More Signs of Hope

More Signs of Hope November 12, 2012

As Catholics dissatisfied with our broken politics begin to do what Americans excel at when machines don’t work.  Try to invent a better machine.  Reader Jack Quirk writes:

Your article entitled “Well that didn’t take long” was outstanding. There is a movement in its beginning stages with two Facebook pages: and . We are getting more people, seemingly by the day. Help us move from a group of fringe crackpots to a socio-political movement with impact. At any rate, you won’t get any hostility from us. I’ve posted your article at those places to a favorable reception.

I’m all in favor of the intellectual ferment.  May God guide us to work for the common good.

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  • I TOTALLY LOVE the name American Solidarity Party with its echoes of the Solidarity union and Pope John Paul II. I’d join that party in a heartbeat. In fact, I’ve already added this as my political affiliation on my Facebook page.

  • But what of us who are not on Facebook. Is there a blog or website?

  • tz

    We should use the logo from Solidarnosc adapted.

    I don’t have Facebook, but my first concern is it says, ‘no jews, muslims, sikhs, agnostics or atheists are welcome’, when we should be bringing back the natural law, not a theocracy. And democracy is failed given the demographics – that is why we were a republic. Democracy is anti-solidarity, we should repeal the 17th amendment.

    • Mark Shea

      What are you talking about?

      • Renee

        I agree with tz, despite everything I agree with this facebook page. Total turn off… My non-religious friends won’t even look at it.

        • I’m confused, what are you talking about?

      • B.E. Ward

        The phrase ‘Christian Democratic Party’ won’t exactly be catchy to like-minded Jews, Muslims, or atheists.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Which is one of the reasons that they voted within the past few days to change their to the American Solidarity Party 🙂

          • B.E. Ward

            Now they apparently just need to change it in Facebook before sending the link out for the world to see!

            • They have. Mark linked to both the old and the new Facebook page with the changed name.

  • The name of the party is now American Solidarity Party.

  • johnny

    “In common with socialism, an emphasis on the community, social solidarity, support for a welfare state, and support for some regulation of market forces” I bet the woman purchasing Redbull and chips at the 7-11 this morning with an EBT card would like the welfare portion of this. Seriously though, welfare anything at the behest of the state is a sticky and possibly dangerous situation. I think that welfare should be left up to charitable organizations and possible local communities. Money coming from a faceless entity such as the state in no way motivates anyone to be responsible with that money. Also, when the money or assistance is local it becomes much more personal and less of a “throwing money at a problem” sort of relationship.

    • ivan_the_mad

      It depends on how you go about it. The Church teaches a bottom-up approach that doesn’t preclude assistance by the state or national government if no more local level can provide relief. It is as important to remember that as to remember that such attempts at relief do not start at the national or state level.

  • I agree with it about 95%, which is a lot better than the GOP or Dems. I don’t agree completely with the section on the social safety net. I feel that this is much better done at a more local level, and as personally as possible. More than they need a check from Uncle Sam, they need to know that someone has their back, that their community cares about them. The current system isolates the poor, insulates the rich, and takes away opportunities for true, personal charity.

    To encourage this, there could be tax credits for those who donate time and/or money to local charitable organizations (in addition to the deductions on Schedule A)

    Something that is completely missing is fiscal conservatism (maybe it’s missing on purpose, I don’t know.) But I cannot support any party that will not operate out of the principle of only spending as much as we have.

    For healthcare reform, I’d need to see a more detailed position statement to know whether I agree or disagree.

    It’s a great start, though the website would need to be a lot more professional. I don’t think the platform should be explicitly Christian either, as I’m sure that many of other religions would agree with these general positions.

    • Jack, if you are reading this, I am willing to help. I think it’s important to get a different message from what the Dems and GOP are giving out there. It is important to break the left/right paradigm and get people thinking outside the box.

      Important issues that are missing from the website right now: fiscal matters and immigration. I think it might be better to have a shorter position statement and then allow visitors to click on individual policies (such as abortion, privitization, etc) for more detail.

      • Dave, go to the Facebook site and ask to join. Kirk Morrison, one of the two leaders, is now asking for people to volunteer their talents.

  • Confederate Papist
  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    As evinced in recent combox comments on blogs like this one, “theocratic” ideas are already common enough among Americans that any designation “Christian” in a political party’s name would tend to be taken as an indication of a far-Right bias, and even as an invitation to persons with that bias to join that party and shape it to their ideology. Besides, it’s an unrealistic denial of the fact of religious pluralism in the modern world.
    Further, it imprudently ignores what Pope Benedict has urged, namely that present-day ecumenism in the temporal sphere should be less an ecumenism of doctrine and more an “ecumenism of values” (e.g, intuitive outrage at torture, at trafficking in women sex-slaves, at infanticide, at letting destitute persons languish, etc.).
    Also, altho “solidarity” as understood by Pope John Paul is a true and noble principle, the word risks, I think, being misunderstood as a Fascist or Marxist pursuit of wagon-circling uniformity against some enemy.
    So, how about a name like “Human Dignity Party”, or “Human Worth Party”? Or Justice-for-Everyone Party?

