As we begin to cast our first votes to select the next president of the United States, it’s easy to let our thoughtful, deliberative selves get hijacked.
As candidates paint pictures of the America that they promise to deliver (irrespective of the near universal truth that they all overestimate the influence of the offices they seek and overpromise results), can we take a step away from the shouting and pause.
St. Ignatius’s life project was to help people gain freedom from their prejudices (inordinate attachments) so that they might make decisions in freedom and that are aligned with God’s dream for the world. Political campaigns, on the other hand, employ psychological manipulation (marketing science) to invoke our fears and passions to get us to “buy” their candidate. They want to hold our focus on a few narrow issues and interests and promote those as “the whole picture.” They would like to play us for fools and sometimes we let them. To them we look more like targets than persons with dignity.
What fear of mine is this candidate exploiting?
What selfishness is this candidate exploiting?
How is this candidate asking me to ignore or even demonize some group of people?
What children of God are left out of the “we” or “us” that the candidate invokes?
The issues we encounter at Casa Romero are certainly not the only issues one should consider when voting but they are solidly within a list of key priorities of the Society of Jesus, the bishops of the US, Pope Francis, and many people of faith. So, when you are making your voting decision I invite you to, among your many concerns, consider:
How does this candidate propose welcoming the stranger (refugees)? (Mt 25:35)
How inclusive is this candidate when he/she uses “we” or “us”? (Lk 10:29)
Thank you for nurturing Strong, Loving and Wise leaders for the Church and society. Your support of Casa Romero does, indeed, welcome the stranger.