Democrats for Life
I have decided to take some time away from my Democratic Party membership- this includes resigning as Vice President of Florida Democrats for Life. I have been a Democrat in spirit from the age of 13, when I took the initiative to volunteer many hours for the 1976 Jimmy Carter presidential campaign.This decision is not a flippant one. I will not trade one major party for another, I am going in an Independent direction and would like to found an American-version, Common Good Party, when time permits.
“22. Today the picture of development has many overlapping layers. The actors and the causes in both underdevelopment and development are manifold, the faults and the merits are differentiated. This fact should prompt us to liberate ourselves from ideologies, which often oversimplify reality in artificial ways, and it should lead us to examine objectively the full human dimension of the problems.” Pope Benedict XVI Caritas in Veritate Continue reading
One of the latest noteworthy political rumors is that Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) is considering a run for Governor of Michigan. A Stupak victory would be a decisive pro-life victory for Michigan and drastically change the abortion policies promoted from the state’s Governor’s mansion.
Democratic Representative Bart Stupak, a leader of a drive to toughen anti-abortion restrictions in President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul bill, said he is “seriously” considering running this year for governor of Michigan.
Stupak told reporters last night he is “really concerned where we’re going as a Democratic party of Michigan,” and “I may very well be the strongest candidate because, as you know, I don’t do everything my party tells me.”
He said his independence, shown in the health-care debate by his insistence that an overhaul bill clearly ban federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions, “works well” in a general election contest.
Still, he said he won’t join the gubernatorial race if a “heavy duty” primary battle develops for the Democratic nomination. In such a case, his opposition to abortion rights would alienate too many voters.
Michigan Lieutenant Governor John Cherry earlier this month announced he wouldn’t run for the top job, leaving Democrats without an obvious frontrunner. Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, is barred by term-limit laws from running again.
If Stupak joins the race, it would force Democrats to defend a House district that includes Michigan’s entire Upper Peninsula, an area generally friendly to Republicans. Stupak, a former state trooper first elected to Congress in 1992, was the driving force behind abortion restrictions included in the House’s draft of a health-care bill that now threatens to delay a final agreement.
Health care reform has been at the forefront of the American political discourse in the past few months. One of the most difficult tasks in this debate is to discern an authentically Catholic approach to reform efforts. The Catholic Church takes no official position as to how a health care system ought to be structured, but rather presents enduring moral principles that must be present in public policy.
Adhering to the richness of Catholic social teaching, the ultimate goal for Catholics must be to establish a system that is capable of universal access and coverage for all American citizens, one way or another. Any number of schemes might achieve universal health insurance and preferences will differ based on political philosophy, but the end result seems to be a Catholic moral obligation. In this sense, no Catholic ought to oppose universal health care, if it means achieving coverage for all Americans citizens either through market schemes, government assistance, “third sector” non-profit organizations, co-operatives efforts (co-ops), or some combination of these depending on the social need, the ethical principles at stake, and the resources each solution offers.
Catholic social teaching treats health care as a profound social interest and essential for the common good. Health care, because of this, ought not to be viewed as a mere commodity. The poor and vulnerable, by default, are immediately disadvantaged as health care costs increase. The United States, we are told, has the most technologically advanced and best quality medical care. But, one must inquire: at what cost? Other consumer “goods” are not essential safeguards to the indispensable good of human life in the same way as medical care.
Health care markets that are laissez-faire, an inherently utilitarian mechanism, do not necessarily yield nor are they ordered toward natural justice. Natural law theory is alien to such a mechanism— it is not intrinsic to it, neither is solidarity or preferential option for the poor, though these things are not necessarily excluded by it.
It is self-evident that different spheres of society appropriately employ different standards of distribution. College professors assign grades based on merits of achievement; athletic competition employs the same principle. Parents might distribute slices of cake at a birthday party to strict equality. In the same way, numerical equality governs votes in a democratic society. Food, clothing, shelter, electronic goods, clothing, automobiles, jewelry, etc, receive unequal distribution by market mechanisms—sometimes justly, sometimes not.
Need is one of those principles of distribution (and one of those things often argued about) recognized in some spheres, but not others. Need is terrible for distributing grades, but the proper principle for distributing emergency food supplies. Need, arguably, is a proper principle for the distribution of health care. Health is necessary for a community’s proper functioning. Justice, in terms of health care, will require a redeveloped way of distributing health care based on personal responsibility, collective interest, and legitimate need—the weakest and most vulnerable among us first and foremost.
Many important areas of life must resist “commodification,” at least in the same sense as dispensable goods. This could not be more evident than by the fact that people are becoming commodities to other people. Children are the prime example of this, from abortion to assisted reproduction. Fundamentally, justice demands that we re-examine our consumerism for it is the heart of the issue and I believe, the life-source of the “Culture of Death.” Continue reading
Hattip to the ever alert Jay Anderson of Pro-Ecclesia. Because Congressman Tim Ryan (D.Ohio) abandoned his pro-life position, Democrats for Life of America removed him from their national advisory board. This news story demonstrates Ryan’s transition to voting pro-abortion. Interesting that Ryan abandoned the pro-life cause after the Democrats took control of the House in 2006. I suspect that he is ambitious and decided that in a House run by pro-abort Democrats being a pro-lifer was not a career enhancer. At any rate, as a pro-life Conservative Republican I salute the action of these pro-life Democrats. It would have been better to boot him in 2008 after his changed voting record had become clear, but the main thing is that Democrats for Life have acted now. Their action lends credence to the seriousness with which they view the issue of abortion. Bravo! (Two articles praising Democrats in two days by me? I’m going soft!)
Here is a blog I wrote for fladems4life.org- this is the website for Florida Democrats for Life organization- If you are a Democrat and pro-life you should seriously consider joining the National and State chapters for Democrats for Life. There is a lot of freedom for you to bring your ideals and ideas into these growing organizations. I believe it is mostly a waste of time trying to turn Democrats into Republicans or vice versa- there is a philosophy of governance that pulls deeper than individual issues- even big issues like abortion.
It is often easy to forget in the ongoing debate over abortion that many of the women who actually end up getting them, don’t actually want them. In some cases, the abortion is sought out reluctantly, but willingly enough. In others, however, there is both subtle and overt coercion. Recognizing this ugly fact, however, may yet bring with it some good news for the pro-life movement.
Although the subject of President Obama being honored by Notre Dame has quickly cooled in the fast-paced blogging universe- I wanted to weigh in with some comments because I think it is important to hold the President to account on some of the promises he made in his speech, and to offer some ideas for how Catholic universities should approach such political intersections in the future.
First of all let me say that I intend for the title of this piece to be polemical. I hope it is not the case, in all circumstances, that pro-life organizations and major players in the movement, are unfairly excluding, or consciously undermining budding pro-life Democratic candidates and causes. But my own experience is worth sharing and considering- just in case.