Archive for December, 2010

Why 2008 did not go to the “moral majority”

Monday, December 13th, 2010

I was listening to an interview on Catholic radio this morning from a very insightful guy (sorry, I didn’t catch his name). He was talking about how if we frame the conversation correctly, a lot more people agree with Catholic positions than we think. By the way of example, he mentioned how, while about 50% of people are pro-choice and vote that way, when you ask them detailed questions on what they’d like to limit abortion to, most of them favor policies that could only be the case if Roe v. Wade is thrown out. Yet those same people will protect Roe v. Wade. About this, I completely agree. Getting the information out there and framing the conversation in a positive light can do wonders for political clout and progress.

But where he went amazingly wrong was when the host asked him about why so many people voted for politicians who held moral positions they didn’t back in 2008 and there he went tremendously wrong.

He tried to pin it to the above issues of awareness and conversation framing. He couldn’t be more wrong.

The reality is that 2008 was all about both the ineffectiveness of the Bush administration to deliver on their stated goals and going into areas that made people concerned. Bush claimed to be all about fiscal responsibility… he didn’t act like it. Bush claimed to be about moral rectitude… but it doesn’t help when you’re torturing people, and continuing the loss of life in two very unpopular wars that one wonders while we’re there in the first place.

There’s a reason all Obama had to do was say the word “Change” repeatedly for 10 months to win the election. It’s also the same reason that Obama has been somewhat surprised by the lack of positive reception to his actions. The reality is his campaign was so tepid about laying out his agenda (they didn’t have to do more), that lots of people voted for him less because of the actual agenda but more because he didn’t reflect the problems that the Bush administration was doing. Once the rubber started hitting the road, it wasn’t exactly what people thought.

The other side of the same coin is that people don’t want to talk morals in down economic times. People have a hard time getting worked up about embryonic stem cell research when they’re out of work. At that point they just want things changed so they can get back to work.

But make no mistake, the 2008 election wasn’t about a rejection of the moral principles that Republicans used to stand for. And part of framing the conversation for the future, is to not tie those moral issues to one party, so that when that party messes everything else up, the moral issues don’t take a beating with the economic ones.

Quick hitters – Taxes, the DMV and hell

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Today’s quick hitters:

  • This whole brouhaha about the Bush tax cuts is fascinating to me. I never thought I’d see the Democratic base turn so quickly on Obama like they have over this. He’s even had to call in former President Clinton to his defense. For what it’s worth, this is an area where I see both sides. I see our deficit and wonder if we can afford to keep taxes so low (and the wealthy are more able to take that hit). On the other hand, the income tax code is already HORRIFICALLY biased towards taking taxes from the wealthy. What I pay in taxes now with 3 kids a big mortgage an only 1 income is less than a tenth, yes you read that right, 10%, of what I paid 10 years ago without the kids and two incomes that was only 50% more than I make today. Heck, I’ll give you round number specifics: I paid around $2k in taxes for 2009 on about $50k of post deduction income ($80k pre-deductions). In 2001, I paid around $30k in taxes on $120k of income (and we had no deductions). An additional $28k in taxes for $40k in increased income!?! Something’s not right with that.
  • There’s a story in today’s Chronicle about a transgender person who’s ticked off because the DMV person who took their gender re-assignment paperwork, took their address and started soliciting them with religious material. Let me go on record as saying it was highly inappropriate of the DMV worker to do that. When it’s your job to preserve someone’s private information for the government (and anyone who takes an address down is), you’ve got to do their job, no matter how deplorable the actions of the person are. The transgender person is absolutely right to object to that.
  • That said, it’s just baffling to me that our society allows people to “change their gender”. What does that even mean? We define sex by our chromosomes… and those can’t be changed. Sure, you can slice off the penis, drill a hole in their pelvis, put breast implants in their chest, and give them hormone injections, but the chromosomes don’t change. At some level I understand why because of our noble insistence on liberty in the US we allow the surgery to go forward (although I can make a compelling argument why our liberties end before that). But there’s no reason why someone’s birth certificate/driver’s license should be able to be changed. Those surgeries didn’t change their fundamentals. While it wasn’t right for the DMV worker to take advantage of their role to notify this person of their perversion, the perversion of the nature of our humanity is quite real, as is the associated risk of hell that goes along with it.

Expect more posts…

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The fall is a VERY busy time for me. I usually try to limit myself to three hobbies at a time:


  • RCIA
  • Religions ed (2nd grade this year)
  • Catholic blogging


  • RCIA
  • Religions ed
  • Catholic blogging


  • RCIA
  • Sailing
  • Catholic blogging
  • But fall, I bust my limit:

    • RCIA
    • Religions ed
    • Cal football
    • Catholic blogging

    The result is that something falls off the radar and it’s often the Catholic blogging. Add to this that this year I’m taking a all-day Saturday class once a month and I definitely busted my limit this fall, so the blog has been entirely stagnant.

    In any case, now that football season is over, sadly too soon with no bowl game, but that’s a post for my other blog, it’s time for me to pick this back up. Here’s some of what you can expect:

    • Chapter by Chapter review/rebuttal of Hitchen’s “God is NOT great”
    • Daily ‘quick hitters’ like before
    • Reflections on politics
    • Reflections on the global Church

    Please keep tuned in!