Monday, October 27, 2008

Barack My Vote? UPDATE

I'm taking down this post, as it apparently enraged an esteemed friend of mine, a journalist who'd just written a McCain endorsement, and who accused me in an email of giving moral scandal by being an apologist for Obama's pro-abortion policies and suggested, perhaps rightly, that the spirit instructing me in my dream was that of the enemy (I suppose I should call him an esteemed former friend, because he also used the email to question the sincerity of my conversion and to break off our friendship).

I just want to reiterate that the original post was about a DREAM that I had, and that, as I stated previously, I don't usually believe in the truthfulness or accuracy of dreams.


dreshny said...

I think the Holy Spirit might be onto something...

Pentimento said...

Well, in all honesty, I have started a novena to the Holy Spirit for discernment in this matter . . . :)

alfonso said...

Don't let politics ruin life. Sometimes I prefer not even mention these issues at home or between friends.
I do vote when I'm called to, but I try to defend family, friendship and even work out of the mess that politics make.
Things usually aren't just black or white.

Pentimento said...

I also think things aren't entirely black and white, which is why I am perhaps cynical about the ability of a President McCain to do much about the legality of abortion. Perhaps I've been corrupted by my left-wing upbringing (my former friend seems to think so). But there are people far to the right of me who likewise aren't convinced of the efficacy of a legal solution to abortion, as well as people whose commitment to their faith can't be questioned but who are not voting in this election. My former friend, however, seemed to think, as far as I can understand it, that my lack of support for McCain meant I was reverting to a life of what he called "reckless Bohemianism and cheap self-satisfaction."

Anonymous said...

I'm distressed for you. Surely your friend will come to his senses and realize a) that he misread your post and b) that the polity has come to such a pass that if you didn't laugh, you'd cry.

I took in Peter Grimes yesterday. Amazing! Thank you very much for drawing my attention to these. What a gift the Met (and its kind patron) is giving us. Also - go, go, Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Ned Keene)!
I see in my morning paper that he is settling in New York. It's a sad honour for a country to be a net exporter of fine voices. (Sigh.)

Best with your diss defense - did you consider Holman Hunt's "The Awakening Conscience" among your artworks?


Pentimento said...

Thank you, Otepoti. The whole thing has been horribly distressing to me too. But I don't think our friendship will be repaired; I only quoted the nice things he said. The worst part was that he tried to throw my abortion in my face, and at the same time to assert that had my conversion been real, Christ would have brought a sword to cut me off from my erroneous ways, which apparently He has not done since I said that I thought Obama was misguided rather than evil; so therefore I am not and have never been a sincere Catholic. This once-dear friend, in fact, said the worst things to me that anyone has ever said, even worse than the Northern Irishman on the train who wouldn't help me with my "fookin' pram" because I should have "kept [my] fookin' pants on" (Dreshny will recall the incident, if she's still reading!). Much worse,in fact, since this former friend used his intimate knowledge of the most painful and shameful parts of my life against me. I am praying for him, and my particular prayer is that he fall in love with and marry a post-abortive woman. It would be good for him.

Now, on to more interesting things. Yes! The Awakening Conscience is the centerpiece of my argument (have you noticed that it's my avatar?), and the chapter that discusses it has been published. If you are interested, send me your email address at (replacing -at- with an "at" symbol) and I'll send it to you. It's not too long and has lots of nice pictures.

Anonymous said...

Ok, thanks, yes, I would be interested.


Toby Danna said...

I have little faith in McCain or the GOP ever overturning Roe, but the Palin nomination and her authenticity on the issue is the reason forr my little mustard seed. I think the pro-life movement is having a hard time discerning the difference between advancing the cause and advancing the causes of people who pander to us only to disappoint us later.

I am convinced the illegality of abortion would greatly affect the protection of the unborn. In a just society laws must protect the sanctity of life, and generally, laws have some considerable effect as a deterrent. We must continue to work towards this goal, but a reevaluation of our methods is long overdue.

