Politically Trapped

Sorry a bit off topic.
In what way is pro-gun control …pro-life? I think if a criminal is in my home going to harm me and my children it would be pro- my families life to have protection.

The only way you can equate pro life with pro guns is to remove them from the whole world…not just citizens. Are you aware of History… In Hitler’s Germany/Austria his gun control was anti-life. I don’t want a warmer welcome, I want to protect myself from Tyranny.

:banghead:

Definitely many of them are. On the other hand, there’s quite a bit of variety and it hasn’t been hard for me to find one that I can comfortably vote for, especially at the Presidential level. Also, I know that most of the time, I’m casting a protest vote and the person I’m voting for has little chance to win (with the exception of the third party here in Minnesota that elected Ventura).

I’ve become pretty much apathetic about politics.

I live for Christ, not for politicians.

In the past, I was actively involved in political debates. I was a Reagan republican and stayed with the GOP until George Bush and the GOP controlled congress showed their true colors.

From that point on, I became a skeptical independent. The only debates I got involved with over the past years are when people smear the character of a candidate, based merely on the campaign rhetoric of the party they support.

In other words, they bear false witness against a person, without having facts, just political gossip.

Anyway, I’ve come to see that the nastiness from both political sides has divided even Catholics.

I wondered why would good people become so nasty about a political issues ?

So, I came across this book and I borrowed it from the Library, It’s very good, but my reading time has stopped since I’ve gotten involved with painting my house,

“The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” by Jonathan Haidt
amazon.com/The-Righteous-Mind-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777

I’m gonna have to renew the book so I can continue reading it, Otherwise I’ll buy it.

Jim

While I strongly agree with your last paragraph, and have no doubt that there are plenty of ‘sleazy’ individuals in the Republican Party :cough… Gingrich… cough:, the democRATS have written an entire library on sleazy. Yes, there is evil in both parties. I am neither democRAT nor Republican; I am a rabid anti- Liberal.

Social justice? Really? Allow a political party to force me to contribute a chunk of my hard-earned money to some lazy schmuck with a sense of entitlement because of something that happened to their ancestors hundreds of years ago? Take another chunk of my money and hand it to an illegal alien, just because some bleeding heart feels a sense of self-gratification by playing Robin Hood, or is buying their vote with my money?

Not cracking on you about the social justice issue, but I have a serious problem with many Catholics because they apparently fail to understand another tenet of Christianity: He who does not work does not eat.

Yes, there are people who need help. Some have short-term needs, and others, such as the crippled and handicapped, may very well have long-term needs. But let’s not confuse such legitimate needs with all the sleazy, underhanded vote-buying that’s going on, primarily with the democRATS.

Suggestion: Let’s all look to our current Holy Father for guidance on such issues. I am grateful to now be able to say that I have confidence in our Pope.

Long live Pope Francis!

:amen:

“I keep trying to get out … but they keep pulling me back in!” – Michael Corleone, the Godfather. I quote that because I placed myself on political hiatus after the elections last November. No politics for me for at least 2 years! I am struggling these days with holding to that … thankfully I do not have to make a religious vow!

First and foremost, though, I am a Catholic Christian. Yes, my allegiance is to the Church before anything, including our U.S. government (which some would say violates my oath as a lawyer, but I don’t care).

This is how I look at politics now (no doubt many will attack this post). First, on any given issue, is there a moral or faith teaching of the Church relating to it? If so, I go with the Church. Let’s get to the heart of it, though, vis-à-vis the role of government and “welfare,” because that is where we usually end up when discussing “Catholic social teaching.”

I firmly believe that we Christians need to give within our means. Give to our parish. Give to Catholic Charities. Give to the United Way, whatever the case may be; however, I do not believe that Christian charity requires the government to provide for everything.

I could go on and on and on, but those who read this post get my point, whether you agree or disagree. Regardless, may Christ be with you, and may we pray for our beloved Pope Francis!

Let the attacks commence … :slight_smile:

Outstanding post. :thumbsup:

Also, there are ways to give other than financially. Volunteers who give their time can do a whole lot more good than someone who tosses a sawbuck in the hat.

