December 3, 2017

Friends,

Lee Atwater, a Republican mastermind who helped elect Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush was mortally ill with brain cancer when he was not yet 40 years old. He wrote these words which appeared in Life magazine: 

“Long before I was struck with cancer, I felt something stirring in American society. It was a sense among the people of the country, Republicans and Democrats alike, that something was missing from their lives—something crucial. I was trying to position the Republican Party to take advantage of it. But I wasn't exactly sure what it was. My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me. A little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring—acquiring wealth, power, and prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye-to-eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society—this tumor of the soul.” 

It is not easy to put ourselves in someone else’s position or to “walk in their shoes.” But how sad when we are not willing to make the attempt. President Barack Obama put it very well in his farewell address. He said, 

“White Americans need to acknowledge ‘that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn't suddenly vanish in the sixties; that when minority groups voice discontent, they're not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they're not demanding special treatment but the equal treatment our Founders promised.’ And, for people of color, it means understanding the perspective of ‘the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he's got all the advantages, but who's seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.’”

I read both these quotes in Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened.” Some right away will dismiss all of the above because of their feelings about the former Secretary of State. I am determined to do all I can to understand the American people. My personal experience in life is limited, so if I don’t open up my mind and broaden my horizons, I will remain limited. I choose not to make that mistake.

Enjoy life.
Fr. Coyne

 

Catholics Come Home Catholic TV