Editor's Corner: Presidential Elections - USA, 1996

As often stated in this column, Compassion is a production of the Passionist Social Concerns Center. It strives to do more than simply report who the Passionists are and what their world-wide involvements are; it has a certain compassionate concern for all peace and justice matters.

The Passionist Mission today has a two-fold thrust: 1) to constantly proclaim, by whatever means possible, the love of God as seen in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord Christ; and 2) to have a special concern for the crucified of today, the suffering members of the Body of Christ.

As we reflect on Political Responsibility in the Elections of 1996, we hope you will discover evidence of this double mission.

Compassion is not concerned in telling its readers how to vote, or even what it likes and dislikes in the candidates running for public office including the presidency. It does hope to stress our responsibility to be informed, to make contributions for the common good of all citizens and to be aware that our decisions should be based on and inspired by a Gospel view of life.

You are aware, I'm sure, that there exists a great deal of frustration in today's electorate. So many people have said that they don't know how to vote this time. They seem to agree on certain matters. They are fed up withthe gridlock in Congress in the past year, although Congress did move in its last weeks before the election break. They deeply resent the ever-increasing power of special interest groups who spend many millions to increase their power and invluence. As their knowledge grows, more and more of the average voters want a real honest-to-God campaign-financing reform.

In the 1988 presidential election, George Bush won with 54% of the vote. Since less than 50% voted, that means he had roughly about 26% of the eligible voters. In 1992, Bill Clinton won with 43% of the vote, which means he had less than 22% of all possible voters.

I'm no prophet but I fail to see any indication of a huge turnout in this election. Let's hope that more citizens will register (if necessary), will consider the issues presented by the candidates, and then vote from a Gospel point of view.

Isn't that what Christians are supposed to do?

Kilian McGowan, C.P.

Kilian McGowan, C.P. was founding editor of the Passionists Compassion and edited the magazine until his death in July, 1998

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