I've been meaning ever since to get her on the phone for a longer talk about this, but I haven't yet. For one thing, she's overworked at the moment, and I hate to risk disturbing her rest.
But I find myself thinking of another phone conversation or two we had back in 2008. A few days before Election Day and then again after the election we talked on the phone. My sister, who was then working in Miami, has never really been interested in politics, but with all the hoopla of that election we got on the subject. On the call before the election, she told me that there was a lot of opposition to Obama. I was very surprised and told her that didn't fit in with my expectations of Miami (rich Yankees retiring there, for example). "Oh, it's mostly just the Cubans," she said. "Ah, that would explain it," I said.
It was either that conversation or the one right after the election, where she asked me, "It's not true what they keep saying about Obama being a socialist, is it?" I replied with some mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy thing to the effect that no, he wasn't a socialist, certainly not officially, probably not at all, but he seemed to maybe have some ideas that were kind of socialist-leaning, as did a lot of people in his party today, but he's not actually a socialist really.
(Yeah, not my finest hour with regard to either concision or prescience. To my credit I could be a lot more concise on why I didn't want him to be President: Obama had zero executive experience, he was so pro-abortion he couldn't find it within himself to condemn partial birth abortion or to say that would-be abortions who were born alive should be given medical care, and I had no confidence at all that he got the need for national defense. He also seemed clearly to favor big government, and I feared the kind of appointees he might make to the Supreme Court. That was more than enough to make me vote for McCain, who I was far from thrilled with but who at least seemed to get the need for defense. But I could have gone on. Right or wrong, I did not believe Obama shared my love of America, nor did I think he would be a friend of our military personnel, nor did I think he was concerned about much else in this country other than his own career--admittedly a common enough trait among politicians. I couldn't decide if he was a True Believer in progressive ideology or if he espoused it as trendy things to help his career; I hoped for the latter, but worried it might be the former.)
Anyhoo, this week I happened to listen to the archived episode of EWTN Live from the same evening I was talking to my sister. Johnette Benkovic was the guest, and I only put it on for some background noise. She happened to read aloud some quotes that struck me and, as I'm rambling anyway I might as well share them:
"First we will take eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia. We will encircle the last bastion of capitalism, the United States of America. We will not need to fight; it will fall as a ripe fruit into our hands." (Lenin)
"We can not expect Americans to jump from capitalism to communism. But we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find out they have communism." (Khrueschev)
"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened." (Norman Thomas, whose name I did not recognize but whom she said was a former Socialist candidate for US president)
Those are the quotes as I heard them; if you want to listen to the episode yourself go to the Audio Library search page and type "ewtn live" into the series search box. I thought of my sister's Miami comment "Oh, it's mostly just the Cubans" when Benkovic said she'd read those quotes in a recent speech and had a Cuban woman come up to her afterward and say she was glad someone was telling the truth, that she'd come to America to escape and there was nowhere else for her to go.
You know, I've heard that back in the '50s American Catholics used to pray regularly for an end to communism. (I may be mixing this up a bit with the St. Michael prayer that used to be said at the end of mass for the Church and the world in general.) I don't think it would be a bad idea for Christians of all stripes to take this up again. I know socialism is not as bad as communism, but how well did Orthodox Christians fare in the Soviet Union? Is Christianity thriving in countries with more socialist leanings than the United States has heretofore had? At any rate, I have since 3/21 made a point of remembering to pray daily for the future of America. I urge everyone, but especially practicing Christians and Jews, to do the same.
This being the Bible Belt, I sometimes see bumperstickers or yard signs that say "God Bless America", but lately what I'd like to see is "God Have Mercy on America" or just plain "Pray for America".