That’s about right

“The standing political deal We will give you the good you desire if you give us power. A lot of power. Quite possibly, in fact, more power than you think we need to give you the good you desire. But we need to use that power to tick a few things off our list of priorities that just barely edge out giving you the good you desire. Things like evening scores — well, and running up scores. Oh, and getting more power. What good will it do anyone if we give you the good you desire, only to lose power? THEY will take away the good you desire. Or at least, THEY might. We wouldn’t — or if we did, it would be only temporarily, until we’re all settled in with inexhaustible power. But let’s not lose track of the fundamentals, We’re the ones, the only ones, offering you the good you desire. So remember, and teach your children: Power. The good you desire. In that order.” – Tom Kreitzberg:

I really am a fool, seeking the living among the dead, in my hope that American politics and its effect on Christians (including me) will be anything other than toxic.

I need to find something else to think about.  The whole subject is nothing but heartache.

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  • I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Jesus was not a man who ran nations, but rather a man who had conversations with friends over dinner. I think there’s something to be learned from the scale of Jesus’ whole operation. Maybe the world of politics is too big for a single human mind to confront with real, personal love for all parties involved. Or maybe it’s too big for *my* single human mind, anyway.

    • DTMcCameron

      The Boss did kinda warn us about kings and getting tangled up in worldly authority.
      I don’t reckon it too big, so much as it is deeply, fundamentally, essentially infernal.

    • Jmac

      That’s a good point, Luke. When I think of recent Christian involvement with politics, it’s not a pretty sight. It’s been extremely bizarre watching things like gun control, climate change, and oil reserves become religious issues. Not to mention our current infatuation with money and other worldly goods.

      I think politics is poisoning religion, or rather re-appropriating religious fervor for lesser goods.

  • I have been thinking a lot lately about how Jesus lived in an occupied country, without a bill of rights or the right to vote. He managed. If it’s all too toxic for you, Mark, step away if you can. I have been praying for you a lot .

  • Elaine S.

    “I have been thinking a lot lately about how Jesus lived in an occupied country, without a bill of rights or the right to vote. He managed.”
    Plus, he also managed to have two Apostles who were as opposite politically as they could be — Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot. Anywhere else but in the presence of Jesus, Simon would have considered Matthew a traitor and probably stuck a knife in him. Yet, they both shared the same faith and shared the first Eucharist together. If they could overcome their differences, so can we.

  • If something has become this: “the effect on Christians (including me) will be anything other than toxic” and this: “The whole subject is nothing but heartache”, then this: “I need to find something else to think about” is probably the best way to go. Apologetics is a ministry. Ministry is not easy. When it starts going in that direction, sometimes it’s best to step aside for a while and focus on other things.

  • Blog Goliard

    Yup. As far as the Beltway establishments are concerend–the party machines and machers and hacks and partisan grifters–that’s pretty much contemporary American politics right there.

    Which is why the number one thing that worries me about Mitt Romney and the vast majority of his fellow Republicans on the ballot is that, among all the things they’ve strategically freaked out about or otherwise made an issue, one thing is generally missing: The sheer unconstitutional tyranny of recent steps like the DREAM-Act-by-fiat. The widespread disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law seen in everything from Sibelius’ diktats to, well, pretty much everything Eric Holder has ever done in office.

    Your mileage may vary–I might be paranoid or uncharitable or both to some degree here, it’s possible–but the clear message I get from official Republicanism’s choices of messaging and emphasis and tone, is this:

    “Oh, you can do that now? Cool. That unrestrained power will sure come in handy when we have the White House again.”

    • This has even become a campaign argument, has it not?

      “You have to vote Republican! They promise to use the unrestrained power of the Government in a 30% less evil way than the other leading brand!”

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    Large thumb upwards because of this article.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    I need to find something else to think about

    Your cri de coeur has touched my heart. I will redouble my prayers for you, my dear brother.

  • I feel you, brother. If you could seek out stories about holy people and acts of personal charity, and then shared those stories with us, I would be very grateful. Stories about committed religious praying for us or laypeople working in crisis pregnancy centers. 40 years of marches and political activism have done nothing to stop abortion – what about personal support to scared young unwed mothers?

    • Ted Seeber

      That’s whom I’m trying to get my pro-life committee in my KofC council to support. We have a baby bottle bank we pass around every meeting to collect money for them.

  • Kirt Higdon

    It’s always good to think about something else and watch something else – especially during the conventions and the campaign. That’s why God created Netflix.

    • Observer

      Here! Here! A good and excellent getaway and outlet away from all the politiking. Perhaps what is lost in a culture is the time spent with family watching good performances being either a movie, a play, a musical, etc.

  • Peggy R

    Ok. The DC quake took a bit to recall.

    I know the old Muppet men and MST3K. I see the infinity. I don’t “get” this one.

    But I do “get” the Brit Mr T above.

  • Blog Goliard

    John and Kirt, this is why I recently took Sports Illustrated up on a cut-price offer to resubscribe. In my very first new issue (last week), there was a positive story about USC’s Matt Barkley, who seems like a really good egg, and a really inspiring one involving two of our Georgia baseball players who, freakishly, were paralyzed in separate incidents about 18 months apart, and who have each faced this horrible fate with impressive dignity and spirit.

