If ever there was an evergreen issue in the 2020 election, it is foreign interference. It began with a politically motivated investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Despite the drumbeat of accusations over the past four years, there are two things we know – that neither President Trump nor his campaign were involved in a criminal conspiracy with Russian operatives and the established meddling by Russian propagandists did not change the outcome of the 2016 election. Democrats and the media are hoping we forget those two facts.
More recently, American intelligence agencies indicate that Russia is again meddling – this time in favor of Trump – BUT that China and Iran are also meddling against Trump. That part of the intelligence report receives very little attention from the media for obvious reasons.
While the leaders of Russia, China and Iran deny such interference, there is one head-of-state that is openly meddling — and meddling against Trump. He rules over a small city-state in the middle of Italy. Of course, I am referring to Pope Francis.
In a recently released encyclical letter entitled Fratelli Tutti (no, that is not the name of an Italian dessert), Francis engages in a series of political dog whistles. In his letter, Francis pontificated – figuratively and literally – against those who he deemed guilty of “myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalism.” This is an odd criticism from a cleric who has been dubbed the Peronist Pope for his controversial and questionable association with the brutal authoritarian leadership of Juan and Evita Peron during the Pontiff’s days in Argentina.
The Pope fails to understand the difference between bottom-up popular nationalism (patriotism) as found in a democratic republic and top-down authoritarian nationalism that is the currency of despots. We limited-government conservatives abhor authoritarians of all ilk.
The Pope called out those who he claims view immigrants as “less worthy, less important, less human.” In this regard, the Pope seems to bear false witness against any who disagree with his no-borders view. He has previously criticized the United States’ effort to secure the national border from illegal entry. Has the Pope not noticed that many violent conflicts occur where there is no respect for established and secure national borders?
Francis went on to condemn the capitalistic free market by writing “The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith. Whatever the challenge, this impoverished and repetitive school of thought always offers the same recipes.”
The Pope refers to “the magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle.’ ” — a direct reference to the FACT – not theory – that the free market economy has brought the greatest life-style benefits to the middle and lower classes than any economic system in history. If the Pope is a socialist who believes – sincerely, perhaps – that socialism benefits the common person, he is not a student of history.
Francis should know better, but unfortunately, he is what socialist leaders tend to be – a top-down authoritarian dictator. He sees we the people as “lambs” that are to be ruled over because we cannot rule over ourselves.
In stressing his theory, the Pope uses an uncomfortable word. He claims his philosophy is based on the “communitarian dimension of life.” If he were forthright, he would skip the variation of the word and just admit that his philosophy is “communism.”
Francis jumped deeply into the American campaign by taking up the Democrat’s rhetoric and issues. In terms of health care, the Pope pleaded to “… keep in mind all those elderly persons who died for lack of respirators, partly as a result of the dismantling, year after year, of healthcare systems.” That could have been lifted from a Biden speech – and knowing Biden’s proclivity for plagiarism, may find it way there.
Francis’ encyclical at this time is no coincidence. He is sending an anti-Trump, anti-conservative – and in my judgment – anti-American message to strategically bolster the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden and the American Democratic Party. Francis is meddling in our election.
While the Pope does not mention Trump or Republicans by name, his targets could not be clearer. In fact, Francis’ words are being picked up by the far left as an endorsement of the Democrats. I ran across most of the information in the commentary in an article by E. J. Dionne, Jr., one of the further-left of the far-left scribes at the Washington Post.
According to Dionne, the Pope proved that he was no radical left-winger by linking his opposition to the death penalty to the writings of his predecessors, Popes Benedict and John Paul – who Dionne described as more conservative. First of all, every Pope has opposed the death penalty just as they have opposed abortion. To expand the linkage on one narrow issue to a more general characterization of Pope Francis is specious and anyone who thinks that the current Pope does not govern from the far left has not been following his papal messaging. Francis is not John Paul, who abhorred crushing oppression of communism.
Was Francis directing his words at Trump’s recent debate performance when he wrote, “Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others.”
Dionne admits the obvious – that the Pope’s intent is to influence the American election. The Post columnist writes that “it was hard not to think of the President as Francis described ‘a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism.’ ” It did make me think of President Trump, but more as the victim of the strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism deployed by the left.
Do we now add Vatican City to Russia, China and Iran as nations strategically meddling in the 2020 presidential election? Does Francis join the ranks of Putin, Xi and Ali Khamenei as just another errant authoritarian head-of-state attempting to undermine the American election?
Dionne admits that many may question the infallibility of the Pope’s words. We will and we should. Even if you believe in papal infallibility, it only applies when a pope speaks “ex cathedra.” As best as I can tell, Francis did not invoke that power when issuing his latest open letter – and even in my long ago Roman Catholic days, I never believed in the doctrine of infallibility.
I do believe that Francis is attempting to meddle in our election, but I also believe that it will be ignored by Democrats and a politically biased news media for the same reason they are not exercised over the anti-Trump meddling by China and Iran. Perhaps Francis would be more religious if he were to issue an encyclical against political hypocrisy.
So, there ‘tis.