September 25, 2015 by Chris Kite
I have an elderly neighbor down the street that has several bumper stickers on his car. We’ll call him Bob. Mostly because that is actually his name. He’s got a Bush sticker. A Romney sticker. A “Dump Quinn Elect Rauner” sticker, and he’s got a sticker that says, “I’m Catholic And I Vote.”
My son and I have often laughed at it. We understand what it implies. It implies that Bob is against abortion and that he’s anti-choice. But presumably everyone that votes is Catholic, or Jewish, or Baptist, or Mormon, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Atheist, or . . . okay, you get it, and they are at least partially influenced to vote for the things their religion stands for.
I don’t know Bob well. We exchange pleasant hellos when we see each other, and we wave when we pass by in cars. Well actually, he waves when he passes by and I wave back. When I pass by his house, he usually motions for me to slow down while I wave. Even when I’m doing about 15 mph he motions for me to slow down. I guess that is what old people do. But I digress.
I’m going to assume that most people that were for Bush, Romney, and Rauner are likely anti-choice, anti-environment, anti-immigration, anti-taking care of the poor, and pro big corporations running the country. I’m going to assume that Bob also stands for those things. I’m guessing at that, and perhaps stereotyping a little. But those bumper stickers are pretty good indicators. I also don’t have a hard time picturing Bob coming out on his front porch, leveling a gun at someone, and saying, “Get off my lawn.” Maybe that’s a little unfair. But I have uncles like him. I get it.
But now I wonder, will people like Bob still listen to their church? I suspect they will be “single issue voters” and still vote Republican because the GOP is the party that wants to control women’s bodies and take away their choice. But if they are truly “Catholic and they Vote,” then they are going to be faced with a difficult decision going forward. The Pope was very clear this week that immigrants deserve to be treated humanely. And our planet is important and not only is global warming real and manmade, it needs to be acted on now. He also made it clear that our current system of the rich having so much wealth is immoral.
So is Bob going to be single issue voter and pick that one issue that is most important to him, the issue of telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies, and vote against everything else his Pope tells him – take care of the poor, accept immigrants openly, take care of our only planet? Or will Bob still listen to his Pope and pick the candidate that fits what the church tells them on the most issues.
I probably won’t ever have that discussion with Bob. But who knows, maybe someday I’ll work up the nerve, dismiss the fear of picturing him standing on his porch with a gun telling me to get off his lawn, and ask him that question directly. Because I am very curious.