    • I thought about the “Life and Liberty” party, just because it sounds recognizably American, but I’m not sure. I don’t think American Solidarity party is that bad, either, myself.

  • B.E. Ward

    I like ‘The Distributist Party’ myself..

    • B.E., I’d be interested in what someone who is well-formed in the tenets of distributism would have to say about the platform spelled out by the ASP (maybe the acronym is a good argument for a different name?)

      • B.E. Ward

        While I certainly can’t claim to be ‘well-formed’ in distributism, I think most adherents would be at least slightly concerned by the ‘top-down’ approach the ASP purports to take. There’s no mention of bringing decisions down to the lowest reasonable level. It’s even implied in their name.. the ‘American’ Solidarity Party.

        Frankly, we don’t need a national party. We need state and local parties that form an association with each other on a national level, but will never be subservient to that national group. That’s more of a distributist way, not to mention a more realistic way to launch a grassroots effort. You can get people who hold their noses and vote for The Thing That Used to be Conservatism to still do so on a national (or congressional) level while providing them with non-stinky options in state and local races (where turnout is really the difference).

    • J. H. M. Ortiz

      Having just now read the Wikipedia article “distributism”, I too like the name “Distributist Party”. Consisting of just a single descriptive word, it’s as concise as the names of the other parties alongside which it would live; and it’s readily construable as advocating both Solidarity and Subsidiarity (altho I don’t go so far as did Dorothy Day in opposing Social Security per se — but I dig the shortened spellings of “altho” and “thru” which she used in her Catholic Worker writings).

    • Beccolina

      You’d need to make it clear from the get-go that “distributist” is a very different critter from “redistributist”. I’ve found that many people assume they are the same when they first hear of distributism.

  • B.E. Ward

    I’m also not convinced ‘a parent’s right to physically discipline their child’ belongs in a surface-scratching, interest-forming document. It sniffs like a pet issue for someone and is going to turn off a lot of people.

    • Agreed. This is not really a national or even a state issue and there is no compelling reason to make it one at this time. I like the “distributist” party, too, by the way, other than the fact that it will not mean anything to people (except some may see the word “distribute” and think the party is all about playing Robin Hood)

    • I agree with this criticism. Check back in a few days, and there may be some changes in this regard.

  • Doran Hunter

    The American Solidarity Party is exactly what I had been long searching for, as a Catholic committed to all and not just part of the Church’s social doctrine. Don’t be put off by the “Welfare state” stuff: You’ll find that political and economic issues are dealt with largely in the light of Catholic social teaching.

  • Kirk Morrison

    Hi all, inevitably in the changeover of our name there’s some scraps that need to be cleaned up, organizational updates, etc. that need to be scrubbed and all. Our general life had been on FB. That tended to make the official website go dormant or long periods. Please bear with us as we tidy up and professionalize our presentation and approach. We are in earnest though to provide a real vehicle for those of us who support Christian Democracy/traditionalist conservatism/localist populism/subsidiarity/distributism/Consistent Life Ethic etc. We’re planning to work on a mostly grass-roots level to get folks involved in their own communities and serving on local boards, non-partisan offices, etc. to build experience for larger elective office. We don’t expect ideological “purity” and folks can be of any religion or even none. But if you find yourself in “substantial” agreement, we’d love to have you on board and get to know you.

    Peace to you all,

    • Thanks, guys. I am thrilled by this and appreciate all your work. I can’t wait to participate in the first party rally in NYC! (A sure sign of the apocalypse, that).

      “Distributist” really wouldn’t work as a name. It’s not Catholic social teaching per se, jut one interpretation of it. “Solidarity” says Catholic social teaching without being too in-your-face about it. Not only is it one of the primary principles and moral virtues of CST, it presents an ideal counter to the present ripping of our social fabric and the lack of civility in society. Not to mention John Paul II, Lech Walesa, opposition to Communism and all tryanny, and a lot else as well. Brilliant idea.

      • hmm, tyranny should probably be “all state totalitarianism,” including ours.

        • Kirk Morrison

          Lori, for a guy like myself without a drop of Polish blood in him (although raised in a high Polish ethnic area) it’s amazing how many of my heroes growing up were Polish. Lech Walesa, John Paul II, and when I got older- Tadeusz Kosciuszko (a freedom fighter if there ever was one!). I think the tie (even if tangential) with the Polish Solidarity movement provides us with an exciting legacy of a group that was 100% Christian AND non-violent AND pro-working man/woman. We could do a lot worse in self-identification! I’m glad you’re as excited as we are!

          • All of my voting life I have felt politically disenfranchised, not able to commit to the evils of either the GOP or the Dems, and wanting a party that would really embrace Catholic social teaching, not just a part of it. So I am indeed excited!