How to make America great again

How to make America great again October 27, 2016

First of all depends on whether you believe it was great to begin with.  Assuming you do, Fr. Longenecker has some ideas, twelve to be exact.  Not much I would argue with.   Some, such as a desire for universal healthcare, are certainly good ideas, but the devil is in the details.  How do we get universal healthcare?   Having worked with and befriended people from countries with varying levels of socialized medicine, I’ve learned something.  Most of them find those countries to be far better off than the American approach to healthcare.  Except for those who don’t.  What’s the difference?  Experience.  Those who had bad experiences here, or good ones at home, tended to see their more socialized approach as the better way.  Those who had bad experiences at home, or somehow found better care here, naturally see things differently.   Though I notice few look at our current system and say, “By golly, that’s the system with no problems.”

The rest of the ideas are balanced, and kudos for Fr. Longenecker for having the very common sense approach to Muslims by admitting we should be wary, but also open. Most Muslims, like most Christians and most Conservatives, aren’t a bunch of murdering terrorists or violent bigots.  You’ll note, however, that this doesn’t keep our own pop culture or progressive society from keeping a critical eye on conservatism, or traditional religious expressions.   I’m sure most to the Left don’t say Christians are all killers or abortion clinic bombers or homophobic bigots.  But they certainly don’t miss a chance to remind us that, when something happens, somehow a verdict on the whole of the Christian tradition should be brought to bear.  Heck, when a Muslim who declared fealty to ISIS murdered people in a gay bar because of US foreign policy, we were still reminded that somehow it was the fault of, and demonstrative of, conservative Christian ideas and teachings.  So clearly, given the global spread of not just ISIS, but various terrorist groups, all linked to the Islamic faith, we can have that same critical eye looking at Islam as a whole without feeling that this implies most Muslims are guilty or are terrorists.

Mostly, Fr. Longenecker does what officially the Church encourages, and that is to look at the issues and see what helps the most people, while not putting the innocent in harm’s way.  It doesn’t dismiss the innocent when their cries are no longer convenient for advancing this or that agenda.  It admits, for instance, that we want immigrants to come to our country and have an obligation to open our doors to the foreigner, but that we also have an obligation to those already here to make sure our borders are secure.  The rest of his ideas follow the same basic approach.   America is a great country, has been a great country, and can be great again.  And we can do this by being sensitive to the needs of everyone, not just this or that demographic whose plight makes good political leverage.  Rather, by actually believing all people have worth, both home and abroad, both left and right, both believer and non believer, we can make such strides.  And listening to all sides and understanding each has concerns that should be remembered and addressed isn’t a bad place to start.

A good, common sense read.

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