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Showing posts with the label politics

Election-Year Weirdness: An American Tradition

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A presidential election is looming in my country. We have one every four years.

Maybe I'd get more attention by demonizing or deifying a candidate.

Or saying that nobody should vote, because "they" put subliminal messages in ballots. Oddly enough, I haven't heard that claim.

Or I could express deep despair over the demonizing, deifying and drivel that dominates news and social media.

I could do any or all of the above. But my heart wouldn't be in it.

I am quite sure that no candidate is a fascist, the antichrist or a pawn of the Illuminati-pixie cabal. I don't even think the Illuminati-pixie cabal exists.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Beirut Blast: Ammonium Nitrate and Human Nature

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Last Tuesday, August 4, 2020, something exploded in Beirut. It was around 6:00 p.m., Beirut time, 15:00 UTC.

By Wednesday afternoon, I'd read that the blast killed at least 100 folks and hurt some 4,000. Upwards of 100 people were missing. My guess was that the body count would increase.

I was right about that, sadly. By Monday, August 10, the acknowledged death toll had passed 200.

I don't know how likely it is that search and rescue teams will find more survivors.

Some of the good news is that there were search and rescue teams. And that many folks in Beirut "...rushed to the blast location ... to offer support and assistance...."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Storms, COVID-19 and Politics

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Several decades back, while I was living with my parents in Moorhead, Minnesota, a radio announcer read the day's weather forecast....

After finishing the official forecast, the announcer paused before rhetorically asking "what? No burning hail?" Or maybe it was "fiery hail." Something like that....

...Maybe it's the sudden and temporary sunshine, but I'm even almost upbeat about the COVID-19 pandemic. Folks here in Minnesota aren't dying of the disease nearly as fast as we were a month or two ago....

...The politics thing is pretty much inevitable. There's a presidential election on, so sound and fury is the order of the day....
'
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Death Came to Dayton

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Saturday night had been Sunday morning for just over an hour when death came to a street in Dayton, Ohio.

A young man killed eight folks who had been outside a bar.

He's dead. too. Probably killed by police.

One of the killer's victims was his sister.

Maybe she was an intended victim.

Maybe she'd just been in the wrong place at the wrong time....

...We know who, how, where and how many were killed. The crime's "why" is another matter. The killer is dead, so investigators can't ask him.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"One Small Step" in a Long Journey

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"A journey of a thousand li starts with a single step."
(Tao Te Ching," Laozi)

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
(Neil Armstrong) I figure the journey to Earth's moon began when someone looked up and wondered what this world's "lesser light" might be. Uncounted ages, most likely, before folks like Laozi and Thales of Miletus added their thoughts to humanity's storehouse of knowledge.

Thales of Miletus gets credit for figuring out that Earth's moon is roughly spherical. So does Anaximander, depending on who's talking. Those two lived about two and a half millennia back.

A century later, Anaxagoras said Earth's moon was earthy, made of the same sort of stuff we stand on. He was right about that. Other details in his cosmology, not so much....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mass Murder: No Fast Fix

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This year's Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day were the same day.

Folks exchanged greeting cards. Many got their foreheads marked with ashes. And 17 were killed at a high school.

Someone's already called last Wednesday's mass murder the 'Valentine's Day Massacre of 2018.' The famous Valentine's Day Massacre was in 1929. It happened when a Chicago gang tried resolving a disagreement over bootleg booze. It didn't succeed. Not quite....

...I'm quite sure the 17 folks killed at Stoneman Douglas High School will be missed by their families, friends, and acquaintances....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"Imagine All the People"

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Someone's 'Tweet' about sin and how someone responded showed up in my Twitter feed Sunday. I noticed an unusually goofy item in my Google news feed that evening.

Instead of expressing outrage and (self?)-righteous indignation over either or both, I made a few notes and went on with my day.

That's no great virtue on my part. I'm no fan of emotional outbursts. I like them even less when I'm the one melting down. Avoiding that sort of eruption is much easier now....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Daylight Saving Time: A Modest Proposal

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Perhaps I should remember my station, and be respectfully silent before the weekend's mighty display of power and glory.

I am, after all, but one of those who live neither in the Northeast megalopolis nor the shining lands of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Daylight Saving Time — Again — StillEnough of that 'umble posturing.

If you live in America, there's a pretty good chance that you remembered to set your clock back an hour during the weekend. We've gone through this routine every year for — too long, I think.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"Raving Politics"

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Quite a few parts of the Bible don't talk about forgiveness. But quite a few do, and they're not just in the New Testament.

This morning's second reading doesn't mention forgiveness directly, but the verse right after it does.

They all say why forgiving is a good idea.

It's enlightened self-interest, in the long run....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Taking God Seriously

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We live in a big world. We've known that for a long time, and have been impressed.
"How great are your works, LORD! How profound your designs!" (Psalms 92:6) But impressive as what we see is, God is greater: almighty, infinite, eternal. Ineffable, beyond what can be expressed in words.

That's pretty much what God told Moses in the 'burning bush' interview:
"'But,' said Moses to God, 'if I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they ask me, "What is his name?" what do I tell them?' "God replied to Moses: I am who I am. Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:13-14) Moses said "but" three times before their talk was over. I've talked about him before, and other prophets. Mary also asked a question: a sensible one. I get the impression that her reaction was calmer than theirs.

