If you’re like me, you’ve probably been wondering why so many people in the U.S. support George W. Bush, who is objectively the worst president in the history of America and maybe even the history of the world.
“Who are these people?” you’re wondering. Do they have brain damage? Has their greymatter been liquified by shitty American beer?
The answer, as all answers given by dualism-rejecting liberals such as myself, is: “yes and no.” Obviously they are very ignorant and/or greedy; that is undeniable. But less commonly understood are the religious motivations of his support-base.
I recently watched George W. Bush – With God On Our Side, a documentary about the religious right movement in American politics. It’s an interesting and intelligent documentary, even though it’s reported from the perspective of the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell, and other terrifying, punk-rock inspiring monstrosities. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to understand where support for this president is coming from — you can download it from ShunTV.net (my #1 source for Daily Show torrents).
What I learned from this documentary is that George W. Bush is regarded by his religious supporters as playing a key part in a barroque theological narrative of Personified Absolute Good vs. Personified Absolute Evil, which will culminate (in the near future) in a decisive Armaggedon battle. This perspective exerts a powerful hold over the imagination and has deep roots in culture. No amount of Lakoffian piddling around with Frames is going to put a dent in it. The only relevant fact is that Bush is a member of this fellowship and supports their causes. As long as he endorses the social policies the family-values fundamentalists, he’s their man.
James Robison, Evangelist, says “Mr Lincoln said we might very well self-destruct, and you don’t have to look very long to see the signs of it today. After all, if we can just get more of our men to have sex with more men we wont have to worry about babies being born. If we can just get more women to get out there in the market place and start acting like men, and if we can just get other women to look at motherhood as if it’s some dread terminal illness, if we can just get society so drunk and so drugged if ever anybody does get pregnant we can abort the baby!”
I know he’s being sarcastic, but that sounds pretty awesome to me.
These are people who stridently believe that the only solution to the world’s problems is for everyone to worship Jesus, and they are willing to take political action towards that end. These are the lovely folks who dumped Jimmy Carter, the first Baptist president, because he endorsed the Equality for Women Act, something they regarded as being harmful to the family. These people elected Nixon and Reagan; they are a serious political force and Bush is their boy.
Here’s a surprisingly honest and insightful quote from Ed Dobson, current leader of the Moral Majority, about the political awakening of the movement during the first Reagan administration:
“You can choose to be an advisor or a prophet. If you choose to be a prophet, then you don’t have a lot of influence on the political reality, but you are always free to speak what you believe to be the truth for the current historical moment. Or you can be an advisor, with a sense of truth, a sense of value, but your objective is simply to influence the process. And I think the Moral Majority moved from a prophetic role into a more adviory role, and lost some of it’s ability to speak even against the administration it was for.”
So it turns out that I kinda agree with what Osama Bin Laden has to say. What a crazy world!
In a democracy, the citizenry assumes some portion of moral responsibility for the actions of it’s government, in a way in which citizens are not culpable for the actions of a dictator. If you agree with this, then it seems like the American military killing civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan is even less justified than Al Qaeda killing American civilians.
To reach this conclusion, you also have to believe that Bin Laden’s charges are both historically true and ongoing, in the sense that the American people could concievably have sought democratic remedies against the administrators directly responsible for these decisions. In theory, this seems ok, even though no one finds it concievable that the U.S. system will elect a government more sympathetic to the Arab world than Israel.
I like how he’s obviously seen Farenheit 9/11, and makes a ‘My Pet Goat’ joke. Who knew Osama was an islamofascist mass-murderer AND a comedian! (I wonder if he downloaded F9/11 from the Internet, like I did. Maybe I shared a torrent with terrorism, wow!)