Friday, September 7, 2012

American, Catholic, or Both?

by M. J. Joachim

As I struggle for the words today, I think of all the people living day to day. Our lives truly aren’t that complicated – at least they don’t have to be.

Listening to Prime Time these past couple of weeks…

Yes, I tuned into both the RNC and the DNC…

All I could think about is that somehow our government leaders have made choosing a new president, as difficult to determine and understand, as they’ve made the tax code. Everyone is talking out of both sides of their mouths. So many statements are twisted and misleading – a certain formula used to confuse those of us who must vote and try to make a decent decision.

There is no such thing as an easy Catholic vote anymore. The constant rhetoric has taken its toll, and most things we vote on favor some of the things we believe in, while completely slamming others – all in the same legislation.

I find it difficult to compare today’s times to the times of slavery and Lincoln emancipating the slaves. However, I don’t believe we need to cater to greed and Corporate America either.  Democrats would have us believe that Republicans are the only ones who do so, but isn’t Obama the guy who bailed out the auto industry?

So here I sit, typing on my computer about how I’m consistently baffled by the mudslinging and lies. Another thing that truly disturbs me is when Clinton said Romney didn’t get any jobs for the American people. Uh, he wasn’t our President either, and that wasn’t his job. However, it could be considered part of Obama’s job description. Don’t you agree?

Being Catholic, I have to vote with my conscience, which means standing up for women’s dignity and well-being. This has never meant women can do whatever we want without paying any consequences; it should never imply that someone else should pay for decisions we wish we hadn’t made, with their very own lives, no matter how small and inconsequential they might seem.

Being Catholic, I have to vote against oppression, something I think many Americans have probably felt recently, without actually labeling it as such. Feelings related to oppression include feeling coerced, dominated, subdued, forcibly (losing one’s home or becoming unemployed), suffering – how many of us have made some really tough choices during these unprecedented economic times? How many of us worry, because we’re losing ground and there’s not a whole lot left to make those tough decisions with anymore? Oh, but we have healthcare – which we pay for with taxes we can’t and shouldn’t be asked or expected to afford!

Being Catholic, I should vote in favor of all those who are marginalized. That’s a long list, and at the rate the government is growing, it’s only getting longer every day. You can’t give what you don’t have, so I guess being Catholic means voting for what’s best for me on some level. As much as I want to help everyone else in our society, I certainly can’t do so, if I have nothing left to give.

Which brings me back to the idea of simplicity, hinted at in my opening words today…

Let the politicians do what they will for the next couple of months. You can’t stop them anyway. What you can do is stand up for yourself (and consequently many others in the long run), if you rely on your conscience and use a little bit of common sense when you vote.

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