Statesman in the Making

A true statesman cannot allow truth to be the casualty of power politics

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Justice Politics

Until a couple years ago, Dan Lipinski settled for being a decent politician. Lipinski, a Democrat, was an eight-term congressman from Illinois’ 3rd district. Plus, he was a political scientist with a doctorate from Duke.

Then a pro-abortion candidate defeated him in the Democrat 2020 primary. Money mattered and Lipinski’s opponent had lots of it. But since his defeat, it looks like a decent politician is becoming a statesman.

He sees Congress as broken and worries about what it will lead to. He calls out the sectarian mentality that now rules, along with its deep enmity for the opposition. The few independent legislators find themselves isolated and punished.

Voters are frustrated. Polls show that 70% of country think that we are on the wrong track. There’s serious talk about the need for a new third party. But the system in place, a duopoly, is rigged against independents who might pave the way for a new politics. It’s tough for them to meet the requirements to get on the ballot and to attract savvy staff members to manage an effective campaign.

Lipinski won’t be running as either a Democrat of a Republican in upcoming races. And he doesn’t mind burning bridges. He now speaks eloquently of the power of witness, and he reminds us of the enduring testimony of St. Thomas More. More, we remember, was King Henry VIII’s good servant, but he was God’s servant first.

Despite COVID’s destructiveness, Lipinski contends that it has made us aware of the loss of community. This new awareness might well lead to a more communitarian spirit. Such a spirit could help heal the wounds that partisan politics only deepen.

It’s no wonder, then, that the American Solidarity Party (ASP) looks to Dan Lipinski as a kindred spirit. He shares the ASP’s commitment to life, to the priority of family, and to the politics of service. Many in the ASP think that he would be an excellent presidential candidate.

So, what does Dan Lipinski think about the ASP? Will he carry its standard in the 2024 presidential race? He recently addressed its summer conference and, in doing so, raised hopes. The former congressman admires the party’s vision and respects the movement. He says he’s leaving his 2024 decision open. In today’s politics two years is a long time. For now, he wants to do what best serves the common good.

The common good, a good that includes every human being, is the touchstone of the American Solidarity Party. So, if he continues to reciprocate the ASP’s interest, he could well become its candidate.

Yet truth is the first casualty of power politics. We dare not allow it to be a casualty of servant politics. So I want to call attention to a pair of issues that need to be addressed before the Lipinski-ASP courtship goes further. Resolving them will help show that a decent politician can become a statesman.

Dan Lipinski, like many a politician, is on record saying that “America remains the greatest nation on earth.” Henry VIII claimed as much for England. But greatest by what standard? Surely not by the standard of justice. And justice is a prerequisite for a good nation. Moreover, justice calls for the other cardinal virtues: temperance, courage, and prudence.

And like many a Catholic politician, Lipinski is too ready to play the “personally opposed, but…” card. He’s on record as giving a pass to same sex “marriage” (SSM) because it is “the law of the land.” Note the language: “Personally, I don’t support it, but that doesn’t matter in how I vote.” Sorry, that just won’t do. The family is the first unit of society, and SSM undermines the family.

Let’s get this pair of issues clarified, the sooner the better. And if, walking an extra mile, Lipinski admits the term “political science” is rank academic bravado, this philosopher will salute his statesmanship!

 

Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly!

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