More at A Catho…

Climate Change, Attitudes

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I'll be talking about Earth's climate, China's pollution problems, and icebergs: including one the size of Delaware. The big berg broke off from Antarctica this week.

The recent G20 meeting was mostly about economics, not climate change; but that didn't deter the usual colorful protestors.

I'm not complaining about folks at the fancy-dress street party in Hamburg. If nothing else, they added a touch of human interest to an otherwise-dry international business meeting....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

London Fires, Mostly

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Many folks who lived in Grenfell Tower got out. Many others died.

We don't know how many. A current estimate is 79. Determining the exact number will be difficult, since high temperatures may have effectively obliterated some human remains.

Some survived because they didn't listen to official instructions to stay in their homes. That advice makes sense in a building with sprinklers and adequate interior firewalls.

In Grenfell Tower, not so much....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic

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My father-in-law has been asked if he's conservative — or liberal.

His answer: "I'm Catholic."

I'd give the same answer.

Catholic teachings are quite definite, so it's possible to peg them on the American political spectrum — as long as you don't look at the big picture.

Taking bits and pieces of Catholic beliefs, and the history of Catholics in America, I could claim that the Catholic Church is conservative or liberal. That would be as big a mistake as seeing all conservatives as hate-fueled foes of diversity, or all liberals as irresponsible lunatics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Grace in a graceless season: notes from a Catholic in politics

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Spare a moment and a prayer for the political types, please and thank you. I’m one of them. The bitter election-year exchanges on every platform are part of my daily life. Whether on television on online, shutting them down altogether is not an option, appealing though it may be. Politics is part of my vocation. Times like these, I’m tempted to wish it were otherwise. This is a plague-on-both-your-houses year, looking at the major parties’ candidates for president. I am reading  C.S. Lewis’s  Mere Christianity this month, and something he wrote in there captures my attitude. I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opp…

Love, Neighbors, and Voting

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(From Wiley Miller, via GoComics.com, used w/o permission.) (Wiley Miller's January 16, 2016, Non Sequitur. The field of major candidates has narrowed considerably since then.).

I have no great enthusiasm for November's election, but I plan to vote with whatever prudence and wisdom I can muster.

Being a good citizen, contributing to the good of society and taking part in public life, is part of being Catholic: or should be. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1915, 2239).

In my country, that includes voting intelligently: thinking about issues and candidates, voting for whoever and whatever is best; or likely to do the least damage, in some cases.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Citizenship and Being Catholic

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I like being an American, most of the time.

I know that my country is far from perfect, but I'd rather be here than anywhere else on Earth.

Living in Sauk Centre, a smallish central Minnesota town, probably helps. I really like it here.

But it's no Brigadoon, unchanged and unaffected by the outside world....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Politics and Religion Intersect!

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Politics and Religion It’s that time again folks, where politics and religion collide! Today marks the beginning of the 2016 Presidential electoral process. The great state of Iowa, the first in the nation, conducts their Iowa caucuses today, to determine who will get Iowa’s electoral votes for the Democratic and Republican parties. Now the race is really on!

Have you been watching the political news? The Republican candidates are cutting each other’s throats with trash-talking and degrading language. One candidate is famous for spouting racial, cultural and gender bias against the citizenry. The Democratic candidates are no holy saints either. They try to set themselves apart from each other with negative “policy” commentary that somehow spills over into personal insult.

What’s the kicker? Read more...

Paris, Evil, and Love

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(From Anne Sophie Chaisemartin/AP, via New York Daily News, used w/o permission.)
("Victims of a shooting attack lay on the pavement outside La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Well over 100 people were killed in Paris on Friday night in a series of shooting, explosions."
(New York Daily News))

I've read that Friday's attacks in Paris are the fault of right-wing hate-mongers, that America's president is to blame — — — and the American election is still nearly a year off. I am not looking forward to the usual self-serving balderdash....

...I am pretty sure that Muslims who blame France, America, and Western civilization for their problems are sincere, too.

But the grand imam of Al-Azhar called Friday's attack "odious," Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said it was "heinous," and Saudi King Salman called it "repugnant."1...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Being a Citizen

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I was surprised and flattered when two tourists from Thailand asked me if I was Jewish. That was about four decades back, at Grand Canyon National Park, near the visitor center.

I'd brought a big topographic map of that massive gulch, spreading it out at intervals to see what I was looking at, and taking photos. That's not mine, by the way: it's from Tom Bernard Anyz.

I think the Thai tourists had noticed that I had a full beard and never took my cap off.

Quite a few gentiles in America wore caps indoors and out at the time, and still do: but not many American men grow a 'haven't shaved in years' beard. The plain black jacket I wore probably helped, too.

I enjoyed being mistaken for one of our Lord's relatives, but my ancestors are about as gentile as it gets, west of the Urals. They probably hadn't even heard of Abraham or Isaac until missionaries arrived, and that's another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Climate Change Talks, and Remembering King Cnut

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Golda Meir,1 Henry Kissinger,2 or someone else, said "even a paranoid can have enemies."

I do not think humanity is doomed to extinction, or that life on Earth will end because we built factories. I do, however, think we need to use our brains: and take care of the planet we live on....

...I also think remembering who we are — and what we've been learning about Earth — is important....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.