Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Tea Parties, Secession and the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Texas

April 16, 2009

041509 tea party 01Texas has always had this escape clause mentality – the idea that we managed just fine on our own at one time and we aren’t afraid to do it again.   We’re independent cusses just looking for something to get riled up about.   So, it’s no wonder Gov. Rick Perry has gone shooting his mouth off about secession.   That could be an interesting conundrum for Orthodox unity in the United States of America.   The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of  Texas sounds catchy, doesn’t it.    San Antonio – the New Constantinople.

Did anyone attend a Tea Party yesterday?  Here in San Antonio   there were close to 10,000 tea bag warriors in front of the Alamo (I know because I was trying to go home).  Motor City Madman, now adopted Texan, Ted Nugent provided the entertainment, along with host Glenn Beck.  Ted’s wild-eyed version of Cat Scratch Fever, along with his rabid conservatism, might explain part of the big turnout locally.  (To say that San Antonio likes its heavy metal and classic rock bands is to say ‘the sun is a little warm’.)

I can certainly understand the anger that precipitated these rallies.  I’ve been just as disgusted about the issue of government bailouts.   When I have to take the bus to work and eat leftovers for lunch, I wonder what I did to cause my lifestyle to drop so dramatically.   So, was it better to let the banking and auto industries collapse and new forms of business rise from the ashes?  Was it better for our country in the long term to re-invent itself out of a failed economy?  I don’t understand things enough to know.  Theoretically, I’d like to see this country revert to a  traditional, family and community-centered, heavily agrarian model, ala Wendell Berry.   Would the social turmoil and suffering be worth it?  That’s a hard choice.   I’m not willing to get all Grapes of Wrath and face homelessness and hunger with my kids, are you?  There are plenty of people in this country right now who are living that and it’s not romantic, it’s misery.   It’s always easier to consider your reaction to these situations hypothetically.

But let me ask one other question about the enormous turnout at yesterday’s Tea Parties.   Has anyone figured out yet how the masses could be whipped up into a tax and big government frenzy against an administration that has only been in office for 4 months?  Where were the protests 1, 4, 6 years ago?   It was 8 years of mismanagement under the other guy that saw the national debt hit one quadrillion gazillion dollars; that created  new, big spending, red tape bureaucracies, and fostered the erosion of civil liberties under the same red, white and blue flag all those folks were waving yesterday.  Who got all pissed off and dressed up in ‘Bush is a Fascist’ t-shirts and protested the 2008 budget? 

041509 tea party 03

The People Have Spoken

November 5, 2008


It’s 2 am here, the polls closed hours ago, but I suspect the partying will go on long into the night for many people.  I picture President Elect Barack Obama sitting in a quiet corner while all the frenzy goes on around him.  He’s calm, reflective and has a slight smile on his face, letting this all soak in.  He is pondering the past and takes a deep breath as he realizes the huge and awesome weight of responsibility that has suddenly settled onto his shoulders.  Inside, I hope he’s jumping up and down and shouting “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy”, or at least something a little more emotional than his calm, beneficent demeanor has ever shown.   No matter how you voted, you just can’t help but appreciate what this means personally and historically, both for him and this country.

At every Orthodox Divine Liturgy we ask God to grant mercy and hear our petitions for many earthly concerns, including our government.  In the historically monarchial countries where Orthodoxy was formed, these petitions were for the protection of emperors, kings, and czars.  In America, we ask for the same blessing on our president and all elected officials.

“Again we pray for the President of this country, for all civil authorities…”

In response the people affirm the petition by singing “Lord have mercy”.   Now I’ll be honest – my response to this petition for the last eight years has usually been with the tonal emphasis and rolling of eyes that only one from the South can give to that phrase.  I asked a priest once about what it means to pray this petition for a president that you do not support.   He advised me it doesn’t mean you have to sincerely like the person in office or believe in their policies,  but you do have to pray that he or she will make wise decisions.  So for the past eight years it’s been very easy to pray for our president to make good choices in the same way I ask my kids to eat healthy and play nice.  (‘Dubya’ doesn’t seem to listen any better than my 6 year old though.)  I will certainly not be agreeing with President Obama on everything he does, in particular abortion and other socially conservative life issues, but I can say wholeheartedly that if ever a president needed our prayers Obama will have mine.   

At this point I feel I can disclose how I voted, and why my support of Barack Obama has been so divided.  This year has tested everything I thought I believed in about politics and my political positions.   For one, I have found myself acknowledging that I am more of a Crunchy Con than I thought.  But, I have never supported W and his cronies (is detest too strong a word?).  I believe in the depth of my soul the Iraq War is wrong and I believe Bush will leave office in 2 months still retaining the blind arrogance and self-delusion that he has been right about everything.  And yet, I have had reservations about Obama’s experience and age (at least I did until McCain the Bush Clone chose Sarah Palin).  I have no doubts now after seeing his obvious talent for rallying support and inspiring people to believe in something.   But rather my biggest remaining stumbling block has been his position on abortion and life issues.    So as I stood in that electronic voting booth on Halloween, I just didn’t know what to do.  I filled in all my choices but left the presidential box unchecked.  That red light kept flashing, ‘Vote, Vote, Vote…’  and all the months of indecision came down to one push of the button – vote conscience or vote politics.   I said a prayer and quickly pressed the button before I could change my mind, and just like that I had not cast a vote for either candidate. 

A wasted vote some would say.  But this time I felt I had to follow my conscience on the issue of abortion.  Did I have such an ethical urge four years or eight years ago?  No.  I’d like to think it’s because I have become more conscientious as a voter and as an Orthodox Christian.  Was it fear of the unknown and closet bigotry?   I pray to God it wasn’t.  But passing on the vote wasn’t something I’d considered before I read Rod Dreher’s views on the subject and realized it is an option, not a cop out.   There’s no political analyst out there who’s suddenly panicked because TinaG in Texas chose not to choose.  But God knows.   I just wonder if my principals would have been so cherished in a tightly contested race.  In Texas my choice to not vote had less consequence than in some battleground states, so thank you Lord for not testing me that much!

Let us all pray that the next four years will be a blessing on this country.  Let us pray for our new President and the many difficult decisions and burdens that come with this office.  Let us pray for peace and security and the safe return home of our troops.  And let us pray that our new President’s heart and mind will be enlightened towards the unborn and the evilness of abortion.   Lord have mercy.