Cascadia Catholics

A left-leaning Catholic discussion forum.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Five Reasons to Endorse John Edwards

I seem to have solidified into a John Edwards supporter. I sent him $50 last week and ordered a bumper sticker. This is an extreme gesture of support, by my standards. Usually, I just sit around and jabber to my friends over a beer.

But John and Elizabeth Edwards are impressing me day after day after day.

On my mini trip to Atlixco, Puebla, I read Barak Obama's Dreams From My Father. A very fascinating and well-written memoir. I'd love to have Obama as President, but I wonder if he can really buck the racist tide in this country. Hillary drives me nuts. No support there.

But Edwards has a plan; a real, concrete, written down plan, to change this country in exactly the direction I want to see it go. And Edwards speaks repeatedly about eliminating poverty. I haven't heard that tune since Bobby Kennedy. The very notion that a 21st Century candidate actually cares about poor people across the globe, moves me deeply.

From DailyKos I swiped this today, taken from John Edwards' speech at the Winter DNC meeting:

Five reasons to vote for John Edwards:

1. Restoring America's Moral Leadership in the World

America's leadership role in the world has grown out of our compassion and moral strength, as well as our unparalleled economic and military strength. We can be proud of our long history of using our strength to fight for the freedom of others, but our standing in the world has been badly tarnished. America can once again be looked up to and respected around the world. The first step is by immediately withdrawing 40,000-50,000 troops from Iraq, with the complete withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within 12-18 months -- allowing the Iraqis to assume greater responsibility for rebuilding their own country. It also means working to restore our legitimacy by leading on the great challenges before us like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the genocide in Darfur, extreme poverty, and living up to our ideals in the fight against terrorism.

2. Guaranteeing Affordable, Quality Health Care for Every American

The 47 million uninsured Americans often do not get the care they need. Each year, about 18,000 die as a result. Despite the problems of the uninsured and unnecessarily low quality care, our health care system is the most expensive in the world and insurance premiums have grown faster than wages for almost 50 years. John Edwards believes we need to reform our health care system to provide truly universal coverage - not mere access to insurance - and get better care at lower cost.

3. Eliminating Poverty

Every day, 37 million Americans wake in poverty. Our response to that reality says everything about the character of America. John Edwards has called for a national goal of eliminating poverty within 30 years, with policies rooted in the core American values of opportunity for everyone and responsibility from everyone. We can reach that goal by creating and rewarding work, strengthening families, helping workers save and get ahead, transforming our schools, expanding access to college, breaking up areas of concentrated poverty, reaching overlooked rural areas, and expecting people to help themselves by working whenever they are able.

4. Strengthening America's Middle Class

The backbone of America is its middle class. But middle class families are struggling. Wages have fallen in recent years even as the economy has grown. At the same time, the costs of necessities like health care, child care, and education have grown. President Bush's tax policies have increased the share of the tax burden borne by middle-class workers. Our economic policies must reward work, help families save for the future, and fight the rising costs of middle-class life.

5. Leading the Fight against Global Warming and Our Addiction to Foreign Oil

Our nation's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels is contributing to global warming and jeopardizing our national security. To protect our future, John Edwards believes that Americans must be patriotic about something other than the war. We must act now by investing in clean, renewable energies like wind, solar, and biofuels to create a new energy economy, developing a new generation of efficient cars and trucks, and putting new energy-saving technologies to work in buildings, transportation, and industry.

Cheers. And get your bumper stickers here.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Relativism Thing

I've been reading up on John Courtney Murray (Jesuit Priest) and his social philosophies based upon the Natural Law. I highly HIGHLY recommend this book: The Search for an American Public Theology, The Contribution of John Courtney Murray to anyone interested in finding a solution to our Church / State issues (from either a liberal or conservative perspective).

[I also highly HIGHLY recommend that Catholics read Dignitatis Humanae, from the documents of Vatican II, which was heavily influenced by John Courtney Murray.]

The notion of Natural Law comes from Thomas Aquinas and grounds Catholic Social Teaching. The Natural Law relies upon two suppositions: 1. A Realist Espitemology (that we can know what is real) and 2. that there is a God creating/ordering that reality.

From the Natural Law we derive the principle that human life is sacred, and that the role of government is to serve our Human Dignity. And from this notion of our Human Dignity come the "unalienable rights" of individuals and nations.

Now, in our pluralistic society there are many different ways of interpreting the law, different ways of forming values, different beliefs and different customs. These certainly include atheism and moral relativism. However, according to Natural Law, the law of justice is a law "written in the human heart" (St. Paul); so it belongs to our human nature and is accessible to all people. Even atheists and relativists have a sense of justice, whether they believe this comes from culture and is learned or is derived from some innate instinct.

Many (traditional) conservatives come from this Natural Law tradition. But I think few have a full grasp of it; and certainly many are abusing it toward their own ends.

For example, it is a distortion to say that Liberals are all relativists (a charge I often hear). We certainly are not. However, I think it would be true to say that many relativists are liberals. [If you are an atheist and/or a relativist, there's nowhere else to go but to appeal to the consensus of a pluralistic society in the forming of just laws. And this consensus is the very working of Natural Law.]

The irony here is that at heart, we are all subscribers of the Natural Law whether we recognize it or not; whether we distort it or not; whether we abuse it or not. At least for anyone who actually holds to the Natrual Law principle.

So by condemning consensus, or by stating that relativists are unfit to govern, or by assigning to all Liberals the relativisitic label, these conservatives are trashing the very Law they use to sustain their own conservative convictions. Imagine that.