The Personalist Project

Accessed on March 24, 2023 - 7:13:57

Obama utters a truth he defies in practice

Katie van Schaijik, Jun 04, 2009

In a speech today (hat tip, Andy McCarthy at the Corner), President Obama remarked:

[T]here are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion[.]

The first sentence calls to mind the intimidation campaign unleashed by homosexual activists against the supporters of Proposition 8 in California. It reminds me of Obama's pet organization ACORN, which demand "justice" while it commits fraud and thuggishly shakes down banks. Obama calls for a post-racial politics, then nominates for the Supreme Court a woman who seems to have made identity politics the cornerstone of her judicial philosophy. His treatment of GM is textbook example of the strong-arm tactics he deplores. But what I really want to say here is that I have seen this same problem in many Catholics. They speak the language of democracy and stand on their rights, but they do it tactically. They are not committed to those things in principle. Rather, they are exploiting the virtues of a free society to acquire power and influence for themselves. Once they have it, they use it to force their will on those under them. They justify themselves on the grounds that "the Church is not a democracy." This is something we have to resist with all the strength we can muster, after the example of the non-violent moral resistance of a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King, Jr., or the Solidarity movement in Poland. Truth and goodness cannot be imposed on individuals or on societies.