The Goodness of the Pope

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Sometimes, you can just see a person’s goodness on their face. Such is the case with Pope Francis. Unfortunately, many of the valuable lessons he is trying to teach us are falling on deaf ears. The Republicans and Democrats in Congress are already trying to spin his message to suit their own selfish agendas. That’s a shame because the Pope’s exhortation to the Congress — to put aside their differences and work together for the common good — could really revolutionize our country.

Sometimes, you can just see a person’s goodness on their face.

The public understands the Pope. Their desire to just catch a glimpse of him speaks volumes about his ability to inspire and lead, an ability none of our Presidential candidates express in a similar way.

Goodness can get you elected, but none of our current politicians seem willing to try it out. We do have many Catholics as prominent leaders, and you would think they would listen to the Pope. Yet it is the nature of humans to stick to their guns, to tune out any opinion that does not agree with their own viewpoint.

The Pope made a big gesture trying to learn English so he could deliver his message to Congress in our native language. We should reciprocate the effort by listening to what he says. However, as of now, that appears highly unlikely.

Reverence for the Pope

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The Pope’s words and opinions carry a weight far beyond his influence on practicing Catholics. People of every stripe are affected by the Pope because of his ministry to the entire human race. Pope Francis especially has created his own narrative in pursuing reconciliation among all peoples and a return to Christian sensibilities.

… even though he’s only one person, he can still change the world.

One of the most attractive elements of the Pope’s ministry is his own humanity. This Pope has held masses in small venues in the Vatican and has restrained from issuing condemnatory judgements about people who don’t naturally fall within his purview. For example, he said, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay individuals.

The Pope’s universal attraction can be seen in the effect he has had in Cuba. Holding a personal meeting with Fidel Castro and a massive rally in Revolution Square in Havana, the Pope has created amazing juxtapositions between the trappings of a Communist society and the more universal appeal of the Church.

And the Pope’s first trip to the United States will turn people’s thoughts to the veracity of the Gospel in discussions around every water cooler. You may agree or disagree with the Pope’s pronouncements, but you can’t ignore them. He will state whatever’s on his mind to whomever is listening. And even though he’s only one person, he can still change the world.

Fiorina’s Questionable Past

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Carly Fiorina is bathing in the adulation of her fans now, in light of an impressive performance in the second Republican Presidential debate. But we should expect her improved position in the polls to be short-lived if the realities of her past trickle down to the voters.

Indeed, Carly will find her time in the spotlight short, and she will be just one more individual holding the role of main challenger to Donald Trump, who will remain at the top through the Republican convention.

Fiorina stakes her reputation on her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, a disastrous stint with any fair reading of the economic indicators. While some statistics are positive, these invariably result from the increased volume of business after the merger with Compaq. Fiorina’s attempt to explain the decline of the company’s share price — it plummeted 40 percent — rely on her depiction of the dot.com crisis, but she fails to mention that her competitors in the technology industry fared much better.

At the end, she was viciously fired from her position; she wasn’t just let go; she was expelled. And in retribution, she took a golden parachute of compensation including a massive pension arrangement. In fact, Carly seems to rely on each failure to climb to a new level of ineptitude. What makes her think that losing a race for the Senate qualifies her to run for President? A more humble approach would involve running for a lesser office, not a greater one.

Indeed, Carly will find her time in the spotlight short, and she will be just one more individual holding the role of main challenger to Donald Trump, who will remain at the top through the Republican convention.

Did Fiorina Win?

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A consensus seems to be emerging that Carly Fiorina won the second debate on Wednesday night. I wholeheartedly disagree. The media is sympathetic to her “outsider” status in its attempt to make sense of Donald Trump’s ascendancy, and they are trying to paint Fiorina as a softer and gentler Mr. Trump.

Despite her supposed outrage at Mr. Trump’s comments about her appearance, she employed the same tactic against Barbara Boxer during her abysmal Senate campaign, calling Ms. Boxer’s hairstyle, “so yesterday.”

In reality, Ms. Fiorina has failed to show any real movement in the polls, even after her also exaggerated triumph in the under-card for the first debate.  And her following remains in the single digits.

