Thursday, October 11, 2012

Republican Paul Ryan: Heavy on certitude, light on Catholic social justice

As I watched the Veep candidates trade barbs this evening in Kentucky, I couldn't help but wonder what they were like in high school. Lori said that Paul Ryan was called a brown-noser in his high school yearbook. I don't know this to be true but I also don't doubt it. One only has to see his thin-lipped smirk and his beady eyes to know he was a brown-noser, the kind who has his face so far up the teacher's bum that, well, you know....

Joe Biden, on the other hand, was a wise guy, quick-witted and big-mouthed, who might also have been fun to be around. He may also have been the BMOC -- Big Man on Campus -- the guy who got the girls and wasn't too humble about it.

But there's one other thing. Paul Ryan has the certitude and rectitude that makes him unbearable. He's the kind of parishioner who's driven me from the Catholic Church. This is what the Catholic Church believes! I know it in my lily white soul! If you don't like it, you must be one of those cafeteria Catholics. Get out!

So I did. These type of Catholics are insufferable. Certainty has never been a Catholic trait. Joe Biden was right when he quipped that Ryan didn't learn much about Catholic social doctrine with his catechism.

Give me those feisty social justice street-fighting Catholics any day. Or those heady Unitarians or friendly United Methodists or angst-ridden Existentialists or fallen Catholics or Jack Mormons. People who've been through the fire and learned a few things in the process.

Biden has been kicked around some. Lost his wife and daughter in a car crash. Had his son deployed to Iraq. Experienced losses at home and in the Senate. He knows that there's no certainty in life or in politics.

Biden stuck it to Ryan tonight. He probably would have done the same in high school debate, although charm and a big smile doesn't always win points in competition.   

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