It is particularly dissapointing to watch any national news program these days. I used to look foward to political debates such as Ted Kennedy and Al Simpson, but no more. Those were the days when you could diagree and then go out and have a Ginger Ale together afterwards. I used to look at Dan Rather, Brett Hume (I still do) and other notable commentators on societal ills with anticipation. I now have only disgust for what I see, so much so, that I refuse to watch any new channel. I now watch those wonderful National Geographic specials on Alaska and FX1 sports channel with First Things First and The Herd with Colin Cowherd. For the last six months or so, I have tuned in to the sports channel to look at the strategies and execution of the NFL, NBA and even NHL. I love it.
Now, only Acrimony, revenge, calumny, detreacions, hatred, jealousy, slander, lying, coveting, envy, lust, power, reign as the norm in politics and what passes for the nightly news and news magazines. There may be some good reporting out there, but I won’t see it or read about it. Who cares?
The Armegeddon of Politicians has replaced working together for the good of the State. Satan must be quite pleased to see all the discord in all political parties run rampant. In politics, hatred beats reason, (I was going to use the word Trump, but then caught myself). Never mind that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people is drifting into slimy, gooey molasses. Never mind that the press (most, but certainly not all) have become tabloid, sensationalist press and television broadcasting has nearly all of its time spend hating, slandering, trying to discredit people and ruin their reputations with unsubstantiaed allegations of sexual misconduct, such as we just witnessed with Supreme Court Appointment, Judge Kavanaugh. The court system is social media and television nightly news and the dull comics that hold court. In our legal system, one must be counted innocent until proven guilty; in the court of innuendo and slander, you are guilty until proven innocent. There are no winners here, only losers. We citizens just sit in the courtroom (our private living room) and watch the circus unfold as commentators, whom we don’t know or care about, pontificate on topics we can’t stop (unless we turn off our television sets. What happened to civil debate which used to tout the various positions? No matter guilt or innocence, the point is to ruin one’s reputation no matter what the cost. Does this bother you, regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum?
I asked myself how should politicians and news outlets act? I offer you the Scriptures from Matthew on Jesus’ tirade against Phasisees and Scribes of his day. What he condemned was the type of behavior that was destructive of others, that was phoney. It applies here. You can substitute the words, “politicians (Pharisees),” reporters (Scribes),” for Scribes and Pharisees.
Matthew 23 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
Jesus Denounces Scribes and Pharisees
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.[b] 9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.[c] 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.[d] 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell[e] as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ 19 How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21 and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22 and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup,[f] so that the outside also may become clean.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. 28 So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. 33 You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?[g] 34 Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.
I was going to give my commentary on this but you can supply your own narrative. I feel ashamed for the United States that, having such a noble document such as the Constitution, we desend into Hell to conduct our ditry business, all the while thinking that what we do is justified and good for our country. The wages of sin is still death.
In the end, all I can do is try not to be like those modern day Pharisees, the politicians and the press. Scriptures tell us, ex abundantia cordis, cor loquitur, from the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.
May God have mercy on the United States for being seduced by the Evil One. May God have mercy on all politicians and news people, whose center of their lives has become one of garbage and rotten values, instead of truth and justice. May God have mercy, most of all, on me, one who must try to find love in such a rotten mess. It is not easy. All I can do is try to convert my life each day so that hatred and slander are not part of my heart.
I keep thinking of the words of St. Benedict in his Chapter 4 of the Rule, “prefer nothing to the love of Christ.” Now how does that fit into all that is going on?