Politics & Catholicism, Part Two

Hey there! It’s me again. Figured I would pick up where I left off off that (seriously LONG) post. 

So I’m warning you again, If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part One, either

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Another chance to change your mind

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Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

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Hopefully you’ve read my (entire) post about Catholicism & Politics (with emphasis on Catholicism). Have you decided where I stand on that ONE platform? Have you decided where YOU stand (again) on that ONE platform? The same ONE that most (not all) Christians base their reasons to support one particular candidate for president? 

Because now I’m going to emphasize on Politics. So, if you don’t wanna read about it, I suggest that you skip reading this post all together. (Though I hope you do, as I believe I have some valid points.)  

To start off, I’d like you to consider everything else that this country is currently experiencing. I want you to understand why it’s VITAL that every voter look at the bigger picture outside of Roe v Wade. 

Let’s talk about my favorite issue first, healthcare & COVID-19. And YES, I do believe that COVID-19 exists. I had it. I felt it. It sucked. Big time. NO, I don’t believe in the whole 5G/Coronavirus conspiracy (which, BTW has been debunked several times). NO, I don’t think this virus was developed in a lab in China. Nor do I believe that the US Military created this virus and kept it hidden in a a super secret Military base, to be used for biological warfare. Those conspiracy theories (spread from both ends of the earth from the US to China to a mass of other countries), seek to divide us as a nation and as a First World Country around the globe. 

Word of advice: If something sounds totally off the wall, chances are that they are. Fact check your sources. Research if there is ANY truth to whatever latest theory is out there. But more important, DO NOT share ANYTHING on FaceBook / Twitter / Reddit or or any other social media outlet until AFTER you’ve completed your fact-finding investigation. Do the same thing before sending out or forwarding an email to your family & friends. The same goes for text messaging. Most importantly, DO THIS BEFORE YOU CAST YOUR VOTE. It’s important, especially in today’s world to be well-informed about our government. 

As it is, data can be misinterpreted as well. Sources regarding COVID-19 such as our Federal Government and other well-respected agencies like the CDC (?) or WHO (World Health Organization) are all reporting different numbers. Research the source you are using to find out where they gathering their data? (Personally, I trust WHO). 

One thing that has been consistent is the number of COVID-19 related deaths. All agencies are reporting that the US is the leader in deaths. As 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 6th, WHO reports 208,787 confirmed US deaths. How can our country have these numbers when the US is seen as the richest, wealthiest country in the world?

I can answer that. Well actually, I can answer it in many ways, but I will stick to just one example: Disparity in healthcare coverage. 

Hopefully everyone has read and learned something about disparity, when it clearly has been all over every media outlet over the past week when Trump tested positive for COVID. (Wait, it’s only BEEN a week?) Here’s what I think: 

