Saturday, September 17, 2005

"God help us", indeed.

In his radio address today, Bush kept pushing the "second line" before the "first line" has even made it to the graveside:
"In the life of our nation, we have seen that wondrous things are possible when we act with God's grace," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "From the rubble of destroyed homes we can see the beginnings of vibrant new neighborhoods. From the despair of lives torn asunder we can see the hope of rebirth. And from the depth of darkness we can see a bright dawn emerging over the Gulf Coast and the great city of New Orleans."
It's one thing, of course, to complain about a poor pastoral manner in the President (who really expects a good one?). It's another thing to complain about such overtly religious language from a modern President (many a President has been as publicly religious). One can even set aside the dubious theological position that God's grace will allow us to rebuild New Orleans and southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama (it may be God's grace that we see a silver lining in this cloudy catastrophe; that we are given another chance to see the value of other human beings far exceeds the value of what we can get and spend; but even the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was up to the people, not God).

But the "soaring language that is tinged with religious overtones" should not be allowed to obscure the facts:
Congress already has approved $62 billion for the disaster, but that is expected to run out next month and require another budget-busting installment.
Where in the world will $62 billion dollars go in 4 weeks? If Arianna Huffington has her numbers right, we will be spending money in the three state at approximately 12 times the rate we're spending it in Iraq. This means we'll blow past the total spent in Iraq before Christmas.

Without so much as one building razed, one spade of dirt turned for rebuilding, and still nothing even vaguely resembling a coherent response coming out of FEMA, it's understandable the President would resort to grand phrases and lofty invocations of aid from the Almighty.

Here on earth, even the church is more practical. We call on "God's grace," but we pass the collection plate, and balance our books. And when no one oversees our spending, we know that all the grace of God in the world, won't save us from a financial day of reckoning.

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