    Not that sports is always–or even mostly–a realm where awful behavior and just plain evil are absent. But there’s more feel-good stories to be found there than in politics, that’s for sure.

  • Read some Calvin & Hobbes, Mark. Always works for me.

  • Ted Seeber

    Politics and economics doesn’t scale. We were foolish to ever desire more power than the clan matriarch and the tribal chiefs.

    And I for one doubt that we will have peace until we return to The Last shall be First and the First Shall Be Last. The guy with the highest title needs to have the least ability to mess with our lives.

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. Shea.

    I used to listen to a lot of Catholic Radio on the way home from work. I found it instructive and encouraging. The past few months, I just find it depressing. I can completely understand the Catholic outcry over abortion, euthanasia, and the other “non-negotiable” issues that are now part of the Democratic Party platform. What I find depressing is Catholic media becoming a shill for the GOP. Lately, the only difference between a lot of Catholic radio and Bill O’Reilly / Glen Beck is that the Catholic radio shows quote the Bible and encyclicals and O’Reilly and Beck have much better music.

    Defending human rights is a duty of the Church. Marrying the GOP … not so much. She who marries the spirit of the times will soon be a widow.

    More and more, I find myself considering just staying home on election day to pray. It’ll do more good than my vote.

  • B.E. Ward

    What’s a tad disturbing to me is the fact (conjecture on my part, really) that if this were a 3-person race, with an additional candidate that espouses everything in Church teaching to a T, most conservative Catholics would still vote for Romney.. and most liberal Catholics would still vote for Obama.

    • Are you sure? Really? Do you know this? Come on folks. Let’s not get carried away.

      • Michaelus

        I think B.E. Ward is correct. The GOP catholics would be horrified to relinquish the death penalty and our neato military adventures and of course the Democrat catholics would be horrified at the notion of any legal protection for unborn children. Everybody would also object to actually arresting pornographers, making divorce subject to some reasonable criterion, treating small brown people as human beings and any suggestion at all that sex is actually somehow related to the arrival of babies.

        • I think Blog Goliard got the point.

    • Blog Goliard

      Is there any reason to even bring up such a remote hypothetical?

      (Other than to give us all an opportunity to feel superior to all those poor, dim, hopelessly partisan lumpenCatholics out there, of course.)

      • B.E. Ward

        The reason is this: it shouldn’t be a ‘remote hypothetical’. It’s only a remote hypothetical because people who would be candidates lack political imagination, the desire to circumvent the two-party machine, and the cojones to go out and stand up for the right things when it’s not politically expedient. Obviously, money is an issue too, but one that could be worked around with prudence and, again, imagination.

        Of course, it doesn’t encourage those would-be candidates when prospective voters (who should know better) just say “I’ll take the empire with war and torture, and a side of tax cuts.. hold the abortion.”

        • Blog Goliard

          Ah. So the exercise is an opportunity to feel superior to the candidates and their strategists, as well as to the average voter. Got it.

          • B.E. Ward

            Explain how this has anything to do with feeling ‘superior’?

  • Brian

    Politics is the art of compromise. The Cross is not a symbol of compromise. Ultimately, the two can never be fully compatible.

  • Observer

    My Dad and I always talk politics. However, it gets depressing and can make a huge draw upon my time spent (which could be spent on much better things wit me Da! – as the the English pronunciation “daauuuggghhh”) A culture is what saves the sanity of society and not politics. If anything, politics is the dullest product man has brought and made out of his other invetion: boredom. Men politic because they’re booard. And, what is the ol’ saying? Oh yeah, the devil loves idle minds (and I would add hearts too.) Personally, you do a great deal more for society and culture (and hence a nation) by your ordinary loving habits in life (taking care of one’s family, spending time together, being able to discuss some politics – which requires the greatest gesture of moderation and temperance – look at Chesterton – and doing the things which many people who serve the public good – whether they do so intentionaly or unintentionally malicious – cannot do.) In fact, helping an expectant mother by an outreach of charity does so much more in a culture than some bill or exercise of power demonstrated by a person of state.

  • Melanie

    What’s discouraging isn’t necessarily the state of our government and country. What’s so disheartening is reaction of so many Christians to the state of government and country. I was on a Catholic homeschool discussion list during the run up to the last election and almost left because of the constant pressure to vote GOP as if that was the only good, holy choice. I was silent throughout most of the campaign year until I decided I would share my thoughts on why I had decided to abstain from voting entirely that year (for reasons of conscience). After numerous shockingly rude responses, I was kicked out of the group. Apparently my decision and the reasons for my decision were so shocking and horrifying, they had no place on a Catholic Homeschool discussion group. Scott, I truly feel your pain. God bless you, brother. I hope it helps to know how much I and others appreciate your Catholic political perspective in such confusing times.

  • caroline

    Read Voltaire’s Candide.

  • Jay

    I think Mark’s really on to something. Politics is poison. I think it’d be awesome to take a step back and focus on other things — frivolous things, holy things, civil conversation, quiet reflection, anything but politics.

  • I’m certain this is the best time to have a baby. When I cuddle our sweet girl I can focus on how good God is and the whole awful political drama fades and blurs.