Sunday, May 29, 2016

Trumped out redux - moving beyond Joe to the ASP?

I posted some of this earlier - but there have been developments since. ...


I earlier admitted that I was burned out on politics - at least burned out given the nature of the campaign thus far this year.

I had followed the current slog to the nominations with decreasing interest as candidates I thought I could support gradually fell by the wayside, and with increasing horror at the thought of whom the major parties seemed determined to nominate.


It's still looking like Trump vs Hillary - neither of whom I can support or vote for.


I know the arguments about picking the lesser evil or at least voting to lessen the evil - but to me either way means voting for evil.

Hillary is just too rigid - and wrong - in some of her beliefs, especially when it comes to moral issues. And Trump - who can tell what he really believes other than in drawing attention to himself?

I know, that sounds a little snarky, but frankly, I long ago got all Trumped out. All I have been able to muster lately are a few political clerihews, such as this one:

"John Miller"
 provided Trump filler.
Asked if it was really he, Trump said, "I don't sound like me,
that is, he isn't he, I mean, me."

Given the state in which I live - NY, where the Democratic candidate has won easily every year since 1984 - my vote is not likely to count anyway, so I had been leaning toward a write-in candidate, Joe Schriner, a consistent life Catholic. (Yes, consistent life on issues like abortion, the death penalty, unjust war, euthanasia, and more. Not like those lip-service so-called prolife candidates who support abortion under some circumstances, and of course support the death penalty, questionable military action, and so on.) I agree with him on issue after issue, so I can honestly say I'd be voting for a candidate I like and respect.


BUT, since finding him I've discovered another alternative.

The American Solidarity Party.  The party was created in 2011 as the Christian Democratic Party USA  and endorsed Schriner in it's first presidential campaign back in 2012. After that election, the party changed its name to the ASP, and has been slowly growing . Now it is planning to hold a nominating convention in July. They may nominate Schriner again, but it increasingly looks like they are trying to name one of their own in an attempt to grow the party. That makes sense.

The ASP is, like Schriner, promoting a platform that is very Catholic when if comes to social, moral, and economic issues. It's a rational and more centrist alternative to the two extreme major parties.

Yes, the third party arguments can get tossed out again, but isn't it time we stopped being duped by the major parties? The Republican Party began as a small third party, so the ASP may have a chance to become a major player down the road.

I registered with the party and said I'd even be open to running for local office as an ASP candidate. A party leader then contacted me and asked if I'd consider tossing my hat in the ring for President. I suspect it was just to get a couple of possible candidates for the convention. At the very least, the candidate will have no chance this year, so it's more just to have a face and a name to help the party get some recognition.

I understand that goal, but I declined the offer. I'm not a serious candidate for such an office, there are a number of better qualified folks in the party already, I can't see me hitting the campaign trail given my reserved ways, and, the last point, the wife was not enthusiastic! But I would be willing to help them organize locally.
 

The logo of the party is a pelican, a traditional Christian symbol of charity, by the way.

So, looks like I will be involved in politics in some capacity. And it looks like I will be able to actually be happy about supporting a Presidential candidate.

COMMON GOOD | COMMON GROUND | COMMON SENSE.

Sounds good to me! 

Pax et bonum

Friday, May 27, 2016

Favorite Rosary mysteries


I don't know about other people, but when reciting the Rosary there are mysteries that resonate with me more than the others.

Mind you, I reflect on them all, but some just have added meaning. It's basically one per each of the different collections of mysteries.

With the Joyful Mysteries, it's the Nativity. But then, what would you expect from someone whose favorite holiday is Christmas, and who plays Santa professionally! The Nativity just fills me with joy and puts a smile on my face.

With the Sorrowful Mysteries, it's the Agony in the Garden. It might be because that's the one that I can most identify with - the emotional suffering of facing something horrible.

With the Glorious Mysteries, it's the coming of the Holy Spirit. I just feel so full of that energy and power the Spirit brings, and it reminds me of Charismatic Renewal days.

And when it comes to the Luminous Mysteries, it's the Wedding Feast at Cana. I just imagine Jesus at such a human celebration, and I picture him dancing. That image makes my heart dance!


Pax et bonum

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Today's haiku


morning moon -
golfer in hoodie searches
for where his ball went

abortion vigil -
Hillary backer gives us
finger as we pray

outside the clinic
unmothered mothers slowly
walk to waiting cars

Pax et bonum

Three religious haiku


The hermit/solitary life newsletter, Raven's Bread, just published three of my haiku.

The first had been published before:

mother's rosary -
threads still hold
where links had broken.

