Talking Turkey About the Moose Hunter

Okay, I have a touch of Palimania.  I admit it.  But I am on the road to recovery.  Still, I will say up front that the Palin pick has swayed my vote.

Think about it.  All the mythology about The One, which took 18 months and the art of Hollywood to create, was all blown away in a few days by a real middle class, religious, staunchly pro-life mom who does not appear to be politically motivated.  Even if the Republicans loose, the moment is too sweet not to savor.

BTW, Palin’s speech came close to surpassing the record breaking viewership of the big 0’s speech, even though Palin’s had been carried by 4 fewer networks.  No smoke and mirrors, no Greek god motif and no support from Oprah!  Not bad.

Whatever might be the celebrity effect that has been caused by her gender, attractiveness and story, I think that the kind of support she is receiving from the right could in no way be generated if she were not the no-nonsense, social conservative that she is.

Considering what is at stake, I think Catholics and other Christians who brush this ticket off are going to die old maids.  At some point you have to be thankful for what you have, even if it is not perfect.  That just might as well be a donkey in the back of that truck.

Even so, the objections raised against the whole working mother iconography of Sarah Palin, one that militates against the traditional socially conservative religious view of marriage and family life, cannot easily be dismissed.  I was a bit mortified by this post by Debbie Schlussel:

And for the last several days, my jaw dropped to note the partisan pandering on both sides of the aisle, first as prominent liberal feminist women suddenly discover that a woman actually should stay home and raise a family, but second–and far more disappointing to me–as conservatives and Republicans suddenly endorse the fictional notions that 1) a woman can do it all and working women are good at raising a family–nix on both; and 2) it’s not a problem that a man quit his job and subvert his life to raise the family in submission to the ambitions of his wife.

It’s odd–and, frankly, jarring–to hear formerly traditional family values conservatives throw it all former principle out the window to adopt the lingua franca of what was once the exclusive domain of the Gloria Steinems and Betty Friedans of the world, to call “sexist,” those who raise the issue of Sarah Palin’s ability to mother her family and be a full-time working woman at the same time.

What is, since Friday, now “sexist” to these many conservatives-cum-lemmings, was yesterday “traditional family values.”

Ouch.  O course, I know this.  It is why I pointed out that Palin’s political career appears more like the efforts of a mom, who was fed up with the good ‘ol boys, to set things right.  This has happened before, even in Catholic cultures.  Women have found themselves in extraordinary circumstances and have risen to unheard of prominence in order to right the wrong.  This usually happens when the men who should have done this, either were afraid to do it or were incapable of doing it.

I also have been willing to consider the possibility that providence has led us to this point.  How else do you explain the  fact that a middle class hockey mom with little backing, money and power has come this far, this fast?  And she is still nursing a special needs baby!  One might argue that just because she is stepping outside the traditional role, does not mean that every woman should.

The problem is Sarah Palin does portray herself as a feminist and does encourage women to break all the barriers.  It does seem as though she thinks that a mom can do it all, and all of it well.

Schlussel also points out that the Palimania is also causing the advocates of traditional values to except the emasculation of men:

When Palin was initially announced, last Friday, as the McCain choice, I cheered her on. What I didn’t realize is that she had five kids, some of them very young. What I also didn’t realize was that, for all the talk by the GOP about this “hockey mom,” the real hockey mom in this picture–for the last two years, at least–has been Mr. Mom, Todd Palin.

I am, as you can see, inclined to see the best in all this. I am not so sure that Todd Palin is quite as emasculated as Schlussel thinks.  It remains to be seen.

I also think that Schlussel goes a bit overboard on her comments about the situation with Bristol Palin.  Everyone knows that Sarah Palin advocates abstinence and has backed that up in both her political and personal life.

In the end Schlussel is not so scandalized that she feels obligated to abstain from voting for the McCain / Palin ticket, and neither am I:

I like Sarah Palin, and I will be voting for her, more than John McCain.

But is her Mr. Mom marital employment and child-rearing dynamic a good example for the boys of America? Is it a good example for the girls of America?

Only if you want your men–no matter how studly and masculine–to be women, and your women–no matter how good-looking and feminine, as Mrs. Palin is–to be men.

For conservatives to sweep these issues under the rug now that “one of ours” is doing it, is to say that for all these years, our movement was a fraud.

Well, I for one will not sweep it under the rug.  But neither am I so naive to think that this culture war is going to be won overnight and without some measure of imperfection.  I do agree, however that it is ridiculous for social conservatives to be suddenly screaming sexism when they are asked if a mother with five children can reasonably undertake the office of Vice-President.

29 thoughts on “Talking Turkey About the Moose Hunter

  1. You’re not alone Father. The Palin pick seems to have swayed alot of votes. Many who were reluctantly going to vote for McCain only to keep Obama out are now eager and excited. I must also admit that Palin has renewed my political enthusiasm. It’s been a long time since conservatives have had anything to get excited about.

    Maybe I’m looking for justification, but the working mother issue is not insurmountable for me in this case. Of course it’s best for a mother to be home with her children, but I also recognize the fact that this isn’t always possible. There are situations where mothers must work outside of the home; single mothers, low income, etc. Perhaps it’s a stretch to put Palin in this category – but we are in desparate need for leadership, and I’m willing to stretch the boundaries of “traditionalism” (for lack of a better word) in this case, (especially considering how she continues to take special consideration for her family while on the job; i.e. keeping a baby’s crib in her office, breastfeeding while in meetings, etc… Maybe I’m a sap, but I think that’s pretty cool.)

    The bottom line is that (so far as we know up til now) Palin is the best candidate that we’ve had for a very, very long time. She isn’t perfect to be sure, but if we’re waiting for a perfect candidate we may as well bail out of the process altogether.

