Common Basket: Politics should never come into play

Andy Hudlow and Libby Grygar

Let’s face it, the world is in a pretty rough spot. There’s a lot of sick, hungry, or otherwise disadvantaged people around the world, and they could all use some help. That, helping people, is the goal of the common basket, and that’s exactly why this recent common basket on the Boundary Waters was the exact opposite of what the Common Basket should be. The purpose of the Common Basket is to aid people, not take a side in a local political issue that has two very distinct, arguable sides.

By taking a political issue, you reduce the common basket’s effectiveness. When, through the common basket, the school officially chooses a political stance to hold, we immediately alienate the opposite side and thus lose out on their potential financial contribution. That financial contribution could easily go to organizations or causes that everyone agrees is a worthy. For example, no one in the world believes that starving children in Africa don’t deserve help, there’s only one side to support, and everyone can give into the Common Basket with no qualms.

Ultimately, the purpose of the Common Basket isn’t to help our students learn, develop, or discern their beliefs. The purpose is to help people, that’s the ultimate goal and that’s what’s being damaged when the Common Basket loses its majority-appeal.

There’s also the issue of who is in charge of selecting the cause the Common Basket will benefit. If we embark upon this course of politicized Common Baskets, then, in the interest of fairness, one would expect there to be an equal number of Common Baskets on both sides of the political aisle. But, as with all things, mistakes will eventually be made, and there will end up being one or two more Common Baskets for one side than the other, something that would further erode public confidence in one of our most important traditions.

As a BSM community it is imperative that we utilize our resources by providing help to those who need it.  By unifying ourselves behind a topic that has majority-appeal we can maximize the good we do in the world—something we as a Catholic school, and as human beings, should always strive to do.