For those who follow politics, in the hope that our politics leads somewhere, today is Election eve, the day before we get to choose between misfortune and catastrophe, each represented by one of our two major parties. But for many Christians in America and other parts of the world, November 1 of every year is All Saints Day, a time to remember and honor holy men and women for the remarkable contributions they made to the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth before finding its glory in the hereafter.
Often the most enjoyable humor is the unintended kind, as in the oft-quoted Yogi Berra line about an overly popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." Or when Archie Bunker said of live theater, "The age of entertainment is over! Today we got television."
Sometimes it's amazing to observe what is and is not controversial these days. Except in a few rare instances where parents organize to protest it, teaching children in public schools that homosexual (i.e. "gay") sexual activity is as normal and acceptable as heterosexual (or "straight") behavior is not controversial. But when a public figure, especially a candidate for election, dare's to say otherwise, the expressions of outrage might lead you to believe he is in favor of turning the school science curriculum over to the Flat Earth Society.
Sometimes, a person will go so far to defend himself from a claim that he is, let us say, a vegetarian, that he will leave people with the impression that he is a closet cannibal. That may explain, to some extent, why Senator John F. Kennedy's speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960 left some devout Catholics feeling that Kennedy was less a Catholic than a borderline apostate. Yet the speech helped persuade many Protestant Americans, both lay and clergy, that it was safe to elect, for the first time in American history, a Roman Catholic as President of the United States.
The whine still flows at the New York Times, where the death of the republic is being observed over the carcass of federal campaign finance laws that restricted independent campaign expenditure ads (those "sham issue ads" that the good gray Times regards with utter disdain) from hitting the airwaves within 60 days of a primary or 90 days of a general election — in other words, when the electorate is paying attention.
I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who is a devout believer in American exceptionalism and the moral duty we have as Americans to police the universe, or at least that part of it that we can clearly identify as vital to our national security. I brought up the name of Ramsey Clark, a former attorney general whom Richard Nixon condemned as a conscientious objector in the "war on crime." Clark later went to Hanoi and pulled a Jane Fonda, broadcasting to our troops over Radio Hanoi, calling on American forces to lay down their arms and stop killing Vietnamese and standing in the way of the people's progress toward the worker's paradise.
We have had “soccer moms,” “hockey moms,” “waitress moms,” and other designations for women voters candidates like to target. Now Sarah Palin, who was pleased to tell the world two years ago that hockey moms are pit bulls with lipstick, has come up with a new category of politically aroused female voters who are tough, determined, and won't go away.
It was, and perhaps still is, one of those trick questions used by kids to trip up their schoolmates: "Do they have fourth of July in England? " Well, of course, the English have a July 4th. Their calendars would look rather silly without it. But they probably don't celebrate American Independence on that or any other day, except, of course, at the U.S. embassy.
Most of us will undoubtedly find reasonably pleasant ways to spend the extra hours away from work that a holiday weekend gives us; and nearly all, I expect, will have more fun than Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama’s choice to succeed the retired John Paul Stevens on the U.S Supreme Court. For General Kagan, as I learned from reading Joe Wolverton’s article on TheNewAmerican.com, has made a pledge to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that she would reread The Federalist Papers to refresh her understanding of the framers’ original intent.
On the editorial page of my local newspaper this Memorial Day, there appears a two-panel cartoon. This first panel shows a small boy in summer attire, his baseball cap on backwards as the fashion of the day dictates. The lad, with hot dog and bun on his plate, is standing next to a man at an outdoor grill, busy frying hamburgers and hot dogs.