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Back to the Future

I have a pretty terrible memory, which is unfortunate. My children are forever saying to me, “Do you remember when..” and I look at them blankly, shaking my head.
I’ve always taken comfort in what Flannery O’Connor said about her own issues: “Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.”
Which is part of the reason why I write and what I found so personally helpful about teaching. The best way for me to remember things is to relate them to someone else.
But I do remember a few things with startling specificity – usually, as you might expect, things with particular personal resonance or of great interest to me.
Take January 23, 1993. I remember that. Okay, so I didn’t remember the date until I looked it up, but I did remember it was the Saturday after Clinton’s first inauguration. And I was attending a workshop for catechists. In attendance at the workshop was an older religious sister. At one point, we were sitting next to each other and the new administration in Washington came up.
The sisters was dismayed. “Did you hear what President Clinton did?”
I nodded.
(If by chance, you have forgotten: Jan. 22: President Clinton reverses years of pro-life progress by issuing five executive orders reversing Title 10 regulations banning abortion referral by federal employees, repealing the Mexico City Policy restricting federal funding of international organizations that work to reverse countries’ abortion laws, negating the ban on funding for fetal tissue transplants, ordering military hospitals to perform abortions, and asking the FDA to “review” the import ban on RU 486.”)
Yes, I’d heard about that.
“I just can’t believe he did that,” Sister continued. “I don’t understand why he would do those things. I supported him.”
I was surprised, but not really. I tried to point out to Sister that President Clinton had run on an abortion rights platform supported in word and funds by abortion-rights groups, and reversal of these policies was a stated and clear goal of these groups.
She just shook her head again. “I still can’t believe it.”
And we gathered up our things and moved on to the next workshop.

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posted October 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Catholic Democrats can’t see what’s inconvenient for their consciences. Party trumps religion every time…

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posted October 21, 2008 at 2:19 pm

I’ve been thinking about January 21, 2009, assuming the polls are correct. It would be easy to give in to despair. The only way to deal with it will be to get out there the next day — January 22, 2009 — and let President Obama and the Supreme Court know that we are not going to rest.

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Paul M

posted October 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Just so somebody doesn’t get confused like the good Sister:
Bill Clinton waited 2 days to act; Mr. Obama promised that signing FOCA would be the “1st thing I do as President”

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Chris Sullivan

posted October 21, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Well, if signing FOCA is the 1st thing an Obama president would do, then it looks like he’s in for a long vacation if elected :)
FOCA hasn’t even been voted on yet.
God Bless

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Michael in ArchDen

posted October 21, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Kozabura, I don’t think that failing is limited to Catholic Democrats…or even Catholics! Sadly, we’re a fallen people.

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Michael in ArchDen

posted October 21, 2008 at 5:31 pm

…and don’t be too hard on Sister. Even the good and holy Archbishop Chaput, has admitted (confessed?!?) to supporting Carter in 1976 despite knowing he was pro-choice.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 7:45 am

For some reason I remember the day that Clinton signed that order with him being surrounded by the usual suspects of the pro-abort supporters (Kate Michelman?) and the smiles on their faces while tens of thousands marched outside on the 20th anniversary of Roe. It felt like such a slap in the face. (He also slapped Republicans in the face when he embarked on meetings with the heads of the Democratic Senate and Congress without including the heads of the Republican leadership…they were in front of the microphones looking like the cat who swallowed the canary while the Republicans were saying they should have been included…one of them, Thomas Foley, had his smile wiped off his face when he was defeated by the “Contract With America” Republican victory two years later.)
I also remember being in Catholic grade school and seeing two nuns hugging and crying in the hallway. We as a school then said the rosary…it was when abortion was legalized in the state of New York. From that day forward, I can’t think of many days where the protection of the unborn has not been on my mind. Those beautiful sisters seared into my young heart the idea that abortion was a horrible crime against the unborn and by reading, praying and acting I have lived my life haunted by this terrible injustice.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 8:31 am

Doesn’t anyone get the paradox here? Both parties have enabled us to progress to stasis. The Democrats are going to be pro-abortion for the foreseeable future. The Republicans will always talk a good games, but will do nothing about it.
I really do wish the US had a viable multi-party system. Having two parties without a dime’s worth of difference between them is not the solution.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 10:52 am