  • How is it that government officials have access to COVID testing daily, when when the low-income / high risk population or even front line workers can’t even get one? I just think of how I was treated when I requested a COVID-19 test: “Why do you need one? and “Are you symptomatic? Well then you’ll just have to go home and quarantine.”
  • How is it that those in Healthcare careers, who are sacrificing their own health for the health of others go from Heroes To Zeroes?” where their moral obligation is to treat EVERYONE the same manner? How is it that we are asked to provide the absolute “best” treatment for COVID to someone the deem as a VIP (you know, major donors, celebrities, presidents)? 
  • Why does Trump receive preferential treatment? Is it because of his insurance? Spare me the point that it’s because HE is the president and he deserves that treatment. Let me just point out that WE PAY for his healthcare (and salary, BTW) with the TAXES we contribute from our income. The guy hasn’t paid his income taxes but TWICE over the last 15 years; yet he gets FREE HEALTHCARE from us taxpayers.  Furthermore, many of these same taxpayers can’t even qualify — let alone, afford — to receive healthcare for various reasons. Maybe they make too much money and/or have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid.  But they also don’t have enough money to pay for a Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) insurance.  
  • Lack of insurance is a HUGE  problem for our entire population, especially for the low-income / high-risk population, where there is concern if they can afford medications, tests, office visits, hospital & ER admissions. This is a major factor on why people won’t seek, let alone receive care until it becomes an emergency. 
  • And why does Trump continue to downplay the pandemic by essentially telling the country that he “survived” COVID? Why does he feel he needs to make sure the country knew he was still strong despite the obvious dyspnea (shortness of breath) he was hiding when he spoke to his “people” on the Truman Balcony after being discharged from the hospital? As someone who’s husband was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, I call BS that he’s doing well. No one’s O2 saturations just recovers from COVID-19. Yes, they can be weaned off of oxygen, but may still require to use it with any shortness of breath from exertion. Hubby *still* had difficulty breathing for an additional week after his 3-week stay in the hospital. PLUS, Dexamethasone. Having been on steroids in the past, I know how great it feels once it kicks into your system (don’t even ask me how much I weighed about 2 months after starting them). So I’m assuming this “burst of energy” is why he thinks he’s doing better. And BTW, we haven’t see Trump in the last 2 days; perhaps his Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) has returned. 
  • Why does Trump still insist that COVID-19 is no big deal when close to 210K of our country has died from it? Why is he encouraging people to return to their normal lives, while simultaneously displaying that he doesn’t need to wear a mask anymore? The sheer fact that he walked into the White House without one, after instructing the country to “not let COVID rule your life,” just makes me SO. ANGRY. And then he has the gall to add, “Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.” Does he realize that he has TOTALLY undermined (yet again) the entire Healthcare Profession by NOT following the standard treatment guidelines for COVID-19? 
  • And BTW, standard protocol is that a positive COVID-19 patient should remain quarantined for 14 days from first known exposure PLUS an additional 72 hours after ALL symptoms are gone. (I mean, I’m not even gonna get into the cluster f**k that is contact tracing.) Yet again, he disregards everything that is considered protocol for any COVID-19 patients AND expects to get the best possible meds to treat COVID-19.  Of which his physicians (and other non-medical personnel, because, you know — Science.) ALLOW him to DICTATE HIS CARE? IMHO those that allow him to get what he wants are complicit with his actions; they’ve become codependent. Seriously, working with Trump must be equivalent of taking care of a toddler.
  • Why does Trump insist to promise that vaccines will be “coming momentarily,” as his administration blocked the new FDA Coronavirus Standards? That’s important; especially for those in research and ultimately the recipients of the vaccine. There’s a reason why accurate trial studies need to be done prior to the distribution of the vaccine. Seriously, would YOU want to take a drug that has not been thoroughly studied? I’m exaggerating here, but what if you grow a donkey tail as a result of it? Or what if you, or worse your child develops a serious reaction to it? Would you take that risk if the vaccine was distributed today?

Again, remember Trump’s platform AND actions he has created / endorsed regarding COVID. Think about how his “date” with COVID-19 went for him; how he received the VIP treatment despite not having contributed tax dollars to insurance.  Think about how he claims the common flu is more dangerous than COVID-19. Think about how he gives inaccurate data about the number of deaths from COVID-19 (again as of yesterday) versus the number of estimated flu-related deaths from 2018 to 2019 (32,157) versus the number Trump seems to consistently throw out (100,000). 

Let’s tackle Economic Inequality next; though I straight-up confess that I don’t know US Economics that well. 

First off, can I just say how absolutely despicable that Trump has been robbing from the poor to make him rich? He’s the Anti-Robin Hood of modern times. Anyways, please think of the man who does such things and ask yourself if you would want to be complicit (or worse, apathetic) with his actions. 