Moreover, as Ms. Fiorina gets more scrutiny, the hypocrisy of some of her stands is starting to spread. Despite her supposed outrage at Mr. Trump’s comments about her appearance, she employed the same tactic against Barbara Boxer during her abysmal Senate campaign, calling Ms. Boxer’s hairstyle, “so yesterday.”

Also, some fact checking on Ms. Fiorina’s tough words on Planned Parenthood showed that she was clearly exaggerating. One might even call her a liar like she is so quick to do for Hillary Clinton.

So, even if Ms. Fiorina does rise slightly in the polls, Republicans would do well to beware of some of her weaknesses, weaknesses she has gotten a pass on until now.

If I were a Republican, I would go for Trump instead of Trump-lite.

Making Room for Migrants

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For all those people who grew up after World War II and who find those tumultuous times as something divorced from modern experience, I can say that the transformative migration to Europe provides shocking images. With some migrants being herded into camps and detained against their will, it looks inhumane at best and evil at worst.

Germany struggles with guilt for what happened during World War II, and I think it’s time we forgive them. Despite an endless stream of refugees, the nation has opened up its heart to the struggling migrants, with no thought of recompense or self-aggrandizement in any form.

But the attitude of one country, surprisingly, renews my faith in mankind. Germany, the ultimate destination for many of the migrants, has responded with enthusiasm to welcome the migrants. German citizens have rushed to the border to greet them, and, to my opinion, this goes a long way to reforming the legacy of that nation. Germany struggles with guilt for what happened during World War II, and I think it’s time we forgive them. Despite an endless stream of refugees, the nation has opened up its heart to the struggling migrants, with no thought of recompense or self-aggrandizement in any form.

The number of refugees can be daunting. The great mass movement of populations would be difficult to absorb by any country. And Germany deserves some assistance from the rest of Europe. But they have not acted in a  presumptuous or entitled way at all, and a new generation of Germans is on the horizon.

 

Carly Fiorina in Debate

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Carly Fiorina won. Not the general election or even a Primary. But she will be moving to the big boys table for the next debate on CNN.

Ms. Fiorina was proud about her performance in the first debate on Fox, but the rules for participation in the second one did not adequately weigh her subsequent rise in the polls. So she whipped up her followers and presented a petition to CNN to change the rules.

Ms. Fiorina was proud about her performance in the first debate on Fox, but the rules for participation in the second one did not adequately weigh her subsequent rise in the polls.

Yesterday, they agreed to do so. I’m not sure if this will result in 11 people participating instead of 10, or maybe all 17. Once you get past five or six, it really doesn’t make that much difference.

And it’s not as if they all have different positions on the issues either. They are all striving to get to the right of Donald Trump on immigration and other issues as well. The result is a pandering to the electorate that is slightly distasteful to watch.

Only Donald Trump possesses any originality of thought, and he might end up being penalized because of it. Jeb Bush has released a negative ad “exposing” Trump for his original views and some thoughts he held prior to becoming a Republican. One hopes this rather obvious ploy ends like other attempts to sully Trump, hurting the messenger instead of the target.

Blamed for Murder?

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Two events that occur near simultaneously don’t necessary mean that one causes the other. Such is the case with the cold-blooded murder of a police officer in Houston and the Black Lives Matter movement. While these protesters have been blamed for the bone-chilling chants of a few, even a minority of protesters retain First Amendment rights and are entitled to their opinion.

Personally, I think some of the chants, while they might feel good in a vengeful sort of way,  do not further their cause of ensuring justice for African Americans brutally killed by police officers. A more Christian approach garners better results.

Look at the accomplishments of the churchgoers in South Carolina. By expressing their love and forgiveness, these Christian stalwarts achieved what many thought impossible …

Look at the accomplishments of the churchgoers in South Carolina. By expressing their love and  forgiveness, these Christian stalwarts achieved what many thought impossible, the removal of the Confederate flag from State Capitol grounds.

The position of the right, while focused on law and order, is particularly incensing because they link the chants of Black Lives Matter as somehow creating “an atmosphere” that allowed this murder to occur. Nothing could be further from the truth. The right’s inability to see the real grievances of African Americans is one reason why they have lost so many black votes over the years.

One would hope for more sensitivity on both tragedies, from the police and African Americans, to heal our ravaged land. Being unjustly blamed for murder will make the Black Lives Matter movement more militant, not less.