California Election: There Is 'Magic' In Celebrityhood, And Also Great Dangers
By Michael H. Brown
There's something so magical about the movie screen that one is sometimes made to wonder from whence such "magic" comes. We see this power in operation with all the controversy surrounding the new Mel Gibson movie. We also see it with the election yesterday in California.
While the Gibson movie stands on other merit (focused as it is on the Passion of Jesus, and involving a mystical component), we have to be concerned by the way an actor -- a celebrity -- can sweep so readily into the gubernatorial residence of the nation's largest state and one of the world's largest economies.
No doubt, the new governor has good qualities; his heart, it seems, is as large as his biceps. So is his courage. Moreover, it's refreshing to see a populist take the reins in a system that has been all but smothered by career politics and bureaucracy (which can be a real evil). The U.S. is currently so bound in these elements that it cannot rectify major mistakes that could soon spell its ruin. There is a whiff of fresh air when someone comes along who is out of that mold and seems to defy it. The world needs strength in leadership, and perhaps, in this, California -- this precious state -- will lead us to a revolution.
But it is also cause for concern that at a time when morality is at a low point, when sin is chic, when the popular culture is overflowing with the ribald, that voters swarm to the polls and elect a man who is in favor of allowing abortion ("choice"), who seems not very bothered by genetic dabbling, and whose fortune was made in violent movies.
This is not to judge the new governor -- who may have seen the light and who with prayer will be a good and hopefully even a great governor. Many will ask: Is he any less moral than the politicians we have seen? And has he not worked for (and donated to) worthwhile causes, including Catholic churches?
A likeable man, but the ultimate in celebrity and here we have to warn about idolatry. It gets back to the silver screen. It gets back to television, which has become the modern temple.
A magic is transmitted here, an energy that is nearly palpable. Back in the days of Pompeii and Sodom and ancient Rome they had temples with Herculean gods and now we in America at this time have our own kind of idols. There is idolatry all around -- real energy here! -- and there is also an obsession with sex, luxury, and money. We have radio talk-show hosts extolling the joys of greed while scoffing at concerns for the environment -- for God's creation -- and we have shock jocks who have gone so far with their profanity and stunts as to inspire a couple to have sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
How in the world can the government of the United States allow what it allows over the nation's airwaves?
Magic! Prince of the Power of the Air. This is very serious business and points to a nation that is in decay with no moral leadership. As a result, it is bound to see a breakdown of its system and several monumental disasters. A little prophecy: two will be natural events and another man-made and without a complete turnaround they will occur this century. Was it not ironic that the Pope was in Pompeii this week, on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary? Was it not ironic that he was there promoting the Rosary at the site of a disaster (Mount Vesuvius) that annihilated an ancient society which was once immersed in a lasciviousness startlingly similar to our own?
Jesus. Mary. The Rosary. This is goodness. True power. This is purity. We say it all the time: the remedy resides in prayer. October is the month of the Rosary, and it is also the month (culminating with Halloween) of spiritual warfare. In coming days, we will be looking at some truly startling aspects of our culture, and the way that actual evil has infiltrated it, especially the music business. It is a very serious infiltration, with some facts that may unnerve you. But no matter how intimidating that may seem, there is the Rosary with far more power than any television or radio or website. It points to Christ, the only human who should be worshipped -- Who should be idolized -- and One Whose power was such that it didn't need electricity to convey it.
Governor Arnold? We wish him the best. We will pray for him. We will hope that his candor reaches into the realm of morality and that the revolution he inspires is a revolution away from his and our previous lifestyles.
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