“Virulent partisanship must yield to bold cooperation”

From Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the USCCB:

 With the election over, it’s time for the nation to retake its noble position as the home of the brave. Certainly the next four years will mark a critical time for our nation, an opportunity to show our better selves after unprecedented political rancor. It’s long been accepted the truth is the first casualty of political warfare; now we can add decency and civility to the casualty list. We’ve nowhere to go but up.

Despite this, however, we remain a blessed nation. A quick look at starvation in Africa and war in the Middle East drives home awareness of the blessings the United States holds. Even when the terrifying hurricane roared up the east coast a few weeks ago, as a nation we have the internal and external resources to deal with the devastation.

Yet since the Bible notes that to whom much is given, much is to be expected,  it is worth dwelling on expectations. America’s bounty calls for a generous response. The response can take many forms. Overall the response needs to be marked by selflessness –  a sharing of the benefits bestowed upon us; humility – the realization that we receive God’s gifts because of His generosity not because of our worthiness, and  a disposition to take the long view – instant gratification isn’t all it initially seems to be.

First of all, as people of strength undaunted by flood and wind we must stand for the weakest among us, especially to protect innocent life, be it infants in utero, the elderly in their waning days on earth and everyone in between. There’s no need to see innocent life as burdensome, another’s frail life as taking something from us or people as anything but the face of God, perhaps scarred, but always precious.

God’s blessings on our United States call for us to offer reciprocal generosity to those who have less, such as immigrants seeking refuge and people without means for a decent life. Much of the technological greatness we see now, for example, has come from people who were immigrants back then. Widespread poverty now stands as a blight upon our nation. We must address our treatment of the weak for our national greatness is rightly measured by what we do for the least among us. Can we blithely share in a bountiful buffet while fellow citizens go malnourished and suffer from ailments just a dose of medicine away from a cure?

A nobility of spirit also urges Americans to take the long view. The U.S. Constitution for more than 200 years has enshrined Americans’ basic rights, including the right to religious liberty. This guarantee, described in the Constitution’s First Amendment, promises that government will not force citizens to violate their religious beliefs. A steadfast defense of this constitutional guarantee strengthens our roots in U.S. democracy. Paramount too is a defense of the institution of marriage that guarantees a child’s right to be raised in a loving home by a caring mother and father. A country rooted in faith and family can continue to build on the greatness of the early and growing America that built a legal system that protects the weak, innocent child first of all.

With the election is over, efforts to regain our nobility also mean we need now to restore civility in dialogue. Virulent bipartisanship must to yield to bold cooperation. All  Americans must work as one for the spiritual and material health of our country and beyond.


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