Letter: Democracy needs diversity

If one cannot listen to the pope with a pretty open mind and a small rub-off of authentic compassion, I think you may have some pretty deep-seated issues. You also don’t need to be Catholic to understand the message this particular pope states verbally and through everyday actions. He may have some “socialist” attitudes, but when it comes down to it, most human beings do — even in a small, daily, helpful way.

Melanie Sturm’s latest article (“Misguided economic missionaries,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, Oct. 8) paints the pope as a naive, meddling old man who does not have a clue about economics. I beg to differ on just one small but significant point. He refuses to toe the $3,000 Prada shoe line. I absolutely love and respect him for that. Of course, he does a huge list of things just like that in a very much smaller and hugely meaningful way. All day long. All week long. His whole life, maybe.

The right-wingers in this country complain about loss of freedoms every time their elected officials run this economy into the ground. It is all about the free hand of the market and trickle-down theory and fewer government rules that corporate America can get around anyway. The right bitches about raising minimum wages; laws to make voting easier; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the Women, Infants and Children program; Social Security; Medicaid; and especially ObamaCare. People on the right act as if they are the only ones paying for this. What does the pope think of attitudes such as those? What would Jesus really think?

Of course, there are moderate Republicans (thank God) who give time, money and help all over the country and world to great causes. They actually help. They don’t invite government shutdown and roadblock everything. They try to do the jobs that they were elected to do.

I think democracy needs a healthy mix and dose of ideas and diversity. The Republicans are sliding backward at the moment. Things are getting worse for them, which we all collectively pay for in treasure, lives and wounds from bad choices. I think things are going to get a lot worse before any real change, unfortunately.

Miles Knudson