The answer is that we must give our highest priority to prolife and pro-family issues, not economic or tax issues. Issues like the tax code are totally insignificant compared to the defense of innocent human life.

Before the 1960’s, almost nobody ran for office in the US on a pro-abort platform because most Americans would never have considered supporting such a candidate. We need to regain that moral clarity. Anything less is unworthy of anyone calling himself Christian.

Doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement of capital punishment to me.

To try to equate these issues is itself a moral evil.

{Chortle}

I said guns and capital punishment are also pro-life issues. You say saying that is a moral evil. Hold on a sec…

OK, I just read the Catechism. Nothing in there says calling capital punishment a pro-life issue is a moral evil.

But thanks for playing.

This is a common problem. One of the priests we had in our parish concentrated on ethics as part of his priest’s training. The last I heard he was in charge of the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics, link provided.

mercyhealth.com.au/About_Us/Research/Caroline_Chisholm_Centre_for_Health_Ethics/

That’s his photograph in the middle.

Anyway I was talking to him once about ethical issues, and he commented that he generally found left wingers tended to be strong on social justice issues, but quite often not so moral on sexual and moral ethics, including abortion. Right wingers tended to be strong on sexual and moral issues, but somewhat lacking in the social justice area. He found this seemed to be the case across the board.

We’ve got a similar situation here in Australia in that there are two major parties - the Australian Labour Party and the conservative Coalition (Liberal and National Parties). They could be compared to the Democrats and Republicans in US politics. Read Labour Party and Tories in the UK.

There was a time when the ALP was strongly Catholic, due to the fact a lot of Irish migrants were workers, and also tended to be persecuted, but there was a split in the 1950’s, and a lot of the Catholic influence was lost then, if my somewhat limited understanding is correct.

The trouble is that the only “Christian” parties here are small, and even in politics they can’t work together, in typical Protestant fashion. So instead of one “Christian” party giving a credible unified Christian political voice, we’ve got a couple of small ones, and to a Catholic, they tend to give an image of fundamentalism.

So I don’t see anything changing much, although if Labor and the Greens keep pushing an abortion agenda, I see a judgement coming against both of them. As it is I think the Greens are going to lose quite heavily in the next election, and there’s a more than even chance the ALP will go out of power.

Incidentally the Australian spelling for “Labor” is the British spelling of “Labour”. The reason we have the American spelling in an Australian political party that is over 100 years old, and dating back to a time when each Australian state was a separate British colony, seems to be largely due to a peculiar character named “King O’Malley” who may have been an American (or Canadian - he was a bit hard to pin down).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_O%27Malley

Gotta watch these Yanks!:smiley:

I was a committed, Limbaugh-Reagan Republican. I was elected twice to precinct committeeperson positions, (three times maybe, I forget) endorsed by the conservative faction of the party in Kansas, the KRA (Kansas Republican Assembly).

I was making nearly six figures as an electrical engineer for Bell Labs, flew around the country to important meetings and stuff, and had medical insurance for me, my wife who stayed home and was raising our six insured children. I had a master’s degree in electrical engineering. We were tithing about $700/month to church. I had a modest mortgage payment of around $600/month P&I, and property taxes were around $2800/year. No problems, right?

Until I got sick on June 8, 2001. Then my life changed. I lost my career because of it; I was supposedly “incurably” psychotic. I continued to be a conservative Republican, but suddenly I had no resources. I foolishly had put my 401k into company stock not too long before they went down that same year (turns out I had been becoming manic and that motivated the move because I “believed” in my company “Lucent,” because it means “Light”), so the stock price went from $80/share to 80 cent per share. So my 401k, instead of being $50,000, was worth $5,000, which sustained us for about a month including making COBRA payments.

