Thursday, September 18, 2008

The "Life Issue"

The NY Times published an article on Tuesday about how abortion is dividing the Catholic vote, again. One wonders if Catholics will ever again be capable of voting on the broad range of public policy questions and challenges facing our nation, or will willingly chain themselves to a cynically played-out cause.

Most Americans not named Palin agree with the Pro-Choice crowd on the basics - they don't like abortion but wouldn't criminalize the activity. As a consequence, for the past 35 years, Roe v Wade has been the law in this country. Despite the Republican control of the House, Senate, White House and Supreme Court, even George W. Bush did not attempt to take away a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy through abortion.

Given the large numbers of women that support the McCain-Palin ticket, I have to assume that most of these women do not expect McCain to do what even Bush would not, especially with a Democratic Congress. They are right. Republicans trot out abortion and gay marriage and patriotism at election time. They stir up the culture war among the weak-minded, and then when it's all over, they go back to their main interests - catering to the wealthiest Americans and the interests of big corporations. The single-issue pro-life voter is a patsy for such manipulation.

McCain will continue the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans, and continue to shift wealth, income and opportunity to the most privileged and powerful of Americans. He will continue to neglect the needs of less fortunate Americans - the uninsured, the bankrupt, the unemployed, the minimum-wage workers, the homeless, and our undocumented working class. He will neglect the basic issues of fairness associated with gender and racial discrimination. He will sell out our energy policy and climate change concerns to the interests of ExxonMobil. He will continue the Iraq war, and seek new adventures in Iran, Central Asia and Eastern Europe - escalating the trend of militarism and belligerence that marked the Bush-Cheney years.

I know the most conservative Catholic bishops hold that abortion is a moral issue that trumps all others -- but can you really ignore the mountain of moral compromises you have to make to vote for these people?

Setting abortion to one side (which is what McCain will surely do), what is there in the McCain campaign that Catholics find attractive?

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has put together a voter's guide that should be of interest to Catholics who are tired of being played. It's worth checking out.

posted at 7:37:00 AM by Neil

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