Moral Depth Needed
Re “The Hunted and the Haunted,” by John Anderson (2/11): Maya, in “Zero Dark Thirty,” is a stand-in for the post-9/11 generation, compressed between the clips and sound bites of the towers falling and the 9/11 taped calls on one hand and the aftermath of the “war on terror” that has gone underground and turned to drone warfare on the other.
The death of Osama bin Laden felt like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue: visceral, maybe even visual and cathartic, but also alien to one’s personal history and affect. It leaves such a generation with the ambiguity of answering questions like those posed to Maya at the end of the film: You can go anywhere now; where do you want to go?
In today’s world we are debating gun safety at home and our military footprint abroad. We want women properly acknowledged in combat operations but are fighting over how many guns should surround our youth. If there’s any lasting take away, it’s that the United States does best when it has a clear, evil enemy to declare war against. But we don’t seem to have the moral depth to inherit or possess, much less envision what victory might actually look like or achieve.
Rooted in Catholicism
Re “The Noble Enterprise,” by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl (2/4): The online comments following this article express dissent rather than finding common ground for encouragement and support.
Is it possible to incorporate new ideas, an activity many persons consider synonymous with thinking, without distorting the nature of Catholicism? If such thinking does not spring from the roots of Catholicism, such concern is urgent. As Martin Heidegger has written, “The most difficult learning is coming to know actually and to the very foundations what we already know.” Thus speak the philosophers of all ages.
Has the essential nature of the Gospel been revealed at its source only to be gradually understood by us? Or are we able to generate new thoughts that alter the “paradigm” of Catholicism? Does continuity necessarily stifle growth?
If we wish to keep up with the pace of the secular world, continuity should not be forsaken. Let us remember that Jesus referred to the apostles as his friends “because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn 15:15).
Why Unions Rise
Re “State of the Unions,” by John J. DiIulio Jr. (2/4): Unions don’t exist in a vacuum. Fair employers, either public or private, who value their employees and pay fair wages and good benefits don’t need unions.
There’s a reason why Walmart keeps having unionization issues. Bad management and corporate greed caused unions to rise. As the popularity of unions wanes, watch for working conditions, safety and benefits to wane also.
Coral Springs, Fla.
No Thank You
Re “Killer Women?” by Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. (In All Things blog, 1/30): It is not heretical to write, “I see women as morally superior to and often more intelligent than men,” but it has such twists in it to suggest that we “ladies” soak up this kind of praise while continuing to be paid less than men and having less opportunity for advancement in our professions.
A further dilemma with such statements is that some commentators who profess them go so far as to suggest that women are somehow responsible to get men to live in a more moral way. All the while, men are getting the bigger salaries and have more opportunities for advancement. Thanks for the compliment, but no thanks.
Close to Home
Re “Permanent Prison,” by Luke Hansen, S.J. (Web only, 1/16): Thank you for bringing Guantánamo into the context of the U.S. incarceration phenomenon. Tens of thousands of Americans who are no danger to anyone are spending their lives locked up because of harsh mandatory sentencing rules. Families despair after years of trying to find a way out of this nightmare, hoping against hope that something will change; but the break never comes. Guantánamo is following the same pattern.
It seems that the “dark side” of the war on terror is closer to home than we initially imagined.
My hope is that without the pressure to remain politically viable, President Obama will come to his senses and do the right thing. The drone strikes are not encouraging. What is encouraging is Jeh Johnson’s speech about ending the war on terror; it needs more airing.
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.