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Life Arts    H1'ed 4/30/23

Williamson & RFK Jr. vs. Biden & Harris = Democracy vs. An Unelected Bureaucracy

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Mike Rivage-Seul
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Readings for 4th Sunday of Easter: ACTS 2:14A, 36-41; PSALM 23: 1-6; 1 PETER 2: 20B-25; JOHN 10: 1-10

This 4th Sunday after Easter is sometimes called "Good Shepherd Sunday." That's because in today's final reading (Jn. 10:1-10), Yeshua identifies himself in those terms, and the responsorial from the Book of Psalms (23:1-6) is the very familiar selection that begins with the words, "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."

What often goes unrecognized in such readings are their highly politicized meanings. In Jewish tradition, they describe the qualities scripturally idealized in Israel's leadership. All of them, "The Book" says should be "good shepherds" at the service of their flocks.

The readings are particularly relevant this week when our incumbent president has declared his intention to run for a second term. His declaration has raised questions about the nature of American democracy.

In addition, he is described by many as running "unopposed," despite strong challenges from two fellow party members, Marianne Williamson, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK).

In fact, Williamson's domestic agenda offers a clear alternative to Biden's. The same is true of Kennedy's foreign policy directions.

Taken together Williamson and Kennedy suggest an interesting president-vice president duo.

With that in mind, let's break convention by evaluating Biden and his opposition in the light of today's liturgical readings.

Biden's Candidacy & Democracy

Yes, just last week, octogenarian Joe Biden declared that he wants to be U.S. president for another four years.

Given concerns about his declining mental capacities (and even his biological continence), that's quite breathtaking.

Nevertheless, it's okay with the New York Times (NYT). Their morning-after editorial reminded readers that

"Strange as it may sound, the American government can function without a healthy president. The U.S. marched toward victory in World War II while Franklin Roosevelt was ailing in 1944 and 1945. Four decades later, the government managed its relationship with a teetering Soviet Union while Ronald Reagan's mental capacities slipped. In each case, White House aides, Cabinet secretaries and military leaders performed well despite the lack of a fully engaged leader."

In other words, it's all happened before. So, don't worry. It's somehow the American way. There are historical precedents for governance under incompetent figurehead presidents who willy-nilly have surrendered power to unelected bureaucrats.

And there should be no debate about it.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. His latest book is (more...)
 

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