Living in a swing state isn’t much fun. We’ve been inundated with television advertising and campaign phone calls for many months.
It wasn’t a surprise to hear that Madison was among the top five cities in the country in the amount of spending for political advertising. Just imagine all the good we could do to help the poor and reduce the deficit with all that money!
It’s been a trying time
Of course, the reason we’re a swing state is that the presidential race and the U.S. Senate race are too close to call. The voters in Wisconsin are almost evenly divided between political parties at this point.
This has made it a trying time for Wisconsinites, who find themselves bickering with relatives, friends, co-workers, and even church members over political candidates and issues. I’ve noticed people have even requested Facebook friends to stop posting information on politics.
Responsibilities as faithful citizens
However, despite how exasperating this time can be, it also underlines our responsibilities as faithful citizens. Every vote will be extremely important.
First and foremost, it means that we need to educate ourselves on the candidates and the issues. It means watching the debates carefully and reading trusted print and Web materials. It also means studying what the Catholic Church is saying about the issues involved, especially the Faithful Citizenship materials prepared at the state and national levels.
As our bishops have told us, “We bishops seek to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices in addressing these challenges. We do not tell Catholics how to vote. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her properly formed conscience” (The Challenges of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship).
Pray for guidance
We should pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. One suggestion is to use the nine-day Novena for Faithful Citizenship found on the bishops’ Web site (www.usccb.org under the Prayer and Worship tab).
Above all, we should vote: by early voting, by absentee ballot, or by going to the polls on November 6. May God bless our swing state and our nation!