  • And then Trump claims that he is the most successful president in history by passing the “Best. Tax cuts. Ever.” Yes, he provided tax cuts for everyone; however, in reality these tax breaks (in the long run), favor large corporations and savvy investors who know how to hide their money. Not the “Everyday Jane / Joe” who could *actually* use the tax break. 
  • Let’s face it, Big Corporations are really the ones ruining — oops, I mean RUNNING — our government. Worst yet is that they are typically white privilege men who work by using the “Good Ol’ Boys” mentality; in other words, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” Trump, prior to being elected, is a *fine* example of that. How many business ventures of his have failed? How many people has he financially ruined every time he declared bankruptcy? How much money did he ACTUALLY receive from claiming losses on his different ventures?  
  • How do YOU think Trump is currently doing, by treating the US Government as Big Business with him as CEO and Congress as the Board of Trustees, rather than the Executive and Legislative branches of our Democracy that had been developed by our Founding Fathers and was written in our Constitution? (We won’t even *talk* about what’s happening in the third branch, the judicial branch AKA the Supreme and Federal Courts. (RGB RIP) 
  • Hear me out first, as I somewhat understand why many people voted for Trump in 2016. He promised that he’d bring back jobs to the US. He promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC. He promised to “Make America Great Again.” And now he wants to “Keep America Great Again.” Has he delivered on that? 
  • Jobs: The average unemployment rate from 2017 to March 2020 was 6.8. And that’s before the pandemic. Compare that from 2013 to 2016, Obama’s last 4 years, that average is 5.8.
  • “Draining the Swamp” In other words, removing corruption from the White House and run a government that would “serve ordinary Americans rather than personal and/or special interest groups.” HAH! 
  • Let’s talk about his family; in particular, Jared & Ivanka. Didn’t Trump specifically promise during his 2016 campaign that he would relinquish the reigns of “The Trump Organization” to his children? (Nepotism anyone?) And then demand that The Kushner’s receive high-level security clearance, despite all the red flags that intelligence officials were concerned regarding Jared. Why give them this clearance? For what reason?
  • As for Ivanka, it was recently discovered in Trump’s (unreleased) tax return that “The Trump Organization” paid $747,622 in fees to an “unnamed consultant” for international hotel projects related to his business. I find interesting that this *exact amount* was paid out to Ivanka through a consulting firm that she co-owns. And we’re giving her clearance that allows her access to data that affects national security, counterterrorism / counterintelligence, and other highly sensitive data? 
  • Now let’s see who Trump “handpicked” since the start of his term to “serve ordinary Americans.” And which staff Trump placed, then replaced, and replaced again; over and over, ad nauseam. In fact, Trump prefers to use the term that “acting people” work in his administration. He has explained the turnover by stating that “the reason they are ‘acting’ is because I’m seeing how I like them.” Really. Not kidding. As of September 30 2020, Trump has had a total of 415 individuals that were dismissed or resign. I guess he thinks the US Government is like his reality TV show, The Apprentice. 
  • But seriously, let’s compare the percentage of staff turnovers for the last 6  presidents’ “A Team” (the group of the president’s top advisors) during their first term: Reagan 78% | Bush Sr 66% | Clinton 74% | Bush Jr 63% | Obama 53% |Trump 91%.  Hmmm … I can *almost* hear Trump saying his tag line in The Apprentice. “Your FIRED!”

I promise, I’m almost done; however, I wanted to take the time to discuss racism within our country. Studies have found that, during this current state of unrest, rates regarding race-related encounters has increased. (Duh!) But it was also reported that this unrest was NOT a result of what happed to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who haven’t received as much news coverage. Or the shootings in Charlottesville and Kenosha. Or how the National Guard was deployed for riot control. Rather it is a result of the systemic growth of racism against race, religion, immigrants, and ethnic backgrounds;  especially our Native Americans. Let’s not forget that countless countries arrived in the “New World” stealing the land out from our indigenous people in order to colonize / convert others to their ways, religion, etc. 

So, let’s get down to it. Here’s what I want you to remember when it comes to casting your vote. 

  • We currently have a US President who actually *promotes* segregation. He certainly has proven that time & time again. How can he blame the far-left for actions that have been linked to the far-right? He refuses to acknowledge that there are even ANY far-right groups, let alone state that these groups were responsible for instigating riots among peaceful protestors. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to commit to denouncing the actions of such groups. The “Stand down, and stand by” statement should be a clue that he seeks to diminish the lives of others who they deem inferior to them. Another one would be, “There are fine people on both sides.” Don’t just focus on “fine people.” Rather, focus on the “both sides” statement. Does it sound like he’s trying to bring people together? 
    
