Sunday, April 10, 2005

New crush, Catholics booing Bush

I have a crush on Gwen Ifill.

She has been filling in a few nights last week on the News Hour. She was wearing a saucy spikey necklace on Wednesday that looked like barb wire. I think it was that punk rock edge that won me over. And her mad skills asking the experts smart and concise questions.

I now tape Washington Week. It is hosted by Gwen and is broadcast on Fridays at 7pm. I watched it last Friday night. It is very, very interesting. And not because I have a crush on her. They do discuss quite a bit. I prefer the rowdy combative style on McLaughlin Group, but the substance is very much there in the civil discussion on Washington Week. Washington Week had an interesting crew on the roundtable discussing the Pope.

Most everything on the news has just been regurgitation of what is happening in Vatican City, retrospectives on his life and little else. Washington Week discussed some interesting bits on analysis of how Christianity has changed in the US and anti-Catholic feelings have been very much altered over the past twenty years. It used to be often reborn heavy duty evangelicals from the south that would be alarmed by papists, but now that anti-Catholicism is manifested in other ways. The new christian right in the US identifies with the Pope on selective issues. This is the interesting part. Picking selective issues and making them work. Which issues are the important issues in America? We talk of the "morals" guiding the vote. There is no lock on morality by any party. Learning how to adapt to this is going to be the key.

There was another interesting development in this Catholic dynamic. Bush was booed by Catholics outside the Vatican mourning the passing of the Pope. There is a lot to this, and if Democrats could figure it out they could make huge inroads back into the Catholic vote. But neo liberal self righteousness starts to turn into uncharacteristic intolerance that can alienate Catholics far more than necessary. Finding the common ground is very important, but it is up to the Democratic party to agree to really do this in a proper way. Burning the entire bridge is suicide.

The Pope stood up for a lot of great things that needs to be remembered. Things that people do not know. He opposed the death penalty. He opposed war. He reached out to the third world like no other world leader. He supported humanity and opposed oppression in all forms, both in communism and of capitalism.

There are a lot of interesting politics behind the courting of the Catholic vote by the right in the US, the explosive growth of Catholicism in the third world, the negative growth of Catholicism in the US and Europe and more. There is a lot to be understood. We often look to close and not step back.


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