When I became Catholic, a number of people questioned the sincerity of my prior knowledge of Christ, that I must have never knew God as an evangelical. I remember how that hurt. You have my sympathies for suffering judgment at the hands of another believer.

I believe it is the work of the Devil to condemn us for evils Christ has already forgiven.

You have an outstanding blog. While we disagree on what is prudentially best in the presidential race, I am finding legitimate Catholic concerns causing people to sit the race out, vote third party, or vote Obama because of McCain's lack of integrity on abortion and his wrongheadedness on much of the rest. May we all try to keep fighting the good fight, and do our best to come reason together at the table of truth in finding a true unity identical to Catholic social teaching.

Pentimento said...

Thank you for your comment, Toby. It means a lot to me. I'm linking to your blog in my blogroll: for all interested, the blog name is Astonished! Yet at Home, and it's excellent.

For the record, I overnighted my application for an absentee ballot back to New York City. I don't know if I'll be in time, but, if I'm allowed to vote, I think I am going to have to swallow hard, close my eyes, and, um, vote for McCain. I sincerely hope my brother isn't reading this, because I'm still afraid my family of origin will disown me, and as for my dear friend Dreshny . . . well, we'll talk about it when I see you.

McCain and Palin are not my natural allies. I'm essentially a liberal intellectual from New York City, and my own grandmother was a communist, for gosh sakes (you can use the search feature in this blog to read my posts on her FBI file). I am against pretty much everything that McCain stands for (or appears, anyway, to stand for); when people decry Obama as a socialist, my secret response is, "well, what's so bad about that?" But I do feel like I have to do the thing that is difficult and unpleasant for me personally in the hope of a future possibility of protecting children (and women) from abortion. For all the numbers that suggest abortion rates go down under Democratic administrations, I feel like it's an artful dodge for me to avoid the pressing question of legality. My real concern is that any future change in legal status will do little to stop the flow of abortions. But in the interest of eternal things, I think I am going to have to cast that vote, though I won't be happy in the least to do so.

And because this is so difficult for me, I have to add that I think that to be pro-life is the natural province of the left. They really dropped the ball on this one. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was some serious dissension on the issue among leftists and feminists; you can look at the archives of The Progressive magazine for more. Now the only one left standing seems to be Nat Hentoff.

Anyway, may God guide us all to do the right thing, and may He have mercy on us all.

Pentimento said...

Otepoti, forgot to mention that I love Teddy Tahu Rhodes!

Anonymous said...

you say, "When I became Catholic, a number of people questioned the sincerity of my prior knowledge of Christ, that I must have never knew God as an evangelical...You have my sympathies for suffering judgment at the hands of another believer."

It's one thing for a new convert to Catholicism to be unfairly viewed with a suspicious eye by fellow jaundiced Catholics. It is QUITE ANOTHER to have been in the Catholic Church for many years, calling oneself the "New Magdalene" while making the preposterous (and downright scary) claim that the HOLY SPIRIT spoke to her in a dream instructing her to vote for Barack Obama, the single most aggressively pro-abortion politian in the American government today, for President! Doubting the authenticity and sincerity of such a person's "conversion" is not "judgment at the hands of another believer" - it is quite plainly the ONLY sane and sensible reaction to such an outrageous and blasphemous accusation against the Holy Spirit.

"I believe it is the work of the Devil to condemn us for evils Christ has already forgiven."

I believe, and apparently so does her former friend, that it's the work of the Devil to appear to us in dreams telling us to vote for the most diabolically pro-abortion candidate for President that this country has ever known.


Pentimento said...

Sorry, Mary, I call B.S. on your post for the following reasons.

First: I do not call myself "The New Magdalene." That's preposterous. My email address, if that's what you're referring to, is itself a reference to an 1871 novel by that name by Wilkie Collins, which I discuss in my doctoral thesis.