  2. Dear Fr.:

    You have summed up my families feelings on this completely.

    It DOES remind me of the scene in the Tolken movie when the pretty blond removes her helmut, announces “I am NO MAN” and chops the head off of the beastly nazgul… and then proceeds to kill the villan.

    I live in NY so my vote really doesn’t count as a conservative… but I might just pull the lever for Palin on principle here.

    I am Soooooooooooooo torn!

  3. Here is a bit:

    Now we know, thanks to her triumphant debut at the Republican convention on Wednesday, that Mrs Palin not only slaughters her prey. She impales its head on a stick and parades it around for her followers to jeer at. For half an hour she eviscerated Mr Obama in that hall and did it all without dropping her sweet schoolmarm smile, as if she were handing out chocolates at the end of a history lesson. . . .

    Hailing from Arizona and Alaska, the Republican ticket has a chance to rekindle a western conservatism different from the old Yankee paternalist sort or the Bible Belt version. They like their guns out there (some still kill their own food) and they are pro-life and deeply pro-America, of course. But at a time of grave challenges, the themes of economic freedom and opportunity, the resistance to the idea that government holds all the answers, could resonate with voters.

    This is an election, as the Democrats have realised all along, about an America on the cusp of change. With the moose-hunting, establishment-taunting Mrs Palin at his side, Mr McCain might represent a bigger change than the one that his opponents are offering.

  4. Well, as we stated in your other thread, I do feel her family will pay a price. You really cannot eat your cake and have it, too. Everyone must pay a piper and her piper will be that of her family. However, God is good and He can hopefully surround her with the right kind of help to nurture her family in her absence.

    I think that her current popularity shows something that the Democrats continue to ignore. That something is that there are far more conservative Americans out there than the media reflects. Yes, those of us in New England (and California) certainly are surrounded by many politically liberal people. But, out and about, scattered here and there, are the Palin-type people … the majority who did not go to fancy schools, living affluent lives, etc. Just the people who work an honest day for the honest pay and are happy to come home to a nice family each evening. There are more women who prefer to stay home nursing little ones than the media and statistics show. The statistics of working women is VERY skewed. The media makes us believe that we’re a dying breed … and certainly the statistics of divorce and dually employed parents is nothing to ignore. But, the IDEAL is still there. Down deep, people know that the treadmill they’re on is no panacea … they WANT that honest, traditional life. They yearn for it … so, I think someone like Palin and many of the conservative politicians give hope of that dream. We are such a misdirected people … lost without Christ so here’s a woman who proclaims her Christian faith and her ‘old fashioned’ ideals and isn’t embarrassed or apologetic about it! Hmmm. So many women are afraid to admit such sentiments … maybe this will be their wind beneath their wings.

    Well, as people have said, there’s nothing perfect about this situation. In fact, anyone who chooses to reach this level of politics will not be able to do so without some ill effects on their families … if nothing else, the spotlight and sudden popularity to the children is damaging enough. I do think that this will open the door to more and more women seeking these positions and this will not be a good thing for families, I fear. Hopefully it will be the kick in the pants that some men need to start rising to the occasion. Maybe if people can realize that what the nation likes about this woman is her faith and ideals … maybe some men who share these ideals will begin to get their chops back to gracefully take this on again.

    On another note, I did learn a lot about McCain that I didn’t know which helped me have a little more admiration for the man. Something I didn’t think I’d say before.

  5. A friend forwarded me an article on Palin as the new type (or rather, old type) of woman: Pioneer Woman!

    NY Post link: http://www.nypost.com/seven/09032008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/a_new_kind_of_political_woman_127181.htm)

    I was ruined by the Social Sciences, so please pardon me as I blow some hot, useless air!

    A sociology teacher once pointed out that there is an interesting thing about men and women: they do not occupy one of two, polar points on a broad spectrum of the masculine and the feminine. If anything, they cluster around the two points with differing degrees of proximity. There are some uber-men and women made correspondingly of either pure testosterone or pure estrogen. A majority of men and women, however, are more mixed, but with a clear dominance of the masculine or feminine traits. Beyond uber or normal men and women there exists and odd zone of overlap. Biologically, this “margin of mix” actually results in human beings who are born hermaphrodites.

    I dreg this up because I think that on the immaterial or spiritual levels the same pattern holds, at least loosely. To me what gives credible evidence to this thought is a passage in St. Faustina’s Diary “Divine Mercy in My Soul” where a nun is explaining to St. Faustina, as she is considering religious life, that to be a nun means, essentially, giving up all that fluffy girlie stuff. The convent is no place for poof!

    God clearly makes us according to his purposes. For the majority of men and women, it is going to be clear that men and women follow prescribed roles to a “T.” But for a small minority of men and women, despite being most definitely either men or women, they actually have characteristics that allow them to “cross over” into less than typical roles that, perhaps, allow them to do the less than typical jobs of their sex. St. Joan of Arc comes to mind.

    I don’t think this is pragmatic, or even accidental, either. I think it’s God’s Own Plan and it works to His Own Glory as our totally awesome Creator. We are to be thankful for who we are, no matter who or what God has made us to be. This is something that seems almost unbe-LEIV-ably impossible as members of a race shot through with pride. Perhaps Palin as Veep in ’08 is a glorious lark of God’s plan. Perhaps she is one of those few women whom God is using to send us a message. Considering that abortion is driven by promiscuity, and promiscuity by the lack of formative, foundational love instilled in children from an early age within a whole family, there is a marked need for strong and loving men to demonstrate honor towards women who have never received it. Likewise, there is a need for these same women, prone to promiscuity and abortion, to be addressed woman-to-woman. If abortion is to be defeated, women need to realize who they are and what they are worth.

