Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Revisiting Cardinal Stafford's Warning

Certain truths need to be repeated or they will be forgotten. "Remembering Cardinal Stafford's Warning" was originally posted in 2010. It recalls Cardinal Stafford's warning to America about President Obama and Wolf Blitzer's response to that warning. Even given the 2010 elections and the political wave it created (in opposition to President Barak Obama's policies,) the question was posed if voters would remember the reasons behind their vote. The answer is provided at the bottom of the post. 

Revisiting Cardinal Stafford's Warning:

Cardinal James Francis Stafford gave a lecture in the fall of 2008 at the Catholic University of America. He warned his audience about the perils to come after president-elect Barak Obama won the bid for the President of the United States. He said, “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.” Then he added: “For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden.” Cardinal Stafford then went on to criticize Mr. Obama for being “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.” However, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer immediately depicted the Cardinal's comments as a "scathing rant" and a "diatribe." More than three years later, however, it would seem that most Americans have come to believe that the words of Cardinal Stafford are more than just a rant and a diatribe.

Admittedly, President Obama's policies have not been fully realized so as to make us feel the full effects of the garden of Gethsemane [as of 2010]. Nevertheless, enough people are troubled about the direction of our country that they would certainly pay more heed to the Stafford’s prophetic warning. The emergence of the Tea Party, the low poll numbers for the President Obama in 2010, and the seriousness of the Republican primaries are just a few indications that Wolf Blitzer just may have been too quick to dismiss Stafford's "scathing rant."

With these new developments, conservative commentators were optimistic over the prospects that America was turning to conservative principles and traditional values. After the congressional and gubernatorial gains in the 2010 elections, there was a lot of rejoicing going on in conservative circles. Indeed, there was momentum building in favor of Tea Party values, no doubt. But success is never long sustained if the reasons behind that success are poorly understood. For any nation to advance right ideas need to be traced to their source and wrong ideas need to be followed to their logical conclusions.

Although most Americans would tend to side with Cardinal Stafford's assessment in 2010 that President Obama is a liability to our nation, what troubles me is that the majority of voters had to learn this lesson through experience. Learning by experience can be costly; especially when local, state and federal governments were growing in size and meddling in the private sector long before the 2008 presidential election.

If truth be told, a good Christian and civics education would have alerted the voter that with President Obama, and many other politicians like him, free enterprise and civic liberties would be seriously compromised. The public should have anticipated the unfavorable developments which have taken place in Washington DC; especially with Obamacare and a host of other intrusive measures which compromise religious liberties.

This is the problem at hand: In America, lessons are learned and quickly forgotten. American voters do not vote for something definite as much as they react to that which is disagreeable. Catholic theology and morality, on the other hand, are always oriented towards the purpose of things, that is, towards something definite. Marriage, for instance, has two definite goals: procreation and love. Similarly, the government exists for specific reasons. Among them are to protect the citizenry from foreign threats and to establish public order for the common good. Indeed, a solid Christian and civics education inspires this purpose-oriented moral framework. But the majority of Americans do not benefit from such an education. As such, democracy, the free market and religious liberty remains brittle. American voters simply do not know the principles on which they rest nor do they understand their value.

Until the monopoly of the State on education is broken up and is then returned to local communities (where there is at least the opportunity to introduce Christian education) Americans will continue to learn tough and costly lessons over and over again. State-run education, by and large, is prejudicial towards faith and patriotism; the two virtues that unite citizens under a common purpose. Without them, a nation will fragment and then perish.

Cardinal Stafford's warning to America has been vindicated by recent political events and the growing concerns of the American people. The Tea Party had made significant gains and at least offered check and balance to the looming threat of a totalitarian State. But in two years will voters remember why the Tea Party came into existence? Or will we have to learn the hard way again?

Postscript entered November 7, 2012:

Answer to the last question: We have to learn the hard way again.