Thursday, September 24, 2009

Political Paralysis: what would Jesus do?

Christ Carrying the Cross
Hieronymous Bosch
Oil on panel
76.7 x 83.5 cm
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Ghent

Obama, budget director Peter Orszag and health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle grasp the intricacies of the health-care system as well as any three humans, and they could write a law to make it far more efficient. But now it is in the hands of legislators and lobbyists who care much less about the rationality of the system than they do about the way the bill will affect their particular part of it. Everyone has a parochial agenda. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for example, wants to be sure a new cancer treatment center in Nevada has favored status. Democracy and representative government are a lot messier than the progressives and their heirs, including Obama, want to admit. No wonder they are so often frustrated.
David S. Broder - Washington Post

Given the slow progress of cap and trade legislation in the Senate, Europeans are beginning to understand why the UN might be an easier forum for Mr Obama than Capitol Hill. In this, Mr Obama is accused of not trying hard enough, rather than trying to do the wrong things. “Europeans no longer see President Obama as merely an innocent victim of what they regard as rightwing nuttiness in the American political wars,” says Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution. “They are beginning to worry that the president has contributed to the paralysis of the system by playing too much defence.”
Edward Luce - Financial Times

David Seaton's News Links  
Wingnuts are always framing any question that comes into their heads with a  "what would Jesus do", so I thought I would approach the subject of America's political paralysis in the same terms.

What would Jesus do it he were elected president of the USA? 

Well of course, if the right wanted to actually run Jesus for president they would have to procure him an American birth certificate, but I suppose if they took the part where it says "place of birth: Bethlehem, Palestine" and rubbed out the (shudder) "Palestine" and substituted "Pennsylvania" that would do the trick. Of course the only president ever born in Pennsylvania was James Buchanan, considered to be in the running with George W. Bush as the worst president in US history. But what the heck, wouldbe birthers would have to be satisfied with Pennsylvania.

American politics being what it is Jesus would have to get a shave and a blowdry haircut and learn to drink beer and boilermakers and eat hotdogs and tacos and bagels and be a regular guy so as not to look effete and elitist... and to read what his handlers wrote for him off a teleprompter, but I suppose if John Edwards could manage all that, God could too.

Of course the wingnuts would have to be crazy to run Jesus for president, it's obvious to me that they have never really studied his programs and policies in any detail; with  his love for the poor and driving money lenders from the Temple and encouraging his followers to pay taxes and all of that. And who is going to be First Lady? His mom? 

Well, so suppose he finally got elected, he would for sure run into trouble from day one.

Imagine that at the inaugural ball he changed water into wine: he's in trouble right then and there with special interest groups like the Winegrape Growers of America. You don't think California's Nancy Pelosi would let something like that pass, do you? Not with her state going broke.

Now, of course, a salient part of Jesus's program was always healing the sick, for which he never charged a shekel, but if he continued to do that while in office the American Medical Association would be all over him and the big pharma lobbies too... You can imagine the smear campaigns... I prefer not to.

And of course then there is the Holy Land, "Terra Sancta" as old Yasser Arafat used to call it. You can imagine how much slack AIPAC is going to cut Jesus, of all people, on that one, can't you?

Finally, I think that one day, after his morning run on the Potomac, he might just up and drown both houses of congress and all of K-street in the reflecting pool of the Washington monument like he did with the Gaderene Swine... to general applause both in America and beyond her shores. 

The moral of the story of course is that the problem is systemic and not really about personalities. As the Spanish say, "esto no lo arregla ni Díos", not even God can fix this paralysis. DS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God the son as preznit? In Murka? Nah. Teh holy spirit? Another liberal (ewwww!), even more touchy-feely than Jesus. Fox would have a field day.

God the father? Now THERE's a unitary executive! Eternal surveilance of everyone. He has the authority to wiretap our very thoughts(He's that good). Ever hear of waterboarding with fire and brimstone? Forever and ever? G the F just renditions terror... and anyone blasphemous in his sight... to hell. EZ.

Real men may go to Tehran but god the father just nukes them from orbit.

Jim G.