Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 3 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/2/15

Mario Cuomo Was So Very Right -- Especially on the Death Penalty

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     (# of views)   No comments
Author 29155
Follow Me on Twitter     Message John Nichols
Become a Fan
  (23 fans)

Reprinted from The Nation

From commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mario_Cuomo_speaking_at_a_rally,_June_20,_1991.JPEG: Mario Cuomo
Copyrighted Image? DMCA
- Advertisement -
>

Mario Cuomo was right, so very right, about so many things.

Cuomo was right in the midst of the dismal Reagan era to reject an oblivious president's "morning in America" sloganeering and "shining city on a hill" fabulism. And Cuomo did so not do this with the empty language of bipartisanship but rather in a gloriously unapologetic appeal to the 1984 Democratic National Convention that heard the newly elected governor of New York declare:

"Mr. President you ought to know that this nation is more a 'Tale of Two Cities' than it is just a 'Shining City on a Hill.'

- Advertisement -

"Maybe, maybe, Mr. President, if you visited some more places; maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds; maybe if you went to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel. Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President, if you stopped in at a shelter in Chicago and spoke to the homeless there; maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn't afford to use.

"Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President. But I'm afraid not. Because the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from the very beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. 'Government can't do everything,' we were told, so it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class.

Click Here to Read Whole Article

- Advertisement -

Cuomo was right when he rejected the false morality of a rising religious right and said in his 1984 speech to the University of Notre Dame's Department of Theology what too many cautious and confused liberals -- and too many responsible conservatives -- neglected to say:

"I think it's already apparent that a good part of this Nation understands -- if only instinctively -- that anything which seems to suggest that God favors a political party or the establishment of a state church, is wrong and dangerous.

"Way down deep the American people are afraid of an entangling relationship between formal religions -- or whole bodies of religious belief -- and government. Apart from constitutional law and religious doctrine, there is a sense that tells us it's wrong to presume to speak for God or to claim God's sanction of our particular legislation and His rejection of all other positions. Most of us are offended when we see religion being trivialized by its appearance in political throw-away pamphlets.

"The American people need no course in philosophy or political science or church history to know that God should not be made into a celestial party chairman."

Cuomo was right, at a time when Catholic politicians were being pressured to impose a narrow morality upon public policy, to anticipate the more generous and inclusive vision of Pope Francis. As Cuomo explained:

- Advertisement -

"In addition to all the weaknesses, dilemmas and temptations that impede every pilgrim's progress, the Catholic who holds political office in a pluralistic democracy -- who is elected to serve Jews and Muslims, atheists and Protestants, as well as Catholics -- bears special responsibility. He or she undertakes to help create conditions under which all can live with a maximum of dignity and with a reasonable degree of freedom; where everyone who chooses may hold beliefs different from specifically Catholic ones -- sometimes contradictory to them; where the laws protect people's right to divorce, to use birth control and even to choose abortion.

"In fact, Catholic public officials take an oath to preserve the Constitution that guarantees this freedom. And they do so gladly. Not because they love what others do with their freedom, but because they realize that in guaranteeing freedom for all, they guarantee our right to be Catholics: our right to pray, to use the sacraments, to refuse birth control devices, to reject abortion, not to divorce and remarry if we believe it to be wrong.

"The Catholic public official lives the political truth most Catholics through most of American history have accepted and insisted on: the truth that to assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

- Advertisement -

Rate It | View Ratings

John Nichols Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols writes about (more...)
 

Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Paul Ryan? Seriously?

Scott Walker's Austerity Agenda Yields 'Worst Job Losses in US'

What the Hell Is Wrong With Paul Ryan?

The Koch Brothers, ALEC and the Savage Assault on Democracy

GM's Plant Closures Confirm the President is a Liar and a Fool

The Deafening Silence of the Republican Field in the Wake of the Planned Parenthood Shooting