Something has been troubling me as of late. I am attempting to put it to words here and hope to do justice to the Truth behind what I am about to write.
As you may or may not know, I have been quite busy in the political arena over the last year. That (and a very serious hospitalization) have prevented me from writing as often and regularly as I would like. My foray into politics has been quite an adventure, and as I become more involved I find myself facing a serious dilema. I’m not a Conservative!
(the music stops and the soundtrack screeches as it rewinds)
That got your attention didn’t it? I know what you are thinking, “I’ve read your posts on here, hun, and you are so far “Right” that you put “Left” in its own time zone.
Still I assure you, I have to admit, I am not a Conservative. I say this with conviction.
What am I, then?
I am a Catholic. A faithful Catholic. Yes, I am an American. I am proud of my country. I believe in the Founding Principles and the vision of the Founding Fathers. I defend the Constitution and demand the same of my elected officials. (Actually, I’d be floored if most of them would just READ it!) I say the Pledge of Allegiance with my kids every morning and Sing “God Bless America” as loudly as I can. I am your typical Southern “Gun-toting, Bible-reading, pro-life, bitter-clinger, less Government, more private enterprise, birther.” I dress my kids up in red, white and blue and march on the Capitol when Congress disregards the will of the people. All of this would seemingly qualify me for the ideological crown “Conservative.” Yet, I do not subscribe to it. I will not simply call myself a “Conservative.” “Catholic Conservative”….eh…. maybe.
Why do I bother to make the distinction? Because too often those who clothe themselves in ideological garments forget that ideologies are not perfect. In fact ideologies can become a quasi-religion and that is dangerous ground. Ideologies create “group think” and “group think” lends itself to distortion and too easily forgets the Truth. You see, when you have “Group Think” you cease to have individual persons thinking for themselves. You also end up with issues that become “black and white” and sometimes they really aren’t that simple.
What got me started on this politically themed tirade is none other than President Obama’s blatant disregard for our Constitution and his defacto Executive Order granting “amnesty” (immunity…call it what you will) to thousands of illegal immigrants. Now before you get upset at what I am going to say next, let me preface it with this: What Obama did was WRONG. He went outside the law and that is not acceptable. The President is not above the law nor is he above the Constitution and his enumerated powers. The Obama Administration’s complete lack of respect not only for the will of the people in this nation but for our laws as well is astonishing and frightening. Furthermore, this action is so obviously a campaign stunt to appeal to a particular voting demographic its embarrassing. He is using a group of people (in this case illegal immigrants) to play political games. This is disingenuous at best and cold-hearted utilitarianism at worst.
That said, I have to admit that it is this issue that has crystalized for me the reasons why I am not purely “Conservative.” I have seen and heard so much hatred and anger from self-proclaimed conservatives directed not only at the President but at “illegals” that I have been cringing. The issue of immigration reform is widely accepted as a Conservative platform issue. We all know the hot points: secure the border, enforce the laws on the books, empower the states to protect themselves, no amnesty, deport deport deport and so on. The problem is, in becoming – dare I say it – ideologically narrow minded – is that conservatives become issue focused and not people focused.
That, my friends is at the crux of my dilemma. It is why I will not settle for being called a “Conservative.” I believe that politics should be and must be person-centric. Not issue-centric. Not group-centric. Person-centric. Conservatives on the whole tend to be person-focused when it comes to the unborn (except sometimes the suffering mom, the poor abortion minded woman gets stuck in the crossfire). But when it comes to other issues, especially immigration, person-centric politics goes out the window. This is troubling. It is also dangerous for a Nation who is striving to get back to her Judeo-Christian roots.
I am completely in agreement that those who break our laws should be held responsible. A Nation who enables law breaking is sick. A Nation who encourages it is even sicker. I believe that the path to citizenship should be streamlined and made accessible to those who wish to become Americans. I am all for English as a National Language and for tight border security. I am not, however, in agreement that illegal immigrants are evil bloodsuckers that are sucking the life-blood out of our country. They are people. Lumping them into an ambiguous group “illegals” dehumanizes them, and therefore makes it easier on our consciences to say things about them that one would never think of saying to them in person.
The issue of illegal immigration is NOT as easy as “deport deport deport” simply because it is an issue about people. As such, we must approach the issue while keeping the person- their plight, their situation, and their dignity – at the center of it. If we do this we can then, and only then, begin to develop an answer to how we solve the problem that illegal immigration is to our society. I do not pretend to have a full and comprehensive solution at the ready. I do have some ideas on how we keep the issue focused on people and not on depersonalized groups. But more importantly, my goal here is to point out that my Faith informs me that I cannot simply subscribe to an ideology that may cause me to forget or give up my understanding of politics as service to people, and that even in the case of illegal immigrants, who many argue are not deserving of the benefits of our politics, we still MUST be focused on their individual humanity. They are still people and any immigration solution we develop must respect their dignity as such.
These are heady issues, and in many cases, if we strive to see political issues through the light of Truth and Faith we are forced beyond the confines of pure ideology or political party politics. This is GOOD! This is going out into the deep and seeking to see persons, nations, and issues through the eyes of Christ. Christ was compassionate, He was also Just. Surely if we see the issues facing us today through HIS eyes, we can come up with solutions and laws that reflect not only Justice but that are created for the good of the people that this Nation’s politics serve.