    Maybe Sarah Palin is here to do exactly that. Politics is far from perfect because we are far from perfect. Radical change is so hard to come by because we have such a hard time coming by it, no matter how desperately we need it. We often have to “make do” with the best we can get our hands on because that is the only way to step forward into a better condition. Palin may not model womenhood as fully according to the rule, and as women generally should, but maybe, just maybe, she’s one of God’s exceptions. For the sake of unborn babies, the future of the family and the future of the Church . . . I sure hope so!

  6. Hmmm, about that Eowyn bit. Tolkien based Eowyn off the idea of the shieldmaiden, which was a virgin chosen to fight as a warrior. Now, in comparing Palin to Eowyn, we find a stark contrast. Why? Palin is married, and has 5 children. Eowyn is not married. And, a virgin warrior. Tolkien is careful not to cross the two, as we see Eowyn as the Warrior before her marriage to Faramir; and after her being married, setting down the sword. Just a bit of a reflection before we start misquoting Tolkien. 😉

    Now, my thoughts on Sarah Palin are a little skeptical. I mean, it’s great to see everything she ‘stands’ for, how she seems to be in touch with people, actually have a family and a new child; but on the otherside of this all: She’s a feminist. (Or talks like one anyways…) Does she still deserve the Catholic vote? After all, with the Knights of Lepanto and Other Mary’s, aren’t we striving to work towards ‘resintstating’ the traditional family? I mean, the world is a bad condition as it is, (unmanly men, fatherless familes) do we need a married woman, with a family at home, leading our people, taking high positions of power, and setting the example for other woman to do so. She DID tell other women to break the barriers. It would just be opening the pandora’s box of feminism.

    Lesser of two evils? Sauron or Saruman? Emperor Palpatine or Darth Vader? Captain Barbossa or Jack Sparrow? Either way, you end up with someone ‘bad.’ If I could vote, I’d write someone in. Let the people decide who they want as Pres/Vice-Pres. For some reason, it seems that Catholics don’t understand the concept that America is a Protestant/Free Masonic Country. I understand our obligation towards our country, but now things have changed. It’s an entirely different game. Is there hope for our society? Yes, through Our Lady. But honestly, I feel that voting won’t change a thing.

  7. Now, about the bit about women rising up in the past in situations where there we ‘no’ true men. The Old Testament gives a few examples of this. (These Old Testament women belonged to the true faith.) Joan of Arc did as well. But in comparing Palin with these, we have to understand she isn’t Catholic. So I’m a bit uneasy about comparing her to the Patron of France.

  8. I think that Glenn Beck stated it very well for me the other day:

    (I’m paraphrasing here) The reason why she is so appealing is because she has retained her womanhood. She has not tried to make herself into a man by wearing a pant suit and talking tough. Her feminism comes in the form of actually expressing herself as a woman.

    Her family is not another “glass ceiling” that needs to be shattered. They are part of the reason why she does what she does.
    To hell with experience……….she’s got my vote…

  9. Paul,

    Regarding my excellent use of Tolkien tradition–regardless of whether or not I have displayed complete disregard for the LOTR canon–by my brilliant play on Eowyn with Palowyn: You are a bigger stick in the mud than I am. 🙂

    As for the rest, I have expressed the same skepticism as you; however–and I know I risk being misunderstood here–I think we have to remember that political compromise is actually part of politics, and rightfully so. I mean, its almost as if one were to say that this election should not be a political choice, when in fact that is precisely what it is.

    Without question ALL our choices must be guided by moral principles, which in the first place will make it clear what we may not do under any circumstances, or at least in the present circumstances, like voting for Obama. But those principles do not answer all the prudential and strategic issues.

    No candidate or party is perfect, and the political arena is a forum of persuasion. Thus it operates on the basis of compromise. You try to persuade people to agree with you and you hope that they for the most part will, but you know that you are not going to get everything you want. That is just the way it is.

    I did register a protest vote in 2000 when I voted for Buchanon over Bush. I understand the principle. I also voted for Alan Keyes in this primary. Those decisions were prudential. In the last three elections I felt lost when I went into the voting booth. I was not about to make a moral compromise, but that did not solve the prudential and strategic questions.

    It remains a question as to whether a Palin vote will help traditional values or hurt them, but the fact is that she is a heck of lot more traditional than anyone we have seen in the political arena for a long time. I think she is more traditional than Regan, quite frankly. If you think about it, up until her selection it looked an awful lot like the Republican Party was trying to take abortion and same-sex marriage off the table. Well now those issues are back and people are raving excited.

    That perhaps Sarah Palin does not understand that her level of ability to translate her concern for her family into political action is not something to be imitated by most women, does not surprise me. She is not an Ivy League ideologue who has been brainwashed into thinking that there are no differences between men and women. She comes from a small town where women cook and wash and hunt and fish. She has no axe to grind. She is not embarrassed by her femininity, but neither has she been told that she can’t do the things that need to get done.

    Yes she is not Catholic, but we have NEVER had a Catholic candidate–not ever. JFK was not a Catholic candidate. So what are we waiting for? I mean she had a downs syndrome baby while she was governor and nurses the kid during meetings at work.

    Essentially, I think her values are traditional and what led her into politics was her concern for her family and community. That’s a great start.

    As for the Joan of Arc comparison, in an earlier comment I made the suggestion that she was an extraordinary woman like those exceptional women of old without making any direct comparisons with historical persons, because I know the comparison is not exact. Even so, because politics is a forum of persuasion, and because even given grace and the help of God, elections are determined by human choices, perhaps we have a non-Catholic woman providentially raised up, because, as we all know, a Catholic with her views would never be elected.

    Just food for thought.

