An Empty Spring by John Carr

An Empty Spring

by John Carr – America – the National Catholic Review

This spring in Washington, the cherry blossoms came late and quickly faded, but partisan posturing for coming elections is in full bloom. What is missing is Congressional action to deal with a stagnant economy, divided nation and a violent world.

I left our dysfunctional capital for a trip to the battlefields at Gettysburg and Antietam, with their stark reminders of the savagery of war and the courage of men with a cause more than 150 years ago. At the same time, three presidents came together in Texas to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. That long century, from the emancipation of slaves to the equal rights and political empowerment of their descendants, was a battle for the soul of America. As Lincoln insisted at Gettysburg, it still is “unfinished work.”

In late April the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action. Last year, the court struck down the provision of the Voting Rights Act that required preclearance of voting changes in several states and localities, just as some states are enacting measures to make voting more difficult. Bipartisan efforts to restore the Voting Rights Act are languishing.

Washington seems incapable of acting on immigration reform, the minimum wage and measures to combat widespread unemployment and poverty. Congress is more partisan theater and less a place for debate and decisions. The House makes empty threats to “repeal and replace Obamacare” with no chance for repeal and no plans to replace measures to insure the uninsured. The administration grants waivers and delays as it overcomes a disastrous start-up, with recent reports of enrollment up and costs down. Apparently, the courts will define religious ministries and conscience rights as Congress ignores the overreaching Health and Human Services mandate.

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