The radicalization of the Republican party is happening in front of our eyes and is deeply dividing that party. The effort to subvert the right to vote–encouraged by the Supreme Court when it killed the voting rights act and cheered on the influx of corporate money in American democracy through its Citizen United decision–is clear and ongoing. The decisions to axe the hard-earned voting rights act and elevate Citizen United happened before Trump and McConnell put three new persons on the Supreme Court.
33 states around America have been working since the November 3 election on passing over 165 laws to make voting harder and are trying to turn back the easier-to-vote by mail practices that accompanied the last election that resulted in record-breaking numbers of voters.
Has one half of the Republican Party become the Denial Party? Denying climate change in order to please fossil fuel corporations in its continued destruction of the planet?
Maybe the plight Texas is currently enduring will waken some to the price we pay for denying climate change that causes drought, floods, wildfires, extreme and frequent hurricanes and extreme cold weather. And the price we pay for the denial of the seriousness of coronavirus and the concomitant death of over 500,000 persons along with the refusal to wear masks (“real men don’t wear masks”). And the refusal to establish national policies to combat a pandemic. Caring for the common good matters. Community matters.
One wonders if we are witnesses at this time in history to a final chapter in the quest for the common good that has named the political effort at least since St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Truth dies too in the sad scene and the wreck we are witnessing.
Of course there is hope too as a new administration responds to the darkness of our times and enjoys the support of a majority among us.
All is not lost but we deceive ourselves if we imagine all has not changed and all is not under a severe threat. The rise of demagogues, bullies and thuggery, so clearly on display on January 6, is not over. War and hatred seem more appealing to many than community or beloved community. Fanned by social media and some corporate media, there seems to be no guardrails on a media highway whose only rule is making money.
Hope returns when one sees young people taking the plight of the body politic seriously and entering the fray not only as voters but as candidates for a new kind of politics, one not marinated in denial but in clear thinking about the shadow side of racism and patriarchy alongside the potential for justice-making and solidarity.
Thomas Aquinas celebrates the sacredness of the politician’s vocation when he says that “political science is more important than the science of medicine” and that “the common good transcends the individual good of one person.” Hopefully the plight of our times will give birth to a new politics and new politicians.
See Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 394, 408.
To support a grassroots community organization during the ongoing disaster in Texas, check out Mutual Aid Houston.
Can we learn and the young learn to celebrate the greatness of the vocation of politicians committed to the common good? How best to make this known?
Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him. He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French). He gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way.
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake