Living Out Loud: : Our Christian President

Thoughts on G.W.B.

In the three years I've written or edited this column I've never written anything about George W. Bush, and I'm not starting now because he's coming to Cincinnati to throw out the first pitch at the Reds season opener. I'm writing because I'm fed up with the man.

I want to like the guy. Really. Despite the fact he doesn't read books, he's our leader, a man we're suppose to look up to — you know, in George we trust and all. He calls himself a Christian and he wants to do good in the world and make it better. I want to buy all that, but I don't.

When I honestly look at this man and see what he's done over the course of the past several months, I want to throw up. Bush is a bullshiter and a liar; and if I hear one more person call him a Christian, I think I'll throw my Bible out the window.

Unlike our leader, I'm not really a Christian. I think after we die, our families divide all our material processions, fight over the good stuff, give the bad stuff away, then try to get the security deposit back on the apartment.

That's about it. I won't be looking down on them feeling pissed off about anything — one of the few regrets I'll have.

While I can't pretend to be all Christ-like, I don't consider myself a bad person either. I'm a guy who tries to go through life treating other people the way I want to be treated. I also want to have the ability to put myself in other people's shoes. In looking back over all these months, I wish our president could do that, too.

Can our Christian president look at Cindy Sheehan and truly understand where she's coming from? She lost a son in Iraq, a country the Bush administration was very much committed to invading long before 9-11. We never found those weapons of mass destruction; and on both sides of this war, thousands of young men and women have been hurt or killed. Both sides have mothers and fathers grieving for their children, and Sheehan has become a symbol for their loss. If he really cares about these lives, why doesn't this Christian president meet with Sheehan when she clearly has something on her mind? Isn't that what Jesus would have done?

Our president needs to walk in the shoes of the people who live in New Orleans. He needs to understand why he doesn't have a fan club there. Because he was enjoying his vacation and because of slow federal response to the storm, more than a thousand died ­ mostly poor African Americans. After the shit hit the fan, our president stated no one could have anticipated the breach of the levees. Now its turns out he was indeed fully briefed as to the prospect of what might happen — just didn't do anything about it, didn't even ask questions.

This, of course, isn't the first lie he's told us. Telling the truth is more than a little difficult for this president. Can our Christian leader understand why many of us don't believe a goddamn word he says?

The ports deal: Bush won the last election by basically instilling fear into many Americans that, if another president were on watch, we might have another terrorist attack. Remember all those terror alerts? Because of his own tactic, couldn't he anticipate that many Americans might feel uneasy about having an Arab company run our ports? Apparently not. With the election won, those terror alerts suddenly went away and Bush lost interest in his own lie. He didn't even know about the port situation until it got mentioned in the press. Can our Christian president relate to how many of us are getting sick and tired of all of his deceptions?

Spending the taxpayer's money: Sometimes I think our president believes he's our priest, we're his congregation and this country is one big church. I mean, when the plate is passed around in a real house of worship, I don't believe the members worry very much about where the money is going — they rely on faith. That's not the case with the Church of Bush.

Bush's church doesn't have any checks and balances. They can't account for all the billions of dollars we've thrown away in trying to rebuild Iraq. After our president screwed up the New Orleans situation so badly, he threw millions of dollars at it — millions that hasn't seemed to help that city or its people very much. If anything, New Orleans is in worse shape now than when the hurricane hit. Where did all that money go? Does being Christian mean you don't have to be held accountable for the church's ­—AKA the taxpayers' — money?

Why does our Christian president think it's all right to wiretap our phones without a warrant? Why did he let other Christians in his administration out a CIA agent? Why did our Christian leader think we wouldn't notice his nominating his loyal supporter and cleaning lady, Harriet Miers, to the Supreme Court?

So many Christian questions, so little column space.

When I look up the word "Christianity" in the dictionary, it says, "Derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ." While I don't consider myself a religious person, I do know the world of Jesus and the word he taught. He didn't die for our sins with other people's blood on his hands or lie and deceive others. He loved all around him equally, was honest and respected life.

I think he's a man I would have liked. I think he was the true Christian. You, President Bush, are not.

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