The Catholic Vote

     “The people are sovereign. I would only say, study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience.”

Pope Francis

 

The 2016 American Presidential Election stirred up the nation, causing more Americans to stand and voice their opinions on not only the politicians, but the issues that the country was and has been facing. The same political issues have been around for decades, but every year, they fluctuate, with certain issues taking the spotlight over others.

After the much-heated election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a rift started to form between the American people. Trump and Clinton stood for and stated their opinions on a variety of issues, of which Americans began choosing sides and supporting their respective candidate. However, at some point, the attention was taken away from the issues that were troubling the country, and turned to making sure that people’s chosen candidate became president. Divides were formed between voters and residents of each party voted to spite the other to support their personal party.

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After the dust has settled after the election, the issues that were present before the election now took the stage and needed to be worked on. For many Americans, the political issues that they deem most important vary from person to person, including myself. I believe many Americans would say that Free Speech is one of, if not the most, important political issues of 2018. With the rise of social media and tensions between political parties, more Americans are quick to share their opinions with the world, some of which get suppressed by those who disagree. I am one who also believes Free Speech to be a critical contemporary political issue. It is the basis of the Bill of Rights, and we as Americans should be able to freely express ourselves without being attacked and blocked by those who disagree with our perspectives. However, I believe that free speech does not come without consequences, and we should conduct ourselves in a matter that takes all opinions into consideration and lets every voice be heard.

As a potential professional in the medical field, healthcare is an incredibly important issue to me personally. It pains me to see Americans unable to get quality and sufficient healthcare when they need it the most because of economical issues within the governmental system. Americans should be provided with reliable healthcare, as life is the most precious thing on this planet, and for that to be taken away from people because they can’t afford it, is rather unacceptable for a society that is as developed as America is.

These are issues that have been around for decades, but they are just taking more of a spotlight in 2018 with new politicians and the new opinions that come along with them. However, there have been larger and more prevalent political issues in the past. Terrorism, the economy, and immigration have been issues that America has been dealing with for centuries, ever since the country’s founding. These are issues that have have been the source of much heated debate and brought about countless changes to the way America carries and runs itself internally and externally with the rest of the world.

And then that’s where Catholics come in. Over the past few meetings of seminar, we have discussed the “Catholic Vote” and whether or not it exists. We looked at and discussed voting trends of Catholic Americans over the past few decades, in order to determine whether or not Catholics have a tendency to vote in a particular way on certain issues. All of the aforementioned issues have been prevalent in America and every citizen has their opinions on them. It is particularly interesting to examine how Catholics in particular looks at these issues and respectively vote on them. I think free speech and healthcare are issues that Catholics have been discussing for many years, as Catholics have been oppressed in American society for decades, and are just relatively recently gaining more freedom of speech and expression to be an essential aspect of American society. And Catholics also care very deeply about healthcare, as they like to focus on life and preserving life, and life shouldn’t necessarily come at the cost of financial decisions that are being made over American’s heads. Along with said issues, the issues that have been prevalent in the past have also disrupted the Catholic voter community, especially immigration. Catholics are often called to “welcome the stranger” and “love thy neighbor”. Catholics conduct themselves in a way to respect every human being and their respective lives. Especially today, Catholics have turned more and more focus to immigration, as the needs of people have always been in the hearts of all Catholics. Catholics believe that the immigration system is broken, with families being torn apart and people constantly suffering, and thus they would and have respectively voted for politicians who plan on reforming it. Along with that, Terrorism and the economy are both issues that affect every American, not just Catholics. So, Catholics have voted on such issues in the past that allow for the most helping and healing for Americans, in an effort to preserve and grow human beings’ lives.

The topic of the Catholic vote doesn’t end here. This is just the beginning of this year-long discussion that I will continue to have during seminar.

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Sources:

http://pleaseenjoy.com/projects/editorial-art/catholic-vote/

https://www.catholiccharitiesdpb.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=316

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