Friday, November 18, 2005

The "R" stands for "rich," the "D" for "dumb"

In "Republican" and "Democrat," respectively, that is.

While I don't imagine this to be a political blog--although rest assured that "to the left" describes more than my religious leanings--I can't pass this one up from Andrew Greeley's Chicago Sun-Times column today (via my friend Bob once again). After lamenting the Democratic leadership's failure to offer an real agenda, Greeley argues:

"Democrats must return to their traditional themes of economic and social justice. They must rediscover the truth that their constituencies are not just the liberal activists (though their causes are important) but the hard-pressed working and middle-class people. The Republican administration and the Republican Congress are presiding over a major shift in wealth from the poor and the middle class to the rich. Thus, they are trying to take $70 billion from food stamps, Medicare, education (loans and scholarships for college students) and veterans and give the money to the rich in increased tax deductions. Pension money and health care money is being taken away from workers and retired workers to provide profits for badly run organizations (like United Airlines and General Motors) and their exorbitantly compensated executives."

My question is, of course, more for Catholics: Why do many of us let Republican political operatives use words like "prolife" without meaning it? Why do many of us get hooked by abortion, but not by the chronic lack of health care so many already-born children suffer? Just yesterday Congress passed some $50 billion in cuts to social programs--food stamps, Medicaid, basically taking food and medicine out of the mouths of the poor--and tomorrow will follow it with billions more in tax cuts for the wealthy.

Where are the Catholic bishops, so quick to deny communion to pro-abortion politicians? If anyone who deserves to be denied food from the Lord's Table, it's someone who votes to cut food stamps for crying out loud. Not that I think denying communion is a good idea anyway, but let's at least be even.

How long will it take, though, for "pro-life" to mean "pro-poor"? Or for "pro-family" to mean health care and a just wage and worker safeguards? Especially since it's right there in Catholic social teaching--not that "I'm-so-Catholic" Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) seems to be aware of it.

But it seems we'd rather spend our political capital "defending" the "sanctity" of marriage rather than the actual well-being of families.


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