Saturday, June 02, 2012

Call Me a Cynic, or a Believer

When I see pictures like this, my natural inclination is to have positive feelings toward President Bush, even if I held a negative view of him when he doubled the national debt, federalized education, subverted the 4th Amendment, advanced the surveillance state, irresponsibly expanded government health care by implementing the largest unfunded program since LBJ in Medicare part D, bailed out global banks on our credit, and led us into a costly war in Iraq under false pretenses.   

Publicists know this.  They know how we respond to such images.  They also know that unlike me, the vast majority of people will forget most of his actual record over time and just remember the warm fuzzy feeling they get when they see Bush in kindly poses with wounded service members and wrapped in the flag.   That's why this shot is just one of many that we see floating around the internet these days, put out by Bush's own foundation.

I have heard so many comments to the effect of what a fine and classy man Bush must be to visit all of those injured veterans.  I am seeing too many of these things. What would be classy is if he did it and we never found out about it, especially from his own foundation.    This is starting to get the feel of a campaign to rehabilitate the Bush image. And if that is so, using wounded service members for props in images put out by your own center is not so classy.

Someone might say "If I were I wounded service member and the President wanted his picture taken with me, I sure would want to show it off."    So would I, but these pictures are not coming from the wounded service members. They are coming from Bush's own site. This is his own people advertising his good deeds, and I have always been taught via the scriptures that this detracts from their virtue. Hate me, ignore me or whatever, but those are the same standards of behavior that apply to anyone.

Look, I am not saying that I know what his motives are.  No one can know that but God.   I can't know that they are impure, his supporters cannot know that they are pure.   But I can evaluate his actions compared to the way that Christ instructed us to act.  Here are the first six verses of Matthew Chapter 6 in the Amplified Version....

Take care not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you will have no reward [[a]reserved for and awaiting you] with and from your Father Who is in heaven.
Thus, whenever you give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do, that they may be [b]recognized and honored and praised by men. Truly I tell you, they have their reward [c]in full already.
But when you give to charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
So that your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward [d]in full already.
But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.
 I just can't reconcile this passage with going around with a cameraman taking pictures of what you are doing and then distributing it on your own website.   A calculating publicist would know what sort of effect this was liable to induce in much of the population. 

Does this message disturb you?   Your beef is not with me. It is with the One who instructed us not to do our good deeds before men. Again, please do not protest to me that it is OK for him to do this because these pictures look so sweet that somehow you just "know" that his motives are good.   Just as I don't ascribe any base motives to his actions, you can't know for sure that his motives are pure. All Christians have for guidance is the instruction of Jesus Christ on what we are to do, and this is obviously on the wrong side of that.    Please direct any anger you might have appropriately and work it out with the One who gave the instruction. My only trespass is to believe in what He says.

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