Prayer intentions
Please pray for the following people. And if you know someone who needs a prayer, by all means feel free to add as many names as you want.

May 15, 2007

The purple team jersey

One of the articles I've read about today's passing of Jerry Falwell (who I'm sure will have his own topic here later) has helped me to crystallize my feelings — this article at Huffington Post.

It's an article about the battle between Falwell and pornographer Larry Flynt. Whether you agree with the author's assertions about either Falwell or Flynt or both is hardly important. I want you, dear reader, to instead focus on the metaphor of the "team jersey". Here's how author Joe Cutbirth describes it:

Lazy journalists and commercial writers have a template. They tell us we have to choose between two sides. It's one or the other. Flynt or Falwell.

Politicians driven by high-paid consultants and a sound-bite society do it too. They tell us, "In this election, the choice is clear: the Republican or the Democrat." Or, as the president says, "You're with us or you're with the terrorists."

It's a fool's way of thinking. But in a modern, fast-paced world, we often rush past our real choices and pick from the limited images and narratives we receive from mass media.

We just put on the team jersey that is most familiar, the one we think most of our friends are wearing, and we make a choice we are uncomfortable with — or worse — we disengage.

Whether we realize it, that disengagement has a cost, not just in our voice not being heard, but in the way we think of ourselves, even if it just festers in our subconscious.

Boy do I know that feeling. It seems like most of the people I know believe that you're either a conservative or liberal, and there's only a giant gap between the two camps. Apparently, to be conservative, you have to be anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, pro-corporate/anti-union, an illegal immigration hard-liner, and anti-gay marriage. To be a liberal, you must be pro-abortion, anti-death penalty, pro-union, soft on illegal immigration, and pro-gay marriage. You must accept one package or the other, and apparently you may not pick and choose from each "side". Your color choices in team jersey, as proffered by the media and "common knowledge" are red or blue — pick one.

But as they say in the vernacular, I can't hang.

I'm anti-abortion and anti-death penalty, for the exact same reasons. I'm anti-corporate, pro-union and somewhere in the middle on illegal immigration, for the exact same reasons. I'm anti-gay marriage, although since I don't believe the state can exactly "sanctify" a "straight" marriage either, I don't believe it really matters what the state allows or doesn't allow (and I don't think anyone should be denied the right to assign survivor or beneficiary benefits to whomever they please).

This is why, every election cycle, I agonize over which candidates should get my vote. There's no candidate that gets my vote that I'm ever happy with.

For instance, I have found myself completely unable to vote for Bush (for quite a few reasons, but here's just one) — he may be against abortion, but he proved himself as governor of Texas to be even more in favor of the death penalty than the average governor. As a friend of mine, a former resident of Texas, once said: "At a time when the death penalty is on the decline in most states, Texas put in a drive-thru." Obviously, I couldn't vote for Kerry, either. He stood for a lot of things I approve of, but the abortion thing is a deal-breaker.

Culture of death, indeed.

Where are the Catholics with the purple jerseys — the ones that incorporate the best of both the red team and the blue team? We need people of faith and personal integrity who will take a strong stand for justice and speak out for those who have no voice: the incredibly innocent (the unborn) and the deeply guilty (the condemned); the brave military men and women who believe in defending their country but are hobbled by lack of a clear mission, and whose welfare is forgotten once they come home; and the rest of the people in the middle who are just trying to get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and still have a little life left in them at the end of the workday to be with their families.

Anyone who might be interested in the job, please head for the locker room and suit up.