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SPECIAL: It is Time for a Change: Politics and the Future of Freedom

By Deacon Keith A Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC

I write as a private citizen. I write as a frustrated and disillusioned activist. I write as one who suffers from political fatigue. I write as one who will not give up.

We are eight months away from one of the most important elections in my lifetime and neither presidential candidate is speaking to the issues that matter most. Neither of these two men is paving a path toward authentic human freedom and peace. Neither is calling our good people to respond, as we have so well in the past, to what Lincoln called our "higher angels." Instead, political rant replaces authentic debate and the new Rome burns while the fiddling continues.

We kill our children in the first home of the entire human race with every kind of instrument of torture, chemical weapon and induced, forcible eviction. We still cover our ears and fail to hear the cry of the "poorest of the poor" as Mother Theresa so aptly called our neighbors in the womb. We call this killing a "choice" and herald it as some kind of "right." You cannot have a right to do what is wrong. History will tell of our barbarism if we do not right this horrible wrong. Neither of these two candidates addresses the horror. One, in complete contradiction to his professed religious identification, has never met an abortion he wouldn't legalize. The other cannot summon the political will to speak to the issue in his State of the Union address because his high priced advisors probably warned him it might cost votes.

We frighten our beloved elderly. We do not honor our parents. We are scaring them. For example, instead of pooling our massive resources in order to reduce their legitimate worries concerning housing and health care we are making them a ping pong ball in an election campaign that is bent on speaking more of war abroad (no matter which perspective on the Iraq "adventure" either candidate brings to this verbal boxing ring) than true intergenerational peace at home.

We have allowed the fifth column within, a small minority of the media industrial complex, to frame the heroic effort to protect marriage and defend the marriage bound, two parent, heterosexual family as some kind of mean campaign against homosexual persons. Just one example of the incessant spinning conducted by these Orwellian thought police is the intentional recasting of the Federal Marriage Amendment as an "anti-gay" marriage amendment in their allegedly "objective" reporting. A propaganda machine has replaced the freedom of the press. When the family is gone, civilization ends. Period. The promised "freedom" of this brave new world and its anarchy will make the old "Mad Max" movies look tame.

In the wealthiest society in human history we still allow our children to go without food and entire families to be frozen in fear while the titans of commerce make "choices" that are more concerned about the bottom line of a balance sheet than the common good. While hailing the glories of the market economy we fail to open its path of promise to those who are still "yearning to be free." Which of these candidates is speaking of human capital as the engine of true progress; the human person and the family as the end of all human work, the "goods" of the person and the family, or our obligations in solidarity to all of our fellow citizens, and our particular obligation to the poor? Neither one.

Freedom is not an abstract concept; it is a good of the person. Only people can be free. One major party seems to pine for a large federal governmental approach that has failed to deliver on its promise, stifles authentic creativity and progress and violates the principle of subsidiarity. The other has become captive to a libertarianism that worships at the altar of a new golden calf of an economism that reduces the person to a product while feigning compassion and speaking the language of family values. Both fail to value the family as the first cell of any truly just economic order and both fail to understand the sources of our liberties and obligations of our freedom.

Then there is that "vision thing." Both candidates demonstrate a lack of true vision concerning our authentic obligation to the entire human community. They fail to offer an vision for a sincere global neighborhood ethic or even a true attempt at international solidarity. After all, we share this planet together not by accident but by design. We are our brother's keeper. Instead, the world has been reduced to a new tribal warfare and, depending on which candidate is speaking, we are given a fight card and told who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are. Well, we all bleed red and the cycle of violence is simply out of control. One party derides the other because their candidate opposed a misguided and unjust war in the sixties while the other party rants about the current war campaigns but seems to offer nothing but verbal banter as an alternative to a frightening militarism masquerading as a path to true peace.

I will not give up and retreat from the political arena. Political participation is more than a right; it is a duty of citizenship and a part of the moral obligation that binds every human person. After all, we are here together in time and we must serve the common good. Neither major political party offers the way to an authentic vision of human freedom. While the banter of the next eight months continues I will do all I can to offer thoughts on the debate. I will work and I will vote. However, it is a time for a new freedom movement and it may truly be time for a new political party.

After all, politics really should matter and political debate should be about more than slogans, focus groups and tired rhetoric. It truly is time for a change. However, together we must pave the path to a future of authentic freedom.


Keith Fournier is a human rights lawyer and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University of Steubenville and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. Rev. Mr. Fournier is a married Roman Catholic Deacon, who also serves the Melkite Greek Catholic Church with approval. He is a co-founder of the "Your Catholic Voice Movement", the founder of the "Common Good Movement", the founder of "Advocatus, LLC", a faith based, educational and community initiatives lobby and consulting company and a founding member of "Lentz, Stepanovich and Fournier, PLC", a law firm in Virginia.


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