Year in Review: The presidential election in a nutshell

2016-yir

Election Flag a2016 was a year jam-packed with political intrigue.  There was no shortage of scandal, double-dealing, and betrayal…and that was just the Democrats!  (OK it was the Republicans too!) 2016 Saw the rise of the populist in politics, both on the right and the left.  On the left, you had an aging senator from Vermont attracting a young and enthusiastic crowd of budding socialists.  We witnessed the rise and fall of Ted Cruz, who took Tea Party populism to a new level and became its standard-bearer.  Conservative populism clashed with and eventually gave way to well… populist populism.  Donald Trump, (now add President-elect to his name) saw a huge chunk of America that had been overlooked by conservatives and taken for granted by liberals, the disaffected white, working class voter.  On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats just could not seem to get out of their own way.  Day after day, scandal after scandal piled up eventually, at precisely the wrong time, the whole thing collapsed.  The liberal world was turned upside down when Trump won the presidency by a convincing margin in the much-maligned Electoral College.

Year in Review: Early 2016

2016-yirEarly 2016 saw the presidential race go into full swing.  It seems like a lifetime ago, but the year started with Presidential debates, the most interesting being those on the Republican side.  16 men and one woman began their campaigns in earnest. The stage literally was not big enough for all of them, so was created the undercard debate.  One candidate, Carly Fiorina, emerged as the only candidate to earn a spot on the big stage with the true contenders. Meanwhile on the Democrat side, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Socialist caught fire with connecting with of all groups, the far-left leaning youth.  Iran became a campaign issue when the extremely dubious nuclear agreement went into effect, coincidently, four American hostages that were held in Iran were freed.  Later it would become apparent that their freedom had been purchased in the dark of night with unmarked bills.

Farewell Antonio ScaliaThe Executive branch was not the only branch to undergo far-reaching change. In February, the country lost one of its greatest jurists, Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice on a split Supreme Court.  Before the end of March, three different Republicans had won primaries, including several won by Donald Trump, establishing him as a serious contender for the nomination.  Bernie Sanders became the hot ticket on the Democratic side, stringing together early primary victories, showing that there would be no early coronation for Hillary.  Meanwhile, terrorism was set to rear its ugly head again in Europe.  The attack in Brussels, the capital of the European Union exposed the dangers of letting in millions of lightly vetted migrants and refugees from countries with serious terrorism problems.  Further attacks were to come, peaking in the middle months of the year.

It’s 1787 all over again.

Election 2016What direction will America take?  Will she choose to take the easy, intellectually bankrupt path to European-style socialism, or will she stay true to her self and take the less easy but potentially more rewarding path?  Will we decide that things like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are just curiosities of a bygone era, or that those documents still mean something and still ought to be followed?  America is at a crossroads, it’s cliche but is no less true. Where other elections have been about tax rates, or what the defense budget should be, this election is over the very what the very purpose of government is, and what America’s role in the world should be.

U.S. ConstitutionIf you’re voting for free education, or for lower taxes, you’ve missed the whole argument, the real question being put to the voters this year.  This year you have to choose sides. The question before us is no less than that put before the Constitutional convention in May of 1787:  What sort of republic will America be?  We have to decide anew what sort of country we’ll have for the rest of the 21st century.  People will say this is exaggeration, hyperbole.  They don’t get it.  They would be at a loss to explain why those men spent all that time in the hot Philadelphia summer many years ago, deliberating, discussing, arguing, deciding.  They would not understand what the big deal was, how momentous that achievement was.  They do not see that it is 1787 all over again, and the choice  once again is:  Who will rule the people of this country and how?  Will Americans be the rulers or be the ruled?  We need to choose wisely, and understand the far-reaching effects of our vote.

End of lecture.

Democratizing Catholicism? I think not.

Progressives v. CatholicsIn a world where the words “offend, offended, and offensive” are so overused, I have to say that I’m properly offended by the casual anti-Catholic bigotry on the left and particularly that of current senior members of the Clinton campaign staff.   You’ve probably heard now of the leaked emails of Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta. (For a good synopsis, check out: WikiLeaks: Podesta and Left-Wing Activist Plot ‘Catholic Spring’ by Edmund Kozak)  The leaked emails from  talk about subverting Catholic doctrine with the idea of bringing about a “Catholic spring”.   Let me rephrase that:  Leaders of the Democratic party because so much of Catholic doctrine specifically when it comes to issues of pro-life and marriage, goes against their liberal agenda, decided to subvert the Church in America and replace its core doctrines with ones more in line with their political goals.

“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church,” wrote left-wing activist Sandy Newman to Podesta.

