Sunday, October 15, 2006

I Knew It!

Well, I didn't exactly know it, but I have suspected it for some time. What? you might ask.

In earlier posts I have commented on the alliance of right wing politicos with fundamentalist christians. I have asked on a couple of occasions, Just who was using whom? Well if you happened to watch this evening's 60 Minutes you might have found an answer.

David Kuo, a fundamentalist christian, who had been hired to head up the White House faith based initiatives program, has written a "tell all" book about his experience, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction."His experience did not turn out as he expected.

Kuo recounts how, once ensconsed, White House politicos openly regarded evangelicals as "nuts" and "goofy." He claims that 'people in the White House political affairs office referred to Pat Robertson as "insane" (I would agree with that one, by the way,) Jerry Falwell as "ridiculous" and that James Dobson "had to be controlled." They referred to evangelicals as wackos.

Ah, such is the stuff of betrayal.

Kuo claims that while Bush publically promissed to provide around eight billion dollars for faith based programs for the poor, only about sixty million had been spent after 2 years - less than 1% of the amount promissed. Kuo goes on to claim that the republicans politicized or otherwise used religious issues in various ways to bolster their position.

Noooo! Say it isn't so! Republicans failing the poor? Nawww!

The White House response is that Kuo's claims are "ridiculous" and that he is obviously politically naive.

That may be. But the entire scenario Kuo describes upholds my early suspicions that the republican wooing of the christian right was an elaborate ploy to get their votes. They used hot button issues - abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research and so on to galvanize the evangelicals against the supposed godless democrats. It worked.

But Kuo paints a compelling picture of an administration that got what it wanted, using fundamentalists to gain and maintain their hold on the White House and Congress, only to effectively distance themselves after the votes were counted. Kuo states that Bush and others in his administration have repeatedly made impassioned speeches and other public statements in support of christian issues, but when it came time to pay the piper, more often than not, they looked the other way.

Why am I not surprised? How can people believe that the likes of Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld are devoted to a christian agenda? They are two of the most cynical, reactionary politicians alive. Bush is no more than their dupe, their prop. Apparently, so too were the christians.

Now that the mid-term elections loom large, and things are not going so well for republicans in several key congressional races, many of the rep campaigns are relying on the same old issues of gay marriage, flag burning and abortion hoping to once again hypnotize christians into mindlessly punching republican chads on election day. Hopefully, enough of those people will realize that they are not truly being served by the party most allied with and answerable to big corporate interests, that perhaps religious issues should not be an integral part of American political discourse.

We should also keep in mind that dozens of Americans and countless others are dying every week in Iraq and Afghanistan, that the situation in Iraq is devolving into a chaotic civil war which we are powerless to control. There is no honorable way out. To "cut and run" may not be honorable or dignified, but it might save American lives. How many more of our young people will have to die in the effort to save face? We got our butts kicked out of Viet Nam, and the same is apt to happen in Iraq. It is likely that the Iraqis and Afghans will continue to kill each other for a long time to come whether we "stay the course" or not. In the meantime North Korea has lit a fuse which we are in no position politically or militarily to snuff out.

Christians should think twice before going along for the ride.



Zoe said...

Just all seems like one big lie doesn't it Terry? It's like no one gives a ***t anymore.

I was in one of our book stores recently. Kind of keeping my eye out for a book "The Greatest Story Ever Sold." Can't remember the American author's name right now. He was recently on the Oprah show.

Anyway, I gave up looking for it as I couldn't see it & went about my business looking at other books.

Then there it was on the bottom floor shelf. I thought, what is it doing down here? Then I noticed the other books that would be considered controversial on the same shelf. I just had this feeling that by putting them there we were sweeping the truth under the rug...out of sight out of mind.

Terry S said...

That book is by one Frank Rich. I have seen him on CNN or MSNBC, and have heard of his book, but haven't read it as yet.

Actually, it seems that all kinds of books critical of the Bush administration are hitting the stores now. Where were they when they could have, perhaps, prevented Bush from being re-elected in 2004?

By the way, you can use four letter words here if you feel the urge. I won't be offended. I usually steer clear of them, but sometimes they are appropriate. They are more effective if used sparingly. They just kind of jump out at you when used selectively.

Most people don't want to know the truth (or at least something closer to it) if it goes counter to their beliefs - religious, political or otherwise. It can be understandably painful. But the consequences of burying ones head in the sand in this case can be deadly.