I have a relatively new friend (reader) in New York City, who seems to enjoy reading much of what I write. But at the same time, much of what I write seems to piss him off, especially if the topic is George W Bush, and my viewpoint is less than favourable.
The following is a letter I just sent him regarding yesterday’s editorial concerning the Iowa Caucus (Please see ARCHIVES January 20, 2004). What I said about the Democrat Party’s candidates, and George W Bush didn’t resonate well with him.
Howard (his name) . . . Like I said, Democracy gives us choices, and what I see in a candidate is not what I necessarily expect you or anyone else to see. That’s why we have elections.
Between now and November, a great many things will change. Who knows what will happen. Maybe Bush will shine on his own? I doubt it. Maybe the Democratic candidate who is chosen to lead will eventually look inadequate, or he will look like a real leader. Who knows? We all have different criteria for picking our leaders.
For me, I want a leader who can speak well, and who can articulate his or her own positions, not the position(s) of others.
Also: I was partially educated in a Lubovtich Yeshiva in Montreal, I attended Shabbat and Havdallah services (Sabbath services in Synagogue) till I was in my late teens, and even considered going to a Rabbinical college; but instead, I have become completely secular (read Atheist), but still very Jewish, and an unapologetic supporter of Israel, especially Likud.
That said: Bush’s faith based initiative and anti-gay policies are very distressing.
Government; especially at the highest levels has no business in mixing religion with politics or social issues. Don’t get me wrong. Anne (my wife of 30 years) and I live in a very Christian rural community. We have no children, but if we had, we would be living in an area where our children would be surrounded with Jewish cultural facilities. And like myself, they would attend Jewish school.
Not because I would want to indoctrinate them or separate them from other religious beliefs and philosophies, but rather, because I believe they should have an understanding of their past. What they would decide to do with their religious and cultural experience afterwards would then be up to them.
All of that though, would be my choice, and not the choice of any government or government leader, especially the President of the United States of America. Or in my case, Canada’s Prime Minister.
If you look around the planet, it is the countries with the greatest sorrows who are governed by the rule of religion. The Founding Fathers of the US were very smart and avant garde to include in the US Constitution, a very definite separation of church and state. Bush should not try to undo that. Not even a little bit.
Bush’s proclivity to dislike homosexuals is also very frightening. I am straight. I have always been straight. I have never questioned my sexual preference or even considered for a moment whether I would like to experiment with the other side. But, that doesn’t mean men and women who are gay should be treated any differently than heterosexuals.
I find the USA is too fixated on sexuality. Our political leaders in Canada are attacked on every issue under the sun, except sexuality. We don’t care what our leaders do in the privacy of their lives, even when in office. It never comes up in debate at any time.
As a matter of fact; if two politicians are campaigning against each other in Canada, and one uses non deviant sexual issues with which to attack the other, the attacker would be the one to pay the price at the polls.
Bush’s fundamentalist beliefs, and how he injects them into his public life scares the crap out of me. It also bothers me that he is willing if necessary to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The sexual orientation of two willing adults is no one’s business.
It wasn’t that long ago (about a month) that Texas removed buggery (sodomy) from its list of criminal activities. Anne and I are pretty boring in our sexual choices, and would never consider doing some of the things that are practised by others, but that doesn’t mean others should not have the right to do what we prefer not to do.
Since 9/11, Bush has done a measure of good on the international stage, but he has also done very little for the American poor and middle class.
He hasn’t done nearly what he claims to have done for education, healthcare or the overall economy. He hasn’t necessarily failed at any of the preceding. But he also hasn’t had the successes his spin doctors would have the American people believe.
I heard and reviewed his State of The Union Address yesterday, and came away uninspired. This was his moment and platform to shine. He will have to do much better if he hopes to be a two term President.