Stewardship of office – truth, wisdom & humilty

STEWARDSHIP OF OFFICE:  TRUTH, WISDOM & HUMILITY.  “…politicians keep pandering to people’s worst instincts, relying on the politics of fear…” in order to frighten us into voting in ways that are advantageous to them, or to their parties, and not to us, the people they claim to represent.  This assessment does not apply uniquely to the events covered by the article linked below.  It applies to a very large part of today’s political news.

Indeed, it may be the central theme, the central problem, of our time.  The only answer is to help one another hear and listen to the voice of the Shepherd.

In ways that are historically unique, we have been given, by those who went before us, the gift of self-governance by means of democracy.  And we have been warned many times that if we are not careful with democracy, we will lose it.  By allowing ourselves to be distracted by the popular culture of self-indulgence, for example, by wallowing in consumerism and self-centeredness, we open ourselves to manipulation by unscrupulous politicians.  And if we give them a chance, there are those who will take democracy away from us.

In the specific instance covered by the article, it is true, as the author points out, that leaders of the major political parties in Ontario have not strayed so far as their Quebec counterparts.  Overall, however, they are doing no better:  their incessant bickering, mutual threats and innuendo, and open struggles to gain and keep power in the province, regardless of truth, common interest, or any vision of a better future, are all too typical of modern politicians.

Regardless of our geographic locations or our party inclinations, we must become involved.  We must participate in all stages of the political process, and insist that our parties elect better leaders and identify better candidates.  We must insist that parties adopt and adhere to real platforms that define appropriate visions for society, and benefit all of the people they claim to represent, rather than themselves.

And we must learn to assess the truth of things that are said to us.  This involves education and staying informed.  We need to identify, consult, and support responsible news sources, so that when opportunities are offered we can make better choices.

There are good politicians, good people who would like to lead us appropriately, if given a chance.  Let’s try to find them, try to work with them.  Let’s get them into office, so that they can work together for the good of all.

For that, let’s pray together from the Gospel of John, that we might listen only to the proper voice, the voice of the Shepherd and his loved disciples:

LORD, you are the gate and the keeper.  You call us, your sheep, by name, and we hear you.  We know you by your voice, and we follow you where you lead.

There are others who call to us, but we do not recognize their voices because they are thieves and robbers, and they come to steal and slaughter and destroy.  You call us so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

You are the good shepherd, who has lain down his life for us.  You know us, and we know you.  We know also that you have other sheep that belong to other folds, and that you must lead them as well.  We pray that they will hear your voice, so that there will be one flock, one shepherd.

We rejoice that the Father has given us to you, and that no one can take us out of the Father’s hand.  Call us, lead us, guide us, protect us.

We pray these things earnestly, through Mary our mutual Mother, for the victory of your Holy Cross through her Immaculate Heart.

Amen.  Ave Maria!

We live in dangerous times for democracy.

TRUTH, WISDOM, AND RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER. We live in dangerous times for democracy. The assumption that elections in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere will continue to produce wise and effective leaders, who are willing to work with members of other parties when it makes sense; or that parties in such countries will offer platforms or candidates that are in the best interests of the people, is no longer a safe assumption

We have been warned throughout history – by Plato and Washington, for example – that democracy will not work if voters decline to understand and face the issues, of if we fail to participate in the process of selecting and supporting leaders.

Look at recent elections in the US and Canada: it is no longer true that political parties offer comprehensive, balanced plans for building what they believe to be fairer, wiser governments. Rather, their sole preoccupation is to acquire power, and then keep it, at whatever cost to truth or wisdom. Too often, their party conventions focus on discussions of ‘how we can beat the other guys’, rather than affirming those things which are wise and just, and working with other parties toward improvement of that which is not. When was the last time any party or politician acknowledged those parts of its vision that were consistent with those of the other side, or worked in quiet cooperation when it was in the interest of the people to do so? Instead, they criticize one another relentlessly, and turn elections into hideous popularity contests.

We citizens, we voters, can and must insist that those who seek office begin formulating and cooperatively implementing visions that are in the best interests of the people, rather than themselves.

We can do it. In a democracy, it can be simple.

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