Imperial County: A Case Study

Imperial County, California, might give us a little clue about how elections are won these days. Imperial County is heavily Catholic and 75% Hispanic. Here’s how they voted:

Presidential Election
McCain – 37.3%
Obama – 61.1%

Prop 4 (parental notification)
Yes – 73.2%
No – 26.8%

Prop 8 (restore marriage)
Yes – 70.0%
No – 30.0%

Very high numbers for Props 4 and 8, and yet the county still went for Obama by a significant margin. Why? Why did they vote for a man who is so overtly hostile to their fundamental values? The answer is that presidential elections are not driven by issues anymore, they are driven by image – pure and simple. Barack Obama is an attractive and compelling media figure. He’s good looking, intelligent, articulate, smooth, and appears to be knowledgable and passionate. For many voters, there is also a strong symbolic attraction due to his race. Few voters look beyond image, and it is unrealistic to expect them to.

I have said before that the Obama campaign was more issues-oriented than the McCain campaign, but that’s only because Obama had the image contest totally locked up. Image is priority; issues are luxury.

Imperial County was simply duped. America may have been duped as well. In a media-controlled electorate of 300 million citizens, this is how every presidential election in the future is going to be run. There’s got to be a better way.

Why we get the bishops we get

Here’s what is purported to be the official Vatican questionnaire for qualifying bishops:


Appearance, health, application to work. Family’s condition. Any predisposition to hereditary illnesses?


Intellectual abilities. Temperament and character. Balance and Soundness of judgment. Sense of responsibility.


Prudence, Fairness, spirit of faith and charity. Piety: daily celebration of the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours. Marian devotion.


Moral integrity. How does he relate to people and to public authorities in the exercise of his priestly ministry?


Is he competent and up to date in Theology and other Ecclesiastical Sciences? General cultural attainment. Foreign languages. Works published.


Doctrinal orientation. Loyalty to the Doctrine and Magisterium of the Church. In particular: the attitude of the candidate to the Documents of the Holy See on the Ministerial Priesthood, on the Priestly Ordination of Women, on marriage, on sexual Ethics and on Social Justice. Fidelity to the genuine Tradition of the Church and commitment to the authentic renewal promoted by Vatican 11, and adherence to the “Statement of Conclusions, 1998”.


Devotedness to the Holy Father, the Holy See and the Episcopal Hierarchy. Support for Priestly Celibacy and general and particular Laws of the Church. In particular: as to Liturgical and Clerical Discipline.


Evangelization and Catechesis: preaching and teaching. Aptitude for public speaking. Readiness to administer the Sacraments. Promotion of Vocations. Interest in the Missions and Ecumenical activities. Formation of lay people in the Family and Social fields of apostolate: of young people, of workers, defenders of human rights?


Does he have a capacity for leadership: for dialogue, for evoking and accepting collaboration, for analysis and programming, for making decisions and ensuring that they are carried through? Does he appreciate the role and collaboration of religious and lay people ( men and women )? Is he able to delegate and share responsibility? Has be shown an interest in the problems of the Universal as well as the local Church?


Does he exercise due care of the Church’s property? Ability in administration. Sense of justice. Readiness to enlist the help of those experienced in such affairs?

Has he gained the respect of his fellow clergy? Of the people and of the public authorities?

Give a comprehensive judgment on the personality of the candidate and of his suitability for the episcopate. Indicate, if affirmative, whether he is particularly suited for appointment to a residential See, or as an Auxiliary Bishop. Or for work in an urban, rural, industrial or in other social context.

Please suggest the names of persons (ecclesiastic, religious, or lay) who can provide pertinent and useful information about the candidate. Please give names and addresses.

Secession revisited

Some continue to point to secessionism as a solution.  (h/t TWC)

I like the idea, but have my doubts. Much has been made of red states and blue states, red counties and blue counties, etc., but in reality the “red” areas are only different shades of blue. Conservatives in these regions are more accurately described as “right liberals” who accept all the fundamental assumptions of liberal modernity, differing only in their application.

Let’s take the same-sex marriage debate in California. Our so-called conservatives are out there saying that they support homosexual rights, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and all the rest of it, but please please please just don’t redefine the little word “marriage”. For those of you inclined to think this is only a California phenomenon, similar examples are easy to find in flyover country.

I’m almost there

Thomas Fleming on the election:

“Watching McCain on the news or in a commercial, I become convinced that he is the most evil piece of selfishness who has ever run for the presidency, but my disgust quickly ebbs away when the simpering Obama takes the stage.  I can understand people who vote for McCain’s resume or support him as the lesser of two evils, but I no longer want to know anyone who votes for Obama for any reason.  He is an enemy of anything good that has ever been done in this country or this civilization, and when he is elected, I hope that all those Silicon Valley libertarians who supported him will live to see their property confiscated and their kids sent to reeducation camps.  Yes, that is mean-spirited and unChristian but it is unsettling to realize that you have lived among such monsters for so long without grasping the depth of their depravity and stupidity.”

(h/t Serge)

I say “almost there” only because I can’t quite bring myself to wish that anyone’s children be sent off to reeducation camps. I also must insist that, in theory at least, some Obama voters are less culpable than others, although I may be splitting hairs at this point.

This election signals the end of the so-called “American experiment”, in which millions of people with mutually exclusive and radically incompatible mores and beliefs attempt to govern themselves (and each other). This experiment – embraced for the short term out of political necessity – was always unsustainable. Today we are witnessing the total collapse of effective resistance to secularism and liberal modernity. Even if McCain were to miraculously win this election, he has neither the character, nor the will, nor the resources to do anything but run with the herd.