Kids, Be Careful With Your Email

Yesterday’s news of the FBI reopening its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails begs the question; how much are Americans willing to take before they’ve decided that they’ve had enough?  The answer to that question may be more terrifying than the political landscape in which we currently find ourselves.

Hillary’s diehards have already decided that they couldn’t care less about her emails just as Trump’s diehards have decided that they couldn’t care less about the Constitution. We are entering a cage match. Extremes versus extremes. The independent voter is going to be tasked with deciding the fate of this country and whichever decision they are going to make is wrong. Because our choices are wrong.

I stopped caring about the existence of Bernie Sanders a while ago. He and his droves of drooling Bolsheviks have faded into our national memory. But while I hate to give him any sort of credit and am loathed to admit that I am sorry he dropped out, I must do both. Bernie had the opportunity to change the face of modern American politics. His movement, though laughably misguided and painfully dim, had the sort of momentum that could have translated into the most serious third-party candidacy in recent history. A serious third party run would have legitimized a fourth candidate. Meaning, that if Bernie hadn’t decided to become a typical politician and endorse his enemy after being screwed out of the nomination; we could potentially have had another choice for president. Imagine an actual conservative with a real shot of winning this election. Imagine that. Feels nice, huh?

But we don’t have those options. We have what we have. Americans have to decide whether or not they care about the fact that a potential president is the most corrupt woman on the face of the planet. I doubt the email revelations will do anything to cause a major shift in the momentum of either campaign because people are sick of hearing about her emails. Also, the FBI has been proven to be monumentally disappointing. So, another question that it is to be hoped will be answered soon; are the emails that bad that the FBI felt the need to reopen the investigation or is James Comey trying to save face? I am inclined to believe it is the latter but that still doesn’t make Hillary feel any better or help her chances any more.

Regardless of what other bombshells may fall on both of our esteemed candidates, we’ll have to wait and see on November 8th if any of it meant anything to Americans.

 

Kids, Be Careful With Your Email

It’s Getting Harder to Care

As per usual, I read a story this morning that made me lose a bit of faith in humanity. It should come as no surprise that a PAC would stoop to a level only reserved for the most base and unwholesome. However, this takes the proverbial cake. To summarize; a liberal PAC here in CT took out an ad (which has been removed) on William Petit and other CT Republicans for the misgivings of Donald Trump. Namely; Trump’s derogotory comments about women. What the PAC failed to foresee as an issue with this ad, was the fact that Petit’s wife and two daughters were brutally murdered in a home invasion in 2007.

To suggest that someone doesn’t respect women simply because they are part of the same political party as someone else, would be tantamount to calling all Germans antisemitic. The idea that a man, whose wife and daughters were murdered, doesn’t respect women because of his political allegiance is beyond the pale. This is why I am finding it harder and harder to care. The level to which human beings are willing to degrade themselves in order to press their ideologies is downright depressing. The PAC pulled the ad after heavy pressure from both CT Republicans and Democrats. Regardless of pulling the ad, It doesn’t change the fact that it was created in the first place.

Politics are important for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important reason being that it reminds us of who we are. Or more to the point, what we can become when reason and integrity take a back seat to ambition and sensationalism. The human spirit is an odd thing. It is the driving force behind every single instance of individual and collective good throughout human history, yet it is so malleable and easy to manipulate. Once a person or group has decided that their politics or worldview is superior to others, any number of indignities are given the chance to crop up. This is not to say that competing ideologies or philosophies are all the same or worth the same. What ideology does brilliantly however, is engage a human being to the point where the individual follower is caught up in a world where cause is greater than self and the two are no longer seperately recognizable. There is nothing inherently wrong with seeing a cause or purpose as more important than oneself. It only becomes a problem when the cause destroys any semblance of the individual’s principles which fueled their zeal at the start. It is not uncommon to meet people who describe their politics before they mention the true pillars of their character; religion, family, charitable work, hobbies etc. We don’t want others to understand us as much as we want them to understand our place in group-think. Human beings have no better outlet to display their natural tribalism than the realm of politics.

We have no one to blame but ourselves. It is easy to insist that the current election season is the worst in American history. Every generation likes to puff itself up. However, the current election and the mudslinging from both sides is a fraction of the horrors found in previous elections. Politics fueling divisive hatred is nothing new and it is certainly not native to the United States. When we feel the creeping sense of disgust rising up in ourselves after learning of attack ads like the one William Petit is attempting to put behind him; what should we do? The obvious answer would be to turn our backs on the more sensationalist pundits and talking heads. But we don’t. As much as we groan about this election and the candidates, anyone who is even remotely political or interested in politics would have to admit that this season has at least been interesting. If not even fun at certain times. So we carefully form our opinions and hone our rage only after we read what our favorite jounralists have to say about it. It seems to me, that when we beat our chests in our own  righteous indignation we ought to hit a little harder. We should punish ourselves for the atrocity of out of control political ideology in this country and the narratives and vitriol it creates. It is our fault.

The next time you read or see something you find abhorrent remember this; They wouldn’t create or publish it, if people didn’t want to see it. Whether or not you personally do, is immaterial to the larger machinery. To clarify;  I didn’t mean to suggest with the title of this post that it is getting harder to care about politics. It is getting harder to care about people. We are always looking for reasons to put our voices out there. Politics are simply the means by which we advance our social philosophies and our voices. Even if they are adopted. Therefore, it is not politics that is to blame for the complete breakdown of anything even remotely akin to propriety or honesty. It is us. So while it is ghoulish to see attack ads claiming that a man who lost his family composed of women is ‘anti-woman’ let’s not pretend that it didn’t give us something to talk or write about.

