On My Mind (Vol. 4)

Here I am trying to get back into this weekly feature I dreamed up when I started the blog. I’ve made myself a nice little template to use every week and I’ve come up with a shiny new image to include in it. Also, school is right around the corner, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for school-year-structure to whip me into shape. We’ll see!
Before I go any further, I’ve got to acknowledge the sad news from abroad that’s currently breaking into my radio programs on the hour: at this point some 250 people are confirmed dead in the earthquake that struck central Italy  and at least a dozen students have been killed in a terrorist attack on the American University in Kabul.
May God bless the souls of the departed and give comfort to their loved ones and communities. And may those who remain respond to these tragedies with a firm resolve to work toward preventing similar ones in the future.

Okay. Onto politics.

Apparently Donald Trump has been attempting to reach out to African Americans, though “attempting” might be a generous word for it. His statements have come across more like, “Black people, your lives are complete and total disasters, but HEY, I love you!”
What a novel idea: insult people in order to persuade them to vote for you.
Truly, though, I was flummoxed when I heard his remarks. How could he think such statements would be persuasive to black voters? It seemed to me that he wasn’t really trying to persuade them, but rather checking off a box on The Presidential Candidate’s To-Do List, which must include “reach out to minorities” right along with action items like “pretend you like babies” (whoops!) and “eat in folksy-looking diners.”
Or was he trying to persuade someone else? I heard a reporter (sorry – can’t remember who) suggest that Trump’s “outreach” to black voters might actually be aimed at suburban white women. And aahhh, yes – that made more sense. The white suburban mom demographic (and I speak from experience here) seems to be uncomfortable with Trump on a number of counts, but a big flashing neon one is his treatment of minorities. We don’t want to think of ourselves as racist, we don’t want to be associated with racists, and so we need assurances that our presidential candidates aren’t racist. I guess.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cadillac, Mich., this spring. (CNS photo/Jim Young, Reuters) 


Trump’s reaching out to Latinos too – even (maybe? who knows?) changing course on immigration. This should be good.
And then we have Hillary Clinton, who is now experiencing – what? – iteration 673 of Emailgate? I try to keep up on political intrigues, but I have truly lost track on this one. There’s the home server and the Russian hacks against the DNC and the Clinton Foundation patrons seeking State Department favors and now a new batch of improperly-dealt-with emails? It’s so confusing.
And I really don’t think it changes much. People who like her will continue to like her. People who tolerate her will (probably) continue to tolerate her. People who dislike her could hardly dislike her any more.
As for me, I hear “email, email, email!” and I feel my little heart harden further against Hillary Clinton and others who prioritize political machinations over open and ethical governance. They’re a big reason why our country’s currently in this political bind and I’m highly annoyed with them.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is seen in Washington Aug. 5. (CNS photo James Lawler Duggan, Reuters)

Another thing that’s getting under my skin right now is this “burkini” kerfluffle in France. Now, I won’t claim to know much about France or its culture. I’ve never been there, I don’t speak the language, and I don’t keep up with its politics any more than I do other European countries. (That is to say, I know the basics and not much more.)
But from what I can tell, they’re getting this secularism/religious freedom thing all wrong. They seem to want it both ways. They claim their heritage as a Christian country without really embracing Christianity. And they push a secularism that is not so much a requirement of the separation of church and state (I know – that’s our phrase, not theirs) as it is an imposition of anti-religious values.
When you stop a person from living out her religious convictions – even in something so seemingly small as her choice of clothing – you’re depriving her of her religious freedom. And that’s something a secular, liberal society has no business doing.
Let’s end on a brighter note, shall we? I heard a lovely piece the other night regarding a group of Syrian refugees – musicians – who have banded together to form an orchestra. The group has been performing concerts both for their own sake and to reach out to the communities they find themselves in. What a balm it must be to their souls. Take a listen
(I’m linking up with Kelly of This Ain’t The Lyceum for this week’s 7 Quick Takes. Come Friday, be sure to stop by her place to see what she and the other 7-Quick-Taking crowd have been up to.)
Interested in coming along with me as I chew on politics, current events, and faithful citizenship? Like The Space Between’s Facebook page. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram and you can find me at my personal blog, These Walls.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.