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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

Whatever it takes...
"Yeah, 220, 221.  Whatever it takes."

It seems the 2016 Presidential Campaign is a lot like the statement by Jack Butler, aka Michael Keaton, when asked by his wife's boss, Mr. Richardson, about the electrical wiring he was planning in the home addition he was working on, after getting laid off from work, in Mr. Mom.

Both candidates will pretty much do and say whatever it takes to get elected.

As the Rolling Stones would say, we're "Stuck between a rock and a hard place," and, to be honest, I'm done.

I can't wait for this thing to be over.  I'm done with all the political propaganda by friends on Facebook and social media.  I'm done with the insults and degrading attack ads on both sides.  I'm done with the subjective media reporting and pundits' analysis. I'm done with the polls (which appear to be tightening up just in time for the election night ratings frenzy!).  I'm done with the scandals and corruption, investigations, emails and hot-mic videos. I'm done with the Saturday Night Live skits. And, I'm done with the frustrating and fruitless political bickering with friends and co-workers.

Look, I know what's at stake.  This is a monumental election year; the economy, unemployment, immigration, the war on terror, the Supreme Court and direction of our society for the next thirty years or so (which is among my top two or three issues), Obamacare, education, nuclear threat from rogue nations, poverty, the division within our country, a deterioration in support for law enforcement, gun violence, the environment, and much more.

However, as a practicing Catholic, which is my identity; I am an American Catholic, not a Catholic American, there's only one choice.

Unfortunately, three of the four candidates running for President are pro-abortion, so I can't and won't ever consider them, no matter how much good anyone says they can do.

I agree with St. Teresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Teresa), who once said, "I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.  By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems....  Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.  This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."

Although, we can't be single-issue voters, in their document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop state, "If a candidate's position on a single issue promotes an intrinsic evil act, such as legal abortion, redefining marriage in a way that denies its essential meaning, or racist behavior, a voter may legitimately disqualify a candidate."

Yet, the one candidate standing was not my first choice. He wasn't even my second or third choice either.  In fact, he may not have cracked my top ten.  He was probably at the University of Miami in the AP Poll rankings level!  (Then again, another Stones song he acutely plays at the end of his rallies says it all, "You can't always get what you want.")

As I told my oldest daughter, "He may be an idiot, degrading, foul-mouth and a blowhard at times but, she is not a good person!  Unfortunately, as Catholics, we don't have a choice!" (And I mean those of us trying to live our faith with honesty and integrity)

Only one candidate is claiming to be pro-life.  Only one candidate is saying he will protect religious liberty, unlike the current administration that forced Catholic and Christian organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who help the elderly, and business owners to provide artificial birth control to employees, as part of the Health and Human Services mandate of Obamacare, including abortifacients (morning after pill), despite violating their freedom of conscience and tenets of their faith.  And, only one candidate has already offered a list of possible Supreme Court justice nominees.

Not to mention, the other major candidate believes in late-term abortion, including, as she said in the last debate, up until the day the baby is born (which, is the most heinous and violent assault on the life of a child imaginable) and wants tax payers to pay for it!  She supports Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion (and baby body parts) provider in the U.S., and she has publicly said, in a speech at the Sixth Annual Women in the World Summit last year that, "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."

Dirty diaper...
And, let's not even bring up the Wikileaks emails by her campaign operatives which call Catholicism an "amazing bastardization of the faith" and their plans to set up groups to undermine Catholic Church teachings from within, calling for a "Catholic Spring," like the "Arab Spring" that brought revolution in the Middle East; "There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church."

A Facebook friend recently argued that if I believed everything that my last-resort-candidate said he was going to do was what he would do, that he had some property in the Everglades to sell me.

True.  Maybe, he will go against what he promised and "evolve" his opinion, as President Obama did on same-sex marriage, but one thing is guessing what a candidate may do and another is knowing what a candidate will do.

In any case, our parish pastor said it well during a recent homily, "I don't vote for a candidate because of their personality, since we are all flawed human beings and personalities will surely let us down.  I don't vote for any politician or political party that tries to thwart or undermine what we stand for as people of faith; like religious freedom and respecting and protecting human life from conception to natural death.  My job is difficult enough as it is!  And, I don't vote or put my faith on any one politician.  I put my faith in Christ... America can't get us to heaven but Christ can."

He also challenged us, "Are we listening to the media or are we listening to the Pope? Are we listening to the culture or are we listening to the teachings of the Catholic Church?"

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says that we are in this world but not of it and that may never be more evident than this election season.

This is a historically nasty and divisive campaign and win or lose, half of the nation will be dissatisfied.  It's going to take a herculean effort to bring our country together again.  And, as we all know, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

All we can do is do our part as citizens and try to change the world in our own circle of influence.  As Archbishop Charles Chaput writes in his book, Render Unto Caesar, Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, "We are citizens of heaven first.  But just as God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so the glory and the irony of the Christian life is this: The more truly we love God, the more truly we serve the world."

Hopefully, on the Wednesday after Election Day, Americans will not get left holding the soiled diapers, like Mr. Mom...

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