  10. I haven’t read all of the comments here, but here are my two cents. It’s simple…we have two choices: 1) vote for a murderer who thinks it’s okay to let a baby from a botched abortioin die on a table, OR 2) vote for a candidate who’s VP speaks loudly on the issue of pro-life by accepting and loving her special needs child (don’t know the numbers but statistics show that there are so few down syndrome babies born these days due to abortions) and wants to be an advocate for these special children. She also spoke loudly by having her pregnant daughter, Bristol, and the boyfriend be present and in full view. That said to me, “hey, yes my 17-year-old is pregnant but she’s keeping her baby and her boyfriend is standing by her!”. Yes, I wish all mothers would stay home with their children, but in this matter, THAT can’t matter. As Fr. Pavone says, (paraphrasing) “we have to vote against evil”.

  11. Fr. Angelo… you said “she has no axe to grind”… LOL! Yeah… but as we could all see… she had an automatic weapon! I’m sure you did not intend to PUNtificate there… but it was funny nonetheless venerable Fr..

    Both yours and Master Paul’s insights were brilliant. I have much to think and pray about. Since I live in a bastion of liberalism… I’m wondering if a family “write – in” for Dr. Paul would actually even hurt McCain. Since we go by counties… I just wonder at the mathematics of saying to the wascally wepubwicans “HEY… I’M STILL NOT HAPPY because big government mitigates against the family”.

    I will have to look at the RED/BLUE map and see where my county went last time and the time before that.

    In the mean time… this “get Pain on Opra” thing is taking on a life of it’s own!!! If the fruits are any kind of talisman then the outcome of THAT will give us a hint as to God’s permissive will in this whole messy political season. I happen to think that Opra is one of the most destructive forces in our culture. If our (ah… married… not virgin) Palin friend manages to behead Opra… well then I can see the BHO balloon bursting and shriveling up (can’t help my overactive imagination). One amusing outcome, since there is now a PETITION to get Palin on Opra would be for Opra to CAVE and for Palin to decline by stating that Opra is no longer RELEVANT! (Well… a man can DREAM can’t he???)

    For we homeschoolers… this has been a most educational political season. My son Greg STILL insists I’m committing treason if I don’t vote for Ron Paul. I plan on letting him read through much of this good discussion late today.

    Well… have to go and work on his tree house some more. I have to run the electrical and plumbing and the CAT-5 ethernet cable to the tree (JeeessssssssssKiddin)!

    Mother of Mercy, protect us, your little children! Amen.

  12. It is unfortunate Mrs. Palin isn’t running for President, only then could I say-with a modicum of certainty-that my vote is impacted. McCain is an ardent supporter of embryonic stem cell research and expects taxpayers to fund it. I may die an “old maid” but I cannot endorse, sign-off on, support or say “yes” to a candidate who has such a conflicted and under-developed “pro-life” position as John McCain. Of course, there is still time for him to “evolve” his position.

  13. After much discussion with a friend of mine, and truly reflecting on some of the comments – I must agree that maybe this is what God intended for our country – the appointment of a VP with great morals, stands for what we “Catholics” stand for, and better than most Catholics – is ready to be both mother and Vice-President as she has proven with her present position. There have been numerous families that have had a stay at home father – do you see a “woosy” son in this mix? No, he is off to Iraq – that to me says a lot about the fathering in that home. We can’t be blinded by things that were 1000 years ago – we live in the present and have to deal with what God is giving us, and if this is the answer to all the prayers that have been storming heaven, well then it seems to me that Sarah Palin is the answer to them. We can’t expect a good Catholic to step forward – there are NONE! Look at Joe Biden for goodness sake. We should be on our knees thanking God for giving us someone to have hope in – she may not be Catholic, but she sure acts like one! May God help our country.

  14. The note bene of the memorandum of Cardinal Ratzinger on the worthiness to receive Holy Communion expresses the guiding principle in regard to situations like our present election.

    One may never vote for a pro-abortion candidate because they want to approve and promote that position; however,

    [w]hen a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.

    The cardinal (now pope) did not articulate clearly what would be legitimate proportionate reasons, but the best theologians and bishops that I know of have stated that only the issue of abortion and euthanasia are proportionate to abortion and euthanasia. In other words one could only vote for someone whose position on abortion and euthanasia is compromised when to do so would prevent a worse pro-death candidate from being elected.

    I think clearly that is the case here. In my opinion it is not a sin to vote for McCain, whereas it is objectively sinful to vote for Obama.

    That is not to say that one is morally obliged to vote for McCain. I think it is most important to distinguish the moral imperatives involved in voting from those that are prudential and strategic.

  15. Father,

    I was very happy to read your comments because I have heard some very unhappy people weigh in on this topic. As I have ALWAYS voted either for the Constitution party or the Libertarian party, I will probably do so again but I would have not problem voting for the McCain/Palin ticket either, if it looks really close. I think back to Queen Isabella of Spain, who allegedely was on a horse several days after giving birth galloping off to war (she didn’t fight, just organize and exhort). She had a perfectly capable husband, but she was the one called to do the leading. As a mother of a special needs child, whom the medical profession both wanted to terminate before birth and 10 days after birth, I was proud to the point of tears to see Gov. Palin and her family stand up and witness to the world that Trig, is just as perfect as any other child. I know from my own personal life, that prochoice people who have just heard my son’s life story, and seen him play, have seriously reconsidered their position on the issue. How many mothers had just found out that they were going to have a Down’s baby and turned on the TV, to see a 7 year old lick her hand and rub down Trig’s hair-only G-d knows how many children were saved as a result of that image…I know how the image of one loved but “imperfect” child can change hearts-more than all the clinic protesting (necessary as it is) will do. I have by the hand of G-d, purely accidentally told my families life story to women who have aborted a medically needy baby, and I know that they were changed forever by the witness. Irregardless, of whether the McCain/Palin ticket wins or loses, lives have been changed by that Families’ witness to the truth and their obvious love.

