Tuesday, August 4, 2009

According To The Merits

Forget the stereotypes and caricatures: most people are complex. So are Presidents, both present and former. Consider deeds.

Consider President George W. Bush. On the one hand, a leader with a heavy hand on the military solution, e.g., the Iraq war, and someone who seriously considered using our military against our own population (vis., the Lackawanna Six).
[Washington Examiner OpEd] But if you're inclined to thank God for small favors, there's this at least: Obama hasn't yet proposed turning the U.S. military against American citizens. Last week, the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration seriously considered doing just that [in violation of] the Fourth Amendment [and] the Posse Comitatus Act, the longstanding federal statute that restricts the use of standing armies to keep the peace at home.

[Washington Examiner OpEd] Those warnings were renewed earlier this month when it was reported that the Pentagon plans by 2011 to station 20,000 active-duty troops within the country to respond to large-scale catastrophes or terrorist attacks. Specially trained to handle chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attacks, this force has been in planning stages for several years.

On the surface, creation of such a military unit might appear as a welcome development that will improve efficiency, order, and humanitarian aid in an emergency. But why couldn’t National Guard units be trained to provide the same capability, especially since guardsmen have a long and distinguished history of responding to domestic emergencies and disasters?
On the other hand, there is George Bush the sincere Christian and humanitarian, who may singlehandedly be responsible for saving a million lives in Africa from AIDS.

[NCR] What if a president, on his own initiative, under no demands from staff or from supporters or opponents, set out to spend an unprecedented amount of money on AIDS in Africa, literally billions of dollars, at a time when the nation could not afford it, citing his faith as a primary motivation and, ultimately, saved more than a million lives?

Wouldn’t the story be front-page news, especially in top, liberal newspapers? Wouldn’t it lead on CNN, MSNBC and the “CBS Evening News”? Might statues be erected to the man in the nation’s more “progressive” cities?

What if the president was George W. Bush?

I pose these uncomfortable questions for two reasons: 1) President Bush did precisely that regarding the African AIDS tragedy; and 2) a study claims that Bush’s remarkable action has indeed saved many precious lives.

It all began in January 2003, during the State of the Union. In a completely unexpected announcement, Bush asked Congress for $15 billion for AIDS in Africa — drugs, treatment and prevention.

Bush then shocked the press by pointing to an unusual personal motivation, citing the parable of the Good Samaritan: “[T]his cause is rooted in the simplest of moral duties,” he told journalists. “When we see this kind of preventable suffering … we must act. When we see the wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not, America will not, pass to the other side of the road.”

What to think?

Hopefully, that each one of us is more complex than any given action or stereotype. We can talk and debate on a man's actions, which we can see and experience and weigh the merits of according to our predilections, but only God can judge the motivation and movements of a man's heart.

More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds. —Jeremiah 17:9-10

1 comment:

RAnn said...

Thanks for sharing with us.


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