Saturday, October 11, 2008
M.E. Sprengelmeyer did a great job covering the Iowa Caucus back in December:
PART THREE: Why Iowa?
PART TWO: Democrats
PART ONE: Republicans
And then in January, he wrote this on his blog with a link to his great Rocky Mountain News wrapup article about the Iowa Caucus:
Well, if Iowa is a microcosm of the national White House contest, then a precinct caucus in the little, back roads town of Adel was an even tinier example of the run for the Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center.
In Adel, where the downtown streets are paved with bricks in honor of the masonry factory that built this town, the result perfectly matched Iowa's statewide results: Sen. Barack Obama first, former Sen. John Edwards second, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton third.
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/jan/03/sprengelmeyer-caucuses-filled-drama-and-few-cookie/ highlights Clinton's struggle to connect on a personal level with average voters.
It seems to me our wonderful Colorado Caucus, the system that has served us well since 1912 is in great danger. I attended the Denver Democrats Central Committee meeting last Tuesday. The big announcement was that none of the officers are standing for reelection, and no one has announced that they are interested.
If no one steps forward to lead all the political newcomers who came into the system at the neighberhood caucuses last February, we can anticipate a disaster in 2012. Right now it appears that there is no leadership in Denver.
Can we take the lessons of Iowa and strengthen Colorado in general and Denver in particular, or are we going to let ourselves slip back into the muck and mire of apathy and neglect?
Friday, October 10, 2008
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, Render unto Caesar, p. 197
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
State Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, asked a very good question of Colorado's two Senate candidates at Monday's 9News debate. Too bad he didn't get a very good answer.
"As you know," Witwer said, "42 percent of our federal budget goes to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. And with the retirement of the baby boomers that number will only go up. Currently the only plan to pay for that is to add it to debt and it will be on the shoulders of the next generation. One of you two gentlemen will likely serve in the last U.S. Senate that can address this problem before it reaches that kind of crisis . . . And my question to both of you is what specifically would you do to address that looming crisis?"
Carroll then writes about how both candidates sidestepped the question.
This is the comment to Carroll's column that I just posted:
Yes, there is a problem. And not just in this race.
Political parties under current leadership are a problem. I went to the Central Committee meeting of one of the largest, strongest political organizations in the state last night and there was virtually no thoughtful discussion about the Colorado ballot issues. There was a rush to finish the meeting and get to a bar that was TiVoing the debate.
Presidential campaigns are a problem. Everyone complains about how much time and money ($200+ million!) has been spent to get to the debate last night!!!
Local campaigns are a problem, districts are made "safe" when political parties negotiate boundries every ten years and there is virtually no real debate.
So what's the solution?
I'm going to suggest this as a topic at our next Denver Socrates Cafe tomorrow (Thursday, 10/9) evening , "Who do you trust? Media, groups, campaigns, political parties, independent research, and devine revelation: How can voters best form their opinions today on candidates and ballot issues." Join us for good discussion on important topics each week as we seek truth by our own lights. More informationa and RSVP at http://socratescafe.meetup.com/82
What does it mean to be a good citizen today? How do we become part of the solution rather than part of the problem? These are questions on my mind right now, I hope you'll come and help us find the answers, or at least the paths to the answers, at our Denver Socrates Cafe meeting this Thursday. http://socratescafe.meetup.com/82
Monday, October 06, 2008
Keys to Ben Franklin's success.
Jeffrey A. Miron, senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University. A Libertarian, he was one of 166 academic economists who signed a letter to congressional leaders last week opposing the government bailout plan.
There is an interesting article in the Denver Post about the Colorado Democracracy Alliance (a local offshoot of the national Democracy Alliance), and how it is getting it’s political points across through support of a network of non-profits.
Here’s the comment I just posted at the end of the Denver Post article:
I'm going to suggest this as a topic at our next Denver Socrates Cafe, "Media, groups, independent research, and devine revelation: How can voters best form their opinions today on candidates and ballot issues." Join us for good discussion on important topics each week as we seek truth by our own lights. More informationa and RSVP at http://socratescafe.meetup.com/82
Sunday, October 05, 2008
A moral guide for Catholics entering the voting booth
In order for men and women to engage in the political debate, their consciences must be formed. Only then can they discern the common good. The U.S. bishops emphasize the role of conscience in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility, a guide for Catholics as they prepare for the 2008 elections.
Conscience emerges as a voice, greater than one’s own, from the center of two sources: right reason and the teaching of the church. Conscience communicates the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, based not on the truth of circumstances, my top values or best intentions, but first and foremost on the truth of things in themselves accessed by faith and reason. To ensure that each aspect of conscience thrives, we have an obligation to form our consciences: “a well-formed conscience…perceives the proper relationship among moral goods” (No. 34).
Forming One’s Conscience
The formation of conscience entails first the clearing away of sin and its effects: concupiscence, ignorance, weakness, ideologies, microscopic self-concerns, lingering justifications, anger and prejudicial impulses. In the process of being freed from sin, our minds more easily grasp, and our hearts more easily accept, that which is true. The Holy Spirit seeks to build up, throughout our lifetime, the virtue of prudence within us (No. 19)...
Thus, the formation of conscience thrives on our openness to hear the voice of God in Scripture, in the teaching of the church and the prayerful discernment of the true dimensions of the concrete choice before us. Even with our best efforts, our judgments of conscience may, at times, be only partially correct. God continues to seek inroads to our heart to clear the blockages that impede a mature moral vision…
…There are times when it seems difficult to apply a judgment of conscience. We may judge some policies of one candidate to be correct, but dislike other policies that seem to be morally erroneous. Rather than stubborn resistance, this calls me deeper…
The application of conscience is often difficult: “There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil” (No. 35)…
On a political coastline where the waters run shallow, it is not uncommon that in a particular contest each candidate on the ballot holds a position that favors an act of intrinsic evil… The focus on “careful deliberation” cannot dwindle to a minimal criterion by which one can squeeze past the core issues, much less justify support for intrinsic evil; it is a summons beyond our vision to a new junction, where we are called to embrace a new vision.
Conscience sees broadly. It brushes back the curtain, pries down the lever, and by the leverage of honest truth is able not simply to change, but to transform the world.
Rev. J. Brian Bransfield is a moral theologian with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis and its incoming executive director. In America Magazine http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11118