Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mixed Messages

Last Sunday, with the swirl of NOLA's tragedy and the Hogs home opening so-so performance, I was enjoying an early morning drive eastward on Fulbright Expressway when I glimpsed inspiration. I wondered how the richest nation on earth failed its citizens so miserably. The FEMA director whines about the blame, Chertoff, Bush, any of a number of Bush talking heads begging for camera time to push this "message". I wonder how a Christian Conservative darling and purveyor of "compassionate Conservative" virtue like Bush can be such a failure in providing the basic human response to NOLA's disaster.

I got my answer on the Fulbright Expressway as I closed on a minivan from Oklahoma with "Bad Calvin" flipping the bird to the world on her back left glass and on the middle of her bumper prominently displayed: I Pray...Get used to It. Maybe she prays like our beloved Christian fraud and friend to W. African war criminal, Charles Taylor, Pat Robertson who "prayed" a hurricane away from the east coast years ago: Perhaps she prayed FOR such a cataclysm to harm the U. S. with that mean, hateful spirit she displays because America has "sin in its camp". Perhaps I'm making much out of little, but the past election cycles and those who proclaim their devotion to the Christ have simply disappointed the Christ I discovered as a child awakening to family virtue. It was a simple message as a child- -somewhat edited for childish minds--little talk about Ai and other incidents in the Old Testament that a literal translationist sentiment can be really a scary proposition with all the murder and intentions of murder of the Bible supposedly ordered by God. If these are not taken as literal history, a truly lifechanging transformation can be in order; if literal, real ethical and moral dilemmas exist in the Christian believer. Enough theology; the actions of people who proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord have certainly been helpful to scores of refugees, including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Methodist churches, etc., etc. But the message of minivan mom from Oklahoma certainly chapped me a bit and explains the scape-goating populism of the entire 200+ years of U. S. existence seethes within the fabric of normally mainstream conservatism and it is definitely a danger to our nation's well-being.

The tone of, say, Barbara Bush, who would be delighted to live in the Astrodome, if only she knew anything about privation or living in one community for her whole life. Barbara's not a Southerner, where her money leads her is fine for her: Kennebunkport, a Houston hotel room, the local Ritz-Carlton. Want to discuss class scape-goating? The Bush's easily provide that fodder. Hell, her husband had never experienced a grocery store UPC scanner until his brilliant "photo-op" of so many years ago--one incident that aided his ending after a first term economic failure and complaints that he didn't feel our pain. The Christ had no problem hanging among lepers and whores without so much as depriving them for not hearing his message and accepting him on the spot. The Christ's compassion was without hesitation or reservation for the "least" among us. It's sad to see the positive actions of American Christians on one hand and those sympathetic with their worldview displaying callous attitudes toward the people left in NOLA on the other. I've heard comments like: :They're all gangsters... they stayed to loot..did you see that footage of the guy flashing gang signs...they shouldn't have lived in a city below sea-level; it's their own fault...Louisiana and NOLA are to be blamed for the failure, "etc., etc. Not that some of those remaining behind weren't looking for trouble, but the vast whole are not gangsters, hooligans, or evil people. I grew up within a church family where'd you'd hear anti-libertarian, racist, even murderous acts approvingly winked at--both hypothetical and real.

Hate is not a virtue: Another bumper sticker I've seen among the swirl of vehicular art commonly seen across the nation. Hate isn't virtuous and shouldn't be tolerated by any sane human. For the good of what's left of our nation's integrity, it's time to see moderation take hold of the mob before we encounter yet another horrible event in our nation's history we never thought we'd experience.

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