Saturday, July 23, 2016

204. Tim Kaine

I really like the Tim Kaine pick. I’m going to start this off with a caveat. I am a religious person. It’s sometimes a challenge to admit that in front of my liberal friends. There’s a strain through the left that says, “How can you believe in all of that if you believe in all of these other good things?” I really hate that. (I’m sure some conservatives feel that way about liberals. I don’t blame them. We can be a snooty, uppity bunch.)

I can understand that plenty of liberals were not excited about the Kaine pick. He’s not a member of the progressive caucus and he hasn’t taken a stand on any of the sexy progressive issues. I’m not here to write about the political pitfalls or the benefits of the pick. I’m not qualified to do that. And the world doesn’t need more political takes.

As a Catholic, I don’t see to many leader who reflect the same faith values that I do. There are a lot of people who equate Catholicism with just being pro-life. (I’m not wading into the merits of that, but I want to make sure that the comparisons go deeper than just that.) Catholicism is so much broader and deeper. I don’t think the general non-Catholic voting public, especially progressives, get that.

I like Kaine because he approaches faith the way I do. It’s not a thing to list on your resume, it’s like a muscle. You work on it, you use it, it helps you get through the day. While some people definitely want to show off their muscles, some just want them to be strong enough to help them get through the day.

I listened to Kaine’s introductory address on the radio. While these speeches often involve a lot of pomp and circumstance, there isn’t much in the way of policy substance. What I did hear from him though is a man who served in different arenas. He was a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He won an extremely important case having to do with redlining. While Kaine might be a leader in issues in the liberal zeitgiest right now, he has experience in the big, unsexy ones. I appreciate leaders who can take on those issues.

I appreciated that they interviewed Kaine’s priest at the church he attends. You don’t often get that interview. He spoke about a man who was devout and volunteered to do things around church like carrying the cross in during Ash Wednesday.

With all the craziness surrounding this campaign, I appreciate a guy who seems to be a dedicated and optimistic public servant. There’s a lot of fear in the air right now and talk about the world ending. I appreciate a man who has a base of optimism, hope, and enthusiasm for getting things done. He might not be out there appealing to the most die-hards in the liberal base, but he’s a pragmatic, principled guy. I think that counts for a lot in this race.

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