Then it was begging time. Unable to work, and lots of bills. With me totally disabled, and such a handful that my wife had to tend to me full time 24/7, we found out what it’s REALLY like in the trenches. We got to sit for three hours in a crowded, smelly waiting room and make it to the front of the line, fill out a detailed application, then they can’t take it because we don’t have the right proof of income (I made $40/week playing for church) and something else. We had to zero out our 401(k), which we needed anyway, and reduce our bank accounts below like $500 or something before they would even talk to us. Then we got to wait another few hours in a crowded, smelly waiting room and finally found a person who gave a damn and got us hooked up for about $200 cash assistance (TANF=welfare) and about $600 food stamps. Food stamps were cool because we didn’t pay tax. A relative blessed us by paying our mortgage; otherwise we would literally have been homeless. But she had to pay it directly because if she gave us the money our benefits would be reduced by the same amount. The kids and wife got Medicaid, which is a big PITA and it’s hard to find doctors that take it because it’s a huge hassle and they don’t pay worth squat. But at least we had medical.

Finally when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to work, I applied for disability. It took almost 3 years to get the disability, so it was welfare that got us through until then, and a relative that was giving us some undocumented cash to help make ends meet. Finally I got the disability, which brought us up to about the poverty level, and totally disqualified us for Medicaid or TANF or food stamps. So now we’re living near poverty level based on disability, plus $40/week from Church, plus some help from relatives, but now since I’m the one disabled I get Medicare but since we’re “too rich” because of that income, my wife and children lost all their insurance.

Finally, I startled the doctors by being healed (by the Holy Spirit – nothing is impossible with God ;)) but so far my doctor has ordered me not to find work that will jeopardize my disability. See, if I make a certain amount, then by definition I’m no longer disabled, and I lose my disability and will not be able to get it back. So basically I’m trapped. First of all, getting a “real job” with actual benefits is pretty tough for a 53 year old engineer who has been out on medical disability for 12 years and does not know anything about the current software tools engineers use for designs. And if I did get such a job, it had better last me until retirement because I have no savings. So you can tell me I’m a coward, but until you’ve gone and pawned a power tool worth $70 for $15 to buy milk for the kids’ breakfast tomorrow and gas to get them to school – then the next day starting all over finding a way to make it one more day – then don’t even bother laying some kind of guilt trip on me.

Now of course, disability is part of social security and technically isn’t an entitlement, but for one thing it can take 2-3 years to get it and what do you do in the meanwhile if your savings run out? Sure some conservatives would point me to the “ant and the grasshopper” and I would tell them to go straight to hell with that line of reasoning.

(continued in next post)

(continued from last post)

Not to mention that socially we are now “less than” and looked at as scum, even though we still tithe steadily to the Church, we used to get called into meetings explaining why we weren’t giving more. So it isn’t just the fun you get to have making it day by day, it’s about being treated as a social leper by nearly all of the rich snobs who don’t even want their kids playing with the kids in a “welfare family.” Luckily, our kids turned out great; two are engineers, one is getting math degree, all are straight A’s and socially well off, and one is joining the seminary in August. So in our poverty we raised our kids just fine. But let me tell you every penny of that entitlement welfare and food stamps was appreciated.

So you might say, “yes but what about all those people who are just lazy and living off others’ backs?” Let me assure you it is no picnic living on the kind of money welfare pays. Not to mention you get notices in the mail like on Monday saying you MUST be at a meeting downtown at 1:45 PM on Wednesday or you’ll lose your benefits and get kicked out of the program and have to start all over with the application process. Then you have to go through all these job preparation activities that amount to busy work. And it’s a trap anyway, because let’s say a single mother gets a part time job. Now she has to pay for day care, plus her welfare will be reduced by whatever she makes. So she has a strong incentive to stay out of work, unless she can suddenly get a full time, good paying professional job. Do NOT blame it on lazy people; there may be a few, but none of those I talked to in the waiting rooms were like that. In fact, I double dog dare any conservative who wants to talk about how lazy welfare recipients are, to go wait a few hours every now and then in the welfare office waiting room, and strike up a conversation with the people there. They are friendly and will tell you their life story because what else do they have to do?

So blame it on the politicians for creating a system that entraps people, but don’t blame the people in the system until you’ve sat with them, talked to them, and found out what they are really about. Good luck changing the system, though. Every bureaucrat’s power comes from how much money they hand out, so they have a disincentive to actually help people help themselves. Not to mention the disincentive to lower waste – because the bigger the budget, the more power those who control it have. Meanwhile all those people who work at the welfare office can do – most of them hard-working and caring people – is to help keep people from starving.

