Friday, June 08, 2007
Faith No More
Once again the weekend is here and I'm eager to start getting my drink on, so I'll make this quick as I can.
Last weekend, I planted myself on the couch for a couple of hours and watched a movie that caused a bit of a stir when it was originally released. It's called Death of a President and is essentially a mockumentary which details the fictional events leading up to and immediately following the assassination of George W. Bush.
The movie, although admirable for its quality of execution (if you'll pardon the pun) as well as its sheer audacity, is ultimately pointless. As its conclusions are pretty much by the numbers and therefore hold no real revelatory value, in the end it serves only to incite.
Still, by virtue of its very existence, such a production stands as a startlingly surreal testament to just how bad things have gotten for America and the way it's viewed around the world.
Over the past week or so, several things have happened to push the current state of dangerous global chaos even closer to a point of seemingly critical mass: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced a plan to visit Tehran at the direct request of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a move which will work to further align the enemies of this country to both our east and south. Along the same lines, Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, is calling for a strenghtening of ties -- economic and military -- between Latin American countries, allowing the burgeoning Socialist movement across Central and South America to better confront the increasingly weakened United States. Vladimir Putin, also smelling blood in the water, bitterly defied the Bush administration by threatening to reinstitute the Cold War-era nuclear arms race, should the White House go ahead with plans to place a missile defense system directly along Russia's western border. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, one of the primary spokesmen for the U.S. Army in Iraq, stated publicly that more than three-quarters of Baghdad remains unsecured, essentially admitting that the president's lauded "troop surge" isn't working -- this, as the death toll among U.S. troops in Iraq so far this month climbs higher and higher. Finally, it was disclosed that Dick Cheney personally pushed for the broadening of the domestic wiretap program, even after justice department officials had found it to be illegal.
All of this, though inarguably frightening, has become practically par for the course these days -- all-but-expected behavior from the current administration and all-but-certain reaction to its arrogant and delusional foreign and domestic policies.
Add to it the pathetic forfeiture of control by the Democrats in congress -- those elected to rein in a White House which considers itself above the law and above regulation -- and you've got a situation that simply can't seem to get much worse.
America is, quite frankly, at its lowest point in decades.
So, with that in mind, what are the 2008 presidential contenders, both Democrat and Republican, discussing -- at the gleeful encouragement of our nation's craven news organizations?
During the past week, at least three network news shows have highlighted the supposedly paramount topic of "Faith & Politics."
The question being posed to those who may be charged with the awesome responsibility of leading us out of this dark time in our history is not "What will you do to assure some measure of success in Iraq?" or "How will you repair the damage done to our nation's reputation worldwide?" or even "What will you do to protect us from all the enemies we've made over the past six years?"
It's "How does your faith guide you?"
Faith is defined as an unshakable belief that is not based on proof.
One thing it is not, is a plan.
At this fragile point in our country's history, the fact that our presidential candidates feel that they have the luxury, even for a moment, of being able to mouth metaphysical politics-as-usual platitudes is simply terrifying.
Discussing something as abstract and ineffectual as faith at this moment is akin to extolling one's own favorite lottery numbers. Neither offers a concrete method of action.
Faith won't defend this country from our growing list of enemies. God won't save us from the mess we're currently in.
We need something more than wishful thinking, and we don't have the time to talk about anything less.
We've all seen where it's gotten us lately.