    Unfortunately, I have always witnessed conservative folks making assumptions about the daughters’s pregnancy. The implication that Bristol Palin is pregnant because of her mother’s career is quite uncharitable in my view. I have known several devout, large (12, and 14 children) homeschooling Catholic families (that even have had vocations in the family) where Satan has managed to entice one or 2 children to sin-pregnancy, suicide, or drugs. It happens even in the best of families.

  16. An interesting exchange, but I’m surprised noone here has mentioned the teaching of the Popes on this issue of “working moms.” If you want a very good, brief exposition of the subject, check out this article, “The Sovietization of American Women,” by Rupert Ederer: http://soli.inav.net/~jfischer/may99/rupertjederer.html

    In it he synthesizes the teachings of the 20th c. Popes, from Pope Leo XIII to Pope John Paul II. The Popes consistently teach that married women with children have a primary vocation to rear their children at home, except in cases of economic necessity (which is hardly Sarah’s case.) Here’s Pius XI, for example: “mothers should especially devote their energies to the home and the things connected with it.”

    Here’s John Paul II, emphasizing that, “While it must be recognized that women have the same right as men to perform various public functions, society must be structured in such a way that wives and mothers are not in practice compelled to work outside the home, and that their families can live and prosper in a dignified way even when they themselves devote their full time to their own family” and “Furthermore, the mentality which honors women more for their work outside the home than for their work within the family must be overcome.” (From Familiaris Consortio.)

    Rupert Edered points out that the Popes also teach that “women who are not mothers, or whose maturing or grown children no longer require great care, have a right to work at all occupations for which they are capable according to their own specific nature as females, and whenever women are performing work that is equal, they are entitled to equal pay.”

    As a stay-at-home mom, I very much appreciate the fact that now that this question has so dramatically arisen, there are many good Protestant pastors who are properly defending the role of mothers, as called for by the Catholic Popes, and are doing so far more courageously and with greater clarity and rationality than most traditional and conservative Catholics.

  17. Father, I wanted to get your thoughts on this:

    Sarah Palin in an interview with Charlie Rose today left open the possibility of war with Russia if they invade Georgia, saying, “I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help,” she said.

    Pat Buchanan, a few weeks ago, talked about the fact that Randy Scheunemann, *principal foreign policy advisor* to John McCain, was paid $290,000 by the regime of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to obtain a NATO war guarantee from the United States.

    With Palin already beating the war drums for war with Russia and Knowing John McCain’s foreign policy adviser is a double agent, the fact that there are two draft bills currently before Congress which mandate the drafting of all women 18-26 years old along with men, is making this Catholic father very nervous.

    Doug Phillips who runs the Vision Forum had this very pertinent comment:

    “The giddy endorsement by Evangelical leaders of a mother of young children including an infant to position herself as commander-in-chief of the United States Military is a de facto concession by these leaders that our eighteen-year-old daughters can be sent to the front lines of combat to die like men.

    If it is right, just, biblical, and desirable for a mother of young children to lead the strongest military operation in the world, then by the same logic it is acceptable to send our daughters to the front lines of combat. Should a draft be acceptable and desirable to the politicians in Washington, it will also be appropriate and necessary to draft our daughters.”

    Do you think this is just paranoia or should we be very concerned that our daughters will soon be fighting along with our sons in a muddy trench in Russia someday soon?

  18. Robert,

    I don’t claim that the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate is without problematic issues. I think her candidacy does present significant prudential issues in regard to the way we support and affirm traditional Catholic values. That is the point of this post.

    Yes, some may indeed argue that the acceptability of a woman as vice-president implies the acceptability of women fighting on the front lines in war. Such legislation should be resisted regardless of who is on the ticket.

    Nevertheless, the United States is not governed by a junta. Our military is run by a civilian government and many of our presidents never served in the military. Thus, I don’t think there is any logical connection between a woman vice-president and conscription of women to fight on the front lines, though I do not deny that there might be a psychological connection.

    I would be interested to know Palin herself thinks of the matter, and I would be a bit surprised to learn that she would support such a measure. But I am prepared to be surprised.

  19. Dear Father Angelo,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, but, if you’ll be patient with me, I am wondering if you could give me your thoughts on these two sections of my original comment:

    1. Mrs. Palin answered “Perhaps yes” when asked by Charlie Gibson whether she’d be willing to go to war with Russia to defend Georgia and Ukraine (as well as any other NATO country). I think that type of response is not in the category of problematic (as for instance, a promise to raise taxes). Committing the United States to defend all twenty-six members of NATO is not enough for this administration (and by extension, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin). Mrs. Palin is all but giving a war guarantee to defend two countries (Ukraine and Georgia) that aren’t even members of NATO.

    Now that would be a big problem if he were going to use the lives of other countries citizens to make good on that promise. In this instance, Father, to fulfill this kind of promise will cost the lives of not only my children, but those of every other family I know that has children of draftable age. How can anyone see call a candidate that gives war guarantees to protect so much of the planet with the lives of our children responsible, reasonable, and even sane?

    2. I don’t believe that Mrs. Palin has gone on record on the question of women in combat, but a few things are very relevant.

    a. This ‘conservative’ republican administration supports women in combat, as widely demonstrated in Iraq.

    b. Is there any reaon to believe that Mrs. Palin, a pro-life , pro- contraceptive (isn’t this a contradiction in terms?) ‘feminist’ has made clear that she intends to help women ‘break the glass ceiling’ would not hesitate to draft women? If you don’t think so, what possible reason could a female ‘commander in chief,’give for the fact that she would exempt women from the very job they presently do in Bush’s army?

    c.Lastly, there was a whole section in my comment that documented the fact that John McCain’s chief foreign policy advisor was paid $290,000 by the Georgian government to obtain the very war guarantee that Mrs. Palin gave to Charlie Gibson. Does it not strike you as highly unethical (and immoral) for a foreign policy advisor to John McCain being ‘owned’ by the very gov’t he’s committing our sons and daughters to defend (and die for) in the future?

