Update (11/19/08) — In “Bush’s record in Africa receives well-deserved praise,” USA Today’s DeWayne Wickham gives us this:
This year, Bush signed a bill that authorized up to $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — most of it to be spent in sub-Saharan Africa — from 2009 through 2013. Since 2003, the Bush administration has provided funding to increase the number of Africans receiving anti-retroviral drugs from 50,000 to about 1.4 million, Frazer said.
— End update —Did God ordain an Obama victory? You get that impression from Sava on a Rolla, the blog of Bishop Savas of Troas. In a post titled, “This is the Day that the Lord has made!,” the chancellor of the Greek Archdiocese celebrates the victory of President-elect Barack Obama in terms that can only be described as divine:
Do I expect miracles from the President-Elect? Am I confusing the man with the Messiah? Of course not. But neither is he the Antichrist, as some of his opponents would have you believe. Americans did a good thing yesterday, an inspired thing. They didn’t voice their opinion, they shouted it. A new day has dawned, a day that the Lord has most emphatically made. Are you as delighted as I am? Send up thanks to the Lord our God! Are you for any reason unhappy? Pray to the same God for our President-Elect’s enlightenment.
I don’t know. It’s almost like reading the Genesis account of Creation. OK, the Bishop’s guy won, and he has every right to celebrate. Then he goes — to put it nicely — really over the top.
The goal of government ought not to be to protect us from one another, to teach us to treat the other as competition or nuisance or threat, but to help us to help one another.
Could the Bishop be talking about those American citizens, many of whom were Orthodox Christians, who voted for John McCain? Or other Republican candidates? Or for President George W. Bush during his two terms? He doesn’t say so, but something here leads me to believe that the Bishop is doing just that.
Actually, one of the fundamental goals of government is to protect us from those who would do us harm, whether they live down the street or in another part of the globe. Read the newspaper on any given day, and you’ll see why this is so. And let’s take it a step further. As the American Founders foresaw, with God-enlightened genius, one of the main roles of government is to protect us from bad government and bad rulers
Finally, Bishop Savas tips his hand with this parenthetical dig:
How ironic, that the people for whom Darwinism is anathema should in their politics reveal themselves to be Social Darwinists.
That’s it! The people who voted for McCain are knuckle-dragging, cross-eyed rubes waiting to storm the educational establishment with mandatory Creationism curricula. Right after they dismantle the welfare state.
Social Darwinism, which draws from Darwinian evolutionary theory, holds that social and economic competition should be based on the “survival of the fittest.” To put it another way, Nature, red in tooth and claw.
Does this sound like a description of a Social Darwinist?:
I remember coming to the West Wing one morning before the daily 7:30 senior staff meeting and seeing Mr. Bush at his desk in the Oval Office, reading a daily devotional. I remember the look of sorrow on his face as he signed letters to the families of the fallen. When he met with recovering addicts whose lives were transformed by a faith-based program, he spoke plainly of his own humiliating journey years ago with alcohol. When a Liberian refugee broke into tears after recounting her escape to freedom in America, the president went over and held and comforted her.
If memory serves, President Bush’s critics on the Right were most displeased with his Big Government conservatism. Particularly, the medicare prescription benefit that one estimate predicted would cost taxpayers some $1.2 trillion. Say this out loud: trillion. Providing coverage for 40 million or so seniors isn’t exactly survival of the fittest, is it?
And remember when Bob Geldof, of Live Aid fame, praised Bush for his work in delivering billions of dollars to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement? Anyone remember that? The president, Geldof said, “has done more than any other president so far.” More from the rocker:
This is the triumph of American policy really. It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion. What’s in it for [Bush]? Absolutely nothing.
Here’s a headline from February 17: Unpopular at home, Bush basks in African praise
DAR ES SALAAM — Unpopular at home and in much of the world during the last year of his presidency, George W. Bush is basking in rare adulation on his African tour.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete poured praise on Bush in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, the second day of his five-nation African tour, each compliment applauded warmly by members of the east African country’s cabinet.
Although around 2,000 Muslim demonstrators protested against Bush on the eve of his visit, many thousands more cheering, waving people lined his road from the airport on Saturday.
Banners across the route, decorated with Bush’s image against a backdrop of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, read: “We cherish democracy. Karibu (welcome) to President and Mrs Bush.”
Others read: “Thank you for helping fight malaria and HIV.” Dancers at the airport and at Kikwete’s state house to greet Bush on Sunday, wore skirts and shirts decorated with his face.
I can understand how Bishop Savas might have gotten a bit over exuberant when his party won. But I can’t accept the Social Darwinist canard. It’s over the top. And it simply isn’t true.