Saturday, September 25, 2004

An Exercise in Reality

First a series of questions dealing with President Bush.

- Has President Bush promised to support and expand hunger around the world?
- Has he proposed to keep developing countries always in debt?
- Has he pledged to increase poverty levels here and around the world?
- Has he used his authority to ensure the spread of disease and an increase in unclean drinking water?
- Has he used federal monies to fund initiatives with the expressed desire to continue the spread of AIDS in Africa and Southeast Asia?
- Has he used the bully pulpit to encourage the Janjaweed militias in Dafur to commit genocide against African Christians?

The answer to each of these questions is, of course, No. Now let me turn the tables somewhat and ask a series of questions about Senator Kerry.

- Has Senator Kerry promised to keep abortion legal through the appointment of federal judges and Supreme Court justices who will agree to uphold Roe?
- Has he promised to fund organizations with tax dollars which advocate and provide abortion around the world?
- Has he not voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion ban?
- Has he advocated that parents not be notified if their daughter seeks an abortion?
- Has he promoted the idea that abortions be more readily available in hospitals even over the objections of these hospitals' administrators and medical personnel?
- Has he used opportunities as a presidential candidate to champion abortion? Should we expect the same if he were elected president?

The answers to each of these questions is a resounding, Yes!

Though we may wish the federal government could do more to end hunger, disease and forgive Third-World debt, Catholics can argue over how best to use our resources to do so. There is no argument over abortion. It should be stopped, not promoted and expanded.

President Bush does not want to keep people hungry or wish for them to contract AIDS, but Senator Kerry DOES want to allow the killing of innocent lives. He wants to enshrine it as a "right" and spend federal tax money to export it around the world.

There is a stark difference here. Why some Catholics fail to acknowledge it is beyond me.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"John Paul called the U.N. meeting important and said it was aimed at "a more united and efficient action against hunger and poverty." He noted the Vatican (news - web sites)'s No. 2 official, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is the city-state's secretary of state, participated in the debate and pledged the Holy See's support for the initiative.

The United States didn't join in the pledge to fight hunger and poverty."
From: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=535&ncid=535&e=15&u=/ap/20040926/ap_on_re_eu/vatican_rich_poor_2

Of course the President disagrees with the Pope on many issues such as poverty, the war in Iraq, etc. But hey, he's only the Pope, don't worry about what he says. Pick your one issue and shut out the rest of Bush's actions.

I'm not saying to vote for Kerry, I'm saying that a person with a conscience can NOT vote for George Bush. The blood on George Bush's hands will be on your hands as well. Abortion is not the ONLY way that people die. 1000 American soldiers cry from the grave for you to consider whether THEIR lives are also important.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Tim Huegerich said...

More accurately, an exercise in rhetoric. Of course Bush is not going to say he's going to expand hunger, but that is exactly what he has been actively doing. Let's just look at Haiti for an easy example. Millions starving after a U.S. endorsed coup and a hurricane (after a decade of U.S. economic strangle-hold)... Mr. Bush's administration has the authority to allow Haitians refugee status and accept them here when they risk their lives to wash up on our shores. Does he? Of course not. Not surprising to me. But your answer is "Bush couldn't do something awful like that--he's our pro-life hero! You're just a Bush-hater!" Well, check into it yourself. Don't fall back on your ideology... The President's rhetoric is, at least half of the time, idealistic.

But his actions speak very clearly to anyone paying attention.

"YOU HAVE NOT BEEN... PAYING ATTENTION" -Radiohead (2+2=5)
(not that I quote Radiohead as an authority, just as a very powerful way of putting it.)

8:21 PM  
Blogger David said...