But the other two had not been in print before:

abbey chapel -
monks celebrate Mass
as crickets chant

falling leaves -
walking the dog and praying
one bead at a time

I've now been published more that 50 times, though some of the poems have been reprints. So I think it's more accurate to say I've had more than 40 poems published.

Just enough to feel like a real poet and writer.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Proud to be a Prude


I am a prude.

Yes, I'm aware of the negative connotations of the word. As the good folks at Miriam-Webster put it, a prude is "a person who is easily shocked or offended by things that do not shock or offend other people," with the sense of being a goody-goody or a fuddy-duddy or a prig. Generally it's applied to people who object to what they perceive as excessive or inappropriate sexuality, skimpy or revealing clothing, foul language, or violence.

There are indeed people who are prudish to an unhealthy level, who reject, for example, nudity even in acceptable situations, such as with one's spouse or during a physical exam, or even when changing clothes, or any normal sexual activity even in marriage.

But there's more to the word than that.

The word comes from a French word "prudefemme" - a good woman or an honorable woman. That doesn't sound bad.

And the person's objections are described as exceeding prevailing community standards.

But what are community standards? How are they defined? Are they always valid? And what about eternal, moral, or objective standards?

What I find is that the person who is called a prude is often called so by those who want to ignore or reject traditional morality.

Take the issue of sex outside of marriage. It's standard fare in movies and on television these days - even on shows that are deemed "family entertainment." Dating is portrayed as synonymous with having sex (just as being engaged has become synonymous with living together without being married.) In dramas, implied or simulated sex seems to be a requirement. Characters even in comedy shows are often obsessed with having sex, or are frequently shown in sexual situations.

But if you dare to say a particular scene, or the almost mandatory titillating topless or nude shot in movies is inappropriate or unnecessary, someone will yell "prude" at you.

Yet traditional teaching is that sex outside of marriage is a grave sin. That's in the Bible. It's a sin that's listed with other grave sins that can get you damned.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, "2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young."

And when you portray it in movies or on television, you stray into pornography: "2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense."

Now, community standards have been so watered down that these grave actions are deemed "acceptable," but that does not abrogate eternal moral standards. Those declining standards are symptomatic of a coarsening of the culture. Christians have often pointed out that this is one of the major ways Satan - or if you prefer, evil - is slowly seeking to damage us and separate us from God.

Moreover, if the rule of thumb is community standards, what about in other communities that have other standards? What passes for "normal" and "acceptable" in parts of the West would get you arrested and even physically punished (if not executed) in other lands. This is not to justify such harsh punishments, but if the producers (and supporters) of movies and television shows want to use community standards as an argument, then they should consequently not market their products in places where the standards are different.

Or is the only real standard maximizing profits?

The same kinds of arguments used in terms of sex can be raised when it comes to foul language, dress, and excessive violence.

And are we not called to model appropriate behavior? That would mean those who claim to be people of faith need to be careful about what they watch and say and promote in any way. Are we not also called to speak out to defend the eternal values and the innocent who are being led astray by "community standards?"

As for those who still want to call defenders of morality and appropriate behavior "prudes," remember, antonyms of "prude" include "immoralist," "libertine," and "misbehaver."

Are those things you really want to be called?

As for me, I'm proud to be a prude.

Pax et bonum.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

All Trumped out - I'm leaning toward Joe


I admit it.

I am burned out on politics.

I followed the current slog to the nominations with decreasing interest as candidates I thought I could support gradually fell by the wayside, and the horror of whom the major parties seemed determined to nominate became more real.


It's looking like Trump vs Hillary - neither of whom I can support or vote for.


I know the arguments about picking the lesser evil or at least voting to lessen the evil - but to me either way means voting for evil.

Hillary is just too rigid - and wrong - in some of her beliefs. And Trump - who can tell what he really believes other than in drawing attention to himself?

I know, that sounds a little snarky, but frankly, I'm all Trumped out. All I have been able to muster lately are a few political clerihews, such as this most recent one:

"John Miller"
 provided Trump filler.
Asked if it was really he, Trump said, "I don't sound like me,
that is, he isn't he, I mean, me."

Right now -  and given the state in which I live - my vote is not likely to count anyway, so I'm leaning toward a write-in candidate, Joe Schriner, a consistent life Catholic. (Yes, consistent life on issues like abortion, the death penalty, unjust war, euthanasia, and more. Not like those lip-service so-called prolife candidates who support abortion under some circumstances, and of course support the death penalty, questionable military action, and so on.) I agree with him on issue after issue, so I can honestly say I'd be voting for a candidate I like and respect.


Pax et bonum

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Noodling Again!



one who dares mock the
flying spaghetti monster
will soon pasta way

Pax et bonum