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November 4, 1988     The Message
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November 4, 1988
 

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The Message -- Voters' Education Supplement November 4, 1988 Bipartisan humor marks annual Smith dinner By TRACY EARLY NC News Service NEW YORK (NC) -- Cardinal John J. O'Connor of New York told George Bush and Michael Dukakis at the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner Oct. 20 in New York that whichever one lost the White House could have a job as the cardinal's vicar general. The offer of employment to the presidential candidates was part of the bipartisan humor that marks the annual ar- chdiocesan dinner to raise funds for medical charities. It was the only joint appearance the two candidates were to make during their campaigns outside of their two televised debates. The dinner, inaugurated by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1946, is named for the first Catholic to receive the presidential nomination from either major political party. Some 1,600 people paid $500 each for a plate of baby rack of ' lamb, preceded by spirmch and cheese rustica, followed by lemon mousse cake with strawberries and accompanied by Chateau Ferbos 1985 and Chateau Frombrauge 1976. Limousines clogged Park Avenue outside the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel as a substantial part of New York's political and business leadership filled the six-tiered dais of the grand ballroom. They included Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., and Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., New York Mayor Edward Koch, New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, U.N. Ambassador Vernon Waiters and others. New York Gov. Marie Cuomo was scheduled to attend but canceled because of the death of his wife's father. This year's dinner got off to a traditional start as Alfred E. Smith IV, master of ceremonies Messagepolicies Supplement prepared as educational tool This Voter Education supplement to the Nov. 4, 1988, issue of the Message was prepared pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits par- ticipation in any political campaign on behalf of any can- didate for office. This supplement was prepared for use as an educational tool for voters in southwestern Indiana. The Message en- dorses no candidate. Appearance or absence of any political advertising and/or editorial copy should in no way be con- strued as 'endorsement. The purpose of the Message has been clearly stated in previous issues containing stories of a political nature: "News stories in the Message relating to national, state or local political campaigns are reported for their news value and are not intended to constitute Statements of endorsement or of opposition to any candidate." A concerted effort was made by Message staff to contact all candidates of all party affiliations. All candidates were given the opportunity to advertise in the supplement. As an added incentive, candidates were given editorial space equal to 60 percent of their paid advertising. This copy was prepared and submitted by the candidates or their campaign offices, and is clearly labeled as such. In addition to the opportunity to advertise, questionnaires were sent to candidates for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Indiana Senate and the Indiana House of Representatives. Questionnaires were mailed during the week of Sept. 12; candidates not responding to the first ques- tionnaire were sent a second, identical, copy of the question- naire during the week of Oct. 3. Positions expressed and comments are printed verbatim in this supplement. The slates of candidates were compiled by the Messsage staff from the County Clerk's office of each county in the Diocese of Evansville. Questionnaire responses from presidential candidates were prepared by National Catholic News Service, and are clearly labeled as to their origin. Additional editorial copy in this supplement was prepared by the Indiana Catholic Conference, and is clearly labeled as to its origin. Following is the policy of the Message in regard to political advertising: Political advertising is accepted at the Message from all bona fide candidates on an equal basis. Political advertising will be prepaid. Political advertising will be clearly identified as such, by the words, "paid political advertisement." The Message retains the right to veto or edit copy based on neutral criteria such as general editorial standards or con- siderations of good taste. Such criteria will not relate to the agreement or disagreement of the candidate with the position of the Message on the issues. Acceptance of advertising does not indicate endorsement or opposition to a candidate, political party or a matteT brought before the people in a referendum. joked about his raspy voice and then, taking a line from Bush's campaign statement against raising taxes, told those who could not hear him to "read my lips." Dukakis, who spoke first, jok- ed that some people thought he was too serious and too self- controlled. "When you're sit- ting in your tank," he said in reference to one of his cam- paign photos that many people have ridiculed, "and the gun- sights are trained right on (television reporter) Sam Donaldson, believe me, self- control is important." Paying tribute to A1 Smith, Dukakis drew implicit parallels with himself: son of immigrant parents, governor of a Nor- theastern state, called a liberal. "Now before the vice presi- dent says it," Dukakis