Reprinted from Truthdig
He told them! Any religious leader who is considering sainthood for the "Servant of God" Dorothy Day -- the crusading editor of the Catholic Worker and heroine of my garment-worker parents during the Great Depression -- gets my vote.
I know that, sadly, he's not running for president, but the pope's excellent example provides the essential measure of what's important for those candidates who are. It's simple: Follow the Golden Rule.
One need not enthuse over every specific point of style and substance in the pontiff's remarks to recognize that he is possessed of a moral energy that has been largely absent in our political discourse. Whether it concerns the plight of the poor and immigrants, climate change and the fate of the earth, or the chicanery of the super-rich and powerful, so much of what we have heard in the opening of this election season now seems tawdry and small in comparison.
Has there been a single candidate of either major party to cut through the inhuman gibberish that passes for consideration of the plight of undocumented immigrants? "On this continent, too," the pope on Thursday reminded a Congress that has failed for half a century to enact meaningful immigration reform, "thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can ... in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal."
Forget the Republican presidential candidates on this one, given their lockstep devotion to meanness, but expect no more from the Democrats, who through four recent terms in the White House have failed to invest significant political capital in improving the lot of the 12 million undocumented lost in legal limbo in the United States.