More on Posting Less

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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.)

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I appreciate the struggle you've allowed us to glimpse in finding the right course of action for this election. Your third paragraph about Mr. Kerry pushing "an utterly evil agenda" speaks volumes and I encourage you and your readers to not discount this potential outcome.

Now as to the issue of "just war", it is indeed an issue we all struggle with and I don't see any clear answers. Is it definitively just or not? Is it intrinsicly evil or not? The discussions and theological and academic opinions being bandied about remind me of the discussions and justifications of the Arians, the Donatists and many other zealous heretics. I'm not saying they are heretical, but the way they are being defended and espoused lead me to consider that thought line.

Other writers, given your conundrum, choose another path, a third party candidate or opting not to vote. I strongly agree with you that each vote does count, but I also believe (to a large extent) that there are wasted votes. I have voted for third party candidates in the past. I can not in good conscience do so this election. There is a grave evil that must be prevented from growing and my meaningful vote must be cast. Now is not the time to "make a statement."

I encourage you and all your readers to pray and pray like you've never prayed before. Let God's Will be done.


ditto to swf. As I am in a battleground state, I cannot in conscience vote for the 3rd party candidate or a write in, as I once intended. I must vote my conscience, despite the failings of the one who will gain my vote. I do think, though, that the man I support is much more likely to listen to God than his opponent.

Dear Scott,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It is a difficult issue. The one thing that keeps coming up in my head--one of the few things I may have learned by stopping by Disputations often enough is that one cannot do evil that good would result. If I view a vote for either candidate as an evil, I may not do it, even though, like Alicia I live in a major battleground state (get ready for the recounts).

But that's where things stop being easy and we slip off the deep end. Is a vote for the one option left open to me evil? That's why the handwringing and prayer. I don't know, very honestly. I know what I think, but what I think is often wrong, and so I'm back to square one.

Oh well, God's will be done. I'm going to handle this like Paul suggests we handle our accusers. Sit back, enjoy, the ride, and wait for the Holy Spirit to inspire you--He will give us the words or the actions that we are required to do. There's a mercy.



I for one don't understand all of the angst. The choice to me seems crystal clear.

Regarding the war. The first gulf war left us with a set of objectives that Saddam had to meet or face the consequences. He failed to meet them or at the very least he refused to be straightforward and forthcoming about them. After 9/11, that kind of cat and mouse game was just totally unacceptable. From what I have read, many authorities, including Senator Kerry, believed that were WMD. Saddam's own generals believed that when the Americans were coming they would break out the WMD and win the war. Apparently the only one who knew he didn't have them was Saddam. (which doesn't mean he didn't have them at one time or that he wasn't working on them - we knew he was capable and willing - it just means that they were gone when we got there.) So in my mind this war was just and necessary. Saddam just misplayed his hand.

On the account -we are a country that allows for the slaughter of our own offspring daily. It's barbaric. Senator Kerry has vowed to keep that a legal option. There is no question that he must not become our national leader.

I'm supporting President Bush. I eat well and sleep like a baby in Ohio!!

Dear Ell,

I'm supporting President Bush. I eat well and sleep like a baby in Ohio!!

Thank you. I admire that. However, for whatever reason, that option (eat well and sleep like a baby) just isn't open to me. But I do appreciate your help in resolving this dilemma.



Hey steve, did you see this. Might make you see things a little clearer.

Missing weapons

But tonight, NBCNEWS reported: The 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives were already missing back in April 10, 2003 -- when U.S. troops arrived at the installation south of Baghdad!

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the HMX and RDX explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

"The U.S. Army was at the site one day after the liberation and the weapons were already gone," a top Republican blasted from Washington late Monday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors last saw the explosives in January 2003 when they took an inventory and placed fresh seals on the bunkers.

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.

I agree. I don't understand the argument that one vote doesn't matter because we often do things that "don't matter". For example, I make a very small annual donation to my college. It is completely invisible to the college. But if all alums give an invisible amount it makes a big difference. There are many other examples of how society fails to function well if enough individuals opt out. Jury duty for example.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 25, 2004 6:54 AM.

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