That Democratic debate

by Maureen Fiedler

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OK, I love politics!  And on Tuesday evening, I have to admit that I had a virtual political orgy watching the first debate among the Democratic candidates for president. (Yes, I also watch Republican debates.)

And, of course, I always look at these events from a social justice perspective. My first observation was this: how great that the Democrats actually debated issues, real issues, and did not resort to sniping or name-calling. It stood in stark contrast to the Republican debates of just a few weeks ago.

Martin O'Malley pointed out the contrast at the end: At the Democratic debate, there were no nasty words about undocumented immigrants, no calling someone out for his or her religious affiliation, or slurs about gender. 

Bernie Sanders gave his rousing call for closing the income gap between the wealthy and the poor, and beating back the powers that be on Wall Street. Interestingly, he was the only one to cite Pope Francis -- and he comes from the Jewish tradition. 

Hillary Clinton and O'Malley were especially strong on gun control in the face of the horrific violence we've seen over the last years. I found it fascinating to hear several of them bragging about their "D-" or "F" from the NRA! 

Sanders scored points with his now famous remark: "I know it's probably not good politics, but I think the secretary is right. The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" I applauded, too -- I'm sick of it.

Everyone who spoke on immigration supported a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants, and deplored calls for deportation. (It's important to note the distinction between a "path to citizenship" and a "path to legalization" which some Republicans tout, hoping, I think, that some voters will not notice the difference. But it's huge, and legalization without citizenship would be a massive injustice in this case. Among other things, "legal" residents who are not citizens can't vote!)

And, of course, I was delighted when Clinton mentioned that she was aspiring to be the first woman president! Now, in all honesty, I have not made up my mind about who to support in the presidential field, but it's great to see a woman candidate who is viable and fully qualified.

When will we see even the beginnings of that in the Catholic church, I wonder?

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