human behavior

God, family, country

Posted in American Culture & Politics by humanb on November 29, 2006

usflagwavyA few months before I moved to Australia, I was living in Virginia and taking an adult swimming class at the local Rec Center. Among my classmates were three Filipino-American men. We were friendly from the start. I told them I was moving to Australia, and one remarked he had family in Melbourne who complain about Australia being a racist country. He said he was glad he moved to America.

To this I just had to ask how he found largely Republican Virginia. To my question he responded quickly and fervently:

I love Virginia. I’m Republican. God, family, country!

He shut me up. But he also got me thinking.

Why would he equate the values represented by “God, family, country” with the Republican Party?

George Bush is a born-again Christian. He adores his wife, is proud of his daughters, and is part of the cohesive Bush clan. Few doubt that the man loves his country. He barely left it before becoming President despite wealth and opportunity as the son of a President. Bush clearly shares the values of “God, family, country” with this Filipino-American man, and reminds us regularly.

But this is not a reason to vote for a man for president. This is a reason to invite a man over for a barbecue. This is a reason to like a man, respect him, and want to count him amongst your friends.

You don’t vote for the man who shares your values, you vote for the man who serves them.

God: How has Bush in his capacity as the Head of State served God? Has he looked after the weakest of God’s children – the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the widowed, the orphaned, the sick? Is to restrict AIDS funding from public health programs where condoms are promoted, serving God or playing Him?

Family: How has Bush in his capacity as the Chief Executive served to strengthen families? Does a federal minimum wage of $5.15/hour serve families? Does the lack of universal health care serve families? Do the current eligibility requirements for Medicaid serve families? Do current gun laws serve families? Do small individual tax cuts really serve families if such money could have been kept by government and prudently redistributed?

Country: How has Bush in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief enhanced the security of our citizens domestically and abroad? How has he strengthened global respect for our country? How has he maintained our dominance in education and industry? How has he maintained and reinforced our image as a country behaving in the world in accordance with the highest ethical standard? Is America more a beacon on the hill today than it was in 1999?

As the President of the United States, Bush’s anti-abortion stance is irrelevant, as he will never be able to ban it. His anti-gay marriage stance is also irrelevant, as we are a federation of states with their own power. The only values of his that matter in his capacity as President, are the ones he can successfully serve through implementation of passable legislation.

If that Filipino-American man can say “yes” with confidence to the questions listed above, or if he can give other concrete examples of how Bush has served God, family and country in his capacity as Head of State, Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, then his conflation of the Republican Party with his values-motto is justified, and I respect his party affiliation and his vote.

But if he is a member of the Republican Party because Bush and individual members of the Republican Party give voice to his values, then he should invite the lot over for a barbecue, but vote for the guy who serves those values instead.

I care less about what my president thinks, and a great deal more about what he does.

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