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.

News from New York

I am up in New York state, here:

Plattsburgh is a nice town. It is the only town in this neck of the woods, for a long ways, in any way. Burlington, Vermont is actually fairly close - but it is across Lake Champlain, the crossing of which requires considerable time waiting for a ferry or to go around the lank, or by the bridge near the Canadian border.  It's not as cold as you'd think, and it's not as "liberal" (what a lie, in its modern usage, that word is!) as the rest of New York is (thought to be, at least).  This congressional district is the largest in the country, geographically speaking, and one of the most sparsely populated.  It is the size of Connecticut, and most of its towns' populations are counted in the hundreds and scores, not in the thousands or tens of thousands.  People here are not rich.  They do not frequent health clubs or expensive universities.  If they want a helping hand, they want it from their neighbor, or from their family or pastor, or maaaaaybe from their mayor - but NOT from their Uncle Sam.  They fear that Uncle Sam would rather be a Big Brother.  I fear with them, and in many things think like those with whom we have spoken.

I am here doing something I have never done before.  I am working in a political campaign.  The GOP apparatchiks decided to put a candidate on the ballot, and God alone knows why, that has nothing to do with the GOP - Dede Scozzafava.  She is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and pro-public option.  More mystifying, she has nothing to do with the views of Republicans in the area, evinced by the fact that they are defecting in massive numbers to support a local party's candidate, Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party.  She trailed increasingly in the poles behind not only the Democratic candidate, but also behind Hoffman. Since bowing out of the election race, she has endorsed the Democratic candidate!

I came up hear to post signs and hand out leaflets for three reasons, even though politics isn't normally my thing:
  1. If our democracy is to be healed, we need more political parties, ones that stand for things - anything at all, almost - rather than merely seek power;
  2. Big party bosses are entirely out of touch with their constituents in an increasingly obvious and ridiculous way - see above;
  3. Our President and his administration and the congress need to be reminded that they were elected as moderates and that their political careers are mortal.
Coincidentally, after the poorly supported Republican candidate's abandonment of the race, most of her supporters seem to be joining up with the Conservative candidate whom the Republican leadership would not nominate.  This additional support is giving him a clear lead in a state where only a plurality of votes is necessary to gain office.  Tomorrow we will stand in the rain and give out leaflets at the polls all day, before driving home.

If you think that this neck of the woods is insignificant, think again.  It was in upstate New York that both the American abolitionist movement and the women suffragist movement were born.  This region might very well the broadcasting hub of all that is good about America, a sort of antithesis to New York City or to Hollywood.

Interesting side note: The people in this region are easily the most intelligent in the country.  They have a thing called Steward's.  Steward's is an coffee and sub shop rolled together with a gas station and a - get this - ice cream shop.  I don't mean that Steward's sells ice cream sandwiches or nutty buddies.  I mean, twenty, thirty flavors that you can mix and match, and a double scoop of their own flavors (which include black raspberry, Fourth of July, and Irish Cream, inter al.) costs a mere $2.50.  When you stop for a fill-up, you can stop for a fill-up!  It's BRILLIANT.  Between the scenery, the nice folks, and the Steward's ice cream, this place is like a piece of heaven.

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