Why care for the planet when the End Times are almost here? Vote Bush and hop on the salvation train!
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
This is the great thing about rabid fundamentalism. You really just don't have to give a damn.
Take the environment. I mean, isn't it just a little pointless to care so damn deeply about the air and the soil and the water and the stupid little disposable animals on this silly spinning ball of expendable rock when the Second Coming is imminent and a blood-soaked fire-breathin' Jesus who looks remarkably like Mel Gibson will return very soon to smite the heathens and the gays and the vegetarians and the Francophiles, and who will rescue all those who worship patriarchy and country music and blue-chip oil portfolios? You're goddamn right it is.
Look. This much has become clear. Bush is, more than anything else, an extreme fundamentalist Christian. He is widely regarded as the most openly pious and sanctimonioous president in modern American history. He actually preaches the GOP screed in evangelical churches across America. He panders so slavishly to the anti-choicers and the Bible-thumpers and the homophobes it makes Jerry Falwell swoon and giggle.
And Bush actually says, out loud, that God speaks through him, and that God is on our side we bomb the living crap out of Afghanistan and Iraq and that it is the Almighty's wish that we take control of these angry pip-squeak nations and in so doing kill thousands of civilians and tens of thousands of young Iraqi soldiers, as over 1,000 American soldiers are now dead over a makeshift cause that never really existed. God wanted it this way, that's why.
Bush has called Jesus his "favorite philosopher." He has claimed that the act of being "born-again" saved him from a long, sad life of vaguely homoerotic frat parties and repetitive binge drinking and going AWOL from the National Guard, all so he could turn his full attention to righteously ruining multiple businesses and then making Texas the most murderous and polluted state in the union.
But, you know, why stop there?
God, of course, isn't just about the current Iraqi war. Bush understands this. Nor is God just about slamming gays or creating nasty, isolationist foreign policy. God is not merely about setting those gul-dang Muslim heathens straight about who is the supreme big-daddy all-powerful mega-righteous SUV-drivin' American-flag-wavin' God and who is just a dimestore wannabe false idol scruffy Allah.
Because above all, God is nothing if not all about putting a quick and fiery stop to all this Earthly nonsense ASAP. He is nothing if not all about the coming apocalypse. And He is nothing if not all about saving those who believe, as Bush does, that he is among the chosen to be saved.
This is the fundamentalist truth. And this is the BushCo maxim. The End Times provide the ultimate meaning, the final straw, the only thing worth caring about, because it defines the BushCo worldview like nothing else except maybe embarrassing grammar and crushing deficits and a secret craving for gin. You can see it in his sad, vacant eyes: Bush is absolutely convinced that God is a Republican. Why else would He create all those cool M-1 tanks and oil refineries and those neat deer-antler chandeliers? Exactly.
Do you see? Do you get it? If not, you haven't been reading nearly enough of those silly pulpy sociopathic gazillion-selling "Left Behind" doomsday books so frighteningly adored by the Christian Right. It's simple, really: The world is gonna end real soon. The End Times are comin'. All the signs are in place -- famine, war, disease, sodomy, fires, hurricanes, Avril Lavigne -- and Bush, by instigating holy wars and inciting more terrorism and burning through the planet's natural resources as fast as humanly possible, is merely hastening the blessedly inevitable. As his fellow fundamentalists say, God bless him.
Hey, it explains a lot, this view. It explain how Bush can just smirk and mumble and, with one big, heartless shrug, dismiss the complete lack of WMD and the loss of 1.6 million U.S. jobs and the nation's staggering $422 billion budget deficit. Pay down the national debt? Bah. Planet's going to hell anyway, people. Stock up on nuclear missiles and get yourself an escape pod. Can't afford one? Whatta shame.
It surely explains the general GOP hatred of gay marriage, of open-hearted sex, of those wicked, sin-inducing vaginas (that harlot Eve is gonna pay, dammit), of environmentalism, of caring about air quality and water quality and the EPA and organic foods and homeopathic medicine and resource management and the Alaska Wildlife Refuge and the U.N. and any country that doesn't have a McDonald's and a Starbucks and a decent strip club for lonely gin-soaked Republican expats.
And it explains not only the outright contempt for any view other than Bush's own, but the willingness to legislate that hatred, codify it, to make it outright illegal to think or feel or love otherwise.
Look at it this way: When you have an angry, patriotic God and the red-hot promise of the juicy apocalypse on your side, there is no such thing as a counter-argument. There is no such thing as competition. There is no such thing as giving a damn what anyone else thinks.
How else do you explain it? How else can you understand the most aggressive, war-hungry, abusive, nature-loathing, isolationist administration in American history? How else can you explain BushCo's overall "F" grade from every environmental organization in the world? How can you explain his mauling of long-term Social Security planning? The decimation of the idea of universal health care? A pre-emptive, attack-first-ask-questions-never, warmongering policy that creates more anti-U.S. hatred by the minute?
How can you explain the fact that every human rights organization on the planet is appalled by Bush's actions? Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib to John Ashcroft to the Patriot Act to gutting funding for international women's health care. Hey, if God had wanted us to care about other viewpoints, He would've made everyone speak English. Can I get a "hell yeah?"
This lust for apocalyptica, then, is perhaps the best way we have to at least partially understand the shamelessness of this administration's policies and its blatant disregard for international law, its open hatred of any nation that disagrees with us and the deep, profound concern only for nations that either cower in our God-flexin' presence and/or have resources that Bush's corporate pals are salivating to exploit.
And it is the perhaps ultimate explanation for the Right's final cattle call, its bitter war cry of a message, its exact parallel to every pseudo-religious evangelical scam artist on late-night cable TV.
Listen, good people of America. If you just send your money to the party and give up all that careful, nuanced thinking, if you just quite questioning our decisions and load up on blind faith, it will all be OK and you can have all the guns and fast food you want and those terrifying gays will leave you alone because BushCo will take care of you and God will reserve your seat on the glory train to salvation. Deal? Praise Jesus! Praise Bush/Cheney! Hallelujah you are saved! Even as we are, you know, doomed.
Isn't bogus salvation fun?
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