Why Is Mary Roberts Undecided?

In its regular series of portraits of undecided voters, CNN.com this weekend featured a profile of Mary Roberts dated Oct. 5. The series lists several kinds of “undecided” in several swing states: Roberts is “The Catholic from Ohio.”

Roberts, a middle-aged African American woman, is a happy member of her urban parish. She works with the poor. She worries about her future.

But CNN pulls a classic Pravda move in telling her story. It sets out to say why Mary Roberts is undecided, but only tells us why she has not yet decided to vote for Romney.

The political argument Roberts gives goes something like this: She liked Obama’s sincerity regarding the poor and voted for him in 2008. She isn’t quite ready to vote against Obama in 2012 because she is worried about health care, and she fears “they” (the Republicans, we assume) are out of touch with the common person.

So … why doesn’t she simply vote Obama again? CNN skipped that part.

Does she object to Obama’s abortion extremism? To his attack on Catholic rights? His abandonment of marriage (which polls very poorly with African-American women)? His warrior ways? Only the video editor knows.

The Catholic community has two jobs to fulfill with Catholics like Mary Roberts.

The first is to inform her about the moral issues in the election: She needs to understand why voting for abortion and against the Church’s freedom is simply not an option.

But second, pro-life, pro-Church candidates have to politically marry the moral issues she has with the economic concerns she has.

My dear friend Peter Wolfgang, Connecticut’s King of Common Sense, recently pointed to a David Brooks article. This was before the debate, when Romney-Ryan looked weak.

Wolfgang’s disclaimer: “Yes, I too roll my eyes every time a ‘conservative’ publishes a what’s-wrong-with-conservatism piece for the Times, and yes, Brooks gets some things wrong. But every word in his last paragraph is right.”

That last paragraph:

Writes Brooks: “Some people blame bad campaign managers for Romney’s underperforming campaign, but the problem is deeper. Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism. The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.”

This is the same point made in a recent Yuval Levin argument in the Weekly Standard, called The Real Debate.

It is nice that Brooks and Levin are making it; but it’s a Catholic argument that Catholics should be making.

The point: If we make America’s ideological battle the Market vs. the State, with Republicans taking the side of the Market and the Democrats taking the side of the State, we will leave the Mary Roberts of the world unable to choose a side.

Or to put it another way, if we make the battle Subsidiarity (moving responsibility as close to the family as possible) vs. Solidarity (our charitable duty to each other), with the conservatives defending Subsidiarity and the liberals defending Solidarity, we will still leave undecideds undecided.

Don’t take my word for it.

Says Pope Benedict: “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need” (Caritas in Veritate, No. 58).

Obama’s plans uniquely mix the State (federal abortion and contraception mandates) and the Market (pharmaceutical companies and the abortion industry) to threaten the Catholic agencies in her neighborhood.

One of the reasons Mitt Romney’s first debate was such regarded such a resounding success was that he began to translate his platform into terms of how it helps particular individuals. Next debate, he should do more of that, and specify families.

“I like to feel with my community that I belong and that they belong with me,” she says.

“I work at a food pantry and I see families from one to 10 or 11 in the family that needs food. It makes me feel really really sad that at a country like the United States we still have people who are struggling just to survive day to day. ”

He should tell Mary Roberts that he wants to help the families in her neighborhood – by unshackling the people like her who know best what those families need.

Why Is Mary Roberts Undecided?

In its regular series of portraits of undecided voters, CNN.com this weekend featured a profile of Mary Roberts dated Oct. 5. The series lists several kinds of “undecided” in several swing states: Roberts is “The Catholic from Ohio.”

Roberts, a middle-aged African American woman, is a happy member of her urban parish. She works with the poor. She worries about her future.

But CNN pulls a classic Pravda move in telling her story. It sets out to say why Mary Roberts is undecided, but only tells us why she has not yet decided to vote for Romney.

