Once you've read this, you will not have to be reminded not to cry at my funeral.
Welcome to the 21st century. It's a fun place to be if morality is not one of your basic preoccupations. The world of politics has always been fodder for the feedbag of those who like to have inane conversations over at the Ol' Waterin' Hole corner of Main and Dwight.
People running for public office have made a career of making promises that they know they can't fulfill; they have forever been inventing facts to suit their present needs and in countries with a free press they are fond of reviling those who make them spend what it takes to buy the morning paper after listening to a bit of news on the car radio on the way to work.
It used to be that we the people wanted to hear the inflated false promises and the stories from out of the conjured environment of the past which produced five star results for each of the stump-masters. Yes, we would hear the occasional insult or false judgment aimed at a rival, but we took some and left some and moved on.
This year is different. The personal insult is the stump speech du jour. The reviving of the bankruptcy, the inept first degree relative, the sexual fun and games of the spouse and the worst government appointee EVER x 2! Now there is something that I want to mention here that has become a part of our lives when it should not. Like, making the rival's past "fair game" in exchange for the stated recognitiion that, of course my past is fair game too.
Fair enough, right? You voted for x,y and z and I didn't. Black and white. Done.
Ok, fact for fact. Done and done.
Fine so far. But that is not where it stops. Now we hear the repititious reminder of immoralities past that are intended to make the speaker appear to be more competent for the office sought than for the one sullied by past sins. These reminders, once again, are in fact reminders of historical facts. We have the idea that if the speaker is not lying, then it must be all right to maintain this line of attack. After all, the beneficiary of the practice of fellatio and the wife of such a predator cannot in any way be competent to be the "Leader of the free world." Really? Hmmm.
You think that's bad. What about being the brother of the guy who lied about WMD's and took us to war in Iraq. Wow, that's really a sign of your egregious incompetence to be the Commander-in-chief of the US military.
Not only is that kind of talk devoid of any logic, in Catholic speak, it is sinful. It is the little named sin called "contumely." This is the sin of the one who wilfully intends to harm the well being of another by publicly talking about the sin(s) of the other. In this case, the sins of the one rain down upon you because, you know, blood is thicker than water.
Yes, this is a serious sin. It is in fact a serious lack of respect for the life of the person being attacked by historically ascertainable immorality. People who practice this form of speech show a lack of respect, a lack of compassion, a lack of mercy and a lack of a need to live in the peaceful and loving company of fellow human beings. To continually abuse people with this kind of abuse is far, far from being pro-life. It is the style to be protective of the life in the womb but the minute you're in the light of day, watch out! To treat people this way is to act opposite to the law of love that we all know and that we are all very fond of quoting in season and out.
So, you Catholics, other Christians and every other human being, keep yourselves attuned to what you hear in this world. Instead of looking for the comfort of something being "Fair Game," look for Love, Mercy, Piety, Gentleness, Justice, Patience, etc. Do it. I dare you.
So did Jesus, don't forget.