The Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat debate between Democratic candidate John Fetterman and Republican candidate Mehmet Oz was bizarre and sad—especially since it concerns the balance of power in Washington, D.C. The nation cringed to watch a man who is manifestly unfit for public office pretend that he was—a pantomime that the left-wing media has been enacting for months and took to a new level after Mr. Fetterman’s disastrous performance. Besides severely damaging Mr. Fetterman’s chances in this race, this debate and its aftermath have been a resounding confirmation of the Democrats’ indifference to truth in their increasingly overt and merciless preference to party over people.
Shortly before the Democratic primary last May, John Fetterman suffered a stroke. But, claiming he was recovering well, he remained on the ticket and won the nomination. Questions about his cognitive health have swirled ever since, especially when Fetterman resumed the midterm campaign trail in a limited way and presented himself very incoherently. Pushing against these concerns were Fetterman’s personal physician, his wife, and a whole host of Democrats all the way up to Joe Biden. I have been getting flyers for weeks now plastered with the typically uninspiring Biden endorsement, “John Fetterman is a hell of a guy.”
Last Tuesday’s debate was the first concentrated and widespread engagement voters have had with this candidate for the U.S. Senate—and what they saw was a train wreck. It was pitiful in the truest sense of that word, that is, inducing pity rather than contempt. Mr. Fetterman, aided by real-time caption screens, was clearly suffering under the effects of the stroke which, though it may not have affected his cognitive ability, has crippled his ability to communicate—a sine qua non for one who seeks to be a voice for the people.
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Fetterman began his opening statement with, “Hi, goodnight, everybody,” and it went downhill from there. Mix-matching words and looking confused, the poor man seemed out of his element and unprepared, caught by contradictions, and stumbling through scripted statements such as, “I do support fracking and I don’t, I don’t… I support fracking, and I stand, and I do support fracking.” It was humiliating and pathetic.
In fairness to Mr. Fetterman, he acknowledged that he struggles with speech, and he asked his constituents to bear with him; but that really doesn’t excuse passing himself off as competent for public office. Neither does it excuse the support he is getting from the Democratic Party. Just because Mr. Fetterman was ill and is making a valiant recovery, that doesn’t mean he should be encouraged to assume a position that is unsuited to his condition.
So much for his clean bill of health stating that he is fit to serve in the U.S. Senate without restrictions. Fetterman’s doctor is also a campaign donor, and lying for partisan reasons is pretty old hat; but Dr. Fauci has set a new precedent for physicians in the political arena. It is curious that Mrs. Fetterman would encourage her husband to risk making such a spectacle of himself when he should be focusing on mental recovery and not political power; but Jill Biden has set a new precedent for wives in the political arena.
It simply doesn’t matter to the Democrats. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, at 89 years old, and 82-year-old Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have their own natural issues with decline. But it is a betrayal to the Democratic Party to question their ability to serve in Congress. Real representation is secondary to casting the desired votes.
This leftist disregard for people is alive in the media reactions over the Pennsylvania debate. They are a mixture of praise, sympathy, explanation, excuse, and “ableist” accusations (that’s a new one for me). But what is more outrageous is that there are Democratic politicians who are expressing regret that Fetterman ever took the debate stage—as though it would have been better to have Fetterman win the seat on the sly, so to speak, just to secure another blue Senate seat, whether Fetterman is fit to serve or not.
And this is where the Fetterman debacle serves as a striking emblem of the Democratic M.O. What matters is the party’s liberal agenda, which allows people to define the terms of their own existence. Men can be women. Babies can be disposable tissue. The dysfunctional can serve in the highest functions. What matters is the party and progressive politics. Not people. Not principles. Not truth.
The most surprising thing about this is how unsurprising it is. The falsehood that Fetterman is not impaired is both shameful and shameless. There is little to no sense of embarrassment over this candidate but, rather, a shrug off and carry-on-as-normal attitude. Of course, no one could deny that Fetterman struggled and even humiliated himself. But the Left is fine with that and fine with him—and even willing to call Fetterman physically fine himself—because abortion is on the ballot.
Fetterman will vote to re-enshrine abortion in this nation, and therefore he’s fit as a fiddle. He will toe the line and that’s all that matters—not John Fetterman’s health, or his dignity, or the clumsy representation he would provide for the people of Pennsylvania. It’s the party that counts, not the person. It’s little wonder that abortion is so sacred to the Left as it dismisses personhood for the sake of power.
The Trump-backed, carpetbaggy surgeon Mehmet Oz is the Left’s enemy in this issue of issues, and he will be targeted, even at the cost of Fetterman becoming a poor pawn on their board. Dr. Oz is the pro-life candidate in this race. He was bold enough and honest enough to call abortion murder during the debate, though he proved slippery regarding whether he would back Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposed federal 15-week abortion ban bill, saying that abortion laws should remain in the hands of the individual states.
Abortion really is on the ticket for these midterm elections, and no one is sounding that like the Democrats are. That is the central message of Kamala Harris’ soundbites these days (instead of many other crises, real and otherwise, that she could stump about). She is touting that “[abortion] is about freedom and liberty.” Therefore, vote for Fetterman. Barack Obama did a spot for Fetterman as well. And guess what he highlighted? “The fate of our democracy and a woman’s right to choose.” Therefore, vote for Fetterman. But should people vote for Fetterman, a man who is clearly unwell, and give him one of the heaviest tasks in the country? Is that just? Is it decent? Is it merciful? The Democratic response is clear, and it’s dark.
Catholics have a political duty to remember that politics is first and foremost about people. Fetterman’s candidacy, like Joe Biden’s, reveals a Democratic derision for its members and for democracy by putting puppets and empty suits in place to promote their purposes, while unleashing an exploitive of media to force the vote instead of winning the vote. Anything to keep the machine grinding away. The individual cogs are of little individual concern so long as they keep the wheels of power and control turning.
When it comes to a Catholic perspective, one of the most important things to conclude in this matter of John Fetterman’s race for the Senate is that there should be a real sense of pity for secular slaves. It is a matter of the corporal mercy we owe our fellow men. We should feel sympathy for John Fetterman and pray for his recovery. We should feel sympathy for those who are so out of tune with truth and human dignity that they would put such a one as Fetterman forward and say he’s doing a fine job.
It is a sad display of the attitude of untruth and disrespect that increasingly governs our country. We should support John Fetterman as a man who needs our prayers, but no honest Pennsylvanian should vote for him. And that’s not party politics or bigotry. It’s common decency, which is a first principle of any civilized society. And Catholics must remain decent as the engines of the world promote indecency.