There are plenty of questions to consider this election year. What do we want our country to look like? What direction should it be going? Is Obama really a Socialist? Do I even know what really is Socialism? Is Romney substantively different from Obama? Is he just Obama-Lite? Or is he the true Conservative alternative? What does it mean to be Conservative? Is it OK if I am fed up with the whole damn system? Am I still patriotic if I want to send the whole lot of them (Democrats and Republicans) to hell (with a few notable* exceptions)?
What does it mean to be “Patriotic” anyway? Why is the Libertarian movement picking up so much steam? What does it mean to be a Libertarian? Is that (Libertarianism) really closer to what our Founding Fathers thought? Should my religious convictions inform my political thought? What do I think of this quasi-religio-political movement spearheaded by Glenn Beck?
What about these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere? Are they justified? How is a war just anyway? Am I for a war if it’s a Republican war and against it if it’s a Democratic war? What should I do if I decide both sides will get us into unjust wars around the world? Is Ron Paul right about getting out of the business of other countries and tending to our own mess? What about our friends that say they need us? Should we support Israel so heavily and unquestioningly? Should theology play a role in that decision? Knowing that theology does play a role in Romney’s stance towards Israel, does that bother me?
But what about me? What do I think about things? Do I have a political philosophy that I can articulate? Is my political philosophy derived from the pulpit, the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies, GBTV and the No Spin Zone†? I’ve heard of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Locke, and even some ominous references to Machiavelli; but what did they really think and how did that shape the American Experiment? Hasn’t America become more an Idea and less a place? What is the Spirit of America? What about those Ancient and Medieval political philosophers? Do Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas have something to say to us today? Do I even know what is the definition of law? Am I, like the vast majority of my fellow Americans, a legal positivist? (Had I even heard that term before just now??) What about Health Care? If life is an absolute right, does that mean health care is a right? Again, should my religious principles play a role in my thinking here?
Is Social Justice really a bad thing, like Rush, O’Reilly and Beck say it is? Doesn’t the Preamble to the Constitution say something about providing for the common welfare? Isn’t that Social Justice? Is there then a difference between the Left’s definition of Social Justice and the Traditional understanding? Haven’t many Popes who were opposed to Left-wing political philosophy written about proper Social Justice? Should I check those documents and see if there is something to learn?
Lots of questions in this article and no answers. I wanted to give my readers something to think about. I hope to supply some kind of direction in the future as we progress towards this very important election, but even more how to approach politics after the election… there is life after Decision 2012.
*Which I will not bother noting.
†No disrespect to Hannity, of course, but I can’t name all the Conservative pundits/preachers.
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