Sometimes, living in today’s world can make one dizzier than a sped up roller coaster. A few times recently, newspaper articles starkly contrasted with one another.
A short while ago, Gene Klein wrote a thoughtful article for the Wall Street Journal explaining why 94 year old Oskar Gröning, who was a paper-pusher at Auschwitz, correctly received a prison sentence despite his age and the comparative non-violence of his position in the concentration camp. Mr. Klein ended his piece with these words, “It is necessary that Mr. Gröning be punished, not only because of the past, but also because of the future…Anyone who participates in genocide—no matter what their role, no matter how long ago, no matter how repentant–is forever responsible and forever accountable.
The piece evoked emotion by stating the fact that Mr. Klein and his family entered Auschwitz while Gröning worked there. Mr. Klein said, “…(my father) was killed by a system of genocide in which Mr. Gröning knowingly played his part.”
The very next page in the same newspaper discussed the Sisters of Mercy who were being pushed to ignore their moral code by the Obama administration, in this case regarding abortion. While I can quibble with Mr. Klein’s understandable position as well as with the use of the term genocide to describe abortion, reading both of articles together emphasizes the point that certain times call for unpopular stands despite what the reigning culture tells you is the ‘correct’ way to think. Even ignoring the fact that going against the Nazi party was often a death sentence, those who worked for the Nazis were taught that their actions were moral and upright. The Democrat Party is certainly not based on Nazi principles, but its devotees too viciously scorn and deride any morals other than their own. Vindictiveness against traditional religion can only increase under a Clinton presidency.
A few days after that juxtaposition of articles, I read a piece exploring a movement urging Christians to be less involved in today’s cultural clashes. Can we please draw the line from A to B to C? My husband is fond of saying that politics is nothing more nor less than the practical applications of our values. In a civilized society, how we vote should reflect the society we would like to see. When, as is the case for most Americans in the upcoming presidential election, both candidates personally fall severely short as moral standard bearers, the only thing to focus on is policy differences. We, like Mr. Groning, are, “…forever responsible and forever accountable,” for how we vote or for abstaining from voting. Whether the court of public opinion holds us to that standard or not, in the present or sixty years down the road, in the next few weeks we each face a moment of truth. Both choices may be terrible, but without relying on what we hope and dream may happen in the future as a result of our choice, we need to live in the present and pull the lever for whichever candidate and positions we feel represents our values more than the other. Sometimes a bad choice is the only choice we get.