The great thing about getting older is you tend to say what is on your mind without worrying about what others think. So, here is a little of what is on my mind, or at least what is left of it.

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Location: California

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Onward Christian Soldiers

I wonder how the religious who support George W. Bush and company would feel if they could see the smirk on the face of “Karl Rove” as he pranced through the back halls of the White House singing, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Karl Rove knows better than any that the Bush agenda really has nothing to do with abortion or the right to life or any of the flammable issues the Republicans like to focus on. The religious issues are no more than red herrings—smoke screens designed to snare the support of one segment of the population—while taking attention with their real agenda.

This President has been consistent this agenda since his days at college. What he wants is to dismantle all of the programs that working Americans have fought for during the last one hundred years. He wants to return this country to a time of Laissez-faire capitalism leaving business to operate without interference by the government. He wants to return America to the Gilded Age; to a time of ostentatious wealth bordering on aristocracy. This is hard to believe when you see the stumbling “good old boy on TV, but if you look at his background and the actions he has taken since in office, it is not hard to see.

George W. Bush is not trying to save Social Security, he is trying to destroy it entirely. The first step is private accounts, but in short order, private accounts will be the only accounts. There will be no safety net, no disability coverage, no death benefits for spouses or dependant children. The only security will be what you have been able to save on your own. Now this might be all right in a perfect world where no one gets sick, or hurt. It might work well if every person saved for every contingency, if they had the time. Such a retirement might be fine unless there are stock market crashes, or you happened to invest a large portion of your nest egg in a crook company such as Enron or MCI. And, Social Security is just one program Mr. Bush wants to axe. A large portion of your social security goes for Medicare, and Mr. Bush doesn’t believe in Medicare, either. How many of you have a health insurance package that lasts beyond your employment, if you have even have health insurance? How many feel that you have saved enough to pay for even a short illness without the help of insurance or Medicare? And if you don’t have the money, what do you do? Rack up a mountain of debt that wipes out your income for retirement or other expenses or that you hoped to leave to help your family?

We live in a real world and bad things do happen. People incur disabilities, they get sick, they get hurt. People make bad, even foolish decisions that can cost them dearly. None of us are immune to these things. My question is, that in this real world where do you look in the worst of times? Where do you look when all the safety nets are gone? Mr. Bush would like us to believe that the churches are the proper vessels for charity, but how much can the churches and individuals contribute? I believe that the American people are generous and have good hearts, but most of us have a limit to how much we are willing to sacrifice for others. We don’t have limitless reserves. Let me give you one clear example. Suppose that you belong to a medium sized congregation of 400 people. Now, within your own congregation five percent or twenty people fell on very hard times. They lost their retirement investment due to fraud, and several are having severe health problems. Would your congregation be willing or even able to provide a very moderate wage to these people for ten or twenty years? Would your congregation be able to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills? What if just two of your members were severely hurt at work while in their early twenties? Could your congregation afford to pay for their living costs; for their medical costs; for the schooling of your children? Now many of you would say that of course you couldn’t. That church charity was never meant to be all-inclusive, and you would be right. But if Mr. Bush succeeds in getting rid of all the safety nets, and the churches cannot afford to help even their own members to this degree, then where do these people turn? Where would you turn?

There is a religious element in this country that is hell bent to leather to support the Bush administration. Men like Tony Perkins and James Dobson: Men such as Chuck Coleson and Pat Robertson. When you look at these vociferous supports of the Bush agenda, are you looking at ordinary people like yourself? Or, are you looking at millionaires and multimillionaires who make a great salary off religion—members of the millionaires club— who don’t have to worry about their retirement or medical coverage. Millionaires like Bush and his cronies in Washington. Abortion is the issue that puts the millions in their pockets and it is the issue that allows men like George W. Bush to get elected. In truth, none of this has anything to do with abortion or the right to life, or any of the issues that are so self-righteously touted by both Bush and his supporters. What it has do with money. Abortion is nothing by a smokescreen to focus the people on while the über-rich and the über-righteous make themselves and their families richer while reducing the middle class to the point of desperation that they will be willing to work in any condition for any amount just to keep bread on the table. Mr. Bush stoutly defended outsourcing saying American Business should go wherever they could get the job done for the least amount of money. But, if he is successful in his great plan for America, we will not have to worry about outsourcing because we will be making the same as our compatriots in third world countries. In defending their right to stack the courts, the Republicans have touted the Constitution, but they seem to have forgotten the government of Lincoln, a government of the people, by the people and for the people.


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