Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hopefully... a return to civility

Voting ended at 7:00pm yesterday here in Mississippi. Another year of elections have now passed and, hopefully, an aire of civility (and sanity) will return to our online relationships.

Social networking is a great medium for disseminating soundbites, links and snippets of information, but I for one still struggle with regarding it as the proper forum for important and needed discussions about deep political and idealogical positions. Posting contentious political (or religious) positions on Facebook and the like is not too different from yelling catchphrases out the car window: few people listen, even less are converted to your views and the majority will probably regard you as a little unbalanced. I don't think that I'm alone in this view.

So, I'm kind of happy to see that many of my Facebook friends have moved into post-election mode. Hopefully, the divisive, political bickering will be gone from that forum for a while.

And finally, a note on the Personhood Amendment: the proposition did not pass. Many Catholics voted for the amendment and many others voted against it. As our bishop stated, as long as consciences were well-formed and informed, motives were sincere and the vote was cast with an eye towards protecting the lives of the unborn, none of these votes were ill-cast. This proposed amendment may or may not have been the best vehicle for moving forward the issue that life in the womb must be protected by law in any civil society. But, at any rate, time presses on.

The amendment may have failed (and well-meaning Catholics could be happy or upset about this), but this one singular vote cannot overshadow the important fact that the issue of rights for the unborn must still be pressed forward. All people of good will should remember that after all is said and done we still have a responsibility (dare I say a duty), to stand up in our society and to fight for the most innocent among us - those who have no voice. Legal recognition and societal protection should not be afforded to persons based on their location or upon any level of development. To move beyond this basic truth is leave behind reason and logic and (for the Christian) love.

We have to change the culture; we must be sober and stand against the dangerous ideologies of selfishness and relativism. My advice on how to do this? Well, regardless of how you felt or how you voted on Proposition 26, don't make the mistake of linking your passion or your efforts efforts in this important battle to one ballot initiative.

And, one more thing: let's not fall into the trap of demonizing those on the "other side" of the life issue, either. In the words of St. Catherine Laboure (whose feast day we celebrate this month): "One must see God in everyone."