"In fact, woman has a genius all her own,
which is vitally essential to both society and the Church." --John Paul II

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kennedy & Bayh Resignations -- Political Climate Change?

For the past week or so, Patrick Kennedy's announcement not to seek re-election for his congressional seat in Rhode Island has been on my mind. I have crafted a couple of blog posts that just seemed inadequate to the matter at hand, so I deleted them. Then the other day, I was driving along with my husband and we were listening to the news on the radio. The report was about Senator Bayh, Democrat from Indiana, deciding not to seek re-election in 2010.

"What could be going on here?" I wondered.

Ted Kennedy dies and a republican, Scott Brown, wins his seat in a special election -- in Massachusetts! Did Patrick Kennedy truly have higher motives than just poll numbers to cause him to step away from the campaign trail in 2010? Or, did he just see the writing on the wall?

I read a few blogs that gave Mr. Kennedy the spiritual benefit of the doubt, recognizing that he was still mourning the loss of his father, Sen. Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts. But, I have to admit, my cynical nature lead me to think that was probably just the spin -- a leopard from Camelot is highly unlikely to change his spots, and those spots spin. It's a pride thing, I think; he's not a sure bet for re-election, so exit looking noble and find a new Kennedy-esque thing to do. Cousin Joe's got Venezuelan oil all wrapped up, but Patrick did mention wanting to be more like Aunt Eunice in her work with the Special Olympics. Perhaps, he could judge the bowling competition?

Seriously, this announcement by Sen. Bayh speaks volumes, in my estimation, about the change in trend of American political thought. American's do not seem to be tracking with the hope and change platform any longer. It is less than what they hoped for and changing in a dangerously wrong direction.

More specifically, as Catholic Americans, we need to understand the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of solidarity with regard to our expectations of our government, and what our duty is toward others. It seems that perhaps these principles have been shelved by some politicians -- they are not a unique brand of Catholic doctrine, but universal in nature to all mankind. And now, innately, they are emerging as a battle cry from a collective American conscience, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

It will not surprise me in the least if a new sense of moral fortitude emerges from pruning away these branches from the political vine. As spring emerges, I envision a new shoot stretching out with a different perspective on hope; an ethic based on the Constitution will push up from under the fertilizer that has been shoveled thick above it. From beneath the muck and mire, the voice of the people, like a burgeoning crocus, will arise to see the sun. All this is possible because of our country's freedoms mandated in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

The American people appear to be loudly and clearly expressing their desire to have control over their own health care decisions; their disgust with government takeovers in the private sector; their impatience with the continual bashing of past administrations for frivolous spending sprees when both this administration and the last had some serious issues with spending. Americans simply want their money to belong to them. They wish to control how to spend and give as they see fit, and they want for their grandchildren to be able to live without shouldering a debt that will soon be into the quadrillions of dollars. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the people who do the living and breathing and working and dying in this town, Mr. Potter... -- Oh, wait...I seem to have channeled George Bailey --the average American, wishes to live in a secure country in which the rights of the citizenry are respected and their concerns are heard and represented in Washington, DC by their elected officials.

Did Mr. Kennedy really bail because of his commitment to family and the desire to actually have one of his own? Did the words of admonishment from Bishop Tobin make him take stock of what is truly important in life? Or, like Sen. Bayh, did Patrick Kennedy just realize that his brand of politics is losing ground with his constituents and it was time to investigate other prospects? I pray that our elected officials will stop and assess the political climate change (pun completely intended) in our country and resist thinking they know what is best for the American people without first listening to what the people want from their elected officials -- respect and sincere consideration regarding matters that concern them.

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