The political argument Roberts gives goes something like this: She liked Obama’s sincerity regarding the poor and voted for him in 2008. She isn’t quite ready to vote against Obama in 2012 because she is worried about health care, and she fears “they” (the Republicans, we assume) are out of touch with the common person.

So … why doesn’t she simply vote Obama again? CNN skipped that part.

Does she object to Obama’s abortion extremism? To his attack on Catholic rights? His abandonment of marriage (which polls very poorly with African-American women)? His warrior ways? Only the video editor knows.

The Catholic community has two jobs to fulfill with Catholics like Mary Roberts.

The first is to inform her about the moral issues in the election: She needs to understand why voting for abortion and against the Church’s freedom is simply not an option.

But second, pro-life, pro-Church candidates have to politically to marry the moral issues she has with the economic concerns she has.

My dear friend Peter Wolfgang, Connecticut’s King of Common Sense, recently pointed to a David Brooks article. This was before the debate, when Romney-Ryan looked weak.

Wolfgang’s disclaimer: “Yes, I too roll my eyes every time a ‘conservative’ publishes a what’s-wrong-with-conservatism piece for the Times, and yes, Brooks gets some things wrong. But every word in his last paragraph is right.”

That last paragraph:

Writes Brooks: “Some people blame bad campaign managers for Romney’s underperforming campaign, but the problem is deeper. Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism. The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.”

This is the same point made in a recent Yuval Levin argument in the Weekly Standard, called The Real Debate.

It is nice that Brooks and Levin are making it; but it’s a Catholic argument that Catholics should be making.

The point: If we make America’s ideological battle the Market vs. the State, with Republicans taking the side of the Market and the Democrats taking the side of the State, we will leave the Mary Roberts of the world unable to choose a side.

Or to put it another way, if we make the battle Subsidiarity (moving responsibility as close to the family as possible) vs. Solidarity (our charitable duty to each other), with the conservatives defending Subsidiarity and the liberals defending Solidarity, we will still leave undecideds undecided.

Don’t take my word for it.

Says Pope Benedict: “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need” (Caritas in Veritate, No. 58).

Obama’s plans uniquely mix the State (federal abortion and contraception mandates) and the Market (pharmaceutical companies and the abortion industry) to threaten the Catholic agencies in her neighborhood.

One of the reasons Mitt Romney’s first debate was such regarded such a resounding success was that he began to translate his platform into terms of how it helps particular individuals. Next debate, he should do more of that, and specify families.

“I like to feel with my community that I belong and that they belong with me,” she says.

“I work at a food pantry and I see families from one to 10 or 11 in the family that needs food. It makes me feel really really sad that at a country like the United States we still have people who are struggling just to survive day to day. “

He should tell Mary Roberts that he wants to help the families in her neighborhood – by unshackling the people like her who know best what those families need.

Why Is Mary Roberts Undecided?

In its regular series of portraits of undecided voters, CNN.com this weekend featured a profile of Mary Roberts dated Oct. 5. The series lists several kinds of “undecided” in several swing states: Roberts is “The Catholic from Ohio.”

Roberts, a middle-aged African American woman, is a happy member of her urban parish. She works with the poor. She worries about her future.

But CNN pulls a classic Pravda move in telling her story. It sets out to say why Mary Roberts is undecided, but only tells us why she has not yet decided to vote for Romney.

The political argument Roberts gives goes something like this: She liked Obama’s sincerity regarding the poor and voted for him in 2008. She isn’t quite ready to vote against Obama in 2012 because she is worried about health care, and she fears “they” (the Republicans, we assume) are out of touch with the common person.

So … why doesn’t she simply vote Obama again? CNN skipped that part.

Does she object to Obama’s abortion extremism? To his attack on Catholic rights? His abandonment of marriage (which polls very poorly with African-American women)? His warrior ways? Only the video editor knows.

The Catholic community has two jobs to fulfill with Catholics like Mary Roberts.

