Equal political voice and democratically responsive government are widely cherished American ideals. Yet, what is happening today is a far cry from what has been happening at recent town halls, where angry protesters stooped to ad hominem attacks. Hatefulness is not attractive or persuasive.
In a Sept. 2 WorldNetDaily column, anti-choice zealot Jill Stanek shamefully dismisses Sen. Edward Kennedy’s accomplishments in the Senate based on a single issue - abortion. What was left out from her column was how Kennedy’s Catholic faith grounded his work and commitment on behalf of those less fortunate and those marginalized. His legislative history proves it. He authored more than 2,000 pieces of legislation in his time, of which 500 became law.
It was his faith that allowed him to be instrumental in allowing Hispanics and African Americans to benefit from the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act; and allowing the poor and the elderly to benefit from the adoption of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in promoting women’s equality in college sports with the passage of Title IX. In the 1980s, he championed the rights of workers and government assistance to the needy and led the way in securing funding for the treatment of HIV/AIDS through Ryan White AIDS Care Act. He also helped to bring racial justice to South Africa by spearheading anti-apartheid efforts and was a leading voice on human rights issues throughout the Central American wars in the 1980s. In the 1990s, he co-authored the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act helping business to begin to understand the Catholic insight that “work is for man; man is not for work” and later paved the way in providing health insurance to poor children through State Children’s Health Insurance Program. He not only defended the dignity of immigrants by reforming immigration in 1965 by abolishing irrational quotas, but continued to champion for immigrants until his death.
I won’t pretend he was perfect. To say that Sen. Kennedy was flawed is to recognize the human reality that he too is fallible, which he acknowledges. His letter to Pope Benedict XVI was his way of saying he was “sorry” for his own shortcomings, which one could deduce included his support of abortion and the Chappaquiddick incident. I respect personal views on this issue including the opinion that Kennedy made a great error over that issue, but that should not take away from his accomplishments.
Understanding the the political implications of spiritual issues, in 2007 the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a document entitled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship that lays out the moral principles Catholics should consider in determining for whom they will elect into office. Catholics are asked to “[focus] more on the pursuit of the common good than on the demands of narrow interests.” Commenting on the issue of abortion, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the driving force of the document, said,
“You cannot be authentically Catholic if you do not support life, yet it is not enough just to support life, you have to go beyond that. To really be authentically Catholic, you need it and the family rights, the right to education, the right to take care of the poor, the right of migrants.”
The truth is, Sen. Kennedy was truly his brothers’ keeper as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
1941 Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples.International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.
Something Jill Stanek purposely left out is that prior to Sen. Edward Kennedy’s passing, Pope Benedict XVI replied to Kennedy’s letter and bestowed his Apostolic blessing, which permits the soul to go directly to heaven, upon Sen. Kennedy’s final weeks.
His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the risen savior to all who share in his sufferings and trust in his promise of eternal life.
Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.
As a truly faithful Christian, shouldn’t Jill Stanek follow Pope Benedict’s compassionate example?
It is hard to respect any political movement that advocates the sanctity of life, yet have no problem denying 46 million people health insurance. Where is the respect for the sanctity of human life for 20,000 people who die each year unnecessarily because they lack the healthcare they need? More ironically, they are also the same people who have no problem allowing people to carry assault rifles to town hall meetings.
When political pundits like Jill Stanek, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs become the voice of the people, when death threats against the President of the United States increase over 400% in President Obama’s short time in office, it becomes clear they have become a movement of denialogues, people whose ideology is morally bankrupted and without principles.Edmundo “XicanoPwr” Rocha is a social worker, an activist, freelance writer and founder and editor of The Sanctuary. He is also the creator of Para Justicia y Libertad, a Latino-centered political blog focusing on the humanistic perspective of politics, history, and society as they relate to the Latina/o community throughout Texas and the United States.