Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Right Rev. George W. Bush - Among the worshippers at the president's traveling revival show. By Chris Suellentrop

"All of you are soldiers in the army of compassion," the clergyman-in-chief tells the crowd. "And one of the reasons I'm seeking the office for four more years is to call upon our citizens to love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself." After his usual endorsement of the Golden Rule, Bush speaks of souls, which also isn't unusual for him: "We can change America one soul at a time by encouraging people to spread something government cannot spread, which is love."

Maybe the reason I don't trust George W. Bush is because I don't trust anybody.

I don't trust potential employers to assess my application on the basis of merit because I know that they will hire friends and relatives, and that, in any case, I will not even be considered for "men's jobs." That's the way the world works, and it's fine if you are a white male and have connections. It isn't fine for me.

I don't trust family and friendly neighbors to bail me out when the going gets tough. Apart from a casual greeting when I take out the trash I don't have any contact with my neighbors and I don't have a warm, extended family that pulls together in tough times. When my kids were sick and couldn't go to childcare, I had to take them to work--there were no grandparents, aunts or friendly neighbors to help out. When my kids are grown they'll move across the country or to Europe to pursue their careers--I don't expect them to take care of me when I'm old.

I don't trust "faith-based initiatives" to provide a safety net. I suppose that if I were destitute I would be able to get a bed at a Salvation Army shelter, but I certainly hope it doesn't come to that.

The picture of a friendly world where neighbors are neighborly and families take care of their own, where merit and hard work pay off and love conquers all, is a fantasy. Without the government enforcing equal opportunity and affirmative action policies, I don't have a chance of getting a job for which I'm qualified on the basis of merit. And without state benefits I have no safety nets beyond a bed in the Salvation Army shelter.

1 comment:

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