|This aspect of the Republican party platform does not have the USCCB seal of approval|
Today the USCCB sent out a letter with their views on the current budget debate-- or budget war or political grandstanding or political death march or economic suicide or whatever it is that congress is engaged in. Here's a small part of it, but it did my heart good to read it:
"A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly." (The bold emphasis is in the original text)
The entire letter is worth reading if only because it's close to being progressive and it reflects actual Catholic teaching on social justice. Plus it's Christian as well as Catholic. (The two are not always the same.) Unfortunately, unless the USCCB is joined by LCWR, Congress probably won't pay much attention. It seems religious women have more of an impact in Congress than Catholic bishops. Maybe that's because religious women tend to be in life's trenches with the laity far more than most Catholic bishops.
My own personal opinion of this idiocy is that Barak Obama would have made a very good Nixon like corporate Republican. I always suspected he was going to be far more Bill Clinton that JFK, but the reality seems to indicate he's actually closer to Nixon than Clinton. Which says what about how far right this country has swung. It's so far to the right, mainstream Republicans couldn't find their way back into their own home with satellite navigation.
Which brought back memories of the USCCB in the 70's and 80's, when they really were progressive social justice Catholics who thought more like Jesus and less like Robert P George. That was before St Ronald Reagan recognised their influence and then had his heart to wallet talk with Blessed JPII. From then on things swung to the right faster than one could say Archbishop Chaput.
Anyway this got me thinking what it would take for progressives to get any kind of foothold and start swinging things back towards JFK and away from Ayn Rand. Since God is good, I came across these thoughts at the end of this article on the debt crisis by Robert Borosage:
"Progressives need to learn not so much from the Tea Party as from their own history and build an independent movement to stand with working Americans. Unlike the Tea Party fringe, a progressive movement has the advantage of mobilizing Americans around values and the policy priorities that are supported by a broad majority. It can organize to hold legislators in both parties accountable, demanding that they stand up for the many, not the privileged few. Today, a range of groups are doing just that, calling on members to inundate Congress with demands that Medicare and Social Security be protected, and that the rich pay their fair share of any deal. The challenge for the movement is whether it can gear up to run its own challengers in Democratic primaries against incumbents who are more responsive to their contributors than their constituents. The American Dream Movement, championed by Van Jones, Moveon.org, the Center for Community Change, the Campaign for America's Future that I help direct and others, is beginning to build that uprising.
There is much talk about new centrist third parties, about the need for bipartisan compromise to get things done. But when the Democratic position is to embrace $2.7 trillion in cuts from discretionary spending, divorced from any demand for progressive tax reform or any growth strategy that will rebuild the middle class, the "center" has been wrenched so far to the right that it is at odds with the common sense of most Americans. We need a citizen's movement willing to challenge money politics, clean out the corrupt stables in Washington, and demand a politics that works for working people."
If the USCCB got on board with this idea it would only be in their best interests. For starters, abortion numbers will go way up if the Tea Party gets it's way and millions more Americans will die from lack of lack of medical coverage, lack of any ability to access preventative medicine, lack of decent food and housing, stress from joblessness, suicide, and any number of other ways life provides for those who can't fend for themselves. Really, it would be the pro life thing to do. They've at least made a start.