added, "I know I'm no A1 Smith." Bush said he had been prac- ticing some humor the day before and had told his wife, Barbara, that it sounded like Johnny Carson. He said she Republican opponent, Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, was no John F. Kennedy. But both Bush and Dukakis also had serious points to make. "I have spoken of a kinder, gentler nation, and I have wrestled, sometimes publicly, with what such a nation would be," Bush said. "But perhaps for now I can leave it at this: that a call for a kinder, gentler America is a call for an A1 Smith America." He said that Smith, though a Democrat, was "honest about the weaknesses of his party." And Bush continued, "It has been said that my party has sometimes been slow to be sen- sitive to some of the things I've mentioned here. And there is a bit of truth in that. But parties, like nations, evolve; great par- ties learn; great parties feel the rhythm and rock of the societies they represent; and mine is a great party." Dukakis expounded implicit- ly on the tradition of the Democratic Party when he replied: "I know Johnny Car- noted that "AI Smith came of son. Johnny Carson is a friend age at a time when there was no of mine. George, you're no Social Security, no unemploy- Johnny Carson." ment insurance, no old-age The comments recalled Texas assistance, no protection Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's comment against discrimination, no laws in the vice-presidential debate against child labor." earlier in the month that his Cardinal O'Connor talked of his work with AIDS patients and said some of the money raised by the dinner would go to assist them. "There are some who wouldn't want their money spent in this fashion," he said. "They would blame the vic- tims, as we blame the victims of homelessness." But how they contracted AIDS, the cardinal said, does not affect the truth that they are persons "made in the image and likeness of almighty God." Perhaps the most notable oc- casion when the tradition of good-natured humor at the din- ner helped a candidate was in 1960 when Kennedy used deft humor to defuse the tensions over his Catholicism and his father's wealth. In reference to charges of buying the election, he jokingly said his father had sent him instructions to buy on- ly as many votes as he had to have because "I will not pay for a landslide." Electlons88 YOU COUNT Voter's Prayer 0 Lord, our God, we come before You seeking order for our nation. Dear Lord, we know that You are the source of all authority and that When we sin by neglecing our civic duties, we sin against You. Revive our land, 0 Lord. Quicken in our hearts the desire to serve in our cities and in our states. Guide us and counsel us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the election of those who would be just, righteous and trustworthy. Raise up leaders for our country, Almighty God, we pray, who will recognize Your supreme authority. Manifest in them the gifts and fruits of Your Spirit, that they might govern Your people honorably and with dignity. Trusting fully in Your Word, we ask this, in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. The Church's role in the political arena The Church's role in the political arena continues to be debated. The Indiana Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the Church, offers some answers to the most frequently asked questions. .... Why is the Church involved in politics? In our pluralistic society, it is the privilege and duty of all to be involved in the political debate. The Church's involve- ment is not a threat to the political process, but an affir- mation of its importance. But what about the separa- tion of Church and state? The Church in the United States affirms the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. The Church believes that separation of church and state means that religious groups should expect neither favoritism nor discrimination in the exercise of religious and civic functions. She believes that both church leaders and in- dividual members are free to participate in the public debate but they must earn the respect of others by the quality of their arguments. How can the Church speak out in a pluralistic society? No one religious groups has the right to impose its morality on a pluralistic society, but every religious group has the right - and obligation to join the discussion about what the public morality should be. The Catholic Church asks for no special treatment. She joins other groups in debating public policy. Specifically, what is the role of the Church in shaping public policy? To identify the moral elements in the way govern- ment formulates solutions to to- day's problems. Poverty, for in- stance, cannot be addressed purely as an economic, sociological or political pro- blem. Poverty intimately affects the way people live. As such, it has moral ramifications. What is the Church asking its members to do? To become informed, active and responsible participants in the political process. To study the political issues and candi- dates and be prepared to vote in state and national elections. To avoid choosing candidates on the basis of self-interest, but rather look to the common good of all of society. Is the Church endorsing can- didates? No. Church involvement is not partisan. The ,Church does not wish to instruct persons on how they should vote by endor- sing candidates. Rather, the Church asks that voters ex- amine the positions of candi- dates on a full range of issues, as well as on their integrity, philosophy and performance.