Monday, May 03, 2004

Afterlife, shmafterlife...

Hold-ups, delays, setbacks, postponements - sometimes day to day existence is so uncertain that the possibility of an afterlife seems like the last straw.
What – you mean there’s more?
Hard to say… but the good news is that life in this space/time continuum is supposed to improve rapidly any minute now. That’s right – after weeks of decisions that moved at the approximate speed of a sloth on downers, the planet Mercury (it is reported) is abandoning its retrograde activities and moving in the right direction once again.
Why this news has not appeared on the front page of every newspaper (both local and international) is a mystery not revealed in the stars. But you can bet your boots that the White House knows about it, and may even now trying to manipulate this latest of planetary movements into their game plan.
After all, it wouldn’t be the first time.
It’s the strangest of strange phenomenon – the predilection the highest echelons have of placing their eggs in some pretty questionable baskets. This particular administration seems to rely on ‘The Almighty’ for snappy answers to harrowing questions, whilst White Houses of the past have gone straight for the horoscope page in their daily paper – the Reagans being the most famous of star struck first families.
The Reagans and their attachment to San Francisco sibyl Joan Quigley surfaced when Donald Regan’s bitter tell-all book hit the street, and then the news, in 1988, alerting the world to the creepy relationship twixt Oval Office and astrologer, a co-mingling that began when Nancy Reagan met Quigley through TV talk show host Merv Griffin sometime in the 70’s. (Wasn’t I just talking about Merv yesterday? Coincidence… or woo-woo?)
After offering astrological advice during Reagan’s campaign in 1980, the seer was put on a $3000 monthly retainer and given control (though she maintained it was the cosmos that ruled the agenda) of the President’s appointment book for the next several years. According to Regan, the First Lady shared the schedule for the leader of the free world with Quigley, who subsequently went over it with the aid of complicated zodiac charts to decide which days were auspicious for which activities (marked green), which were dangerous (red, notch), and which were somewhat questionable. (Cautionary yellow the shade of choice.)
But if one holds a jaundiced view of iffy situations, could there be anything more worrying that the current President’s messianic ‘tude about not just the war in Iraq, but the total moral supremacy of the United States?
Hey – it’s not just me; the subject of Bush’s God-complex has been raising eyebrows since he was Born Again (once was not enough?) around the time of his fortieth birthday – the point at which he presumably gained through the Lord the strength to give up booze and drugs - and continues to this day, as he’s recently been accorded the dubious title (and in only his first term in office) as the President most given to religious language. And them’s fighting’ words.
Back in the fall of 2003, Sojourner’s magazine (a faith based journal linking Christianity and social justice) ran an article titled ‘Dangerous Religion – George W. Bush’s Theology of Empire’ detailing the 43rd President’s unholy aligning of church and state. (When a Christian organization considers Bush’s policy-making cause for concern, you gotta start praying.) Jim Wallis, the author of the piece writes:
“To this aggressive extension of American power in the world, President George W. Bush adds God—and that changes the picture dramatically. It's one thing for a nation to assert its raw dominance in the world; it's quite another to suggest, as this president does, that the success of American military and foreign policy is connected to a religiously inspired "mission," and even that his presidency may be a divine appointment for a time such as this.”
Are you scared yet?
Perhaps like me, you've made mental note of Bush’s discomfiting tendency to ascribe God’s support of the U.S. position on war in Iraq, and have chosen to see it as a personal quirk – a figurative way of speaking - rather than a claim of insider information.
Perhaps we were wrong.
But perhaps even the President will not remain unmoved by the deeply disturbing news concerning American and allied troop’s treatment of Iraqi prisoners; that the claims of threats, torture, and humiliation (claims, it is important to note, that are backed up by photographic evidence) are not just isolated incidents, but proof that evil at least is no xenophobe. That the United States cannot claim moral superiority by divine right – that it is men who are evil, and not other men’s Gods. And further that to suggest one knows the mind of God (let alone calling dibs on his sponsorship) is if not evil, at the very least misguided.
(Not that I claim any heavenly insight, but I imagine God must be pretty sick of having so much pain, agony and death caused in His name. That, and being held responsible for so many undeserved Grammies, Oscars, Super Bowls…and possibly, Stanley Cups…)
But if there were those of you hoping the American president was going to abandon The Almighty in exchange for Astrological guidance, you might want to think again: Bush is a Cancer – and the planet of war (Mars) is swiftly moving direct in his sign.
For God’s sake – isn’t it enough already?

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