The first is to inform her about the moral issues in the election: She needs to understand why voting for abortion and against the Church’s freedom is simply not an option.

But second, pro-life, pro-Church candidates have to politically to marry the moral issues she has with the economic concerns she has.

My dear friend Peter Wolfgang, Connecticut’s King of Common Sense, recently pointed to a David Brooks article. This was before the debate, when Romney-Ryan looked weak.

Wolfgang’s disclaimer: “Yes, I too roll my eyes every time a ‘conservative’ publishes a what’s-wrong-with-conservatism piece for the Times, and yes, Brooks gets some things wrong. But every word in his last paragraph is right.”

That last paragraph:

Writes Brooks: “Some people blame bad campaign managers for Romney’s underperforming campaign, but the problem is deeper. Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism. The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.”

This is the same point made in a recent Yuval Levin argument in the Weekly Standard, called The Real Debate.

It is nice that Brooks and Levin are making it; but it’s a Catholic argument that Catholics should be making.

The point: If we make America’s ideological battle the Market vs. the State, with Republicans taking the side of the Market and the Democrats taking the side of the State, we will leave the Mary Roberts of the world unable to choose a side.

Or to put it another way, if we make the battle Subsidiarity (moving responsibility as close to the family as possible) vs. Solidarity (our charitable duty to each other), with the conservatives defending Subsidiarity and the liberals defending Solidarity, we will still leave undecideds undecided.

Don’t take my word for it.

Says Pope Benedict: “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need” (Caritas in Veritate, No. 58).

Obama’s plans uniquely mix the State (federal abortion and contraception mandates) and the Market (pharmaceutical companies and the abortion industry) to threaten the Catholic agencies in her neighborhood.

One of the reasons Mitt Romney’s first debate was such regarded such a resounding success was that he began to translate his platform into terms of how it helps particular individuals. Next debate, he should do more of that, and specify families.

“I like to feel with my community that I belong and that they belong with me,” she says.

“I work at a food pantry and I see families from one to 10 or 11 in the family that needs food. It makes me feel really really sad that at a country like the United States we still have people who are struggling just to survive day to day. ”

He should tell Mary Roberts that he wants to help the families in her neighborhood – by unshackling the people like her who know best what those families need.

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20 thoughts on “Why Is Mary Roberts Undecided?

  1. Joe M says:

    Thank you Tom. Great points. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

  2. Simple. One cannot be Catholic and vote for Obama. He is the most pro abort prez our country has ever had. I am not a huge fan of Romney either. However, it is Obama who is also dictating us how we are to practice our Catholic faith via the HHS mandate. I honestly don’t get what the question is for a Catholic on who to vote for.

  3. We like to pass on our responsibility to feed the poor to the government. I have been a social worker, and a teacher in poor neighborhoods. We need to give them our love and care in person, and we will receive more in return than we gave.