Second, you are raving if you think I was making either claim or accusation against the Holy Spirit. I made no such blasphemy. I was, rather, recounting the content of a DREAM that I had, and neither you nor I is responsible for what we, respectively, dream.

Mind you, I'm not denying that this dream could well have come from an evil source. However, I am not responsible for that. I was asleep at the time. And your theology needs to be seriously reexamined if you doubt the sincerity of conversion of one who has subsequently been tempted by the devil. If you're going to doubt the sincerity of faith of those who've been so tempted, you're going to be calling a lot of good folks onto the carpet, including not a few doctors of the Church. But perhaps in your world demonic temptation doesn't happen to "sincere Catholics." How lucky for you, and how nice it would be if sincerity of faith really were a shield against such things.

Third, if you read some of the jottings of my conscious mind, you would know that I have no intention of voting for Obama. I would say that's what really counts, wouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

My apologies. I didn't realize you were unconscious when you POSTED the dream and also when you COMMENTED on said post.


Pentimento said...

I'm not sure what your point is, Mary; I suppose you are suggesting that I shouldn't have posted about my dream, nor commented upon it? Well, on your own blog, you're free to do what you like. I'm not quite sure why you read this one if it offends your sensibilities so much, but perhaps you like applying the contempt-shaded lens of pharisaism to my random thoughts. Is that the sort of thing sincere Catholics do, in the guise of rebuking error? Honestly, where is the love?

I'm going to say it again: temptation is not a sin. Nor can it be avoided. It comes when you least expect it, even in dreams (though dreams were traditionally the province in which the faithful most expected temptation to come - incubi, succubi, etc.). The rain falls on the just (you, no doubt) and the unjust (me) alike. Actual SIN occurs in how one respnds to that temptation. I am not ashamed of writing about how I've been tempted. I'm sorry to disappoint you and my former friend, who, curiously, has a writing style similar to your own, but the tempation to vote for Obama IN A DREAM came through no invitation of mine. (Perhaps sincere Catholics are better at policing their dreams nowadays than they were in the patristic era.) I would be ashamed if I said I was going to follow through on the advice of that false spirit, but I'm not, so I'm not sure where your high moral dudgeon comes in.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mary! "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own lord he standeth or falleth. And he shall stand: for God is able to make him stand."

Or her. Thank God. I'd rather have mercy than justice any day.



Pentimento said...

(Cross posted at
Mary, a clarification. I NEVER claimed that my dream was the fruit of my novena. You also neglected to quote the rest of the post, in which I wrote that I don't usually believe in the truth of dreams. And you disregarded my elaborate comments, in which I explicitly stated my intention to vote for McCain, in spite of the fact that I'm dubious about the power of the presidency or the desire of the GOP to end legal abortion.

Now, I'm not Freud here, but it's simply ridiculous to believe that any random dream is a message from the Holy Spirit, regardless of the content of one's prayer life. Dreams are generally the sloughing-off of the daily refuse of our unconscious minds. Although I think it's rather silly to try to justify the content of that dream here (or anywhere), my own belief is that it comes from my own personaly inner conflict about my family's support for Obama. Christ said he came to set a daughter against a mother, etc., and that will certainly be my case, and it's not a pleasant thought, since I love my family. If I experienced peace IN MY DREAM, it was the peace that comes from avoiding a conflict.

You went wrong when you made the claim in your comment above that this dream that I had was the fruit of my novena. I made no such claim, and I hold no such belief. In fact, I think that such a statement is an expression of pure hysterical superstition. I think you are giving far too much power to dreams, and I think you might want to examine your own Christian witness. Heaping scorn and slander on a sister in Christ -- who also happens to be a sinner who doesn't deserve God's mercy, but who trusts that He will give it to me, because His great economy is one of unfathomable mercy and love -- because I posted about that dream is not the way to go.

Pentimento said...

Oh, and correction: the novel The New Magdalen (British spelling), by Wilkie Collins, was published in 1873, not 1871, as I remembered when going over my dissertation today.