March 03, 2003

The Crusader
Ever since the 2000 election, I've had a very difficult time understanding what such a large segment of this country (although, clearly, not a majority, but that's neither here nor there) sees in George W. Bush as President. He's so obviously an elitist child of priviledge, a reckless anti-intellectual who can't be bothered to know the details and intricacies of fiscal policy or international diplomacy, and a bought & paid-for tool of the corporate establishment who does their bidding on the backs of the remaining 95% of the world's population. Why are these people voting for him?

Well, this Newsweek article goes a long way to explain it to me. I'm reminded of an episode of the late & lamented "Politically Incorrect" during the 2000 election where Naomi Judd, when asked why she thought Bush should be President, said something to the effect of "I just think he's a good man". As a evangelical, born-again Christian, Bush is one of the few political leaders I can think of who is not clergy who is able to speak to the public about his own personal relationship with Jesus. For a country that is still, at it's core, largely conservative and Christian, his conversion resonates. It also allows his supporters to see him as he sees himself: someone called by God to lead.

As a Christian myself, I find this to be the absolute height of hubris in it's most offensive form. Since Bush is convinced that he's on some sort of crusade, he believes that he's above criticism or debate. Because "God saved him for a reason", then, his instincts, impulses, and opinions are also blessed by God and, therefore, infallible. War & tax cuts for the rich are God's will, and those poor misguided Muslims in Iraq only need the word of the Christian God to feed their souls.

When a man is given power over millions, where no one questions his authority, where he believes he instinctively knows God's will and is an instrument as such, isn't it a very short trip to where he begins to think of himself as a god in his own right: all-powerful, all-knowing, the final arbiter of right and wrong, with the power of life and death over all, cloaked in righteous conviction?

Yes, that SHOULD scare you.
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