Monday, November 23, 2009

Ups and Downs

Sarah Palin’s national book tour appears to be at least a qualified success. Lots of crowds, lots of enthusiasm, lots of books sold. How long it may last remains to be seen. When Palin first came onto the national stage as John McCain’s VP pick in the 2008 presidential election, I freely admit I was caught up in the enthusiasm. Gov. Palin has something to offer, is exciting to hear, and is pretty easy on the eyes. In the end, though, she was found (in my humble opinion) to be of little more substance than the man this nation elected president. The difference between Gov. Palin and President Obama is ideology; neither has (or had) the experience or the background sufficient to prepare either for the presidency. Mr. Obama is exposed in such a light very nearly every time he opens his mouth. Gov. Palin is spending as much time speaking in platitudes grossly lacking in substance. Let us not make the same mistake twice by electing someone who looks good on camera and talks a good show. Been there, doin’ that, not likin’ it much – you betcha.

Just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. So says the latest Rasmussen poll. Just so we’re clear, though: President Obama never “proposed” anything. He left it to the Congress (his words) and has been excited or enthusiastic about every Democratic proposal that has been put forth (strangely silent or vaguely objecting to, if not downright dismissive of, Republican proposals. Each proposal from the House and the Senate comes with a $1 trillion (+ or – a few billion among friends) price tag. Not long ago President Obama made like he was ready to get serious about the nation’s colossal debt but has yet to propose anything there. So if he’s all about a $1 trillion health care bill and the government entities that will be required to administer it AND if he is equally all about debt reduction, this can mean only one thing: that which he will have the temerity to propose will be massive tax increases the likes of which we will not have seen to date. Thank you, Democrats. That’s your albatross to carry into 2010.

On that same note of appropriate congressional priorities, do you suppose the 62% who do not favor the health care plan (whichever plan they don’t like) are a part of the 17% who are out of work and have all but given up the search as futile or have settled for part-time jobs just to make ends meet? One might be inclined to think that those out of work would never stop looking, but reading labor reports in which hundreds of thousands of jobs are still being shed by the US economy each month give little hope that things are much better now than they were when the jobs were lost. Maybe these and their supporters believe the Congress has it completely backward. FIRST revamp the US tax code for corporations and small businesses so that they can afford to hire so that workers can afford to spend money AND pay taxes AND help deal with this outrageous deficit THEN start thinking again later about government spending money it does not have and, in the grand scheme, will not have in the foreseeable future.

US Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI, is in a public spitting match with his Catholic bishop over Kennedy’s support for abortion and the bishop’s insistence that Mr. Kennedy has effectively severed his Catholic ties and cannot receive Holy Communion in the Church. Each has made public comments and each has expressed “disappointment” or “surprise” that the other has gone public with the matter. Almost laughable except that Mr. Kennedy just does not get it. There are some things that are fundamental to religion and faith, particularly in Christianity. Supporting abortion in the first place just does not fit neatly into the Christian basket, no matter the emotion, and supporting federal measures by which we who are diametrically opposed to abortion would be forced to help finance abortion is just plain unfair and immoral. It is one thing to acknowledge the very ugly reality of abortion; it is another thing altogether to actively support it. It is unfortunate that the bishop and Mr. Kennedy cannot sit down behind a closed door, but why can’t the congressman just sit down with his own parish priest? Why does a Kennedy think a bishop must somehow give him a free pass? In the end, if Mr. Kennedy thinks he is somehow morally or biblically justified in his support of abortion, he needs to know that he’s just making it up as he goes to suit his personal beliefs. He must not get these personal beliefs, however, confused with the tenets of his religion which expressly support and defend the sanctity of human life.

Christmas is coming. Already there are expressions of regret and dread as well as eager anticipation. It is sad to know that a truly Holy Day has been reduced to a secular holiday of grief, pain, loss, depression, anxiety, and financial pressure. Season of Hope? More like “I hope I don’t go to the poorhouse this Christmas”. Why can we not simply allow Christmas to be Christmas and call Solstice what it is: a pagan ritual of self-indulgence that has nothing to do with the birth of the Christ? I wonder sometimes, however, if we were ever able to tell the difference. On this one, at least, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right idea.

We are still a nation at war. Let us not forget the men and women who have voluntarily stepped up to the front line of defense of this nation to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Let us especially not forget that each of these brave souls have families back home who do not know if they will ever see their loved ones alive again. As we are a nation at war, may we soon become a nation at prayer in supporting all of them.

1 comment:

tom sheepandgoats said...

I respect that bishop for standing loyal to his faith's underlying principles, especially against such a popular figure and in the face of certain ridicule. Indeed, the report I read described him as "ultraconservative," implying that others in his office would not have done so.