Friday, August 29, 2008

The Palin Pick.

The announcement of John McCain's VP pick has barely been circulated, and already the 'net is abuzz; Alaska's Republican governor Sarah Palin will grace the ticket.

Palin has five children, the youngest of whom has Down Syndrome. I find it disturbing that some members of the Democratic camp are seizing on the opportunity to point out a perceived contradiction in values, wherein Palin is slated to spend the next two months campaigning while she has an infant with special needs at home. I think on the issue of her values, this is the wrong approach to take.

Every child with Down Syndrome is different; their "special" needs are broad and varied. As the mother of a child with Down's, I realized in my son's infancy that caring for him was not terribly unlike caring for my other children. I was no martyr, I was not his desperate servant. I was his Mom.

If, as a party, we want to highlight any contradiction in "values" inherent in Palin's circumstances and convictions, we ought to focus on the fact that the Governor's party undermines the causes that are of most concern to the Down Syndrome and disabled communities. American health care, education, and equal opportunities for those with disabilities all suffer under Republican leadership. Parents struggle to pay medical bills for specialists, fight to obtain services their children need for successful mainstreaming in the classroom, and desire most profoundly that their children be embraced by society, rather than tolerated by it.

Anti-choice values hold that all life is precious, but here again we see the Pro-Life Republican modus operandi of revering life inside, but not beyond, the womb. Palin's party sees an individual life as a flower that must be allowed to take root and bloom. Democrats realize that for this flower to bloom, we must nurture it from a seedling, prune it as it ages, and expend the energy it takes to water, feed, and care for it. Some plants require special soil. Some demand particular nutrients. Some must be supported and trained to climb toward the sun. None that exist can be neglected, and no blanket solution will enable every plant to thrive.

In truth, no person or political figure can justly be called "compassionate" or "pro-life" while seeking to further policies that are antithetical to the idea that:

"The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. "

(Hubert H. Humphrey)

Monday, August 11, 2008

John, John, John, tsk, tsk.

So John Edwards had an affair. He might have fathered a child outside of his marriage. It's disappointing for anyone who supported him, but is it shocking in a political context? Probably not. Politicians of every stripe seem compelled to bask in the "dark" privileges that entice those who grasp the brittle reigns of power. What I'm really disappointed about is the lack of creativity in his deviance.

Christianity holds that adultery is a sin. Our leaders are supposed to be upstanding, exceptional individuals, yet so many fall prey to the simple, albeit destructive lure of the flesh.

If John Edwards had to pose sin, I wish he could have picked a more interesting one.

I have examined a list ( of purported grave and/or mortal sins and culled from such an assemblage of sins that I endorse as "way more interesting than banging a political aide."

Divination, magic and sorcery— "A grave sin which includes attempting to command the powers of the occult, control or speak to demons or spirits (especially Satan), attempting to divine the future, and the use of magic charms."

If a political candidate were found to be stuffing his pockets with "magic charms" and trying to contact spirits or demons, I would probably be MORE inclined to vote for him.

Deliberate failure of the Sunday obligation— "Involves one's failure to praise God and give him thanks..."

I would love it if some political figure spent every Sunday morning at Denny's eating breakfast, then blowing down neighborhood sidewalks on a juiced-up Segway.

Lukewarmness—"Lukewarmness is negligence in response to God’s charity. It can also mean the refusal to give oneself to the prompting of charity."

I would totally back up any political officer who refused to donate money to that snotty boy who comes to my door every year to collect money for Camp Miller. I'm fine with his cause, but he just stands there holding out the box as though he can't talk, and I've heard him talk, because he dropped the f-bomb at another kid while riding his bike past my house last summer.

Theft— To "violate a person’s right to property by theft is a grave sin, especially if the loss of the property will severely hurt the victim The gravity of theft is determined by the harm it does to the victim. "

How funny was it when Winona Ryder got busted for shoplifting? How funny would it be if rather than cheating on his wife, Edwards had gotten arrested for eating grapes out of a produce bin at a Boise Super Wal-mart?

Come on, candidates; let's make this whole "sin and political corruption" business a little more interesting for the viewers at home. It's pretty much your patriotic duty.