Election 2008: We watch! We listen! We discuss!

Center of Concern | Mon, Mar 31, 2008

This election cycle has been one of firsts, or at least firsts in a long time. For the first time in the history of our nation, one of the Democratic candidates, will be the first African-American or Female Presidential nominee. The theme of "change" pervades the campaign discourse and the concerns of the American people-health care reform, war, immigration and the economy-are at the forefront of the debates. The entire world is paying attention, debating the candidates' merits and there is an air of excitement apparent at home and abroad.

However, this is not what makes the election exciting for me. This year marks the 20th anniversary of my time in America and the 6th presidential election I've had the opportunity to witness. Never, in my short period, has there been such excitement, engagement, and participation by the whole country. We watch! We listen! We discuss! Even those who've never voted have realized the importance of exercising their right to vote, even in the primaries! Best of all, many people want to be engaged in the political process, not just as voters, but also in asserting their interests and holding political leaders accountable for those interests.

The Center of Concern has engaged in the debates around the elections through our Election 2008 project, analyzing key issues through the lens of Catholic Social Thought and with a view toward the global common good. The materials inspire personal analysis and lay the foundation for a platform for the Common Good. As the election draws near, the Center of Concern and other Catholic organizations are planning a Convention for the Common Good. Convention participants, Catholic or not, will help shape a platform and strategy for inserting a substantive discussion of the Common Good into the national agenda.

The process is built from the ground up. The Platform will be developed through a series of local meetings to identify the concerns and needs of our global and local communities. The local platforms will be consolidated and a final platform will be adopted at the convention and used to dialogue with politicians and to ensure that the voice of the Common Good remains in our political discussions. Now is the time to engage in this unprecedented opening in the American political space!

Please join us in developing the platform for the Common Good and hold a meeting in your community. Directions for participating in this process can be found on the web at