Now why in the world would I bring up such an unpleasant subject as this?
Well....I'll be honest in revealing that I take a lot of inspiration for posts from what is going on around me. And primary elections have been on the forefront recently.
Every single political decision affects women in some way, shape, or form; so I firmly believe that women and girls should at least have an understanding of the issues at hand, if not actively keep abreast of political happenings.
What sort of issues should Catholic maidens be concerned with?
Fighting for the rights of the unborn, the family, the aged, veterans and the poor are perfect causes for women to be involved in politically. Education and healthcare are also good ones to be involved in.
How can a Catholic maiden be involved in politics?
Our role in the political scheme of things is rather small, even for us older maidens that are of voting age. But, there are still some important things that we can do to fulfill our civic duty.
1. Research and Advocating for Candidates
I cannot stress the importance of this rather tedious and stressful process, especially during a primary election.
Catholic voters cannot, under pain of mortal sin, support a political candidate that supports abortion, homosexual "unions", human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, or euthanasia of the aged. These were called "the five non-negotiables" by Pope Benedict XVI.
I would also frown upon voting for a candidate in favor of feminism and anti-school choice (as this takes away from the parent's right to educate their children). Also look at a candidates moral position - do they support vices such as gambling, or are they living a life of horrendous public sin?
Now, how would you know what a candidate's positions and morals are?
It requires a lot of digging - through campaign materials, social media, news reports, and if they have been in office before, voting records. The latter of these can be found at VoteSmart.org or through government websites.
Some Catholic parishes will also publish voter guides for the current election. My diocese (which happens to be one centered around a state capital) sends out a survey to all the candidates with key questions and then publishes the results online and in the print version of the diocesan newspaper. It certainly is an eye-opener!
Even if a maiden is not able to vote for a particular campaign because of her age, she can still search for good candidates and advocate for them via online and to family and friends. A woman's gift to influence is one of her highest talents, and it can be used for much good (or much evil!) in these cases especially.
2. Rallys and Counter Protests
For those who are blessed with the virtues of fortitude and patience, there are those positions at the front lines. These can take the form of Rosary rallies and sidewalk counseling at an abortion clinic to being involved in the Counter Protests for the liberal "Women's March on Washington" (yes, indeed, there were brave Catholic women on the sidewalks shouting the truth as hordes of liberals passed by!)
For those that can, voting is not just a right, but a moral obligation! With the vote, we have direct responsibility over the choice of our leaders. If we choose not to vote, we are basically saying "I don't care what happens to my country". This sentiment is against the virtue of Piety, of which "love of country" is a subset of.
It's not just a question of voting every four years for the next president. The vote also controls which lawmakers are put into office, who chooses candidates, and also who is in charge of the local government. All these factions require good, upstanding citizens in order to produce good just laws and enforce them correctly.
There really is no excuse not to go vote. It is easy to find out where you need to go through the county website. Voting registration can be done at the DMV (at least in my state). And if you can't physically make it to the voting site, apply for an abstentee ballot!
Note: This section contained paraphrased ideas from this article (http://www.catholicapologetics.info/morality/general/voting.htm). I highly recommend you to read this gem of an article!
Bonus: Celebrate Civic Events/Holidays
Would you believe that Memorial Day was originally instituted by women performing a corporal work of mercy?
By celebrating civic events, I don't just mean throw burgers on the grill. I mean actually going and caring for veterans graves on Memorial Day. Visiting a veteran on Veterans Day. Go to historic sites, town celebrations, and reenactments. Read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Learn the history of why these civic holidays are special to this country.
As unattractive as politics are, it is extremely important that we keep a close eye on them - an even closer eye than we do on threatening mold in the kitchen. As women confirmed as soldiers of Christ, it is our duty to fight for Him in whatever way that we can. With our politics being in as sad of a repair as they are, it is high time for some good men to come in to office - and we have the obligation to make sure that they get there.
In Cordis Mariae,