SERMON FROM A DIFFERENT, FAR BETTER MOUNT
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. - Watch President George W. Bush on the campaign trail. Notice how he gives a quick, manly, forward hunch of his shoulders just before he gives a speech. Then he swaggers forward just a step and his hands settle briefly around his belt. No matter how compassionate the speech that follows, the hunch and the settle say something different to the Republican elect. They say that John Wayne is back.
They say, "I'm strong and potent and manly. I'm powerful. I don't have to think things through, I just act. Put your life in my hands and trust in me. I'll save you from the wild Indians. And I'm going to win."
Win at all costs. Yes, we get it. But win against whom? It's not just against John Kerry, or even against Osama Bin Laden and his small scattered crew of demented terrorists.
It does not seem to matter to President Bush's audience - his precious "base" - that the ones he and his cohorts will "win" against is mostly them.
President Bush is after the total destruction of the New Deal and every social and governmental program that helps people less fortunate than himself. The President's former economic professor at the Harvard Business School, Yoshi Tsurumi, remembers him from that time.
"In my class he declared that 'people are poor because they are lazy,'" Tsurumi wrote recently. "He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare and public schools. To him, the antitrust watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to 'free market competition.' To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was 'socialism'... President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal."
The first question we must ask is why President Bush stands against so many programs that have helped so many people for so long a time.
The next question is, how can anyone claim to be "compassionate" when he wants to remove the few supports we have left after Ronald Reagan took a chain saw to the social safety net?
The last and most interesting question is, how can he do all this damage to his fellow man in the name of Jesus Christ?
The answer seems to be that because of his wealth, status and family connections, he believes he is above the rest of us and better favored of God. We, the regular, struggling-to-keep-our-heads-above-water people? Well, we just don't matter to God or to Presiodent Bush. It's our fault that we're poor.
There is Biblical precedent for this way of thinking. In 1 Kings 3, Solomon asks God for an understanding heart. A pleased God says, "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies... Behold, I have done according to your words." God added "both riches and honor" as a bonus.
To the Biblical masses, the implication was clear: those who have wealth and honor are blessed by God. The Calvinists took it further. They believed that God started out - even before Genesis - with a list of "the elect." Those not on the list were damned to hell no matter how hard they tried to escape their fate. Protestants, including the Puritans who founded this country, worked hard in order to determine if they were one of the elect. If a person became wealthy, or was born wealthy, it was a sign of God's favor.
Putting all this warped ideology together - the John Wayne go-it-alone arrogance, the Protestant entitlement, the callous love of war for the sake of war - and you get a complete perversion of the Sermon on the Mount, which is what Christianity is based upon. A few quotes to refresh your memory:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." This means mourning Iraqis, too.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Good-bye and good riddance, John Wayne.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Amen. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." This statement not only brings some peace to John Kerry, but means that Jesus wouldn't be too thrilled at the latest Bush campaign strategy _ the Republican Party just sent mass mailings to residents of two states, Arkansas and West Virginia, warning that "liberals" want to ban the Bible.
Turn the other cheek. Hate not your brother, even if he has an Arabic name. Deny the Old Testament's "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," so throw out the death penalty while you're packing up to leave Iraq. Judge not. Love your enemies.
You don't have to be a Christian to see that Jesus was a very wise man. He even had Presidnet Bush's number: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men."
Destroy the New Deal or love thy neighbor as thyself? Which sermon do you want your president to preach?
Remember that before the New Deal, the stock market was crooked, robber barons ruled, the courts were fixed, child labor and sweatshops were acceptable, medical care was only for the wealthy and a lot of people starved on the streets. We had poorhouses and orphanages. We had the same kind of life in this country that Charles Dickens wrote about in England.
This is not the way we want America to be in the 21st Century, and George W. Bush should not be our president.
Joyce Marcel is a freelance writer from Dummerston, Vt., who is getting sick of writing anti-Bush columns. She can be reached at email@example.com.