Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.


I did not mind waiting an hour and a half in a six block-long line to vote this morning. Not only does my employer allow the time off, but it means that people are voting, at least where I live. And that's got to be a good thing, even if they are voting for a bad or vapid politician.

Speaking of which, as a lifelong resident of the fair state of Maryland, I realize that, with the electoral system as it rightly is, my particular vote matters very little. It will be swallowed up in the tide of contrary votes and then, when the state nominates its electoral collegians, lost in the all-or-nothing bloc vote along with all of the other votes cast for minority-opposition candidates. So I am not sure I would have turned out to vote for only the presidential candidate. In a swing state, sure, but... well, it's a moot issue. I turned out.

Maryland Question #2 was the burning issue on my mind. And perhaps that's how it should be. That will affect the quality of life in my town a more day-to-day way than who the president is. He's only the president, after all, and is checked and balanced by a whole range of government bodies, special interests, established legal custom and tradition. Even if the president were another Hugo Chavez, while people care, our democracy is safe enough. (That's a good reason to turn out to vote in any event, I suppose, just to let the would-be world-controllers that we are not ready to give up the sovereignty of the people just yet.) Even if we elected Hitler or Stalin (perish the thought, and God help us), Jesus Christ is still King, as the Church will celebrate liturgically in a few weeks.

But the hell if I'm gonna sit by idly while our despot governor and his cronies try to cram slots and gambling down our throats. No, sir. There's a principle at stake here. Slots (the matter of MD Q-2) are just a sly way of legalizing casinos, and that's an issue that won't be resolved rightly if Rockvillers and Gaithersburgers don't turn out in droves. Laurelans and Beltsvillers, to the polls! Frederickers and Baltimorans, unite! People, rise up to protect your neighborhoods!

Now, that's democracy in action. That's what Alexis de Tocqueville admired about us 180 years ago. I suspect he thought our presidential candidates then were charlatans, as many of us suspect now. But whether the school board buys immoral textbooks for our eight year-olds, now that's something I can do something about.

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