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Showing posts with label Dignity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dignity. Show all posts

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Human Migration - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Human Migration

My heart was breaking at the news yesterday, watching video of Mexican Federal Police confronting immigrants who were trying to cross their border; families, women and children, husbands and fathers and sons, all looking for a better life.

They want to live in a just society

They are fleeing crime and violence, the threat of murder. They are heading north from South and Central America on foot, hoping to find jobs and a secure place to raise their children.

The Mexican Federali’s met them in force, in riot gear, used tear gas on them and pepper spray. They are doing this because Donald Trump threatened to close the border with Mexico if they did not do something to stop this annual migration of people.

This is a crime against humanity, and T-Rump is responsible for it.

People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families. This is the first principle of Catholic Social Teaching.

The challenges that the United States are facing in regard to immigration are not a crisis, it is the product of poor policy. We actually need immigrants, we need their labor, we need their contribution to our shrinking labor force, we need them to help us secure the future of Social Security and other entitlement programs.

We are a nation of immigrants and we need continued immigration to keep our society healthy and whole.

The challenges we face are nowhere near the scale of the challenges that Europe faces in the modern day, or the crises Europe faced at the end of world War II when “Pope Pius XII wrote Exsul Familia (The Emigre Family), placing the Church squarely on the side of those seeking a better life by fleeing their homes.”

Nevertheless, “because of the belief that newcomers compete for scarce resources, immigrants and refugees are at times driven away, resented, or despised.” This is a grievous moral sin and we are complicit in it when we allow our elected representatives to advance policies in furtherance of these crimes.
“People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families….the goods of the earth belong to all people.” This cannot be overlooked, our own history as the children and grandchildren of immigrants should never be forgotten. Our country is big enough, and great enough to support these migrations, and there is no doubt that we will be enriched through them.

Not all Americans are Christian, and public policy should never be based on the religious traditions of one religion over another, and though I am citing the teachings of Christianity in support of my claims, these principles on human migrations have been upheld by the United Nations and are detailed in the International Declaration on Human Rights that the United States of America is signatory too.
The basic tenets of the Christian faith teach us that: “Every person has an equal right to receive from the earth what is necessary for life—food, clothing, shelter. Moreover, every person has the right to education, medical care, religion, and the expression of one's culture.” The United States of America is strong enough and wealthy enough to defend these principles, to defend these moral values, and to defend our identity as the leader of the so-called “Free World,” by furthering this mission, by living up to these aspirations. We cannot allow ourselves to be demoralized by the lying and corrupt cynicism of a man like Donald Trump, who seeks to bring suffering on poor people, not to protect America, but for his own political self interest.

It is disgusting.

These poor people who are trying to make it to America “live in fear, danger, and dehumanizing poverty….it is not God's will that some of his children live in luxury while others have nothing.” Remember this, all of you who pretend to promote Christian values, “in Luke's Gospel, the rich man was condemned for living well while the poor man starved at his doorstep (Lk 16:19-31).”

The entire Nation of Jewish people were once aliens in a foreign land, forced to labor without rights or recourse to the law. King David was descended from a Moabite, and Jesus was born in exile.  

The fundamental truth that underpins the entire experiment in American democracy is this; our rights do not come from government, they are derived from God, and they are inalienable. “The native does not have superior rights over the immigrant. Before God all are equal; the earth was given by God to all. When a person cannot achieve a meaningful life in his or her own land, that person has the right to move.”

When those immigrants show the strength of will to walk thousands of mile, simply for the hope that they will have a better future for themselves and for their children, living in a just society, we want them here.

They make us better as a people, not worse.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Nostalgia - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


I watched the David Letterman interview of Barrack Obama this week. The interview itself was conducted in 2017, after the former president left office.

What a loss we have endured.

I miss his self-confidence and dignity, the thoughtful way he answered every question.

I do not expect a lot from the office of the president.

I do not expect any president to be a champion of human rights, or a just actor on the global stage, not actually, because I know what kind of dirty business the United States of America is engaged in around the world, and I know that every president is called on to defend American interest, which are not really the interests of the American people, but the interests of multinational corporations, big agriculture, big banks, big oil, and the rest of the military industrial complex.

I miss the theatre of the presidency, the elegance of the former first couple, their command of appointments of the office they occupied.

I am nostalgic for it.

I am use to being lied to by our political leaders, I am one of those who believes that all politicians are liars and narcissists, self-serving egomaniacs. I do not expect them to tell me the truth, but it is horrifying to watch as the current administration and all of his allies in congress, in the courts, even in houses of worship all over the nation, act as if there were no such thing as the truth at all.

I hear people asking all the time: “How did we get here?”

We got here because we collectively decided that football is more important than critical thinking, that basketball is more important than the arts, that competitive dance is more important than civics, and because we allowed those values to shape the budgets of our school systems nation-wide.

