Daniel Orazio considers voting optional, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory … to exercise the right to vote” (2240). This declaration itself is enough to show that, for Catholics, voting is not optional; but let us exercise reason by briefly examining three outcomes consequent to voting: the integration of political life, the assertion of moral influence and the protection of religious liberty.
Voting is not the sole duty involved in promoting the common good, as Mr. Orazio points out, but it is an aspect of political duty that cannot be ignored. In Mr. Orazio’s effort to encourage participation in political activities outside of voting (e.g. serving on juries) he dismisses the necessity of voting altogether. Mr. Orazio’s error lies in his conclusion that the integrated political life can be attained without a central feature of democratic politics – voting.
We have adequate means to minimize the moral disintegration of America, one of them being the freedom to vote; the dismissal of this central tool of democracy (ideal government or not) will limit our moral influence. Joining the roughly 38 to 40 percent (factcheck.org) of people who do not vote in presidential elections will not increase one’s political influence but rather add to the heap of political surrender and transfer more power into the hands of those who do vote.
Lastly, the possibility of the moral, fair and prosperous society that Mr. Orazio rightly desires rests undoubtedly on religious liberty. Consequentially, participation in this election will significantly affect political as well as religious freedom.
The sacredness of the act of voting consists in both the privilege to exercise a freedom earned by the sacrifice of countless lives, and in fulfilling a moral obligation to resist the imposition of secular evils.
Kayla Chauvin, Class of 2013
A Greek fraternity is under consideration on campus. The initiation of such a fraternity – even a Catholic one – is a serious mistake.
The question concerns not Alpha Delta Gamma alone, but something more basic. Because when one of these societies comes, others will inevitably follow. So the issue is whether we want to accept a paradigm shift in defining student life in terms of Greek societies.
These societies, whatever their origins, have evolved over the years into social clubs, based in a sense of exclusivity. Their identity and their funding come from the outside, allowing a sense of autonomy. In larger universities they may be one of the only means of a student’s having group identity and close associates. But they have become on many campuses a bane in themselves. Drinking is higher in these groups than in the rest of the student body, academic performance lower. Many schools – top-ranking liberal arts colleges such as Williams, Middlebury, Hamilton and Amherst – have banned them.
University of Dallas has deliberately avoided these societies, desiring to foster a different sense of community. What we have exists in large part because we do not cultivate exclusive groups. Everyone is part of our “honors college”; everyone has the opportunity for a European semester. Our students, though smart and cosmopolitan, are unpretentious. They are not concerned with ordinary symbols of status; they are not in competition. And they are generous and playful.
These qualities, together with intellectual seriousness, create a remarkable sense of commonality. It exists in the shared experience of the Core and the majors, in the intensity of Rome, in the participation in an active faith community, in campus organizations and athletics. These natural affiliations are incalculably greater than packaged, imported ones.
Why choose such conventional, artificial models for community at the risk of what we have?
Dr. Eileen Gregory, Professor, English; Class of 1968