Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Politicians

A Chestertonian I know (I won't mention any names) has this quote at the end of his e-mails about how sad it is how few politicians are hanged. It's a GKC quote.

What is it about our political system that brings out the worst in people?

We have primary elections going on next Tuesday, so of course our community is in the last throes of campaigning, and it's getting ugly.

It is so ugly, we have two pro-life Republicans fighting over which is really more pro-life.

But then after they had that argument, it degraded into mud-slinging.

Some people seem to enter into politics for the good and noble reasons of helping mankind.
And then they seem to gradually become degraded by the PACs and lobbyists around them. Some don't, but so many do. I think it's the money which corrupts them. Maybe it would corrupt me, too, if I were in that situation. I like money as much as the next person, and maybe I'd be persuaded to vote a certain way if only my family were financially secure for life. Money is a big temptation. Perhaps the biggest. After all, even Jesus says something about God vs. money.

The politican I'd like to vote for is the one who seems stronger than I to resist the call of the temptation of money. I'd like to vote for the person who would always try to do what is right, good, noble, true and most helpful to mankind.

Let me know if you find that politician.

9 comments:

  1. Is it the money or the power? I mean, do politicians really make a lot of money? In terms of an everyday job, yes, but to go through all that for a few hundred thousand a year? I think it has a lot to do with the power aspect rather than the money, myself. And especially since the government has so much control over people lives.

    If we had a system of government where the principle of subsidiarity reigned, then I think you would see more politicians who want to help mankind. Not the majority, mind you, but more of them than now.

    And about the mudslinging - I wish they would use mud as it would make the fight more interesting. Or better, yet bring in boxing or some other such sport!

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  2. Nancy, I'm afraid you won't find that kind of politician in Illinois. One notable exception was Peter Fitzgerald, our former U.S. Senator, who was run out of politics by the state's GOP because he put principles above party. It is because of him that former governor George Ryan is on trial and will hopefully get sent up to the Big House until he assumes room temperature. Pete Fitzgerald deserves our everlasting love, gratitude, devotion, and prayers for having the courage to put in motion the process that got Ryan indicted and (we can hope and pray) found gilty.

    But guys like Fitzgerald are rare, and Fitzgerald himself was run out of politics in Illinois by his own party. In Illinois, it's all about dividing up the spoils. Sometimes the spoils are power; sometimes they're money; most often, they're a little bit of both. Both parties realize this, and at the top levels there is really no distinction between the two parties. That's why the state's GOP establishment is all for Judy Barr Topinka to get the republican nomination. She won't tip the apple cart. She'll maintain the status quo that allows people from both parties to get rich.

    Oh, and the correct quote is, "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." Chesterton must have been thinking about Illinois politics when he wrote that.

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  3. Nancy, I'm afraid you won't find that kind of politician in Illinois. One notable exception was Peter Fitzgerald, our former U.S. Senator, who was run out of politics by the state's GOP because he put principles above party. It is because of him that former governor George Ryan is on trial and will hopefully get sent up to the Big House until he assumes room temperature. Pete Fitzgerald deserves our everlasting love, gratitude, devotion, and prayers for having the courage to put in motion the process that got Ryan indicted and (we can hope and pray) found gilty.

    But guys like Fitzgerald are rare, and Fitzgerald himself was run out of politics in Illinois by his own party. In Illinois, it's all about dividing up the spoils. Sometimes the spoils are power; sometimes they're money; most often, they're a little bit of both. Both parties realize this, and at the top levels there is really no distinction between the two parties. That's why the state's GOP establishment is all for Judy Barr Topinka to get the republican nomination. She won't tip the apple cart. She'll maintain the status quo that allows people from both parties to get rich.

    Oh, and the correct quote is, "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." Chesterton must have been thinking about Illinois politics when he wrote that.

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  4. I feel for you folks -- but politics is politics, wherever you are. Virginia, my state, is the same. Politicians exist solely to provide economic opps for their sponsors. Or power, which is the same thing, without the CPA.

    What would you say to a required, "None of the above," selection on your ballots?

    If NOTA wins, than we do without that particular position until the next election, and see if we really needed it.

    See, the problem is the same as we encounter at the bank or Wal-mart -- there's no downside to disappointing the constituent/consumer. No repurcussions. Hanging implies concern and thought. I don't feel despair over the lack of character and principle in politicians -- it is the same in the rank and file voter. Now, THAT is scary...

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  5. As long as we keep on electing politicians, we will have politicians in office. The fault is ultimately ours for letting sound bytes and mudslinging buy our votes.

    If we want those in office to embrace issues such as subsidiarity, then we must ourselves embrace those issues as well go to the polls.

    Find a candidate you can support and then go out and support his or her campaign. For me, that candidate is Joe Schriner, a Catholic Distributist touring the country with his family in a 1974 van. (www.voteforjoe.com)

    I think that most people enter politics with pure motives, but find out that to "succeed" in politics, they must "play the game." Ultimately, they are just playing to us as consumers or voters. Until we change our demands, they aren't likely to change their actions.

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  6. Sorry, Mr. Farmer, but I must disagree -- not with your philosophy, but with the guy you are supporting.

    Joe -- For some of what I see he stands for, I'm thankful he doesn't have a prayer!

    From what I see, he stands for:
    More government intervention (teaching conflict resolution in schools? Come on! Bet he likes Joan Baez, too...)
    More hand-outs to the undeserving (reparations to Indians and blacks? You'll pry that money from my cold, dead fingers -- when are the Romans going to reimburse me for taking my English ancestors into slavery, f'r crying out loud!)

    "Just war," like there ever has been one. That is one of the more subtle boondoggles from the Pope's bag o' tricks, and I resent that judgement whole-heartedly. It's why I haven't taken the road to RCism.

    However, I applaud your desire to rid the process of professionals!

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  7. Kurm - sometimes compared to what other candidates do stand for (or more actually in what they DON'T stand up for) he is a far better candidate than most. Albeit, I have many problem with some of his issues to, but I won't go in them now as I was amused by your rant on the Pope and "his" just war theory.

    First of all, I do hope you continue to read Chesterton, especially in regards to war, pacificism and the Church. Anyone much more learned than me in Chesterton could help out here with what exactly to read. I only have bits a pieces and may confuse the issue if I just print out those. I wish you would read the Pope too on the matter, but we'll leave it for Chesterton for now.

    Now if you are speaking of the current war we are waging and what the Pope has said in regards to it, I suggest you find out what he truly said about it before "resenting any judgment" that he has made. I may be wrong, but I have done many searches and have never found the pope saying the war we are waging is or isn't a just war. Other members of the Church have, but they are not the Pope.

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  8. Kurm - I certainy respect your right to disagree and I would ecourage you to find a canidate you can fully support.

    The Just War theory, which I support, is a manifestation of GKC's famous phrase that Catholicism is a "playground for free thought." The Just War Theory is the product of some great Catholic thinkers, primarily St Thomas Aquinas. It is not Catholic dogma or "required" belief for Catholic faithful. Indeed, the pacifist and the soldier often worship together at Mass and each may be following God's plan. We are not required to think in lockstep.

    Some current theologians believe that the tenets of Just War theory cannot be met with the methods of modern warfare. Here is a link to a site describing those tenets:

    http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/justwar.htm

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