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Monday, February 07, 2005

Raising Kaine in Virginia

Tim Kaine that is.

I promise not to turn a post on last weekend's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Saturday night, into a "how I spent my vacation" report.

But enthusiastic Democrats were basically done licking their wounds over the defeat in the Presidential race. The wonderful thing about Virginia having a different race every year is that Democrats, and Republicans, really have much less time to brood and let bitterness fester like a wound. Within days after Kerry's sad defeat, my husband, the labor curmudgeon, was already plotting out new slogans and strategies to get labor on board for Tim Kaine.

At the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Kaine began his speech by recounting his time as a missionary in South America. He gave a moving testament to the humility it took for a priest friend of his to accept a gift of food from an impoverished and hungry family. At first, Kaine was horrified that this priest, whom he admired so much, was taking food that could have gone to feed the givers' family who were very much in need of nutrition.

On a long and silent ride back from the family's home the priest told Kaine that he knew what his younger helper was thinking. Believe me, the priest said, it takes more humility to take this gift. But could you imagine how that family would have felt had we refused them the one thing they were able to give? It would have been to deny them their human dignity.

Our dignity is in our ability to give to others. The poor often know this far better than the greedy and wealthy.

Kaine is in an interesting position. He is a devout Catholic, pro-life and against the death penalty. He has fought the good fight for social justice issues in his church parish, in city hall, and as Lt. Governor, at the state level. Many pundits in Virginia believe, however, that his stance on the death penalty will hurt him in this state. Virginia, after all, is only behind Texas in the amount of executions it holds yearly.

Several years ago, I worked with St Mary of Sorrows Social Action Committee, in Burke, Virginia. I was one of a group of people that used to meet at the cemetery of the historic church, which was built before the Civil War by Irish railroad workers, and served as a hospital during the Civil War. We met to commemorate every execution that took place in Virginia. We literally met every week or so that year. It was a particularly blood year, even by Virginia standards.

In my state, innocent men and women have been put to death. Virginia had a unique law, the 21 Day Rule. After 21 days, no new evidence could be presented in an appeal, even if it was so compelling that it would have exonerated a convicted person on death row. Innocent was not the point. A former attorney general, Mary Sue Terry, actually said that once. And she was a pro-choice Democrat, a supposed progressive. Yeah right.

Anyway, even conservatives supported and passed a law that finally abolished the 21 Day Rule. But DNA evidence exonerated a man who had spent most of his adult life on death row before this shocked people into acting.

However, it's going to be interesting to see how Tim Kaine does in this election. I want to see if I'm correct. Because I really think so-called conservative Christians don't really mean it. Christianity, that is.

They're about climbing into our beds and dictating whom we sleep with, but not about visiting the prisoner, feeding the hungry, clothing the homeless. But, let's see.

Meanwhile, here's another good link about Kaine and his opponent, Jerry Kilgore. You have to scroll down to get to it, but it's a link to several newspaper articles reviewing the performance of Kaine and Kilgore in their first debate. Also, if you scroll down and look on the right side, you'll find a link "abortion" , which will give you Tim's stand on that issue. Now go and study.


1 comment:

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I am posting a comment to my own blog for the rather foolish reason that I want to see how it looks and how this thing works on Blogspot.

Since getting readership is an uphill battle - yes I realize that I'm not talking to anybody yet. After all, I'm not delusional. However, I am committed to giving this blog my all, including treating it, and future readers, with respect right from the beginning. So, whether anybody is there or not, I will "act as if" and provide comment that addresses an assumed reader and links that are conscientiously tested so that they work (nothing bugs me more than clicking on a broken link, but now I'm seeing how difficult it can be to ensure that they work).

And I remain optimistic, which is why I am testing everything, including the comment section.

Oh yeah, I'm committed to honesty. so, although Blogspot gives me the option to comment as a different user, no, I'm not doing that either.