Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night, 2012: Issues; Assumptions; and Responsible Citizenship

I usually write my Wednesday morning 'Bible and Catechism' post on Tuesday. That's not going to happen this week.

America's national election, and the issues at stake, threw me off-schedule. I see that October 24 was the last 'regularly scheduled' Wednesday post:
I skipped Monday's 'Caritas in Veritate' post, too. Instead, I shared opinions and a few definitions:
American news media has been busy, publishing articles about the President playing basketball with Scottie Pippen, and predicting that someone will end up being the next American president. I've put together what caught my eye:

Presidential Race Will Definitely be Won - By Someone

"Obama, Romney locked in tight race with battlegrounds too close to call"
FoxNews.com (November 6, 2012)

"Mitt Romney and President Obama each racked up early and expected victories Tuesday night in relatively safe territory, while some of the biggest battlegrounds that will decide the election remained too close to call.

"All the big swing states where polls have closed -- Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina -- were too close to call, Fox News projects...."

"US election: First results declared from some states"
BBC News (November 6, 2012)

"The polls have begun closing in the US presidential election, with the first results trickling in from some states.

"President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have each taken several states, exit polls suggest, with no critical swing states awarded so far...."
I started writing this paragraph at about 8:00 p.m. Central, it was still 6:00 p.m. on the west coast: and 4:00 p.m. in Hawaii. Folks would be voting for a few more hours.

It is possible to make educated guesses about how the final counts will come out, based on early counts. But - and I think this is important - educated guesses aren't always correct.

Still, we've learned quite a bit since 1948, when a printer's strike, conventional wisdom, poll results, and possibly wishful thinking, made the Chicago Tribune famous.

From "Dewey Defeats Truman" to "Absurdly Early"

"Live: Obama has early lead; close in Ohio, Va."
David Jackson, USA Today (November 6, 2012)

"It's absurdly early, but: Republican Mitt Romney leads the popular vote by 51%47%, though only 1% of the vote is in.

"President Obama, meanwhile, has grabbed an electoral vote lead of 64-40 -- though no state is a surprise, and the two are locked in close battles in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia...."
This isn't 1948. For which I'm duly grateful.

All Candidates are Equal - Some More Equal Than Others?

(FoxNews.com, used w/o permission)
"Shown here is a mural of President Obama at a Philadelphia polling site before and after it was partially covered up following a judge's order." (FoxNews.com)
"Philly poll workers partially cover Obama mural after court order, leaving logo and quote in view"
FoxNews.com (November 06, 2012)

"Workers at a Philadelphia polling place, after being ordered by a judge to cover up a mural of President Obama 'in its entirety,' slapped up a few pieces of paper that only partially covered his image -- while leaving the Obama campaign logo and a quote from the current president in full view for voters...."
Maybe those three sheets were all the paper the folks running that Philadelphia polling place had. Maybe they hoped nobody would notice. Maybe something else was going on. I don't know.

Moving on.

Jobs, the Economy, and Exit Polls

"Economy's Fate a Central Concern of Voters"
The Wall Street Journal (November 6, 2012)

"Romney Tops Obama on Who Can Better Boost Growth, President Favored as Better for Middle Class, Exit-Poll Data Show

"Fears over the economy and unemployment were the central focus of voters who cast ballots in the presidential election Tuesday, with issues such as health care, the federal budget deficit and foreign policy rated far lower in importance.

"Exit polls showed that many voters see Mitt Romney as better positioned to fix the economy and President Barack Obama as having a better feel for the middle class and how to handle Medicare...."
I think this article is interesting. I also think exit polls give a very clear picture of what folks who have voted respond to exit polls.

"And Now, For Something Completely Different"

(From CNN, used w/o permission)
"photo of an iReporter Voting in South Dakota" (CNN)
"Open Story: 'I Voted' Election 2012"
iReport contributors, CNN (November 6, 2012)

"On Election Day, many polling stations hand out a sticker to signify that you cast your vote. It's not the most important thing about voting, but it's a fun and easy way to show that you took part...."
The 'I voted' stickers here in central Minnesota aren't quite as colorful as their counterparts in some areas, but they get the job done.

That's mine, stuck to a 'cheat sheet' I brought to the polling place. As usual, there were quite a few candidates and issues on the ballot. Writing down my choices before going to the poll helps me keep track.

Marriage and Minnesota Law

I think that "marriage" is a union between a man and a woman. Up to a few years ago, I had hoped that I could ignore the wackadoo referenda which stopped short of letting Americans marry their canaries. I was wrong. (June 23, 2010)

I'll get back to that issue.

I voted "yes" to defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These signs were the bishop's idea.

Sex, Marriage, and Assumptions

I think that humanity comes in two basic models. That is not the same as wanting everybody to act as if it's 1950: and certainly doesn't mean that I hate people:
I've run into folks who were frightfully 'religious,' and who seemed to hate commies, homosexuals, Catholics, and rock music. I don't doubt that they were sincere. Their malignant virtue indirectly led to my becoming a Catholic, and that's another topic.

The Catholic Church says that emotions, by themselves, are okay. It's what we decide to do with them that makes emotions 'good' or 'bad.' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1767)

I've had problems dealing with the emotion of anger, but anger isn't necessarily a bad thing:
"ANGER: An emotion which is not in itself wrong, but which, when it is not controlled by reason or hardens into resentment and hate, becomes one of the seven capital sins. Christ taught that anger is an offense against the fifth commandment (1765, 1866, 2262).
(A, Glossary, Catechism)
Maybe this sounds corny, but 'love the sinner, hate the sin' is pretty close to what the Church says. Bear in mind that I've got the teaching authority of "some guy with a blog." I strongly recommend reading the Catechism.

Bottom line, as a Catholic I'm not allowed to hate people. It's that simple:
"We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: 'He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.'612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell.' "
(Catechism, 1033)

Freedom, Citizenship, and Being Catholic

The Catholic Church has rules about being a citizen. I must:
  • Support religious freedom
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)
    • For everybody
      (Catechism, 2106)
  • Take an active part in public life
    (Catechism, 1915)
  • Contribute to the good of society
    • In a spirit of
      • Truth
      • Justice
      • Solidarity
      • Freedom
    (Catechism, 2239)
  • Submit to legitimate authorities
    • Refuse obedience to civil authorities
      • When their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience
      (Catechism, 2242)
    (Catechism, 2239)
    (June 1, 2012)
Being a Catholic means, among other things, that I can't just 'go with the flow.' Like it says in the Catechism, 2242, if civil authorities tell me to do something that is objectively evil: I should refuse. (Catechism, 2242)

Not obeying a rogue ruler has gotten people killed. (June 22, 2012) That doesn't change the situation, though. "I was only following orders" isn't an acceptable excuse: not in the final analysis. (June 26, 2012, May 20, 2011)

I'm hoping that America's national government will begin accepting the practical applications of these ideas:
If "murder is wrong" doesn't seem like a radical idea, consider this: as a Catholic, I think that human beings are people. All human beings. And that's another topic.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.