Wednesday, October 27, 2004

 

Misguided Christians

Until recently, it's been a real mystery to me that so many people can still support George Bush. Normally, I pride myself on being able to see both sides of an issue. But c'mon, what's obvious is obvious! I just don't see how a president can have a much worse record. His score on poverty and equality is zero. His score on the environment is much worse than zero. His score on fiscal responsibilty is probably the worst of any president in our history. (If you think that's just rhetoric, who was ever worse?) Transparency in government? Another zero. Accountability? Don't get me started. Foreign policy: disastrous. Really, honestly, how can a president do any worse?

And yet still, nearly half the country is ready to vote for the guy. I just don't understand it.

Who is going to vote for Bush? There are traditional Republicans who haven't been paying very close attention, who simply assume that Bush is a traditional Republican. Then there are the legions of so-called "Brainwashed Conservatives," people who have been bullied and lied to by ideologues like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for so long that they no longer really have any objectivity left. Others, I think, assume that Bush's pro-business ideology is actually good for America, that it's what keeps us strong, and that, without it, they'll be worse off; these people don't understand that economic prosperity without fairness doesn't make a whole population richer, just a few people at the top.

But the source of my puzzlement may simply be that I'm not looking at the situation the way many Bush supporters are. I think those who are really driving his "popularity," if it can be called that (I'd call it his inexplicable survival, but I digress) are misguided Christians. These are people whose loyalty to their church and religion come before their civic duty and responsibility even in the civic realm--they don't see anything wrong with introducing majoritarian religion into government, or using the Bible as a basis for laws, and so forth. These people are certainly not swayed by candidates who are Christian--if they were, Jimmy Carter, who is a far more devout Christian than George Bush will ever be, would have been a two-term President. No, what they support is Bush's Christian activism: the promise he holds out to them to break down the separation of Church and state, allow school prayer, persecute non-Christians, promulgate Christian values and defend a vision of public morality based on sin, and so on. There are many conservative "religious" talk-show hosts and "leaders" who encourage this befuddlement. But I think they're the reason Bush still stands a chance, even with a record that is obviously among the worst in history.




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