For the past several weeks, our elected leaders have been rattling the partisan sabers over the budget, the debt ceiling, and the deficit. Politocal pundits of all stripes have weighed in trying to find and level blame on who is responsible for the grinding halt that is our federal governement. Of course, Republican pundits blame the president and the Democrats; the Democrats blame the House and the Tea Party; the White House blames the Congress and vice versa. Of course, on blogs. class warfare reigns and it is so common for groups to villify the rich or the poor, both leveling the same accusation of the other side being a group of greedy societal parasites. It has gotten ugly.
Truth be told, though, at the end of the day it is the American voter who is ultimately to blame. WE are a federal republic, we vote for those who make the decisions. We elected every single representative, senator, and president their post. We were the ones who sent the conflicted message to them that we want loads of freebies (which the DNC picked up on) but we don't want to pay for it (which the GOP picked up on). WE allowed them to play every devisive card (gender, race, orientation, religion, social class, economic class) to cater votes. We allowed them to replace real debate with a collection of 10 second sound bytes that were rhetorical fluff. We allowed to demagouge instead of expalin their positions. We allowed them to throw mud at their opponents, to slander and lie about their opponenets. Worst of all we rallied around the question "How can my life be made better by this election" (Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago) instead of asking "How can this country and all its citizens be made better?". How did we think this would end well?
All of these things are in direct opposition to our Catholic faith. Our faith is based in love of God; that is, a love that by its nature looks out for the good of others. St. Paul tells us that this love rejoices in the truth, is not envious, and seeks the good of the other. There is no segment of this life in which the love of Christ is supposed to be absent. If we are true to our call as Catholics, then we bring that love into our political decisions and demand that those we elect do so as well. Wouldn't it be great if our elected officials collectively looked at what was really in the best long term interest of this country, even if in doing so the are sacrificing their political careers? Wouldn't it be awesome if both we and the Congress we elect realized that wisdom and not demagoguery should prevail in our social discourse? These things are entirely possible, but first we must demand the life of Christian love to be each of our way of life and elect those who will do the same: those who look out for the good of the entire population, not just the part they hope votes for them.