Friday, May 26, 2006

An inconvenient Truth

Global Warming is a fact and it's going to take action - as well as prayer - to turn things around and protect us from chaotic climate change.

Yet, until just two days ago, the Bush administration was still creating spin about it. Part of that spin is the hysterical charge that changing our energy priorities will kill our economy. Now, under pressure, he has made an abrupt change, saying:

"Let's quit the debate about whether greenhouse gases are caused by mankind or by natural causes; let's just focus on technologies that deal with the issue."

Too bad he didn't say that six years ago. But, being forced by the facts to change, he suddenly has.

It is to be expected that, every time we need to change, there will be those who resist and yell that the sky is falling. Usually those people have financial interests in stopping the change. But, God gave us brains for a reason. We cannot be praying for a miracle if we are unwilling to help ourselves. And we cannot help ourselves if we are unwilling to look at the facts.

Yet facts often are unpleasant. They mean we have to change. It takes strength of character to face facts, use our brains, make decisions and follow up.

For instance, as Christians we say we want people with "Christian values" in office. Yet, what does that mean?

Does it mean voting for someone who mouths platitudes about being in favor of a "culture of life" even if he has a history of pushing environmental policies that are killing the earth?

Does it mean we will automatically vote for someone who speaks about having a personal relationship with God even after he has lied to involve us in his own, personal war?

Does it mean voting against a person of conscience who bases his arguments on facts and putting a hack in office because the hack says he believes in God?

And does it mean voting for a political party that supported that hack, that groomed him, helped create his policies and provides the money to craft his media spin?

If so, we are abrogating our responsibilities as Christians by allowing ourselves to be duped and manipulated.

And we are revealing our characters for what they are: weak and an affront to Jesus Christ, who never took the easy way out.

Being a Christian is not a one issue stand. It must be a stand for doing right across the board. It is about standing up for justice, about taking the time to understand the truth, about getting involved and about loving your enemies, not launching a "pre-emptive" attack against them.

Our media - run by corporations - painted Al Gore as a boring, unfriendly man. Since he bored us, we switched the station. We didn't listen to his facts. We dismissed him, even though he attends church.

As a result a man was elected who does not operate on facts, but who operates much as Ken Lay - former CEO of Enron and George Bush's close friend - operates.

You may know that Mr. Lay has been found guilty of not just mismanaging Enron, but of outrageous criminal activity in which he defrauded investors and employees. He nearly bankrupted California.

He hurt a lot of people.

He did this because he did not operate on facts. He operated on wishful thinking and greed.

Mr. Bush seems to operate on the same principles. He certainly is bankrupting us with his agendas. And not only financially, but morally.

Yet many Christians voted for him. We are who put him in office. We did so because he claimed to be "a man of God" against abortion.

Yet, it's one thing to ban abortion. It's another thing to vote for the programs and support that encourage poor mothers to have their children and raise them successfully instead of sinking deeper into poverty.

The difference between the woman who has an abortion and the one who doesn't is usually an issue of affordability.

But George Bush is not in favor of uplifting the poor. He is merely interested in punishing them for existing. He is, therefore, not in favor of a culture of life, but a culture of punishment for being poor and having the audacity to have sex.

Yet we elected him. The Christian base elected him. We elected a man who punishes the poor instead of leading them - and us - to new purpose and compassion.

In essence - if you look at his record - supporting torture, cutting veterans' benefits even as the injured come flooding home, lying to begin a war, supporting corporate profits over the American people - we have elected a man who is aborting the entire United States and all it stood for: truth, justice, fairness, opportunity.

What does that say about us and our religion?

What does that say about our overall character, as Christians?

Today Paul Krugman writes about our national character. It's a timely issue since we have elections looming both this year and in 2008.

And how are we going to vote?

Are we going to ignore the issues, then vote on the strength of some soundbite crafted by media experts?

Are we going to run from facts and science and elect someone who doesn't bring those things up - or lies about them - but harps on one or two issues like abortion and gay unions?

If we do, things are not going to get better. We - and this country to which we owe allegiance and responsibility - will reap what we sow.

Here's an excerpt from Paul Krugman's article A Test Of Our Character:

'"An Inconvenient Truth" isn't just about global warming, of course. It's also about Mr. Gore. And it is, implicitly, a cautionary tale about what's been wrong with our politics.

Why, after all, was Mr. Gore's popular-vote margin in the 2000 election narrow enough that he could be denied the White House? Any account that neglects the determination of some journalists to make him a figure of ridicule misses a key part of the story. Why were those journalists so determined to jeer Mr. Gore? Because of the very qualities that allowed him to realize the importance of global warming, many years before any other major political figure: his earnestness, and his genuine interest in facts, numbers and serious analysis.

And so the 2000 campaign ended up being about the candidates' clothing, their mannerisms, anything but the issues, on which Mr. Gore had a clear advantage (and about which his opponent was clearly both ill informed and dishonest).

I won't join the sudden surge of speculation about whether "An Inconvenient Truth" will make Mr. Gore a presidential contender. But the film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country.

Since 2000, we've seen what happens when people who aren't interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we've done nothing about global warming.

But can the sort of person who would act on global warming get elected? Are we - by which I mean both the public and the press - ready for political leaders who don't pander, who are willing to talk about complicated issues and call for responsible policies? That's a test of national character. I wonder whether we'll pass.'

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15:14


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