    I know these are tough questions, dear Father. At the same time, when the lives of my children are potentially on the line (especially my daughters), it would be highly irresponsible not to ask them beforehand.

    If you would consider responding to these serious (but legitimate, I believe) questions, I would be deeply appreciative, for after all, we are talking about the most important issues of war and peace imaginable.

    I don’t believe i should be placed in the position of voting for a candidate who will kill my neighbors children in the womb any more than I should have to support a candidate who would recklessly sacrifice my children at the altar of neo-conservative globalist utopia.

    In Our Lady,

    Rob Collorafi

  20. Robert,

    The interventionist policies of the neocons trouble me as well.

    Palin favors bringing Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO. It is that context that the US would be obliged to protect them. I think that the question of the membership of NATO is a debatable topic. I don’t know what to tell you at the moment, except I do indeed find the double dealing you mentioned problematic.

    As I said before I abhor the idea of women being sent into combat. Still, I think all of us, especially women, are far more at risk under an Obama administration.

    Perhaps you should ask these questions of Pat Buchanan himself, since he is the one that brought to light the breach of ethics you mentioned. Pat is certainly not a neocon, an interventionist or a supporter of the war in Iraq, and he knows a bit about running against his own party. Nevertheless he is quite enthusiastic about Palin and sees her as the beginning of a new future for the conservative movement (See this and this video, and a contrarian opinion at the end of the second).

    Buchanan considers the Palin ticket the “Last Chance for Life.” As I mentioned earlier, whatever else may be the case, I am not prepared to throw the Supreme Court to Obama and seal the fate of our courts for the next 20 to 30 years. This is precisely Buchanan’s point.

    Even if I were to vote for a third party or not vote at all, I could not honestly tell you that when I wake up on November 5th I will be indifferent to who will have won the election. Obama will not be for me only marginally worse than McCain, and I don’t see that a protest vote for any candidate who is not likely to get out of single digit percentile, especially in the face of what we stand to loose, is a strategic option for me.

  21. Well ladies, gents & venerable Fr: I have been watching this discussion and I have to say that it has helped me make up my mind. After 35 years of waiting… I have decided to wait no more for the Republican party.

    Basically what we are saying here is that we have a choice between a guy who intends to destroy the family (Obama) and if elected he will do so. On the other hand, we have a guy who has redefined conservatism and continually moved the goalposts to the left each time (McCain). One guy will destroy the family explicitly… and the other will destroy it implicitly (and cause it to be called “conservatism” in the process). I really can not decide WHICH is worse!

    Yes, Ron Paul is known by Alex Jones, Obama had is “reverend” Wright, and Sara Palin has her wacky Church!

    We conservatives have sunken pretty low when the only criteria defining a conservative is that she is pro-life.

    I am going to do the right thing for the right reason because it’s the right thing to do! I’m going to find out how the three members of my family can WRITE IN on election day for Ron Paul.

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/mission/

    We all prayed the Rosary intently for Bush to be elected the first time.

    We held my noses and voted for Bush the second time… and almost got a Harriet Meyers for heavens sake. President Bush derided us “fringe conservatives” when we opposed the Dubai security deal! BOTH sides of the aisle REFUSE to seriously discuss the needed enforcement of our current immigration laws. I might as well elect the USCC since their Marxist ideals square very nicely with the present Republican definition of conservatism. (Sarcasm intended).

    Socialism is just as pernicious a destroyer of families as abortion is… and the Republicans don’t really oppose either of these evils. But they have continually worked to influence the discussion and change the definition of basic conservative principles… and they have done so to the detriment of sacred marriage and family.

    I may be risking an Obama win… but I can not in good conscience vote for McCain.

    While Sara Palin was enchanting to watch for the first 10 minutes of the discussion, watching The 2 part Sara Palin Church video from last weekend also helped turn me off to McCain:

    A McCain regime will also expand interventionism to a level which will trigger things that will bring untold destruction upon the family. In a day and age where China has been doing joint military excercises with Russia… we are on EXTREMELY shaky ground. What we need to do for our own national security is stop the phony financial smoke & mirrors and get our own house in order. The enemy will be at our door soon… but he won’t be wearing a turbin and speaking Arab!

    Obama is certainly not an option… but I can not sit by and let the meaning of constitutional subsidiarity and conservatism be redefined on a morning when the third of our largest financial institutions has failed due to republicans embracing socialist doctrines. What socialist doctrines am I referring to:
    Read THIS as a salient example:
    http://www.hud.gov/news/speeches/presremarks.cfm

    The following Ron Paul quote sums it up for me:
    “This destructive bipartisan consensus has suffocated American political life for many years. Anyone who tries to ask fundamental questions instead of cosmetic ones is ridiculed or ignored.”

    While I think it is not a sin to vote for McCain… I do believe it is more prudent and important for people to do the right thing and allow the chips to fall where they may. Better to be an “old maid” then to get in bed with someone who does not believe in the indissolubility of the rights of the family.

    Just as contraception is the third rail of ecclesial politics… so the subject of embracing socialist ideology is the third rail of American politics. And socialist policies feed the contraceptive mentality… which feed the abortive culture of death. A quick read of Marx will show the connection between modern day ‘Republicanism’ and the destruction of the family. To risk yet another Tolken parallel: Bush was our fallback to Helms Deep. But ALAS there is no way out and we will STARVE if we stay there! We HAVE to FIGHT now as if God’s rights mattered.

    The first question many “good conservative Catholics” ask me when I mention Church teaching on marital fecundity and right order in the home is “how can you live that out with the high taxation and incredible cost of Catholic education… unless you use NFP as a means of contraception?”

