Not Too Much Hugging. A Man With An Axe Is Coming!

The esteemed Commander in Chief of the USA visited Ireland last weekend for an EU Summit. The night before, RTE managed to blag an interview with the most famous pretzel eater on Earth himself and they sent their Washington correspondent, Carol Coleman to find out what all the bru-ha-ha is with Al Quaeda and Hussein and democracy. But all did not go to plan. Bush the Greater didn’t teach us Irish folk a lesson in duh-mock-racey and Carol didn’t extend a hundred thousand welcomes to Dubya. In fact, they were just plain rude to each other.

Carol took the attitude that what she had heard down in the pub about US Foreign Policy was true and that GW was a bit dim. She obviously felt a need to let him know what the story was about the geopolitics and nation-building. Georgey-boy didn’t appreciate her obnoxious interview method, which was like a Jeremy Paxman with a brain that had stalled in the cold over winter and had never started again. She was appallingly childish and shallow in her questions. But Bush responded with none of that down-South charm he is alleged to have but which I have never seen. Instead he demanded to not be interrupted and seemed to repeat answers that he had learnt off by heart from some index cards Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld wrote out for him that morning. All in all, it was a bad showing from both sides. Must try harder.

But in the aftermath the talking heads had their say. (Now I diss the pundits but in all honesty, I’d love to be a pundit so I really should be a bit fairer about them expressing their own opinions). A lot of them seemed to get a sense from the interview that the President had a strong Christian faith, which they invariably described as “born again” or “fundamentalist”.

The suggestion, notably by Joan Bruton, Labour Party politician, was that the religious doctrines that Bush invests in are translated into his Foreign Policy. As I see it, this is the saddest and dumbest opinion in this soup of crazy and faulty ideas. Religion, to these commentators, is a set of doctrines that they subscribe to. It is for them, a manifesto of “morality”. It’s a great disrespect to religion and to Bush Jnr to believe that the toppling of Hussein was a direct outgrowth of his Christian faith (as well as being a total over-estimation of the power of the office of President).

Equating religion to doctrine disregards the role that religion has in the shaping of personal identity and communities, the fact that it operates as a community-building dynamic and can be seen as a social institution (particularly in terms of social justice) and as a socialisation vehicle and a method of moral formation. That is just a quick overview of the many things religion is. It is not some hard rules to guide you through ethical marshlands.

Now I have no doubt that politics sometimes parallels and mimics religion. In Bush’s speeches that portray the American people as embattled and surrounded on all sides by those who want to destroy them, he is arguing a political point in almost religious terms. I am no fan of his. At all. But it is certainly untrue to suggest that his understanding of Jesus’ teachings compelled him to invade Iraq (especially since that isn’t his decision alone!)

I am assured by those who are in the know that Bush’s professed faith is totally sincere. I would never have doubted it but some do. He is a very cynical politician but that doesn’t mean that his faith is a hollow cynical tactic. But to a European mindset, his faith is alien and scary. His unabashed evangelical jargon is equated with fundamentalism. His opinions on homosexuality relegate him to the position of a 19th Century moral troglodyte in the eyes of many. They make the leap from this unfamiliar and foreign worldview to their latent opinion that Bush’s politics must be inspired and controlled by his faith.

If this were true they would be right to fear him. The only thing worse than religion pretending to be politics (the Catholic Church’s control of contraception in Ireland for decades) is politics hiding as religion (the systematic justifications for the genocide of the “Other” that was swallowed by Christian churches in Rwanda and Serbia).

But one of the things that so obviously differentiates Clinton and Bush is Bush’s
un-nuanced sincerity. It is so unsophisticated. He doesn’t seem to grasp the shady greys like Clinton does (most notably in his technically valid declaration that he “did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky”). For the acting-President, everything is binary. It seems as if, for whatever happened in his past, Dubya does not like ambiguity.

He offers no ambiguously religious motivations for his Foreign Policy. He offers a lot of bogwash nonsense crap but its all secular. His religion’s doctrine does not define the man. He may be the most patronised man in the world today; everyone has a one-reason simplistic description of what drives him, but it is not purely dogma.

It seems a whole bunch of people visit this here site of mine. That is crazy. So why don’t you message me or maybe I should set up a zoomtard gmail account? You are fascinating me here!

Your Correspondent, An angry man with cheese sandwiches

One Response to “Not Too Much Hugging. A Man With An Axe Is Coming!”

  1. Des says:

    I can sort you with da gmail