  4. Rich says:

    Both you and the two “Catholic Argument” republicans just don’t get it. Why you have jumped into bed with Romney just because he is not Obama is not a good Catholic reason for anything. Not every voter is going to vote on the mythology of Romney ending abortion (which he won’t and can’t) or the silliness about the Church being under siege. Those that do the work of Christ in neighborhoods do not give up their faith for a political party. Mary is right, and is using her time to determine who she will vote for, and when she makes her choice, she will know why, and whatever she decides it will be a good decision. Trying to make “being Catholic” as a battering ram instead of a part of the faith life of many good people is completely misunderstanding the true Catholic ideas about infroming a conscience for important civic duties and responsibilities. It is she that shouold be asking you why you sold out your faith, and now pretend that the Church and the GOP are the same entity. Luckily most Catholics will never visit this website, and most that do will ignore it harrassment and its manipulation. The only ones that seem to enjoy the postings are the ones who had already drank the GOP flavor-aid even before it was mixed. There is no one who comes here to find answers for questions, and mainly because no real answers are being addressed by the bloggers, none of which have any real claim to be speaking for the Catholic Church. They are just a small grouping of GOP operatives who feign to have deep faith, although none really even mentions their faith, only doctrine and an occasional papal quote. And then you have the comments from those who appear to be so bitter that they cannot speak well about the joys of being a Christian, they are like the apostles hiding in the upperroom, but they refuse to let the Holy Spirit in. Instead they feel persecuted and justified in persecuting others. I keep hoping to read something from someone who seems to enjoy being a Catholic and not being anti-everything. How disappointing it must be to have a faith so hollow that giving it to a political party and abandoning any connections with Catholics that hold opposite opinions is easly done, and done in a semi-public environment of a less than Catholic and less that Intellectual website forum.
    It is not Mary that has the difficulty, nor is she the one to be mocked. She is exercising her faith in shaping her vote, not tagging it on with less than Catholic promises or feign dedication. The true intentions of this website is not a big secret. Those that already are partisan involved are not complaining as the shared goal would seem to benefit them as well. Unfortunately, the Church and their true faith are left out of the equation. But what you do in the dark will be seen in the light. When Jesus asks you about these days, he is not going to believe the flimsy excuses on why you bartered away your faith for a few silver pieces.
    Pax et Bonum

    1. As a Catholic she MUST vote for the prolife candidate. It is very simple. When a man or woman is pro death, even saying the child MUST die, if it survives and abortion, or MUST die, if the woman chooses, at nine months, by stick a scissor in the back of its neck to kill it, then suck out the brains, so it can finish being “born”, how in God’s name would they care about us, or anything else, for that manner, in a way that would be good for the people and for the country?

      This is the reason we all must not let thins man back into office, as the babies freedom was first on his list, and OUR freedom is next. He has been very quickly putting through EOs and mandates that have eroded our freedom on all levels, and at the same time stomped on the Constitution, the foundation of our beloved. country.

      1. Rich says:

        Judy – whether what you say is truthful for anyone other than you or not, this would only justify YOUR vote. This is how YOU have chosen to inform YOUR conscience. This is an election not a compaign to overtake a government that you do not like, and most of us will not follow your Joan of Arc act as the savior of the nation.
        You can vote out of your suspiscion about the conspiracy against you, but that is not what we are called to do. We are called to consider much, and if the decision is simple, then you have nor fulfilled your Catholic obligation, but are voting out of reasons not informed by your faith, but by your doubt and fear.
        Vote how you want, but do not try to pretend that you know what the Church is teaching us about voting, nor about how each Catholic should decide. You can leave some room for the Holy Spirit, and trust that God can deal with others better than you.

  5. Joan says:

    Agreed. I like the Katholyk part- in my family, we use Catho-lite.

    1. Rich says:

      Mocking your sisters faith is not Catholic lite or deep. It is just mean-spirited and wrong. They are not judgements for you to make. You have you own sins to account for. That may or may not include the real reasons you are voting the way you are.

      1. Joe M says:

        Rich. Since we’re adding up each others sins now, I think you’ve slipped up quite a lot here on this site also, haven’t you?

  6. Randall says:

    Hey look, another social justice Katholyk who voted for Obama. Wasting her time on feel-good socialist redistribution of goods at food pantries. I wonder if anyone has ever told her she’d save more lives by protesting at Planned Parenthood? I wonder if anyone ever told her that she could work the rest of her life volunteering to pass out free food to welfare queens, but one vote for 0bummer cancels out all her good will, and puts her soul in mortal jeopardy as she is now part and parcel to baby murder? I wonder if her pastor has told her that in this election, she MUST vote for the pro-life candidate Mitt Romney above all other issues, or if he’s another social justice CINO who’s supporting the affirmative-action-president?

