by Joan Chittister, osb
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
At this point in the history of this country, the tangle between the two major dimensions of our public life — the political system itself and the politicians it spawns — is impossible to ignore. In fact, the choices we make this year — and why we make them — may well affect this country and its present governmental system for ages to come. I figure that those whose responsibility it is to make the final decisions on social policy will do so out of a sense of commitment to all the people of the world.
It may sound easy but it isn’t.
We all have the right and the responsibility to participate in this moment of national decision about who we are and who we want to be. The question is, of course, on what grounds will we make this decision?
I watched one of the chief politicians of the country do something very unpolitical recently. And by doing so, he follows in the footsteps of great American politicians over time who chose personal integrity over political conformity: The ones who called for independence from English rule. The ones who declared freedom of religion a human right. The ones who broke with politicians who supported slavery. The ones who confronted both church and state about the legal rights of women. The ones who argued against exclusionary immigration policies. The ones who supported the union movement. The ones who contested the Vietnam War. All of these things — and many more — have shaped the character of this country.
We may be at a similar point again. In which case, why we do what we do will make all the difference...