That is how we got to the point where the average American cannot parse the findings of basic science, and our leadership is so ignorant that they will tell you it does not matter.

It is not just that the current president lies (all the time), it the angry venomous nature of the lies, and the defense of those lies, the sickening, groveling, obsequious, acceptance of this fundamental change in our culture.

It did not happen overnight, the water in the pot was slowly boiling, and now it has boiled over.

How do we recover from this, when we do not even have the basis for a dialogue?

We cannot call the truth a liar, and then sit down at the table to negotiate a deal.

If you say that 2 + 2 = 5, how can I trust any agreement you might sign.

For all of Barrack Obama’s faults, George Bush’s, Bill Clinton’s; they did not take us to this place.

Do you recall the Roman Emperor, Nero, how he played the fiddle while the city burned, or his predecessor Caligula, who made his horse a senator.

Have you ever seen the Nazi propaganda films, which they used to justify their annexation of the Sudeten lands, and the invasion of Poland? Those films depicted the Slavic and the Polish people as marauding rapists and murders, as lawless animals who struck fear into the hearts of innocent Germans, before they assaulted and killed them.

There are echoes of those themes playing out now, playing out in our name, the people of the United States of America.

A majority of us are outrages, we want it to stop, but the majority of our elected peoples, those with the power to stop, are more concerned about keeping their own power than they are about the interests of justice.

Remember this, law is the servant the servant of justice, the demands of justice must always come first.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Is it Too Much to Expect Dignity? - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Is It Too Much to Expect Dignity?

            It is the year 2016. I am almost forty-seven years old, and I am deeply saddened by the state of politics in our country.

I was in the fifth grade, it was 1979. I was ten that year (eleven by the time it was over), when I came to political awareness. The big thing in the news that year was the revolution in Iran; more than sixty American citizens taken hostage, held for four hundred and forty-four days, held until January 20th, 1981, inauguration day, and the ascendency of Ronald Reagan.

Those events, that election; they jolted me into a place where I knew that politics were important, the news (no matter how poor it is), the news is important. I got a paper route that year.

For whatever reason (I cannot remember) I was home from school the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in. I remember watching it, and watching the release of the hostages live on T.V.. I remember the front page of the evening paper and the electoral landslide it depicted with forty-nine states going for Reagan and only one, Minnesota, my state, which like me, had chosen Carter.

I have memories of political events from earlier in my life. I remember when Jimmy carter won the presidency and took office. I remember the departure of Nixon. I remember newscasts from and about the Vietnam war, but it was in the years ’79 – ’80 that I became a close study of our great national dialog.

 In 1994 something changed. Democratic President Bill Clinton had been in office for two years. I had just gotten out of the Navy. There was a revolution in congress and the Republicans took control of both houses. They had a leader named Newt Gingrich, he had a thing called “The Contract for American,” an ambitious legislative agenda promoting republican values. This was the beginning of the coarsening of our political life.

The political talk coming from the heirs of that republican movement has become so coarsened that it is, to me, unrecognizable from the way in which I was raised to view public office, and public service, and the duty to comport oneself in public with dignity.

Right now, the “Front Runner” for the nomination of the Republican Party is Donald Trump, a man who has used called his opponents “pussies,” has said to his followers that he is going to tell immigrant workers from Mexico to “go fuck themselves.” He has said of people that criticize him that they are “full of shit.” He has said these things, repeated these things while at the podium, in front of crowds of thousands of people, while being telecast across the world, and his supporters cheer him on.

This is the saddest thing about the election. That man’s supporters cheer him on. They love the fact that he says hateful, hurtful and disgusting things.

Is it too much to ask for some dignity?

Carter and Reagan never spoke of one another like that, to one another like that. Neither did Reagan and Mondale when they ran against each other, nor did Bush speak that way of his opponents Dukakis and Clinton, and Clinton did not speak that way of Bush or Dole. IN fact, Bill Clinton, and George Bush Senior became good friends and worked together on many projects when they were each done with the job of being president.

The disgusting behavior currently on display is being leveled by republicans at republicans. There is a deep lack of respect, as if the entire notion of what it means to have good manners has been forgotten.

It makes me sad.

Donald Trump, the republican front runner, he hides his ill manners behind the rally cry that he is against “political correctness.” As if the task of being a gentleman had something to do with politics and not just good manners.

America, can we please just reject him on the grounds that he is crude; not because he brings up difficult political issues, trying to enforce our adherence to civil standards, and public policy through vehicles of peer pressure and shame (which are totally legitimate tactics). That is what political correctness is. Reject him because he is foul mouthed, ill mannered, and full of hate.

Reject Donald Trump because he has no dignity, he cannot bring dignity to the office of the presidency, he will tear it down, as a result he will tear us down.