change. I write this not because I favor abortion on demand. I write because I’m a cynic and a realist. I notice how politics seem to work. I know the issue is fraught with fear and loathing for the opponents on both sides. That’s why things will never change. I don’t think that’s good news. But it doesn’t stop me from being a pro-life Catholic because I can promote alternatives–like adoption. I can also support candidates of either party who advocate for said alternatives. And I can talk people out of having abortions. Or assisting my faith community to work more directly with people struggling over the choice and encourage at-risk women to consider their alternatives, no matter how dark the situation seems.

In essence, I think this year’s presidential election comes down to a choice.

Candidate #1 is fit and qualified for the office, but is deeply flawed and unattractive to a significant swath of the voting public. This candidate wonders why she’s not polling in landslide country, and even now, has about a ten percent chance of blowing the contest. She should wonder.

Candidate #2 is attractive to a wide swath of the electorate for a number of reasons, few to none of which relate to his appearance or abilities. But he is even more flawed and very likely unfit for political office on any level. Any other year, and any decent GOP nominee–John Kasich, for example–and this election would be in 1980-84 territory.

In conclusion, I simply repeat (giving no attention to Mr Putin’s plan to unleash The Day After on us) that the sun will rise on the second Wednesday in November. Many millions of Americans will sigh in relief that this reality show masquerading as a federal election is over. People on facebook can think about TBT. People slogging it out in the work force can dream about TGIF. Our corporate masters can turn their full and undivided attention to commercializing the birth of the Savior and selling their product.

If people are truly interested in making America great or greater, then the best strategy is to participate in local and neighborhood politics starting on November 9th. If not sooner. Otherwise, we’re likely to see more celebrity politicians horning in on what should be public service, not self-service.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to 26 Days

  1. Liam says:

    I agree about your read of US constitutional law, and would further note that all of the anti-Roe justices on the SCOTUS (including the late Justice Scalia) are/were legal positivists on that point (that is, none would read a natural law right to life for an unborn human being into the federal constitution).

    I would not agree about the possible long-term arc of US law: I believe that we are may in the long run end up where we began – with abortion in roughly the first trimester being effectively unregulated because it’s not readily regulatable and actually has never been readily regulatable – and perhaps the US following European restrictions on later abortions, especially after viability.

    I do believe that, were Roe (actually Casey, now) overturned next year, states that rushed to take advantage of their newly refound authority would likely face backlash – my basis for that is two strongly anti-abortion states, South Dakota and Mississippi, had referenda that came close to notionally banning abortion fail by significant popular vote margins. As a political issue, anti-abortion is more useful to the GOP as an unachieved grail than as a realistic possibility.

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