Douglas

Jan 162017
 

Having made it just over two weeks into the new year 2017, perhaps the time has come to make a second (or third) attempt at fulfilling those New Year’s resolutions. What difference, after all, does an arbitrary date on the calendar have to do with making a change in our lives? If a change needs to be made, why wait? And if the secular calendar gets in the way, you can always turn to the Church’s liturgical calendar.

After four weeks in the Advent season preparing for Christmas, and a slightly unusual Christmas season ending on a Monday, the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church has finally entered Ordinary time. The time between Christmas and Lent, Easter and Advent. The time when Sundays are simply designated by number in order – ordinary time.

But nothing is mundane about Sundays in ordinary time. Each is a celebration in and of itself of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And there is nothing mundane or ordinary about the weekdays in Ordinary time, either. Each is a gift to be savored and celebrated, an opportunity to do good – or bad. To heal – or hurt. To bring together – or push apart.

As I write and publish this, it is the 16th day of the new year 2017. It is also the first Monday in Ordinary time. A first Monday seems like as good a time as any (and perhaps better than most) to try and make a new start.

So if you have fallen behind on a resolution, take heart. Tomorrow is a new day. It might be an ordinary day in ordinary time, but there is no reason it can’t become an extraordinary day.

Nov 072016
 

Election Eve 2016 is a time of choosing, and I have made my choice after reaching the following two conclusions: (1) I do not want Donald Trump to become President of the United States; (2) I do not think Hillary Clinton should be President of the United States.

However, given the choice between the two – and we all know the next President of the United States will be either Donald or Hillary – I can only vote for Donald Trump. For me, preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming President is that important.

I understand other people think the exact opposite. There are many valid reasons not to like Mr. Trump and not to want him to win this election. But the reasons to oppose Mrs. Clinton far outweigh those for opposing Mr. Trump.

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_crop Evidence clearly demonstrates Hillary Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to enrich herself, selling favors to foreign powers and businesses in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, exorbitant fees for speaking engagements, or positions on boards or as consultants. In this, her husband, former President Bill Clinton was an accomplice.

The Clintons have a history of such behavior. On Mr. Clinton’s last day in office, he granted a pardon to a nefarious corrupt businessman on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Marc Rich had fled to Switzerland to avoid prosecution after illegal dealings with the Iranians while they held Americans hostage, the North Koreans, South Africa, Cuba and other embargoed regimes. Rich’s ex-wife was a well-known fund-raiser for the Clintons. Even the New York Times condemned the act.

No, Mrs. Clinton does not deserve the office of President. She and her husband have too often betrayed this nation’s trust. She only wants the office for the power and the money it will make her. Mr. Trump might also want the power, but he made his money the old-fashioned way – he inherited it.

donald_trump_august_19_2015_croppedDonald Trump was not exactly born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he was no pauper’s son either. To be fair, he took advantage of his father’s wealth and built a financial empire far exceeding what he was given. To be charitable, he seems ready to pass his empire on to his children and give something back to his country. Perhaps it is only right and just he do so.

This contrasts with Hillary Clinton, who seems to think she deserves to be President. She speaks and acts as if she is entitled to be President. Her often smug and condescending attitude communicates not only a superiority over the American public, but a disdain for the majority of Americans.

But the biggest mark against Hillary Clinton for me is her violation of the five non-negotiables: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and so-called same-sex “marriage”. The Catholic Church teaches these matters of moral law are intrinsic evils that can never be voted for or supported in any way. Mrs. Clinton supports them all, and has indicated she endorses punishing those who do not accept her views.

Given the next President of the United States – either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton – will appoint at least one if not two or three members to the Unites States Supreme Court, and those justices will influence life in this country for at least the next twenty, thirty or even forty years, and their decisions could have a permanent impact on the future of the country, I feel I must do my part in preventing Hillary Clinton from winning tomorrow.

I do not want Donald Trump to become President of the United States, but I will be voting for him tomorrow. Please join me.

Sep 262016
 

In racially charged early twenty-first century America, we are witnessing a resurgence of the ugly lynch mobs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But vigilante justice is not about race. It never was.

A lynch mob seeks to circumvent the normal judicial process, which it see as flawed or too slow to act. A lynch mob is a group of people acting as one out of fear and anger. A lynch mob – any mob, for that matter – is dangerous to the rule of law, our Constitution, the Republic, our nation, and our way of life.

When we think of a lynch mob, we think of a white person, usually a young women, murdered. A black man is accused. Accusations of sexual assault likely follow. If a trail occurs, it is a show trial and is over before it starts. Guilt was predetermined, never in doubt. Facts aren’t necessary. Evidence is ignored. Anything pointing to innocence would only complicate matters. What is important is punishment. Punishment which is swift, public, and complete.

Why? Why a rush to blame? a rush to judge? A rush to punishment?

To protect the community. Historically, the white community. Change must take place. Control must be reestablished. Power must be asserted. And any wrongdoing by anyone in the white community must certainly be covered-up.

The same rush to blame, the same rush to judgment — complete with a willingness to ignore evidence — and the same rush to punishment can be found today’s twenty-first century lynch mob along with the same rationale: to protect the community.

Today, however, the tables have been turned. The black community provides the lynch mob, the police community provides the culprit. We find the black community trying to bring about change, establish control and assert power, along with a willingness to cover-up wrongdoing by anyone in the community when necessary.

My point has nothing to do with race or racial divisions. Quite the contrary. My point has everything to do with our common humanity. We are encountering a shared sociological phenomenon. A shared psychological phenomenon. We are encountering a shared human phenomenon. People are responding – as humans and human communities do – to a perceived threat.

Still, mobs were bad for our nation in the past, they are bad for our nation in the present, and they will be bad for our nation in the future if they are allowed to persist. Mob rule is no rule, and anarchy is no way to live. Yet we have reason to be optimistic.

That black Americans in early twenty-first century America feel empowered enough to form what is in effect a lynch mob is a sign of progress. That we still divide ourselves into racial communities is a sign we still have much work to do. We cannot rest until we live in a society where all lives matter, regardless of skin color.