    What this tells me is that even good Catholics no longer believe in conservative values because they no longer KNOW what conservative values are. There is a connection between conservatism, individual liberty when lived as if Christ were King, the family, fecundity and economics. So we’re going to reconcile all of that by letting Sara Palin live in the US Naval Observatory until the neocon’s decide SHE should be put in the Oval office.

    JUST SAY NO dear friends. Let’s stop drinking the Cool Aid!

    Viva Cristo Rey !

  22. Pascendi,

    I am going to do the right thing for the right reason because it’s the right thing to do! I’m going to find out how the three members of my family can WRITE IN on election day for Ron Paul. . . .

    And this has been my real point all along. Yes, MaryVictrix and the spirit of Marian Chivalry has been all about doing the right thing for the right reason, but it has also been about the principle of St. Augustine as well:

    In certain things unity. In doubtful things liberty. I all things charity.

    I respect your judgment, but beg to differ with you that a strategic liberty on the this point is tantamount to doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason, as though anyone of us have objective certitude about what the foreordained will of God is for us in terms of for whom it is we should pull the lever.

    With all do respect, Pascendi and Rob–and I do have a great deal of respect for both of you–it is this judgment about the nature of the virtue of Prudence that disturbs me more than Alex Jones or the risk at which the Supreme court is put by voting for someone you know will loose.

    Pascendi, I agree with you on most points at issue, and I am sure that you don’t mean to imply that because I judge a vote for someone who will barely make a showing, if any at all, is not worth it, that for that reason I have drunk the Cool Aid. Again, it is not the support of Ron Paul or anyone else that bothers me in this. It is the cock-sureness–not of the Church’s social teaching–but on the value of voting in one particular way. I refer you to what I said about distinguishing between a vote for a candidate and an oath in what one believes and desires to promote. They are not the same thing.

    If they were the same thing, then Cardinal Ratzinger would not have written his note bene in which he used the very traditional language of moral theology to describe the justification for a compromise vote: “remote material cooperation for a proportionate reason.” To vote in this fashion is not to get “into bed” with a political whore.

    I respect your judgments in this thing, but I would hope that all the Ron Paul supporters do better than just provide cogent arguments as to why he is the only viable candidate, when we all know with moral certainty that he will not be the next president. Until those of you who feel so strongly in this way, and who as lay people are charged with responsibility for the public square, provide the likes of Ron Paul with more than theoretical viability, then this is an interesting argument, but that’s about it.

    Politics happens because people make it happen. If you feel so strongly the way you do, then you need to become activists, because unless you do, and unless a whole lot of others do, none of your concerns are ever going to be addressed in Washington the way you expect them to be. Your own arguments verify this.

    You and I both know that this discussion is not going to persuade enough people to put Ron Paul into office. A predominantly negative argument is the least persuasive argument. If your interest, at least as a long term goal, is not to find a way to persuade a majority of people, then why be political at all? Might as well stay home on November 4. I don’t need to go to the polls to convince myself of what I believe, and I don’t need to vote simply to witness to the Roman Catholic faith or my belief in the social rights of Christ the King. I do that everyday, and I do it in the public forum. An election has another purpose than just this.

    Viva Christo Rey!

  23. Fr.: Thanks. We respect you as well. In fact you are the only priest we know who is willing to engage in a discussion of politics as if God matters in this way. And while good men can disagree on the core of our controversy… I really appreciate you bringing your own views on line… and sometimes caring enough to even fight with us a little. THAT is real brotherly love and Marian Chivalry. I’m sure we can all agree on the words of Augustine you quote. They are worth repeating: “In certain things unity. In doubtful things liberty. I all things charity”. In all charity, I did not mean to imply that by not voting for Ron Paul… one was the doing “the wrong thing for the wrong reasons”. If my language was in any way unkind or haughty… I apologize here and now that my Irish got the best of me.

    I commented in an earlier post, that considering where I live… it is mathematically irrelevant (from a win/loose perspective) that I vote for Ron Paul. I believe the same is true of the county Robert lives in (two Bobs, but of a single mind in this case).

    Mine IS a protest vote based upon the fact that we have gotten almost NOTHING in the pro-life pro-family sphere for the last 3 decades. I am guilty of urging others to do the same in my neck of the woods.

    There are many who believe that what is at stake… what hangs in the balance in THIS election is the real issue. I believe that what WAS at stake was LOST by the last 3 Republican administrations & legislatures. I believe (as Peggy Noonan stated last year) that the Republican party has lost it’s way. And now… based upon a great deal of emotionalism… many see Sara Palin as the great heroine that will save the Republican ticket this time. Well we may win the battle here, and loose the war. The REAL issue is what ARE we conservatives hoping to conserve?

    Having been arrested twice in Operation Rescue before my wife and I were married… we realize that the larger issue has to do with the very definition of what it means to hold conservative beliefs.

    The other commenter (Robert) and I are friends (home schooling dads) who actually met in the Pro-Life movement some 30 years ago while we were still young and unmarried. We have fought tooth and nail (sometimes with eachother) to remain true to the magisterium and to try and learn as much as we can about the hermeneutics of continuity, the Church’s social teachings, proportionalism and Just war teaching, and the issue of fighting for a culture of life. We both feel that the republican/democrat debate has been overtaken by protestant (and Cartesian) ideas and language. The very bogus term “values” has replaced the term Truth. Republicans may not have ever had a really Catholic candidate… but there was a time when they much more closely identified with Catholic ideals.

    It is not some theoretical argument with me. It is the very tangible realization that the redefinition of terminology is more dangerous now than ever before. If the meaning of words were not important… we would not have needed over 20 councils to help form the Catholic conscience.

