My concerns are great no matter where George lolls or meanders --The Crawford Compound, a fundraiser, a tour of the Gulf States, or just propped up in bed, reading The Purpose Driven Life. But when he travels far, far, from home, going to church in Beijing and signs a guest book, "God bless the Christians in China, " he really scares the bejesus out of me. Shouldn 't a man of true faith write, "God bless the world? "
But "God Bless the Christians in China " reminds me of the largest, spoken Presidential blunder ever --in a cauldron of so many --when Bush used the word "Crusade " at the beginning of the war on terror. Mortified handlers rose quickly to explain that Bush really meant "struggle, while many of us shook our heads in disbelief and asked, "How will we ever set this one right? "
So, when I read that Bush emerged from Gangwashi Church and formed his thoughts, "You know, it wasn 't all that long ago that people were not allowed to worship openly in this society ...blah, blah, blah, " I felt humiliation for my country. Because our own deficiencies in providing rights have been enormous. And they also have been very visible to the world. For example, Katrina and Rita. Those victimized by the hurricanes and, then, victimized again by the poor response of our government weren 't allowed certain human staples either. All the stranded, impoverished and paycheck-to-paycheck living New Orleans citizens were denied food, water, medical care, safe passage, and dignity. And many of them are still displaced. Most certainly, too, the death of Rosa Parks is a reminder that human rights were not a huge priority in this country for years unless you could check the box labeled "Caucasian. "
Furthermore, for George W. to be in China, jawing about the right to dissent when he and Cheney are giving the verbal slap-down to those who criticize their war in Iraq is, well, jaw-dropping. And so is the President 's flip-flopping. One day, he 's defending those who speak against the war and a failed foreign policy, saying that dissention is patriotic. And then he 's praising the Vice for his use of the word "reprehensible " to describe those of us who challenge the occupation of Iraq, coming down on the opposite side to deter dissent. Is this what it means to cover all the bases or is the Commander in Chief just very, very confused? Maybe, someone in the kitchen in China is slipping a little MSG in his dim sum.
Missy Comley Beattie lives in NY city. Her nephew, a marine, was killed in Iraq this past summer