McCain said in last week’s debate that he would not use “abortion as a litmus test” in choosing Supreme Court judges. He also boasted he was for the appointment of Ginsburg to the Court.
With that, he became just as effective as Obama in the “pro-life” vote. There’s something amiss when the one issue that is important to Catholics and Evangelicals has not been a theme for McCain. Palling around with terrorists? Socialism? Buying a big projector? These are the things we’re getting.
He blew it. And I don’t know why.
Can someone explain why ABORTION has not been an issue in this campaign? Please.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I’m afraid Laura is right. A president could, if he were of the mind challenge the courts on this. That’s what separation of powers is all about. Many presidents in the past have ignored the wishes of the congress and the courts, when they thought it was important enough. Then its up to the congress to impeach if they can or eat it if they cannot get the votes to impeach. The courts meanwhile can do very little as they have no real power over the president if he chooses to ignore them.
None of this is extra legal, it’s what the founding fathers planned. Separation of powers. Instead the USSC dipped into the job of the legislature by creating instead of interpreting laws.
Congress could have done something by impeaching the Justices who exceeded their authority through the unconstitutional interpretation which has exempted some people in the United States from constitutional protection. If nothing else a Republican congress could have explicitly declared that citizenship conveys at conception. OR at least made the attempt.
Most of all they could treat it as the serious problem it is. Let someone try to kill millions of post birth babies and see how fast the president and congress would respond.
But lets not let the Church off either. If the bishops had spoken up in the 1960s. If Catholics had really gone to the mat when most of them still accepted the truth of the act of abortion we wouldn’t be in this situation.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 12:49 pm

“I can’t believe that!”
Not surprising.
There are countless people today who can’t believe that it was the Democratic Party that largely supported slavery, either explicitly or by acquiesence, refusing to accept the very humanity of certain persons.
There are countless people today who can’t believe that it was the Democratic Party that largely supported secession and destruction of the Union.
There are countless people today who can’t believe that it was the Democratic Party that largely supported segregation, refusing to accept equality of persons.
But it really should not be surprising, they really should not find it hard to believe, that a member of the Party of Slavery, Secession, and Segregation should act in a manner consistent with their history and work to oppress and deny the most basic human rights to others.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 4:13 pm

There’s a big difference between the Supreme Court justices appointed by President Bush and those appointed by President Clinton. McCain has said he would appoint judges likes Bush’s.
The Ginsberg/litmus test business is a political statement designed not to alienate moderates who don’t like anything that sounds like extremism.
Largely because of the sympathies of the media, unqualified support for abortion is not considered extreme, while unqualified opposition is.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Really? No difference between the two parties?
Signing the Partial Birth Abortion ban, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence act, reinstating the Mexico City policy, banning the military from performing abortions, banning taxpayer funding of abortions, and appointing two justices who are likely to vote to overturn Roe if given the opportunity, all against vehement Democratic opposition, is just “talking a good game and doing nothing”?
I think you’re guilty of the same willful blindness Amy observed in the sisters.
Abortion cannot be banned while Roe stands. Roe will stand for as long as Catholics vote for Democrats like Obama.

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Laura G.

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:19 pm

That’s stretching it, to say the least. Lincoln’s Republican Party is not the Republican Party of today, any more than it’s the Republican Party of Jefferson’s time. In Jefferson’s time they were considered “godless” and the Federalists were burying their Bibles for fear the Republicans would burn them when they “destroyed religion.” Jefferson was demonized as being a “howling athiest.” Hmmmm….sound familiar?
All those pro-segregation Dems of the South became pro-segregation Republicans. The South has been solidly Republican since the 60s, perhaps having to do something with Republicans being more “states’ rights” minded?
Newsflash: parties evolve.
The Dems are crappy enough without stretching the truth.

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Jay Anderson

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:08 am

“The Dems are crappy enough without stretching the truth.”
What truth did Bender stretch? He merely recounted the sordid history of the party of abortion.
Except Bender left off a few items from the Democrat Party wall of shame, such as:
* the Trail of Tears (Democrat founding father Andy Jackson gave us that).
* the war of conquest against Mexico (Democrat James K. Polk gave us that).
* only atomic bomb(s) ever dropped on a civilian population (Democrat Harry Truman gave us that).

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James Kabala

posted October 23, 2008 at 10:22 am

Laura: The Republican party of Jefferson’s time is literally a different party. (In fact, it evolved into the Democrats.) In contrast, the party of Lincoln’s time does have continuity with the current party, although many changes have indeed occurred.

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posted October 23, 2008 at 11:44 am

The Jefferson Republicans had no continuity whatsoever with today’s GOP. They were a totally different party with a similar name. Similarly, the Democrat-Republican Party, the Whig Party, and the Federalist Party are not the GOP, either.
The Republican Party was founded not long before the Civil War, by mostly anti-slavery Democrats disgusted with the Democratic Party. They resigned and made their own party on their own lines.
Since the Whigs had greatly faded as a political party, the time was ripe to found a new opposition. Within only a few years, Lincoln won the Presidency as a Republican.
The pro-slavery Democrats (or those not bothered by slavery or the status quo of their party, anyway) stayed with the Democratic Party.

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