    1. Rich says:

      It is probably not necessary that you try to insult this woman that you do not even know with such insiuation, and with information that is not true and not able to be verified. You have no idea whether she protest anywhere, or how she may help women that are pregnant get services and care that they need.
      None of us are going to use you for the standard by which we measure are Catholic faith or our vote. You are going far out of your way to justify your position that many will honestly disagree with, and are able to do with the strength of their own Catholic faith. God has not retired and left judgment in your hands, he is still fully in charge of both heaven and earth, and this is not the kind of help he is asking you for in building his kingdom. You can try tomorrow to be a little more Christian in your defense of the Church, for to be any less is no endorsement for Catholicism (or the GOP for that matter.)

      1. Randall says:

        Looks like you’re wrong Rich! No one on this site agrees with you – AT ALL!

        1. Rich says:

          Truth is not measure by who agrees with you or not, and who really cares if people on CV agree with anything. This is just a site for campaign propaganda and you are just one of the suckers trapped in so far that you cannot see what is true from what is blue. Besides Randall, with your particularly strange view of he Church and a God of your own creating, I am comforted in knowing that we are not in agreement. But you can continue playing your game without me.
          I will chose to honor God as truth and not a a GOP website.

    2. Mary says:

      I view it as very positive that she is undecided. Voting is an emotional and intellectual exercise”. It is likely that she is one of the many lifelong Democrats who are beginning to realize that many evils have come to the front of the Democratic party’s agenda. She has also probably long been told that Republicans are terrible people only out to increase wealth for the wealthy and blow up others.
      It is a good sign that people like her are asking themselves if all of what they have been told is true, and searching for the side of good.

      1. Rich says:

        Mary, Mary, Mary – maybe you should learn from your namesake and do the intellectual exercise without the prepackaged beliefs that one party is evil and the other is good. If that is as far as you have gotten, then you are not using your faith, but your politics alone. If you do not see the rights and the wrongs in each candidate AND in wach party, then you need to look deeper. Neither satisfy any test of being holy or leading towards salvation.
        Search for the side of good, and recognize that Jesus in neither Democrat or Republican, but our only savior. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and do not sell your faith to any candidate. Each needs to be confronted to do the right thing for all the people, whether you and I or others, whether Catholic or not. Pray that you may have the courage of your sister to completely evaluate the candidates and the needs of the people, and vote not as if you alone know the truth, but that God will help you with your decision (which can be different than what you think)

        1. Mary says:

          I grew up with all Democrat grandparents and was never taught that either party was evil.. I have seen them choose that during the last several years. It is not a good thing for the country, and I deeply hope that it is temporary’ because two sound, though differing opinions is very healthy for the country.
          But Rich, with abortion on demand and same sex marriage, the suppression of religious freedom and spending of future generations money, not to mention lying about and demonizing of the opponent rather than discussion (Biden is a perfect example), all of it on one side, there can be no honest question this particular election.
          But as I stated above, I understand why for emotional reasons, this is still difficult for many people.
          2006 was very difficult for me.