    I don’t see a vote for McCain as merely a lesser of two evils… I see it as another type of evil disguised as the lesser of two evils. Somewhere along the line we have to do the hard thing. Voting for a candidate that I KNOW won’t win is a VERY hard thing. But it is not a foolish or imprudent thing. It is something I have never tried (or even seriously considered) before. But I have put my life and my body in harms way to challenge the culture of death… I have prayed my heart out for a party that has abandoned all but the ‘conservative talking points’… and I feel that they are laughing up their sleeves at what you and I believe at the end of the day. They are MANIPULATING the discussion and defining the terms and I can not stand for it any longer.

    As for political action, I AM politically active as a Catholic. I assisted the Mike Huckabee campaign by spending weekends making phone calls for Huck. As for persuasive discussion… discussion among people who can at least agree on some of the fundamental (as we do here on MaryVictrix) DOES persuade people. We are doing every thing we can to make other Catholics realize that the discussion is being controlled by Ivy League ideals… anything but Catholic.

    The only thing I’m ‘cock sure of’ is that the Republican party will (win or loose) tally up each and every county and find out how many people have ‘left the republican reservation’ at the end of the election. And the more folks who do, the closer we will move them toward paleoconservatism (with it’s very Catholic ideals of subsidiarity)
    Mine IS a strategy of long and patient suffering… since what appeared as the expedient thing has left us nearly empty handed 35 years later.

    I have no illusions that the McCain people will listen to it’s “conservative” base when nominating another SCOTUS appointee. I have no illusions that the McCain administration will stop the interventionist ideals and ‘nation building’ that the last ten administrations have played with (always to the detriment of the family).

    But I DO know that when ‘you grab any politician by their pocketbooks… their hearts & minds are sure to follow’. I will not appease the Republican party any longer simply because the Democratic party is much worse. History shows me that this has had devastating results. To do so is to surrender and let the very Freemasonic ideals of both parties further infiltrate the conservativeism we leave our kids and our Church.

    Ave Maria

  24. Pascendi,

    I agree with you in substance. As I mentioned before I have protest voted several times, and intended to do so again this time. At this point, however, I am not as pessimistic about the Supreme Court appointments as you are. This has been a very enlightening discussion and I am glad we have followed St. Augustine’s advice.

    I will only remark, that I think you might be surprised how few Republicans leave the reservation when all the ballots are tallied. I am rather surprised that it is this of which you are cock-sure. As a matter of fact, it is because I am presently convinced that the third-parties are going nowhere fast that I am discouraged from supporting them.

    I would like to close my end of this exchange with a declaration that is only half tonque-in-cheek:

    Since my vote is really the only voice I have in this electoral contest, I formally declare my intention to register a PROTEST VOTE in this November 2008 presidential election.

    Let it be known and broadcast to Ron Paul, all third party candidates, to the third party committees, and to all supporters of third parties and their respective candidates that I refuse to cast my vote in support of Ron Paul or any third party candidates. As a matter of PROTEST I will be voting for John McCain, and this for the following reasons:

    1) While I share your idealism you have failed to persuade me of the value of voting for your loosing effort. This is a contest. Get in the game.

    2) I therefore demand a form of persuasion beyond the idealism of your platform. I demand persuasion by way of results. This is a contest. Get in the game.

    3) In order to produce results, you need a bucket load money and household recognition. This is not possible without massive and continuous grassroots support. This is a contest. Get in the game.

    As I am presently unconvinced that you are even serious about a strategy to win, I will continue to support your idealism, but it is my intention to apply political pressure in order to motivate you to be more persuasive in the political forum. You know the drill.

    I will also continue to pray for you, but with the grace of God, you will need to convince a whole lot of people to pray for you as well. BTW they will need to do a lot more than pray.

    Looking forward to your success.

    And finally, I have to be honest and admit that Sarah Palin is really not who she wants us to believe she is.

  25. Fr. Angelo, Ave Maria! I realize that you made your final response to this blog point.

    I hope you will allow me to make a couple of points. First, I would like to address the military issue. It has been about 20 years since I was member of the armed forces. During this time, women were not put through as grueling a boot camp as the men…for this I was VERY grateful. Having gone through the marches with a light pack…helmut, weapon, EMPTY sack on the back (I can’t remember if we wore our military issued boots during these marches or our tennis shoes), we witnessed a simulated bombing attack to acquaint us with possible combat. One of the drill sergeants asked the women if we were prepared to carry a 200 lb. wounded person to safety while in full gear. I can tell you that there weren’t ANY women in my platoon who could have carried this out including the women who were built more like a man than a woman. If I were a man, I would consider it a suicide mission if I were teamed with a woman…seriously.

    Obviously, I can’t say whether or not Sarah Palin’s position will affect women on the frontline. If anything, she has been through enough athletic situations to know the physical limitations of women, and will not persuade the military to place women on the frontline if they are not physically capable.

    Second, I am not one to throw stones at Sarah Palin regarding how “masculine” she may have been in the past….or, how unthoughtful she may have seemed to the other soccer moms….or, whether or not she could have prevented Bristol from becoming a teen age mom. We have all made mistakes in our past This last baby is an absolute gift to her and Todd. I pray the Palins grow virtuously through their experiences with him.

    Father, I believe that a married woman’s place is in the home caring for her husband and children….in the imitation of Our Blessed Mother. Unfortunately, I think that, because of Sarah’s influence, there will continue to be women who attempt to have a career and family at the cost of her family. I pray that Sarah’s publicity as a mother of what is considered a large family by our society including a disabled child will have a positive effect that a man could not offer in today’s times.

    I, too, thought about writing in Ron Paul’s name. But, because of Sarah Palin, I have decided to vote for McCain. As I said before, I pray she has a positive influence on our country…especially in the fight against abortion.

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