Friday, July 15, 2005

Still another voice for the loonies

In my continuing series on the crazies who write in to the Belleville News-Democrat's editorial page, I'll feature 3 letters today (though not all in completed form).

The first letter is about the so-called "torture" at Guantanamo Bay. The letter writer defends Durbin (D-Not Reality) and his remarks comparing interrogation practices at Camp X-Ray to the habits of the Nazis (Sidenote: Godwin's Law is infinitely applicable).

Let's remember how the Nazis handled such things. They killed 10 million people through their torture and detainment practices. How many people have died at Camp X-Ray? Zero. Either we have the most incompetant and uncapable torturers in the world, or what we are doing cannot be defined as torture. The question is rhetorical.

The next letter starts out on Durbin, but moves into other arenas.
Much has been spoken on television, as well as in the written press, of comparisons made by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, for which he has publicly apologized. Many mean-spirited conservatives have vilified the senator for these remarks, but have shown very little concern for the president's poor economic performance domestically.

I don't think "I'm sorry you became upset by my remarks" is an apology. And really, what do these issues have to do with each other? Nothing. Just an excuse to excoriate the president. Fine, let's hear what his "poor economic performance" means. I mean, the economy is in the best shape we've seen in many years, but anyhow . . .
When Bush came into office, there was a $500 billion projected surplus, which was wiped out in six months. He also managed to take us to war on a flawed basis in spite of having one of the finest military minds of our time in his cabinet, Secretary of State Colin Powell.

I can't defend all of Bush's spending practices. He just doesn't say "no" to enough budgetary issues. But if you think for a moment that there were no congressional democrats foaming at the mouth to spend some of that projected surplus, then you are badly mistaken. But this isn't the end of the world anyhow. It seems that Bush may be on track to achieving his goal of cutting the national deficit in half. Despite the tax cuts, despite the war, despite all of the other spending, Bush may actually cut the deficit in half. Hey, that seems like a success to me.

And as far as the jab on the war goes, I don't think Colin Powell could have anticipated that much of our intelligence on Saddam's WMD programs would be faulty. The problems which led to that occurrence were far too complicated and varied to blame on one person, or even this one administration. But there were many other reasons for going to war in Iraq, and all of them sufficient.
Bush pledged to work for congressional unity. Instead, his White House has foisted an attitude of alienation and disrespect of ranking Democratic members or viewpoints.

That might be because the ranking Democrats have been some of Bush's shrillest critics. Why would you want unity with someone who called you a liar and a loser, among other things (Reid)? Such a silly charge.

The final letter talks about Jesus and politics.
Contrary to what letter writer xxxxx wrote about Jesus being a conservative, I suggest Jesus was a liberal.

A conservative is a traditionalist who hangs on to old-fashioned ways to maintain the status quo. It was the liberal Jesus who whipped the corporate money lenders from the temple.

It was the puritanical conservatives who burned women as witches. Had Jesus been a conservative, he would have given the 5,000 pieces of fish to a few and saved the scraps for the masses.

Yes, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead, but he would not have been in cahoots with the insurance companies that would starve the sick due to the unreasonable and unnecessary costs of drugs, nor would he have tried to merge funeral homes for the purpose of monopolizing and placing wealth in the hands of a few, as in one world order.

xxxxx seems to blame the liberals for illegal immigration. Please, all thinking people know that illegal immigration exists because it is the conservative corporations' desire to reap all the harvest and pay workers literally nothing.

Jesus was crucified because he spoke the truth. If Jesus were to judge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, he would say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, for having the courage to speak the truth about our own acts of terrorism in the name of war." Jesus was a liberal.

Part of the problem is that the definitions of "conservative" and "liberal" are really screwed up in this country. But let's ignore his misguided political jabs for the moment.

There's a fundamental dishonesty, on both sides of the aisle, when one tries to attribute a political leaning to Jesus, for no other reason than that Jesus did not come to deal with politics. Jesus came to call the lost sheep of Israel to repentence, and to die for the sins of the world. Moral and religious issues were important to him. Politics were not.

Remember, Israel was occupied by the Romans at the time. Politics was a concern to the Jews of the time, as many argued that obedience to Rome was ungodly. Some attempted to drag Jesus into the argument, by asking him whether it was right to pay taxes to Rome. If Jesus had cared about politics, he could very easily have given an "yes" or "no" answer, but he dodged it completely. In doing so, he made his purpose clear: He wasn't here to redefine the political order; he was here to turn the hearts of his people back to God.

So let's not pretend that Jesus would have been overly concerned with the politics of the time. Politics take place between people of power and influence, and Jesus spent most of his time with people who had neither of those.