Monday, June 05, 2006


For the right reasons?

When I see articles like this one about support for George Bush in Utah, I can't help but wonder about some people's reasoning. Yes, many are supporting the Christian in[1] Chief because of specific political views or specific actions he's taken of which they approve. But many support him simply because he's Christian, or simply because they think he's a "nice guy", or for equally vacuous and irrelevant reasons.

([1] Jim points out, in the comments, that the above epithet, which I'd intended as sarcastic, does a disservice to Christians — and there are many — who do not support Bush. I've therefore struck out the epithet.)

"I like George Bush because he is God fearing, and that's how a lot of people in this area feel."
So says one Utah resident, a 22-year-old woman from Provo. And Ron Craft, who describes himself as a devout Mormon and a strong conservative expresses his support for Bush because of his "character", despite disagreeing with the Iraq war and the Katrina disaster:
"I'm against the war in Iraq — and what happened with Hurricane Katrina, well, it was a failure by everybody."
"I tend to judge a person by their character. And President Bush reminds me of President Reagan. He's a man of principle."
Principles, though, and character and fear of God don't build coherent governments, fix the economy, or manage disaster recovery.

But at least Mr Craft is aware of the issues, even if he chooses to ignore them. This college student hasn't got a clue:

Another student at Brigham Young, Danielle Pulsipher, a junior, offered blanket approval of the president. Asked to name which of his actions as president she liked most, she was hard-pressed to answer. "I'm not sure of anything he's done, but I like that he's religious — that's really important," Ms. Pulsipher said.
Certainly more important than actually running the country without running it into the ground, yes, indeed.

Christianity over competence.
Character over issues.
Principles over actions.

And then there's this:

In interviews, voters uniformly said they were standing by the president, even as they listed things they disagreed with. "I like his honesty," said Allison Wilkey, a mother of three.
Honesty? Honesty? Ah, yes, right, his honesty about the WMDs in Iraq. His honesty about the reasons for invading and destroying the country. His honesty about giving no-bid contracts to his buddies. His honesty about spying on Americans. Admitting that faith saved him from alcoholism doesn't make him "honest".

To be sure, there are many in Utah, and elsewhere, who base their support of King George on his actions and on the issues, and, while I disagree with them, I can respect that their support is there for the right reasons. But the blind, empty-minded "supporters" are frightening.


Jim Fenton said...

I wouldn't single out Christianity as a dubious reason to vote for someone. There are lots of people who vote for candidates because they're Republicans (or Democrats), because they're good looking, or any number of other reasons. Nevertheless, I agree that people don't need another dubious reason to vote for someone.

It troubles me to see the social-conservative agenda equated to Chriatianity, as though those of us that don't agree with that agenda aren't true Christians. Please, don't call him the Christian-in-Chief because he's not.

Barry Leiba said...

Yes: I'm sorry if my complaint seemed to imply that I think Christianity (or religion) is the only inappropriate criterion. Some Jews will vote for Senator Lieberman just because he's Jewish, some blacks will vote for Senator Obama just because he's black, and so on, because the candidate is female or gay or Latino or Irish or has blue eyes or a nice smile or whatever. It's just that that article was pointing out the Christianity connection, and Bush plays to that. The broader point was, indeed, that whatever the improper reason is, it's improper: we should be supporting people based on what they do. Thanks for making me clarify that.

And yes, I do not think all Christians agree with Bush, or support him. I know he doesn't speak for all of you! (Sorry for the "Christian-in-Chief" moniker; I meant it to be sarcastic.)

Permadot said...

One of the great issues in electing somebody to be a public service man/woman is the people don't know what they do or did.

Here in Mexico were going to the pre-election environment and a bunch of us are hesitating between this candidate or the other one...

As I was talking to a group of people recently, the reasons they gave me to vote for candidate X was "not good enough" (to my eyes (ears?) anyway) and were based in how they look like or even more subliminal: the way they perceive the candidate is...

Making the analysis of each candidate proposals is a way to know who is your favorite candidate.

Which could bring me to the issue of voting for a person not for the party they represent...

Julio Cesar