          1. Rich says:

            If it were not difficult, we would not need the love of God in our hearts, and our faith informing our conscience. If it were not difficult, then we could sell off our votes to groups like CV who do not honor our duty and responsibility of the right to vote for our leaders. They want readers to believe that they can replace God in our lives and our intelligence as we make our decisions. This is neither faithful nor citizenship.
            If that is how you are voting, and limiting your vote to only the positions that you are using, including your dislike of the Vice President, and feel that this is the way that Jesus wants you to vote, then that is what you should do. You are a voter with an informed conscience. Just make sure the the informing process is pure and not built upon bias and deceit. I will ask you to really think if what you said that Biden was doing (demonizing another) is not the same thing that you and the bloggers of CV are doing.
            I will respectfully disagree that Same gender marriage is an issue that demand the stronger use of funds and energy than feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless. I will tell you that I and many others do not believe that we have a loss of religious liberty, although the Bishops have shown a loss of moral leadership that has required the Courts to do what the Bishops failed to do in protecting our children. I support the opportunity for women who want to, to receive birth control paid through insurance companies, and do not support the claims that a few Catholic business owners want to say effect them although they are no where in the real equation. I support public money being spent to feed the hungry and provide medical care to the widow and the orphan, as well as the poor and underpaid. I support public funds used to kick start an economy when the rich are not creating the jobs they can clearly afford to do. I support people who have been blessed with abundance to pay a fair share of the earnings they make on the backs and with the sweat of many other then themselves. Both Gods law and natural law show us they we are meant to live in societies and to take care of one another. As for abortion (the on demand add on means nothing, as I would suppose you oppose any abortion whether it be on demand on not –whatever that really means,) you need to find something in the Romney position that shows he can or will do anything to support your position. He has made it very cleat that he is not seeking to do anything to limit the legality of a woman’s right to choose. Not many have been absolutely convinced that his new found pro-life stance (which is also a pro-choice stance) is something in his character, but may be a politically formed “principle.” There are many Catholic experts that can justify votes for either candidate as being best for life, as many would place Romney and Obama as both being impotent to do much one way or anther on Abortion, and that Obama’s policies are better for prenatal care and other services that have shown a positive in actually limiting the real number of abortions completed. You can deny this if you like, but you would not be able to be authentic in your position unless you consider it in its truth and then make a prayerful decision. Since the polls are not an open arena, no one but you and God will know what you did and the reasons why.

          2. Joe M says:

            Haha. Rich. Still with that easily debunked line?

            Romney wants to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, remove all tax payer funding of abortion and select supreme court justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade.

            Despite what you claim, he has made it clear that he intends to make change in a pro-life direction.

          3. Rich says:

            And he has a bridge to sell you as well.
            Believe it will all your heart and that a $3.65 will buy you a coffee at Starbucks. Romney does not want to, nor will he repeal ObamaCare, as he knows (more than you seem to realize) that it is a good thing. It is the project that he did when he decided to run for King of the GOP Empire. He will have no success “defunding” anything, as the there are no organizations (including Catholic ones that want to compete for the money they are getting to perform the needed services to women and families. The STD testing and treatment that Planned Parenthood does will be funded by the the usual funding mechanisms of the Federal Government, as well as their other perfectly Catholic acceptable services that some many partisans fail to mention, including working with LGBT youth that the Catholic Church in her bigotry of traditionalism fail to acknowledge as having even the rights of an unborn child. (No need to care anymore, the child is born.) A Roberts Court will never overturn Roe V. Wade, and even Scalia is not that “Catholic” that the Supreme Court can be considered mindless in the pursuit of Justice. The Supreme Court members are called Justices because the deal with Justice and not partisan ideology. Romney would never have enough political capital to push through a “judicial activist” for a Supreme Court role. Who do you think you are kidding. That is what makes the single issue Catholic positioning so stupid. Romney is impotent to direct any meaningful legal change, and since he will not commit to doing anything to reduce the social ills that lead one to consider abortion, then he is not Pro-Life in any real sense of the term, except as a political label. There are many Moral Theologians who are supporting Obama because there will be less abortions under his presidency than would happen under a Romney administration. I know you want to believe there are women in the world who can’t wait to have an abortion, but that shows you are not really dealing with the issue, but just using the unborn as a politically partisan game. You have not even listened to how Romney defines pro-life, not about his moving back towards his earlier and life-long pro-choice position. But it is not his fault if he fools you, because you are too willing to endorse him without any challenge, letting him dictate how the country should be led, and ignoring that he may not be saying the same thing that you should be hearing. And just because the GOP strategy is to use the church to get votes, you are all too willing to be suckered into selling your faith for a “I love Romney for no real reason” Bumper Sticker to place across your heart. So keep putting your trust in Mitt, and forget about Jesus until you need him later.

    3. GREG SMITH says:

      Hi Randall: Are you serious? Could it be that your’e really a moderate who wrote this to try and expose the inconsistantcy of conservative Catholic writing. Com’on, fess up :-) _ Greg

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