How does one democratize a religion?  Would the members get to vote on Church doctrine?  Cardinals get to vote for the Pope, should they act like delegates as if the conclave of cardinals were some sort of political convention?  Here my message for Podesta and friends:  Catholic doctrine was created by Christ.  It was codified a long time ago by Emperor Constantine I in the fourth century.  That is the basis of the Catholic Church, now and forever, unless the Big Man Upstairs orders a change.  If He does, you can bet it won’t be the  purposes of facilitating your political gain, your pro-abortion, anti-life agenda.

The leaked emails show utter contempt for Catholics, suggesting them backwards in their beliefs. The writers of these emails show a complete lack of understanding about the Vatican and the Church at large. The fact is, progressives such as those quoted in the emails see the Church as a hindrance advancing their social agenda.  The words of St. John Paul II hint at why the teachings of  Catholic Church might prove problematic to Progressives:

“True freedom is not advanced in the permissive society, which confuses freedom with license to do anything whatever and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality. It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize their lives with no reference to moral values, and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection and advancement of ethical values. Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace.”
Pope John Paul II

Progressive Democrats can’t have an entire voting bloc that thinks like that.

Every American has the right to ‘vote’ to be Catholic or not, to be religious or not, but the essence of what it means to be Catholic is not up for a vote. The Church’s essential teachings are not up for negotiation like planks in some political party’s platform.  The best way to teach and practice those fundamental doctrines of faith and life can and will be debated, but what those core doctrines themselves are will not and cannot be determined by the democratic process.

 

Second Debate, Initial Reaction

2016-debatesTonight, Donald Trump came to the second debate much more prepared than he did to the first one.  He was not on defense the entire night and learned the art of the pivot. The difference between his performance between the two debates was night and day.  Hillary on the other hand had little in the way of new material.  It was widely speculated that she used up most of her ammo during the first debate.  That speculation seems to have been proved correct. Most of her attacks were predictable and Trump was obviously ready for them.  The moderators played less of a role in this debate than in either the first or VP debate.  That’s probably for the best.  I’m predicting that Trump will be widely seen as the winner.

 

The “What if?” Debate

Just a short note on tonight’s VP debate…

If you’re like me, a political junkie, you’ll dutifully sit down and watch tonight’s VP debate.  Of course the fact that you’re a political junkie means that you already have enough information to have picked a candidate.  So why watch?  I’m looking at it like an episode of a sci-fi show that deals with alternate realities.  Physicists suggest that there is not a single reality, but many– where every possible scenario get plaid out.  Alternate timelines where the NAZI’s win the war, where the Federation is an evil empire and so on.  The alternate reality  sub-genera is one of the more intriguing, the where we get an answer to the question: “What if?”

What if?… Donald could actually stay on message and never put his foot in his mouth?

What if?…  Hillary were actually likable enough to the non-Democrat that people actually liked to hear her speak?

That’s something like the frame of mind I’ll be as I watch tonight’s VP debate.  If you ever wondered what their policies sounded like spoken by well, better candidates, then tonight should be a good chance to find that out.  In some alternate timeline, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are at the top of their tickets.  (…and for some inexplicable reason, Clinton and Trump are their running-mates.) What would it be like then to hear the Clinton and Trump policy prescriptions coming from candidates without all the baggage?  We get to briefly examine this alternate reality tonight.  Tomorrow, it will be back to real reality, but tonight for about ninety minutes, we get to see some political sci-fi– at least that’s how I’m going to try to make it a little more interesting to watch.

The 2016 Presidential Debates Drinking Game

2016-debatesThe 2016 presidential debates promise to be something extra special.  The debates will be a battle royal between two heavy weights (metaphorically speaking)  for the political championship of the world. If you’ve paid any attention at all to the race so far, you may have heard some of the favorite words and phrases from each of the candidates. You may be sick of hearing them, so here’s a fun way to reward yourself for having to hear them again, and again, and again….

The rules are simple, every time during the debate one of the candidates says one of the designated words or phrases, you take a drink of your favorite adult beverage.  You must of course, be of legal drinking age to play, unless your favorite adult beverage is non-alcoholic, in that case…you’ll probably make yourself sick either way!

Take a sip anytime any candidate says one of the magic words or phrases:

  • Disqualified
  • Tremendous
  • Unqualified
  • Leading from behind
  • Fair share
  • Reckless
  • What have you got to lose?
  • Historic election
  • For all the people
  • Fat cats
  • Unhinged
  • Failed Policies

Expert level:

  • Drink every time any candidate breaks out into a coughing fit.  (one drink per instance)
  • Drink at any remark that gets booed. (counts for moderator remarks too)
  • Drink every time the moderator “fact checks” a statement by one of the candidates.

Think you can last all the way through?  You might want to have a good supply of chips and pretzels on hand. Enjoy!

Disclaimer:  No-one except you is responsible for any foolish thing you might do after playing this game, like: driving, drunk-texting your boss, or voting third-party. So there!