Kindness and the “war of words.”

When I was in junior high, my family got our first television set, a floor model, black and white small screen, Philco (I think).  We were enthralled.  It was truly a family co-ordinate; kids sprawled on the living room floor watching Red Skelton, our favorite comedian, and the numerous quiz shows and crime stories with Mom bringing in brownies and milk for refreshments.  

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it?  Well, that summer I got my first taste of political television.  At the tender age of 13, I watched the first Democrat and Republican televised political conventions in which Adlai Stevenson became the Democrat nominee and Dwight Eisenhower, the Republican nominee and I became a bona fide political observer and eventual advocate of informed politics.  

Years later, as a free lance journalist and eventually a professor of journalism, my love for government and politics, along with ethics and solid writing, have made me so very much aware of the importance of writing as working on behalf of the oppressed. I have always walked the line between faith and politics, trying to be fair and open along the way hoping my students learned to do so as well.

Which brings me to this past week. I have also been trained in the theology and spirituality of the common good in the context of my faith, Catholicism, and in religious life.  Such training, in any faith, puts a particular onus on journalists who are so important in the context of today’s American political imbroglio.  I have reflected on this dual challenge as I watched, once again, a political drama of extreme importance unfold on television for all of us to see.  

At the same time, I was reading the comic opera written about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, both of whom worked from opposite legal hemispheres, she, a constitutional progressive, he a constitutional strict constructionist.  They became very close friends, despite their differences of legal philosophy.  She once said, she could not conceive of spending New Year’s Eve with anyone else!  After their disagreements on nearly every hot-button issue, they say at the end of the opera:

“And this is why we will see justice done:

We are different;

We are one.”

Reflection:

Can we reflect, think on those words above when it comes to today’s political division?

Can we think of Sr. Joan Chittister’s words in a recent article:

“We must begin to free our political system and then the world from this perpetual war of words, by freeing ourselves first of the acrimony our words can bring. Only at that point, can we really rescue the common good, the Constitution and the division of powers in a democratic state, even from ourselves.”

Any thoughts on this?  Please let me know.  In the meantime, pray to be open as deliberate citizens and faithful believers.

God bless all of you, my friends and my Anonymous Angels, who have a special place in my prayers.

3 comments

  1. I believe that our words matter, our actions matter, kindness and caring matter. It saddens me to hear our “leaders” say things filled with lies and just plain meanness. It is a sign of weakness and lack of truth and professionalism. I pray for them…and our country every day.

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  2. I need to be proactive and progressive. There are a lot of things to be done to effect change that “regular guys” like me can do. I’m thinking, prioritizing, and strategizing how I can absorb doing the right thing in my life. Making phone calls. Acquiring information. Expressing my opinion. Finding a friend to bring into fray. VOTE. Talking about voting to everyone all the time.Someone very close to me does not vote.I could wring his neck BUT I will try to be more persuasive and kindhearted this election. Pray. Be grateful we still live in a system with freedom of speech. I believe there are many who shouldn’t have that much freedom. I wasn’t being serious and that may be my last comment. Keep a joyous, outrageous sense of humor. It is critical (in my estimation), in the dark time we find ourselves now. And == what Laura says above.

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  3. Mary Ann, I just got on your blog today, thanks to Mary Crotty. I have read a number of your articles. I wish you would send the above article to the Plain Dealer, Times etc. We all need this advice as each day brings more rage, acrimony and intolerance.

    Jane Cavanaugh

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