now, i agree that a catholic vote takes reflection. [voting for anyone takes some reflection, i hope. but i think her point is that catholic morality doesn't fit in one political party. lesson one in my class, by the way.] but i feel like she's saying, "catholic voters didn't vote the way i think they should because they didn't REFLECT like i did." but wait. if the catholic vote isn't straightforward, and requires reflection, maybe people could come up with different answers. if you're going to catchily call it "pro-life" instead of "anti-abortion" - well, maybe you'll find your platform is a little more broad. i wish she'd said more about the "without much attention to facts" part, and i also wish she'd base her interviews less on "a casual look at the Catholics I know." i mean, really.
Q: What are the reasons behind the fact that so many Catholics voted for Obama in the national elections?
Sullivan: Like any decision made privately by thousands of people, the answer is both complicated and unknowable.
Political life can be challenging for a Catholic; the truths we embrace do not align smoothly with either major political party. The patience to uncover and reflect on the philosophies and records of individual candidates is necessary to cast a Catholic vote.
That kind of in-depth inquiry is unfamiliar to modern American culture, in which everyone is entitled to her uninformed opinion. Catholics, of course, are not immune to that.
Just a casual look at the Catholics I know can tell us something about how the Catholic vote worked this year. Some believed, in good faith, and without much attention to facts, that the president would honor his promise to find moderate common ground and unity between the parties.
Others factored environmental policy, or health care policy, or economic policy most heavily in their decision-making calculus. Others, dissatisfied with the candidates, settled for various but important victories, like the prospect of ending torture, or the possibility of increased aid to the poor.
Others voted on emotional grounds -- they felt the "hope" that swept the nation. Others didn't have a decision-making calculus at all.
The famous Catholic vote did not appear as a bloc in the last election. Our voting was as divided as we are, and there were significant shifts toward Obama among the traditional conservative Catholic vote.
but! i've recently been reflecting on how emotional this is all making me. i can't hear catholic news without either getting angry or feeling relieved. maybe you've noticed. i don't know if this speaks more to the state of the catholic church right now, or my state of mind.
related - david brooks, i think, is not actually writing about the end of philosophy [whatever, david brooks, call your colums whatever you want, see if i care] but about how "moral thinking is more like aesthetics" - to oversimplify, we make moral decisions more based on how we feel than how we think.
[semi-related - watch out! old news, apparently still relevant, about how abstinence-only education doesn't work, just like south africa's driving exam.]
and now, for something you know FRB will definitely like - joe's post on hope, the common good, and baseball.