Alan

Excellent post, Alan. I agree with all except for your statement that most folks on government assistance have no choice in the matter. Although I’m sure there was a time when that was true, I seriously doubt that it’s the case in this day and age.

As I said a couple posts back, there are people with legitimate needs. I am strongly in favor of part of my tax dollars going to help these people, within reason. If I had my way, we would do a reasonably better job of helping those truly in need, and denying (and hopefully prosecuting) those who are abusing the system.

My sister is a CPA. She sees people, now and then, who have huge hidden assets, and both husband and wife are on SSI and other assistance. I think we can agree, that’s not what we envision as proper and legitimate government assistance.

I work with someone whose wife has worked for Social Security for years. He states that now, they are granting citizenship to some legal immigrants who are granted SSI as soon as they arrive here. The list of abuse goes on.

Long story made short, the abuse of taxpayers’ money in government assistance and other areas is what I have a problem with. But all I have is my one pitiful little vote. I believe God gave the American people exactly what most of them wanted when our thief in chief took office. Most of us are oblivious to the damege that is being done, and what lies ahead. Pun intended.

“Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money — only for wanting to keep your own money.” (Joseph Sobran)

“In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other.” --Voltaire

“The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.” [H. L. Mencken]

“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘Make us your slaves, but feed us.’” (Dosteovsky’s Grand Inquisitor.)

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” Alexander Tyler, writing about the fall of the Athenian Republic.

And yes we truly are trapped:

“Do we really think that a government-dominated education is going to produce citizens capable of dominating their government, as the education of a truly vigilant self-governing people requires?” – Alan Keyes

Alan

Good stuff.

Look into Christian Democracy or Christian Democratic parties. Assuming you don’t favor keynesian economics, you should feel at home with it politically. Being made up of historically Catholic parties, much of Christian Democracy is based on Catholic Social Teaching.

Of course, in America you’d still be alienated from the mainstream of both parties. But overall I’d say you are more to the “right” (aka Republican) just because of your social conservatism. Because of the “left’s” emphatic support of abortion and restricting the Catholic Church’s religious freedom, it’s hard to be on the “left” anymore as a Catholic in America. There once was a time when Catholics in America were a major help to Democrats and the “left”, but those times are long over. Cardinal Burke has called the Democratic party as the “party of death” and many other bishops have made negative comments about certain Democratic party platform points. It’s important to note that, while Republicans may hold points that aren’t prudent and Catholic probably shouldn’t hold today, they don’t support any intrinsic evils like Democrats.

I don’t think voting is an effective way to bring about real change in society. The people who get elected are the people who best reflect society’s state of consciousness at that time; you get to choose between two people who best represent the average mindset of the average citizen. The way to effect real change then is to help elevate the hearts and minds of society’s citizens; as long as our society is sick and insane then our politics will be sick and insane too.

You are right. The Republicans and Democrats put on a puppet show, not unlike professional wrestling, or professional football for that matter, to occupy the minds and hearts of people so they won’t notice what those who are really running the world, are up to.

If you’re interested in knowing about the puppeteers, here’s a quick US political awareness quiz:

[LIST=1]
*]For what reasons did the Rockefeller and Rothschild and other rich families provide the primary funding for the women’s liberation movement?

*]What entity has the authority to “create” United States Currency – the United States Government, or a private business? Name that entity. (Hint: the U.S. mint only converts this currency into paper and coins; it does not actually “create” the currency.)

*]Who said, “give me control of a nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.”

*]In what year did a descendant of the person in question 3, along with other wealthy families, take over control of the United States money supply, and by establishing what entity? (Hint: same entity as in question 2.)
[/LIST]
Alan

And this is the big conundrum, because we, as faithful Catholics, would find it very difficult to be adherent, down the line, to any particular political party. Check out the Catholic’s voters guide: politicalresponsibility.com/voterguide.htm.

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