Hail, King Bushy! Long live the King!

The title of this blog is meant to be chanted to the same beat used in Disney's "The Sword in the Stone."

Near the end of the film, Wort (AKA Arthur) is sitting on his new throne in his new palace and all he can think about is running away. He's just a little kid with scraggly arms and legs---he doesn't know how to run a country! But every time he opens a door to escape, he is immediately greeted by a loud chant: "Hail, King Arthur! Long live the King!"

So let's say this new chant together: "Hail, King Bushy! Long live the King!"

Anyway, I had the pleasure last night of going to a karaoke bar in Old Town Alexandria. I didn't go there to sing, but to watch funny drunk people slur the words of Madonna's "Holiday" and Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses." Perhaps what's even funnier than drunk people is a bunch of crazy Mormon boys who like to shake their groove thangs up on stage while lip-synching to the Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch." (You know, the song about doin' it like its done on the Discovery Channel.)

But I digress from the topic at hand, which is the madness of King George Bush. At this karaoke bar, I had a lengthy conversation with a friend of a friend named John, who is visiting DC for a few days from Arizona. John is the poster-child of the red-state voter---Republican, right-wing, and religious. He is also incredibly business-minded and (almost alarmingly) ambitious.

As a political independent with Democratic tendencies, I disagreed with John about most current issues, like the war in Iraq and the wiretapping of American citizens. But as a person who's trying to be more open-minded, I really tried to empathize with John's opinions because he represents a huge chunk of the American population that avidly adores our King, ahem, President.

John's Point-of-View
1.) He supports the War in Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator and the Iraqi people were being oppressed. He made an analogy to Hitler and how it is necessary to oust maniacal leaders.

2.) He supports the President's actions in wiretapping the phone conversations of Americans who may be in touch with terrorist groups.

3.) He likes Bush because the President "prays to the same God that I pray to." John feels comfort that the President is being led by God.

Admittedly, as John blazed on and on about the merits of Bush, I felt the defense mechanisms in my brain kick into red-alert mode. But, I'm trying to be less defensive when it comes to debating (if you really get me riled up, I'll start crying and that's not a good thing to do in debates!), and so, I ignored the blaring sirens in my mind and here was my rebuttal.

My Point-of-View
1.) I believe Saddam Hussein is a horrible person and committed atrocities against his own people. I don't think people like him should be in positions of power---and he definitely should not have access to nuclear weapons.

But I have an unsettled feeling about the motivations in going to Iraq. Why Iraq? Was oil a factor in going to war? Where are the WMDs that led us into this conflict? Will the spread of democracy in Iraq really allieve the problem of terrorism? And if we are creating such chaos in Iraq, isn't the country becoming a breeding ground for more terrorists?

And again, why Iraq? Why not Sudan? Why not North Korea? If the U.S. was supposedly justified in ousting a political leader from office, then what is keeping us from getting rid of other oppressive regimes worldwide? Understandably, our resources are limited, but why Iraq?

2.) Proponents of wiretapping say that there is nothing wrong with Bush's actions because they have nothing to hide. OK, I can kind of understand this argument. But I have nothing to hide either, yet I still feel it is wrong for President Bush to sidestep the law.

I do believe in times of war that the American president should be granted certain liberties to protect our country. But what worries me is that Bush is usurping powers into his presidency without carefully considering the legality of his actions. He does not respect the rights granted to American citizens in the Constitution, nor does he respect the balance of power between the three branches of government that our Founding Fathers carefully outlined.

The war on terrorism is indefinite, and thus, the President will continue to chip away at our rights in order to "protect" us from our enemies. But what happened to protecting our civil liberties?

3.) I am always a little thrown off when Bush supporters extol his religious credibility. "He's a God-fearing man and not afraid to show it," they say. Or, "I want a President who prays to the same God that I pray to."

"Ai ya!" as my grandmother would say. OK, I am a practicing Mormon who believes in God and who prays everyday, but I also am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I mean, America was founded upon religious freedom. The Founding Fathers specifically created the presidency as a secular position; they witnessed firsthand what life was like under George III who held the dual position of political monarchist and head of the Anglican Church. Consequently, the frameworkers of the Constitution laid a foundation for this country where church and state are separated.

Bush is blatantly mixing the two and I think he is using his religion to court voters. Religion is a private matter in one's life and it should be even more so in the case of the president. I don't care if my president is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or atheist---all I want is for him or her to make our country a better place.

So in response to John who proclaimed that he loved a president who prayed to God, I would have to ask: what if the president was Muslim and prayed to Allah? What if she was Buddhist and avidly extolled her religious views to the media? And in a extreme case, what if he was a pagan and worshipped a rock named Krag? What then?

And so, Bush is deliberately pandering to the religious right in America. He is dividing our nation into the camps of Bush-haters and Bush-supporters. You're either with him or against him, so you better jump on his bandwagon or he'll start wiretapping your phones.

Shouldn't the president try to unify the country instead of polarizing it? I thought that was his job. Oh yes, but this is a responsibility of a president---not of a king.

***For more information about this topic, read this article from Slate.
***Other topics John and I discussed include: the leftist views of the press and how he believes the President represents the "average American." (My question:what is an average American? A WASP?)