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Both political parties imperfect

Letter to the Editor | Friday, November 10, 2006

Just before a football game begins, after the band has come out and played all the fight songs they know, they readjust their embouchures and play “America the Beautiful” while the flag is presented and raised above the stadium. During the presentation of colors, the wonderful announcer in the stadium recites both the Preamble to the Constitution and the opening and closing lines of the Declaration of Independence.

Now, I don’t profess to be particularly patriotic, but when I hear those words, and remember what America is really about, I can’t help but get a little choked up while I yell at the top of my lungs: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Then I read about the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (Bill S 3930, passed a little over a month ago, popularly called the “Torture Amendment”), and I despair.

Despair calls to mind another depressing article I read recently: Jonathan Klinger’s column on Nov. 7 (“A time for choosing”). I enjoy reading his columns in order to expand my views and approach ideas from a different angle, but his latest two columns have been disappointing, to say the least.

As I recall, on Oct. 24 he informed us (in intellectually elite language) that Jesus was a Republican (“A call to arms”). Aside from the obvious theological implications of this issue (for starters, Jesus is God, and God is indefinable; and never mind how far apart he is from our petty political squabbles), I found it trite that he would sink to such levels in his attempt to convert others.

Then I read his thinly disguised attack on Joe Donnelly. Allow me to clarify my position before I continue: I am not a Hoosier, and so my contact with Hoosier values is limited to my few months here at Notre Dame. I also have not been keeping track of Donnelly or Chris Chocola’s policies or personal track records, beyond laughing in derision at both of their lowbrow campaign commercials.

Klinger begins his argument by assuring his readers that he “like[s] to think that Joe Donnelly is an honorable and honest man,” though once he states this premise, he abandons it entirely, thus implying a high level of sarcasm. He apparently thinks that Donnelly is incapable of making decisions for himself, and that party loyalty is the only thing on his mind. And of course, since all members of the Democratic Party are inherently evil, anyone he would vote into a position of leadership would be bad news for the country. Of course, he would be “forced” into voting for Democrats.

Yes, it is a fact that most politicians vote with their party on almost every issue. This works both ways: Chocola probably voted for leaders such as Tom Delay, who is now on trial in Texas for corruption charges. According to www.vote-smart.com, Chocola also voted with his party on the Military Commissions Act. Neither party is blameless, and neither party is entirely evil. Attempting to simplify the issue into a black-white scenario only furthers the ugly partisan nature of modern American politics, and choosing to use such simplification to sway others is arrogant and elitist.

Please, Jonathan Klinger, in the future I ask you to respect our intelligence as readers, and to examine the log in your party’s eye before you attack the log in mine. After all, “together, we can accomplish the radical change we all so desire by first altering our own behavior and then edifying our neighbors. The revolution begins with you.”

Johanna Kirsch


McGlinn Hall

Nov. 8