Friday, August 15, 2008

Hickey on Religion and Politics - Mutatis Mutandis

Arguments concerning Religion and Politics often lead to hurtful ( that is a neologism employed by dedicated Victimization disciples that I never can get too much of) disagreements, increased by the level of volume between antagonists and in some lustier quarters to violent dental rearrangements.

There are some saloons that enforce 'No Politics, Religion, or Baseball' prohibitions and with very good reason.

In the late 19th Century, immigrant saloons were places where coreligionists who usually shared a common language and national identity and fellow Labor activists could vent, free of prying ears of the bosses, the strikebreakers, company goons and the cops. The neighborhood ethnic saloon went the way of growler, the pail purchased for carryout beer, and every social gathering, bar, or kitchen table became a Free Speech Bug House Square. Not only that, with the inculturation of television, radio and the Internet, the airwaves and the cyberspace became an atmosphere thick with opinion: Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow & etc.!

In happier times, a butt-in-ski from Hyde Park, or Mount Greenwood, wedging his way into a conversation ( having his ear on a stick) about the efficacy of training and funding a Ukrainian Air Corps for service against Czarist and later Soviet Russia would find himself on the curb at Chicago Ave. & Bell minus dentation. Thus, the price of Freedom of Speech - or the Freedom of Interruption was exercised with strong imperative.

I am voting for John McCain. To some folks that means that I must be a racist, right-wing, war mongering lout. For sure! I'm loutish at times - picked my teeth with a plastic dental instrument publicly in the Pump Room in the company of a beautiful woman after a fine meal. Lout! You bet. Racist? Arguable, I have the pedigree as a white, Irish Catholic. Right Wing? I voted Democratic in every election from 1972 until the Illinois Primary last February. War-monger? I am as yellow as a Duck's foot, but am more than willing to support the police and the military to keep America's enemies and from all Americans. I think PC in might and main is silly and snotty enforced and dictated by the really silly and snotty; I tend to be a devout sexist who worships the superior gender; I believe, based on empirical observation that most public servants work very, very hard and for the best of reasons- they help other people and we never read about them or hear about them in the media. I hate abortion and all of its dodges. Choice means school vouchers. The true test of all government is in the application of protecting the innocent(children especially) and tested - our elderly - everything else is up for a screaming argument.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth . . . but, what someone else chooses to believe does not keep me awake at night and I tend to be more than willing to accept my place in God's ordered universe. Cosmologically - I believe that someone greater put things in motion; Teleologically - I witnessed the passing of generational faith from one set in the family to another and have met living saints who fulfilled the Christian imperatives, while raising the ethical bar higher than my own dwarfish grasp; Morally - I have faith that most people lead good lives that help people who have less in life, need more attention, and require greater efforts from others to help make them safe and secure. While I like to think that I am the center of the universe, experience teaches otherwise- dammit!

Happiness? That's up to the individual. If I am unhappy - not even close - that is my T.S.! The first words of counsel that I recall came from my Parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts,Cousins, and close Friends - the only people who really matter in this life - the next one is to be determined without my say-so, but what I have done, do and will do ( scary thought that) - were 'Too bad about you!'

So much for the warm embrace of Entitlements.

We are on our own as the atheists would tell us - but we are obligated to those who have cared, nurtured, taught, protected and loved us. Which kind of negates the first argument altogether.

Politics teaches us - or should teach us - how to act in a way to make things better for others. Religion teaches us how to do that.

I expect this violation of the rule in the better saloons will no doubt lead to a few of my metaphorical buckers getting a loosening.

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