This is an old post from 2011 that is just as relevant today. So here goes . . .
I was reflecting on and praying about this difficult election season yesterday, and how upsetting it has been for many of us, and I thought back to another time similar to this — the midterm elections in 2010! I had written a piece about it at the time that I’ll share with you here (2011) and (2022).
We need a little humor in all this mess of infighting in election season, don’t cha think? Maybe this will grant you a chuckle or two.
A year ago this October (2010), I visited my good friend Father Dan Coughlin, who was Chaplain to the U. S. House of Representatives at the time. (We’ve known each other from our work together with the National Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in the Seventies.) We met in his office down in the catacombs of the House and then made our way up to dining room. The House was in recess (much to my relief) so we had the hallowed dining room to ourselves. I had a wonderful poached salmon with a dill and butter sauce. And spinach salad.
We didn’t talk about politics at all (which I always find quite painful, and I’m sure many of you do as well). We just talked about old times. Dan gave the invocation each day and was available for counsel for the members. (He must have had the patience of a saint!)
Visiting the Capitol made me proud to be an American–but I wonder what I would think and feel or be praying about if I wandered through those once-hallowed, but now desecrated halls, once again.
I wrote in 201l, in the these midterm elections,there’s just too much anger, too much mudslinging. Too many lies. Too much hatred. Too much incivility for our own good. Too much rage that could be ignited at any moment. It almost was, by a gunman in California who was “inspired” by the “teaching” of one Glenn Beck a week ago (2011). On the same topic of guns, Governor DeSantis, this year, blocked state funding for a Tampa Bay Rays baseball facility after the team donated to a gun violence prevention program after the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting.
The problem I have with all of this: Shouldn’t we be teaching our children to respect authority? Isn’t the President due a certain amount of respect simply because he is the president? Don’t we teach our children to respect their teachers?
When we get into crisis situations we look for other people to blame; we look for a scapegoat. The DEMOCRATS are the problem! Throw the bums out! The REPUBLICANS are the problem! Throw the . . . Or the illegals. Or the gays. Or the Muslims. Or the (um) Tea Partiers (way back then!) Now it’s the Never Trumpers! Or the Forever Trumpers!
Or in 2022–The “Woke” folks! (And ya know–after hearing that word bandied about for over a year now–I still haven’t the foggiest (steamiest?) idea what “those people” who use that word are meaning or intending to get across to me or any of us, except (perhaps) (maybe) to confuse us?
WAIT A MINUTE! Let’s stop! Let’s realize that we all have some share of responsibility for the problems we are carrying! And so, since I the humble begins of this blog in March 2006— I have been pleading with you, my dearest readers, to pray with me for the transformation of our country by entering into personal transformation.
Think about this:
As Jesus approached Jerusalem for Passover, and saw the city, he wept over it, and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 13:39-41).
Perhaps January 6, 2021, was a warning for us. The Jewish people forty years after Jesus’ warning did not heed. Will we?
Let’s let Pogo’s illustrious creator, Walt Kelly, who did speak the Queen’s English with great eloquence
have our (almost) last words on the subject.
, and would expostulate in the midst of all–our rage (You may have to read this–um–erudite comic book illustrator who was prevalent in the Queen’s English, thrice, as I did the first time I read it. I said, “Huh? Let me read this again, “This is amazing!!” He would, laugh and say. “’Twas ever thus . . .”
“Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle. There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.
We need a little of Pogo and Walt Kelly’s arse-kickin’, very subtle humor. (He’s kickin you and me very firmly in the lower regions of our posteriors!) Take that, Donald Trump! Hillary Clinton! And in 2022–a whole lot of Repooblicans and Demo-crats, and You! and Me too!
There are a lot of us running around with overstuffed egos and not there are not many humble enough to admit their own mistakes. To admit they don’t have all the answers.
Let’s stop and have a laugh or two about our mutual insanities!
Some of this stuff on the Internet (again in 2010 midterms) is pretty darn funny:
“I’m tea-baggin’ 4 Jesus!”
“Americans help us boycott Mexico — Respect Are Country — Speak English”
“ReFudiate Obama – November 2”
No Pubicoption — no socialism
Make English America’s offical language
We have no idea what we’re talking about.
All voting is loco.
Lately, political anger has become all the rage.
Let’s face it. Underneath our anger and rage is fear. There’s a lot of it. Very legitimate fears. And we could use a little comfort, and a good dose of laughter. Let’s take Walt Kelly’s wisdom to heart.
On November 8th, it will be time for some prayer and calm instead. Time to stand down. It will be time to unite. Let’s hope and pray it happens.
(An excerpt of Psalm 122. . . .)
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
(Pray for the peace of the United States ofAmerica)
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your borders,
prosperity within your buildings,
Because of my brothers and friends,
I will say, “Peace within you!”
Because of the house of the Lord, our God,
I will pray for your good.
And now, before you go, here’s the perfect song by Sissel and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: “Slow Down”. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speaker and enter full screen.
AND IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY, BE SURE TO GET OUT AND VOTE!!