Pope Latino I
As if you hadn’t heard, as though it hasn’t been plastered on every news site and social media platform — from the New York Times to AOL News, from Facebook to Pinterest — Latin America has its first pope in Francis (formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires).
While the entire Latino universe has seemingly flipped its shit, I for one am not feeling so chipper.
I’m an atheist, or what pussyfoots usually term a “nonbeliever.” So for me, that there’s a new sheriff in town with Latino street cred is probably the worst things that could conceivably happen (well, Jesus coming down on a cloud tomorrow and condemning all heretics to hell would be the worst).
A Latino rebuking Catholicism when the leader of the Church is Latino himself is like a black person badmouthing Obama; I’m bound to get the Cornel West treatment.
Catholicism was already a prominent aspect of Latino culture before Papa Francisco showed up. Having a Latino lead the Church, whose picture you can place next to whichever virgen you give props to, only brings Catholicism closer to home for many Latinos.
And Latino atheists like me are pushed farther out the door.
Fortunately, I hear the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez talked to Jesus and helped South America land its first pope. So maybe Chávez will put in a good word for me in the remote chance that I find myself facing the pearly gates.
A Puerto Rican President
No, not the kind that comes after independence. The kind that runs for president of the United States.
During their testimony before Congress on the sequestration and the Supreme Court, Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer hinted at the legal leeway for a Puerto Rican-born person to run for the Oval Office.
Their responses were prompted by Rep. José Serrano, the island-born Democratic congressman from New York who asked the justices whether islanders were eligible for the presidency.
Breyer responded that lawyers always ask two questions: Why, and why not?
On ‘why’, Breyer asked: ‘Isn’t Puerto Rico an important part of this country? Yes.’ Second, he asked, why not? ‘I don’t have an answer,’ Breyer said.
Awkwardly enough, while the Supreme Court may agree that Puerto Rican-born people can become president of the United States, the law of the land still states that any person living on the island of Puerto Rico, whether born there or not, is ineligible to vote in presidential elections.
And it’s unclear whether the Puerto Rican-born person wishing to be president has to first leave the island and gain residency somewhere in the 50 states, or, as is more constitutional, they could run for the president from San Juan by virtue of their U.S. citizenship.
But then that would mean that the same person running for president in San Juan couldn’t cast a ballot for themselves in San Juan on Election Day.
I think I just bruised my patriotism. I need to think a happy thought about America.
“…with liberty and justice for all.”
That just made it worse.
O Rubio, Rubio, wherefore art thy brain?
Sen. Marco Rubio, the suave yet sapless sweetheart of conservatives who think he’s their Latino ticket to the White House, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, reassuring the Republican Party that he’s their man (and reminding Latinos why he’s not their man).
“Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot,” Rubio told the crowd of titillated troglodytes. “The people who are actually closed-minded in American politics are the people who love to preach about the certainty of science with regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science has proven that life begins at conception.”
Saying definitively that “life begins at conception” is as indefinite a phrase as you can say.
The truth is science hasn’t quite figured out when life begins and when it ends. Those are more philosophical boundaries than actual biological ones, which is why science lovers and science deniers will likely argue over the limits of woman’s right to choose till the machines conquer humanity.
Fittingly, human life is still a grey area.
Rubio wrapped up his address by predicting that his critics would argue he offered no new ideas for the necessary Republican resurrection.
“We don’t need a new idea,” Rubio told the audience. “There is an idea: the idea is called ‘America,’ and it still works.”
America may still work, but if more people start believing that the country doesn’t need new ideas, then the idea of America may not be working idea for much longer.
[Photo: AP via Business Insider]