Monday, January 25, 2010

Calculating Priorities: Was Scott Brown a wise Catholic vote?

I’m not sure if he was.

There is only one reason that I even remotely care; much less am excited, that Scott Brown won the Senate race in Massachusetts last Tuesday. That reason is that Brown had promised to cast a No vote on the current healthcare bill. I didn’t care that he was Republican (I’m not Republican; I’m Catholic). I didn’t know much about his platform. All I knew was he was a useful tool that could potentially fix the current “problem” of a very unfriendly healthcare bill.

Many people and even pro-life organizations campaigned and gave money to Brown for the same reason. The maxim “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” seems to apply here; he must be a good choice, he wants to stop the current healthcare legislation; never mind virtually no one on the national scene has even heard of him!

So now a new Senator (elect) is in town. What’s he actually stand for?

Brown labels himself as “pro-choice” and approves of the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion. Brown supports and approves torture “enhanced interrogation techniques” of suspected terrorists and the like. Brown’s opposition to healthcare actually makes me a tad nervous, too; if a healthcare bill comes along that a faithful Catholic can support; what would Brown do? My fear is he would hit the No button on anything resembling healthcare reform without qualification. Killing healthcare reform got him elected; how much incentive does he have to vote for quality reform?

If he weren’t so useful in the short term I don’t think I’d ever vote for the guy. His platform doesn’t seem very consistent with Catholic teaching and he will be voting as a Senator on many more things than just this one piece of healthcare legislation. I can’t image his actions as a Senator will be consistent with my values as a Catholic.

It seems to me that Brown’s win sends the message that we are in this for the short-term win. We will support a candidate regardless of their platform as long as they can help an immediate crisis. Is that the message we want to send? Do we want to tell candidates we don’t really care about their stance on life or torture* as long as they’ll be a silver bullet for today’s werewolf? Or is this just the cost of doing business?

What do you think? Feel free to share a comment below.


*Torture is intrinsically evil and never justifiable according to clear Catholic teaching. More on that another day.

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