It turns out that I am not posting less, just less original stuff. And I got myself to thinking, "Why is this particular election so very difficult?"
I think I find two reasons--one is greater maturity on my part, the other is the essential intractability of facts and reason. The first of these--I am more aware of what my faith requires. I am also more aware (largely from being in the blogosphere) of what the Church teaches--which points are negotiable and which ones are not. Greater information leads to less comfort in some cases.
The second reason is by far the more difficult. There are a number of questions that must be answered in the course of this election that admit of no easy resolution. Probably the greatest of these for me is the question of whether or not the war in Iraq is a "just war." Being doubtful of the theory of just war at all, I find myself at a disadvantage in this determination. But a secondary question does arise. Assume it is not a just war--was it unjust from intent or unjust from misunderstanding. That is, did the president entering it knowing that he would not find what he claimed to be the reason for it. I don't know the answer to this question, so I will assume in his favor. Thus we have by the postulates given an unjust war entered into with the idea that is was somehow just. Does ignorance provide enough of a "shield" as it were?
Notice that there is not question at all about Mr. Kerry. There need not be. He has two major strikes against him, as well as a myriad others. Bad enough is the fact that the man would out-Herod Herod in his desire to push an utterly evil agenda to its furthest extent. But worse yet is that this man then teaches a mostly ignorant public that his own stand is compatible with Catholic Church teaching. Both of these are crimes against humanity in a fundamental way. There is no excuse that can be given for Mr. Kerry on either count. As a public figure, he is, de facto a teacher about what the Church IS in reality. Many people look at him and see a "Catholic in good standing." Now, I suspect that many of us harbor notions that may not be completely reflective of Church teaching. For my own part, those ideas that I hold, I hold largely in ignorance, or I hold them, in battle. For example, above I questioned the validity of the notion of a "just war." I don't know what standing this has in Catholic teaching--doctrine, dogma, opinion, somewhere in between these things. But I fight with it--I push against it. I do this in full knowledge that when I have done so before, I have been shown to be wrong in short order, I expect to be shown so now. However, there can be no question about the Church's teaching on abortion and life matters. As such, there is no wiggle room. There is one truth the Church teaches that admits of no variance.
Hence, I struggle with the question of whether or not I face two more or less equally immoral candidates. Engaging in an immoral war (question 1) with full knowledge (question 2) is unquestionably immoral. The difficulty is that there is no chart to show me, no quantifiable data. I have a mass of the opinions, informed and otherwise, of other Catholics. I am grateful for this data, but it is insufficient to determine the reality to the degree that would allow me to vote comfortably.
Here in Florida, we can vote before election day. Given the "irregularities" already "observed" in such voting, perhaps I would do well to hie me to a voting place and cast my ballot. Perhaps it will be invalidated, challenged, or litigated over. Then, at least for the president, it would little matter how I voted. (Sorry guys, I don't buy the statistical argument that one vote doesn't matter. It does, to the person making the vote and to the integrity of the fabric of democracy. Whether or not it affects the outcome of the election we can debate--I believe it does and that it matters.)