  • What about “The Wall” which Trump wants Mexico to fund?  Or that he calls COVID-19 the “China Flu” or “Kung-flu?” As a first-generation Filipino American, I find those things absolutely disgusting; especially because he is the face of our nation. I’m not sure how anyone could call Trump a leader when he can’t even lead appropriately. A good leader seeks to lead the people he’s responsible for; a great leader is one that seeks to find balance and inclusion. Trump doesn’t have the ability to unite our country; instead, he aims to divide and segregate. I’m ashamed that he’s the face of our country and that his actions on the world front likely confirm (or at least lead them to suspect) that all Americans are like him. (Please Canada or Australia or New Zealand! Please let me immigrate to your countries!)
    
  • Has Trump provided support for others that are not like him or don’t have the same beliefs as he does? As it is, he actively seeks to separate families. And YES, I understand (though don’t agree with) why he’s deporting “illegal immigrants.” But what about the children left behind that were placed in Migrant Detention Centers? Trump has no problem about talking how he’s going remove all the “illegals,” but I honestly can’t recall a time where he’s addressed and / or acknowledge these children and the horrid conditions the children live. These centers are overpacked and understaffed, let alone fully stocked on basic needs, which results in these children living in a manner where they don’t have sufficient food or even access to showers (let alone soap & shampoo). How can Trump turn a blind eye to all of this? How, as Catholics are we protecting THESE lives?  

I have SO much to say about Racism, both in the past and in the present. But maybe that’s another entirely separate post. Because yes. I know this is long. 

So what spouted this verbal (written?) diarrhea? Well, definitely the 2020 Presidential Election and whether or not a voter should decide on a particular candidate because of ONE platform that the Catholic Church has about life. But it also goes back to the initial article by Jeannie Gaffigan that I shared in the previous post. 

As a frequent fact checker and as person that has always had a thirst for knowledge, I actually did my own research about Politics & Catholicism.

What I found was a guide written by the US Catholic Bishops regarding the political responsibilities of a Catholic citizen. This guide DOES NOT tell you what or who a Catholic should choose when voting; rather it suggests how your Catholic faith can intermingle with Politics so that the voter can make an informed decision. 

This is one lengthy document with a LOT of information about the Church’s stance on particular issues. It also talks about whether or not one should vote on one candidate based on a SINGLE PLATFORM the candidate subscribes to during the campaign. What I got out of reading this guide was that the Church suggests that we should consider ALL of the candidate’s past actions / behaviors / issues which may go against your moral code. In short, this guide asks you to CONSIDER THE WHOLE PICTURE. In fact, there is a portion of this guide that advises this action:

“In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. 

These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitment, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic,  guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”

So yes. Once more, please please PLEASE be informed about all the candidates’ stance on issues, their integrity and character before voting. Ask yourself if either candidate will be able to lead our country. And when the elected candidate leaves the Executive Office, try to imagine what kind of legacy that person will leave for our country, let alone the Earth we share with other countries. Consider how you believe that person will shape our country and the world for the future generations.

That’s it. That’s all I can write about for now. (Whew!) I will sign off after leaving another portion of the Catholic Bishops’ guide. 

From the “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States”

“The political realities of our nation present us with opportunities and challenges. We are a nation found in ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

But the right to life itself is not fully protected, especially for unborn children, the terminally ill, and the elderly; the most vulnerable members of the American family. 

We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war. We are a country pledged to pursue ‘liberty and justice for all,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We are a society built on the strength of our families, [where we are] called to defend marriage and offer moral and economic supports for family life. 

We are a powerful nation in a violent world, confronting terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more peaceful world. We are an affluent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life. 

We are part of a global community charged with being good stewards of the earth’s environment, what Pope Francis calls ‘our common home,’ which is being threatened.

They are intertwined and inseparable. As Pope Francis has insisted, ‘We are faced . . . with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.’”