Remembering January 6th!

To say I am a tv junkie, would be an understatement. When my parents brought in the first black & white television home, I was sitting right there. Cartoon shows galore; along with action heroes and adventure shows. And of course, comedies!

But there was time, when the tv showed events that were not funny. Winter storms, and hurricanes, and the damage they wrought! Then there was the assassination of a President; the killing of a civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. A bloody war in an Asian country. The death of another Kennedy; shot by a gunman. Riots, protesters, violence, all shown on the glowing tube.

But nothing prepared me for the sight of rioters charging up the steps of the. Capital Building! What was even more disconcerting, was the number of watchers who were supporting the rioters, egging them on! People were in danger of losing their lives! People were injured! People died! Yet, there were politicians and pundits trying to make political gain out of this violence!

Now is the time for a deep introspection of us as a country. Why are so many people so intensely suspicious of government, politicians, contrary news reports coming over cable and the web! The country appears to be tearing itself apart! Why!

There will be different answers, coming from different sources, to this question. But at the very least there has to be a frank and honest dialogue between citizens. An openness to at least try to hear what the other side is saying; and what circumstances are driving it. If we cannot agree on what concerns have validity; what we can address and come to mutual agreed upon solutions; the country is in real trouble.

As a Catholic Christian, I firmly believe in the teaching that we are called on to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To come together as a people; this is the great challenge we have always had as a nation. This is a challenge we may or may not be able to meet; but we must try. “…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” From Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address.

Weekend Coffee Share – 11/13/16

Over a cup of ice coffee; I would share with you that I was not totally surprised by the electiondeacon coffee mugn of Donald Trump.  It has always been my belief that there was always a chance that he would win.  News analysts have pointed out several factors that contributed to his victory.  First, he spoke to blue-collar workers in those states that make up the”Rust Belt.”  These are those voters who felt left behind during the country’s economic recovery.  They felt ignored by federal government; by the Democratic Party, which originally was their party.  They now see it, and the government as supporting Big Business; and immigrants.  They claim to not recognize the country they live in; and they were mad as heck!  They were looking for anti-political establishment  figure, and found him in Donald Trump.  The irony is that it was these same blue collar workers who helped to elect Bill Clinton to the Presidency.  Reports are out there that he told Hilary’s campaign staff not to ignore the workers in states, like Michigan, but he was ignored.  There were other factors also that contributed to Clinton’s defeat; she just had too much baggage, from her e-mails, to her cozy relationship with the Wall Street establishment; a lot of people just could get excited about her enough to go out and election-2016vote for her.

Now the country waits to see what a Trump Administration means for us, for minorities, for immigrants, and for those workers who have pinned their hopes on him.  There are already sizable protests on both coasts of the country; with people crying out: “Not my president.”  The fact of the matter is that come January, 2017, Donald Trump will legally, constitutionally, be the President of the United States.  We can either accept that fact or be responsible for the ending of the political experiment that is the United States of America.

What is the Catholic Christian response to this situation?  First, to pray; pray that the Holy Spirit will invade the hearts of our political leaders, changing them from hearts full of anger and disrespect for the other side; to hearts geared towards cooperation for the sake of the nation and all its’ people.  That political and social discourse will be with respect for people on the other side of an issue.  That there will be a new commitment to make government work.  We then must also be willing to stand with the poor, the disenfranchised, the immigrant; and where necessary, speak “truth to power;” but in such a way that respects the political process, in a way that promotes civil discussion and cooperation.  I would highly recommend reading an article by Fr. James Martin, SJ, in the Jesuit magazine, “America.”

Well, my mug of iced coffee is empty; and believe it or not, I am about ready to pass out.  So I hope to see you again, over a cup of coffee.

 

 

Election Day in the U.S. – 2016


After a very long, angry and bitter campaign; it is now up to us citizens.  Now, my wife, Peg, and I voted last Friday, at Beverly City Hall; the last day for early voting in Massachusetts.  The first floor was set up for voting, using old fashioned voting booths.  We checked off our preferences with a pencil; sealed our ballots in envelopes; and deposited them in a ballot box.  Even though we had to wait on line; everyone was friendly, and helpful to each other.

What will happen today; what kind of country we will have at dawn, remains a mystery.  After I saw a report on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” I am still worried.  They hired a pollster, (worked for Republican campaigns), to form a focus group.  He brought together a diverse group of individuals; who promptly went after each other’s throats.  No civil discussion, just anger came out against each other.  Even the pollster expressed fear over what he was seeing, and what it meant for the country.

The preamble of our Constitution begins with: “We, the People..”. We cannot lose sight of the fact, that each of us, in small ways and large, contribute to the ongoing experiment in democracy, that is the United States.  We may chose to build it up, tear it down, or let it whither on the vine.  This is the “choice,” we face; not just tonight, but in all days to come.