Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Awakening

Death Toll Nears 100 on Grim Day in Baghdad
-- Washington Post,
September 13, 2006

House GOP Leaders Fight Wiretapping Limits
-- Washington Post,
September 13, 2006

Government Sets Higher Medicare Rates and New Surcharge
-- NY Times,
September 13, 2006

Nonlethal weapons ... should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield.
-- Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne,
September 12, 2006

President Bush said yesterday that he senses a "Third Awakening" of religious devotion in the United States
-- Washington Post,
September 13, 2006

Since Bush came to office and before every election, we have seen the Republicans whip out the religion card. Usually, this effort manifested its unctious and grotesque agenda with various fractious, devisive and wrongheaded bits of ill-considered legislation; gay marriage prevention, abortion bans and ... well, that's about it really. This year saw Bush's one and only veto, applied as it was to the stem cell research funding bill. Not too much was made of this by the GOP and I suspect they are not entirely sure whether it is a winning or a losing move. It certainly is with "the base," but it seems clear at this point that there is almost nothing Bush could do that would meet with the disapproval of what is now so obviously the "lowest common denominator" demographic in the country. Maybe not even this.

Having already played those losing hands, we are now seeing Bush trotting out the next faith-based initiative. He is telling everyone that he "senses" a "Third Awakening" of religous devotion in the United States. He comes to this sense, he tells us, because
he notices more open expressions of faith among people he meets during his travels, and he suggested that might signal a broader revival similar to other religious movements in history.
This is rather amusing and expresses his usual cluelessness about what is really going on. Bush is wholly unaware of the selection effect here. These people, expressing their faith openly to him, are only ones who will talk to him anymore. These are also likely the only people who are allowed to talk to him. No one else wants or is allowed to be anywhere within earshot of the man. Bush occupies a Christianist love bubble when he is among "people he meets" (I can almost see the Secret Service combing towns, asking random passers-by, "hey, are you a religious whacko? Great! Come this way.")

Naturally, as we have seen so much lately, wrong-headed historical analogies also make their way into this particular campaign tack. And just like Newt Gringrich did earlier, when he compared Abraham Lincoln's civil war effort to Bush's fight with extremist Islamism (which by implication, likened the Confederate Army to al Qaeda -- an analogy I expect Newt's fellow Georgians probably didn't appreciate), Bush invoked the noble tale of Lincoln's stance against slavery:
Bush noted that some of Abraham Lincoln's strongest supporters were religious people "who saw life in terms of good and evil" and who believed that slavery was evil.
Apropos of Bush's other inept historical analogies, not to mention Rumsfeld's recent and specious idiocy, Bush once again fails to acknowledge that fervent religious principles and the Bible itself were invoked to justify slavery as well. Of course, that was being done by those Confederate al Qaeda types, which means that they must have believed in something else entirely.

None of this, of course, has much effect -- annoyance perhaps -- on the large majority of the country who are tired of these White House villians. Most people are now aware that Bush's faux religiosity is just that. And those few, that hard core base, who do take Bush on his word still, hardly need to be further convinced. Who exactly Karl Rove thinks will be swayed by Bush's religion-soaked sleeve, proudly on display before November, is beyond my reckoning. Perhaps it simply one piece of the GOP cloud of shrapnel currently flying out of the mouths of the White House despots, right along with bin Laden! terror! and the now conveniently timed 9/11!


Post a Comment

<< Home