It’s Getting Harder to Care

In Defense of Gentrification

Recently, I have been seeing a lot of different posts on Facebook linking to sites containing pictures of New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They are usually black and white photographs showing mountains of rubble, garbage, dilapidated buildings, subway trains covered in graffiti and locals in various poses of derisive ambivalence. What I find instantly telling about these photos, is that they are in black and white. Meaning, that the starkness of that particular brand of photography lends a more esoteric and ultimately ominous level to the photographs. It also tells us that the photographer was a self-important bore.

Have you seen recent photos from Aleppo? Could you imagine if they were in black and white? Immediately, we would all do a collective eye roll as a nation which would be so exaggerated that all together we would create the first audible eyeroll. The stark realities of life happen in color. Attempting to lend gravitas to situations where human lives are either irrevocably changed or even lost is the height of artistic hubris. It is painfully transparent and incredibly dull. Much like the people back in the 70’s who decided to take black and white photographs of a spilled dumpster in Brooklyn in order to let all the lame suburbanites know that the struggle was real.

The only people with legitimate beefs against the gentrification of certain urban neighborhoods are the people who are forced out by corrupt municipalities. The opposite end of that spectrum are the people who indirectly benefit from gentrification and then rail against the horrors of it simply to seem modern and trendy. Much like gentrification itself.

No one is going to pat you on the back for spending a lot of money to live in a shitty neighborhood. ‘Ah, so I see your rent has gone up and your only dining option is Subway and that you don’t have a bank or grocery store within a five-mile radius or your home. Well done!’ I am sorry that some people seem to gauge their neighborhood’s worth by the number of violent crimes per-capita, per-year. I just don’t think there is a point to be made when the entire argument itself champions poverty and villainizes social progress. Is it a good thing when the local mom and pop store closes because people are going to Walgreen’s instead of their shop? No. But answer these; is it a good thing when people with disposable income move into a neighborhood thus boosting property values? Is it a good thing that an influx of cash into a neighborhood spurns on the opening of new businesses? Is it a good thing that crime rates tend to drop like a stone once an area becomes gentrified?

I’ll give up an authentic pierogi or bowl of gumbo for a cleaner place to live and less chance of being knifed for my wallet any day. Gentrification is good. Get over it.

Liberals, many of whom are young, white self-labeled liberals, want to allow scads of new immigrants into the country. I agree that this country is a better place with metered, monitored, sensible legal immigration. But I have to ask; where are the immigrants supposed to work? If we’re not supposed to be alright with the cultural makeup of neighborhoods changing from generation to generation, what is the response when the old pizza place is turned into a gyro shop?

Gentrification is a natural progression of human society. It is healthy and important for urban areas to revamp themselves and it is equally important for self-righteous, whiny, white hipsters to shut up about it.

In Defense of Gentrification

Defensio Fidei

It is no surprise that the left finds the Catholic Church to be an unfortunate obstacle. It is natural for any entity to attempt to overcome or lessen the influence or impact of obstacles. So when we read that the left attempted to essentially infiltrate the Catholic social world, it is sickening and angering but in the end no one will be fainting in disbelief. The Roman Catholic Church has stood the test of time literally and figuratively. It has been an obstacle to secular, progressive ideology before and God willing it will continue to fight against the rising the lunatic tide until Christ returns.

As Catholics, our duty is to act as torch-bearers in a world of darkness. It is through the Sacramental graces of the Church that we receive our strength from the Holy Spirit. It is through the ministry of the Church Militant and the grace of the Holy Spirit in our own vocations that sinners find their way to redemption and the world’s wounds are healed through Christ. As Christians of other denominations; your duty is to protect other Christians from attack and be just as outraged as those who are under seige.

But let’s be honest; as foot soldiers in God’s army, we are woefully lacking. Who could blame Democrats for seeing American Catholics as an easy mark? We beat our chests in a collective, coordinated and resounding, “mea culpa” when our dedication to the Church is questioned. Then afterwards we return to the polling places to routinely vote in pro-abortion candidates. We pick and choose our beliefs as if the Catechism were an options list when purchasing a new car. We extol the virtues of the family and then turn a divorce into juicy gossip. We give to Salvation Army Santas every Christmas yet roll up our windows when we see someone holding a, ‘homeless and hungry’ sign. We hand our parishes our envelopes every week only after we have sated our desires, not our needs.

Luckily, we have the sacrifice of Christ to redeem us for our shortcomings. So we are covered on that end. However, we have to deal with life on Earth first. These shortcomings which are old news in the eyes of the Risen Christ, are perfect fodder for the secular left which sees them as irredeemable hypocrisies which then makes the Church the perfect target.

I am only partly  convinced that the attacks on the Church are motivated by swaying the Catholic voting block. The actual motivation for attacks on the Church is the overwhelming desire of the worldly ideologies which permeate the left to see the Church crumble. To laugh while it falls apart and then throw the ashes in our faces. To prove that they were stronger. To prove that they were obviously right and therefore we were obviously wrong. To prove to themselves that their ideas are more appealing than God. To in essence, make themselves equal with God.

Sounds an awful lot like pride. I wonder who’s motivating that?

Until we start acting like Christ’s Church, we can’t feign outrage at the current state of things. Until we wear our faith in Christ on our sleeves, we have no right to become upset when people question our loyalties. Until we solidify our social programs and organizations in faith, we can’t be disappointed that fake organizations get created as political pawns. We are doing the Church no good if we only want to be Catholic for an hour a week and the rest of the time we aren’t willing to defend her. Christ will never be ashamed of us, but I guarantee He can be disappointed in us.

Until we are ready and willing to face the slings and arrows of modern progressivism and stand up for what Christ told us to stand up for, we need to sit our collective asses down.

Defensio Fidei