Thursday, November 24, 2016

It Is Not My Place To Have an Opinion

My wife and I recently finished watching Downton Abbey. (Behind the times, I know.) One of the interesting features of the series is how often a character, when asked about some important matter, will answer with something like, "It is not my place to have an opinion." It's not just the servants who express such sentiments; even among the aristocracy, this sense of boundaries is keenly felt.

It strikes me that contemporary America is need of such a sense of boundaries. At present, whenever there is a problem or controversy anywhere in the country, people a thousand miles away begin commenting on things about which they know very little and social media storms brew in no time. Apart from the most grave forms of injustice, we need to trust our fellow citizens in other communities and other states to resolve their own problems. We need to trust that good people in other places will be the voices of decency and reason. They don't need us pontificating about every headline that crosses our news feed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Films to Heal America

America is in serious need of reconciliation and healing. That was bound to be the case whatever the results in Tuesday's poll. So I asked some American Solidarity Party members for film recommendations to help foster such healing.

The suggestions were wide-ranging, including religious films (The Mission, The Island, There Be Dragons), films about wars (Joyeux Noel, The Railway Man, To End All Wars), films about America (Remember the Titans, Forrest Gump), films set in ancient Rome (Ben Hur, The Robe), and films set in foreign lands or the dystopian future (St. Petersburg, Les Miserables, The Diary of Immaculee, Hunger Games). Here are three I thought particularly notable:

Of Gods and Men (2010). A community of Trappist monks decided to stay in Algeria alongside their Muslim neighbors, even as the civil war turned decidedly ugly.  This is their story.

The Tree of Life (2011). This film tells the story of one man's life through his recollections of childhood and particularly his parents. (Side note: Robert Barron gave some commentary on this film as well.)

Pay It Forward (2000). A film about the power of kindness toward others.

Have you seen any of these films? What did you think? Are there others you would recommend?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Vote Your Apathy!

Tired of the latest news about Clinton's mishandled emails? Disgusted by Trump's treatment of women? Ready to endorse the Giant Meteor just so we can be done with this election? If you're feeling apathetic about the presidential election, go vote that apathy!

Staying home may be understandable, but it sends the wrong message. It lets the major parties think that more of the same is ok. And it's not.

A third party vote, far from being wasted, sends a message that we need fresh voices, new perspectives, and a real commitment to the common good. So go vote for Michael Maturen and the American Solidarity Party. But if you can't get behind ASP for whatever reason, vote for independent Evan McMullin, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Constituionist Darrell Castle, or the Green Party's Jill Stein. Whatever you do, don't let your apathy be mistaken for agreement. Vote for change.