We don’t do a lot of politics here. This isn’t Catholic Vote, it’s Catholic Dads. I am not going to go into a list of why, from a Catholic perspective, one candidate (Romney) is better than the other (Obama). There are sites that do that (the Catholic Hispanic Leadership Alliance has a good breakdown). Still, politics is part of every man’s life including, perhaps especially, dads.
Why exactly are politics important? Certainly they can be divisive and bring out passionate disagreements. I am certain that friendships are lost when politics are discussed – especially when deep consequences are perceived, as in the current election. So what’s all the fuss – can’t you just, you know, ignore it? Well, you certainly shouldn’t and here is why.
First, voting is a duty. as the CCC instructs: “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country”. Yes, men (and any ladies reading), it is our duty to vote.
Second, voting is an opportunity to choose who we are. When we vote, it is not simply a candidate we choose, it is also a moment when we decide who we are. We are the kind of person who would vote for Candidate X for Reason Y. It is a defining moment. Given that we are in an imperfect world with imperfect candidates, we must decide what is most important to us. Do we stand to save unborn lives or do we place free health care including abortion as more important? Do we stand up for marriage or do we want to make sure wealthy people pay more of their share. The choice we choose reflects on us. It requires discernment and thought and reasoning. You could just vote for the party you have always voted for without thinking, or worse, not vote – but even these choices reflect who you are.
Third, you are a dad. You need to teach your children what it looks like to fulfill a duty; what it looks like to discern both who we will vote for and who we are. This responsibility, in my opinion, is larger than the actual voting and outcome of voting. Face it, for many of us, our vote doesn’t matter (e.g., I live in the People’s Republic of California – no way this state is up for grabs). But it remains that we must decide who we are and share the process with our children. In sharing it, we reveal to our children something important about us as well as teach them how an adult deals with these issues. I would argue, the impact here will have an important and lasting impact regardless of who wins this election.