Good point Tim. I have been thinking about the Haitian people all day. Wondering why their lives are so different from those who live in the Dominican Republic just on the other side of the island. Why thousands had to die. But I ask two things of you. Is it the sole responsibility of the United States (and indirectly President Bush) that the people of Haiti be pulled out of the poverty they live in? If so, why did the liberal champion Bill Clinton's actions not change anything there? And given the limited actions President Bush could take in helping the Haitian people, does his supposed inaction rise to the same level as the advocating of the intentional and direct slaughter of thousands of innocent babies a day? It just does not for me. Could we do more in Haiti? Yes. Should we? Yes. Yet, the sacrifice of thousands of innocent children with no end in sight is not worth it to me. Can you not understand why so many Catholics think this way? If abortion was outlawed, Catholics could be a force to push our leaders to help were they do not. Too bad it is only a dream and not reality.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Tim Huegerich said...

D.S., you ask good questions, to which there are solid answers. The abortion issue is a unique one. Republicans are able to say that they oppose abortion to win over pro-life voters, knowing full well that they will not be required to do anything significant to reduce or end abortion, but just vote on the, frankly, token bills that pass their way, without significant political cost for them.

On the other hand, foreign policy is an extremely complicated affair that the average citizen cannot follow without devoting a lot of time to it. We can talk about Haiti, but it is only one of dozens of similar situations. As a result, I would suggest that we look at Haiti as an indicator of Pres. Bush's general values and priorities, which I assure you it is.

He doesn't have to do anything complicated or solve all of Haiti's problems--he can simply recognize Haitian refugees for what they are, and stop sending them back to their likely death after they risked their lives floating here!

That said, Bush and the Republicans are indeed particularly culpable for the current state of Haiti (although the history of U.S. policy toward Haiti since we refused to recognized their successful slave rebellion as legitimate 200 years ago is atrocious). It's a long story, but an interesting one. In the early 90's, it was Clinton who re-established Haiti's first elected President after a coup (aided, incidentally, by Bush Sr.'s CIA) deposed him. Unfortunately, the Republicans overtook Congress in the mid-90's and were able to block all foreign aid, as well as development loans from international organizations from Haiti essentially because they feared the populist economic policies of Haiti's president, which were bad for U.S. businesses. This was especially tragic because we had promised Haiti aid to help rebuild after the coup. The stranglehold on economic aid to Haiti only increased under Pres. Bush, with evidence that we assisted a building insurgency in the country, which Pres. Bush eventually officially endorsed, and which led to the overthrow of Haiti's fairly elected President, ending their best chance at a stable government in 200 years. Of course, the blockage of all international aid was the primary force in destabilizing the country. In other words, Republicans, most recently led by Bush, deliberately overthrew a democratically elected government in Haiti to protect the interests of U.S. corporations. Now they will not even recognize the refugee status of the victims.

The moral is that Pres. Bush, simply put, places economic interests above human lives in foreign policy (as well as domestic, but that's another story). We can talk about additional examples if you want, and the point is that the aggregate of Bush's outrageous policies around the world are more than enough to outweigh his largely token efforts in abortion (which do not even claim to save anywhere near to the million aborted each year, anyhow...).

2:30 PM  
Blogger David said...

I seriously question your assessment of President Aristide and the "democratically elected" government in Haiti. I would point you to Stephen Johnson's piece (http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed030304b.cfm) to get a better grasp of the history of US intervention in Haiti, the reality of the situation there, and why the Bush Administration has decided on a more cautious intervention.

As for recognizing the refugees, if only it were as simple as you state. There is nothing in your analysis of what to do with all these refugees. Where will they live, work, who will provide for their medical care, etc.? We can do much, yes. We are a wealthy nation with many resources, but how many can we take in? If we open the nation to some, won't more want to come? How will we care for them all? These are serious questions and the answers have consequences for average citizens.

As for your dismissal of "token" pro-life victories, I am sorry you think they are just political gimmicks. Be assured, if Republicans do not produce on pro-life issues, in time pro-lifers will abandon them. But with Democrats in charge, we would not only not get these victories, but so many other significant efforts would be set back decades. The "right" to abortion would be expanded, exported and funded with federal money. That's tens of millions of babies here in the United States murdered. How countless more around the world. With Kerry we are assured that will happen. With Bush we have real hope we can save those children. Don't you want to save them Tim?

I will gladly breakdown more examples if you wish.

7:00 PM  

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