As a lifelong Secular Humanist of the Jewish persuasion, it is very difficult for me to admit to the truth of the title of this Commentary, but I have finally become convinced of it. The events of the last few days have been the culmination of a series of them that began with the election of George W. Bush. And so, there is simply no way around the recognition of the fact. I just want to briefly share my thought process and reasoning with you.
It is well-known that before the 2000 election, George Bush stated that he was certain that he had been chosen by God to lead the nation. We all debunked that, but he did manage to get “elected,” by a single vote, that of Justice O’Connor. She was a religious lady, and since there was no Constitutional basis for the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore that had to be a second example of Divine Intervention in the politics of the Republicans, no?
Then, into the summer of 2001 Bush was not doing well in his Presidency. As I wrote in the column just cited: “During that summer, remember, the Georgites weren’t doing so well politically. The economy was sagging and all George was doing it about was offering tax cuts to the rich. The Enron bubble burst. Cheney wouldn’t tell (and still won’t) what he had talked about with his oil cronies (energy prices? Enron? Invading Iraq to gain a secure supply for many years to come, perhaps?) Then there were the so-called neocons, led by Perle and Wolfowitz, taking over most of the major foreign-policy positions in the new Administration, and looking for some pretext upon which to justify an invasion of Iraq, a policy they had been advocating quite openly, at least in Neocon publications, since the mid-1990s. Majorly about oil and something called ‘establishing American hegemony.’ ”
And what happened? 9/11, that’s what. Robertson and Falwell claimed that God caused 9/11 to happen in order to punish the U.S. for a variety of sins (mainly ones of a sexual nature). But it has become apparent that God sent 9/11 to give George Bush the excuses he needed to invade Iraq and start the country down the road to the destruction of our traditional Constitutional Democracy, both of which were prime goals of his Administration when it came into office.
Next came Katrina. Another major BushCheney goal for their reign in office was to demonstrate clearly that “government doesn’t work” (except to wage wars, provide bonanzas for the already-rich, increase domestic repression, and invade your privacy). What better example than what they did with Katrina. They totally demonstrated the truth of their claim. Furthermore, it was obviously a God-intervention on behalf of the Republican Party because in the aftermath of Katrina, the African-American population of Louisiana was severely reduced, making it highly likely that even in this should-be Democratic year, the GOP will take back the Democratic Senate seat in that state.
Next comes Sarah Palin. Obviously a God favorite because she believes that the whole nation should be governed according to rules, as her chosen religious leaders would interpret them, set down in a particular English translation of a particular Latin translation of a particular Greek translation of a particular Hebrew translation of a text that was written variously in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, known as the King James version of the Bible, known to many of its adherents as the “Inerrant Word of God.” (How one can be sure that that particular translation is IT remains a matter for another time. Also needing to be left to another time is a discussion of how one can be sure that whatever the translation used is, how one can be sure that it is THE “Book of God” rather than the Koran or the Book of Mormon or the Torah or the sacred texts of the Hindus and/or the Buddhists, and etc.). That Gov. Palin may not have precisely followed the rules she would mandate for all of the rest of us, nor, it seems possible, has her daughter, is also a matter for discussion at another time.
Finally, in proving that God loves the Republican Party, comes Hurricane Gustav. For now they don’t have to suffer the embarrassments of such events as having the two most unpopular national chief executives for many a moon, Bush and Cheney, speaking to the nation at their convention (Bush later spoke by satellite for 8 minutes); having their base (in both senses of the word) political philosophies of homophobia and misogyny, so central to their political efforts, publicly broadcast far and wide; having Gov. Palin give her first national address to a wide audience (actually that one turned out quite well for them, obviously another God-bonanza); and having lots of people being put to sleep by an acceptance address from the most soporific Presidential candidate in recent memory, Sen. John “I Was a POW” McCain. Furthermore, since many of the repairs needed to the storm/flood protection system for New Orleans and the surrounding areas following the devastation of Katrina have not been undertaken, Gustav may once again offer a prime opportunity to the Republican Party to show that, yes indeed, government doesn’t work and indeed it cannot work. (Unfortunately for the Republicans who just love to show how government doesn’t work but fortunately for New Orleans, for some reason God decided to have Gustav render not-too-much harm to the city.)
Ah yes, do we really need any more proof, that indeed, God loves the Republican Party?
Steven Jonas-Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY)– is Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano on Politics & Culture. Always involved in progressive politics, Jonas is also the author of The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022.published in 1996 under the pseudonym “Jonathan Westminster. Lately Jonas has been following the Democratic Party meanderings during a particularly snarky primary season.
Cartoon by Mark Fiore on Apr 21, 2009
May 9, 2008
h/t: Andrew via email
Subject: Comment from a NYTimes reader
Given how mean-spirited Palin’s speech was, particularly her community organizer digs, I thought that this was quite snappy:-)
“Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.”