Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bush's "Integrity"

Andrew Sullivan's "email of the day" does an excellent job of disemboweling the claim (made in a previous "email of the day") that George W. Bush is a "man of integrity." Here's what Andrew himself would call the money quote:

A man who hires somebody like Karl Rove to obfuscate and spin the truth and to vicitimize minorities for political purposes is no man of integrity. A man who has so ineptly planned for the security of this nation (and Iraq) as was vividly revealed by Katrina when he has stood in front of millions of his citizens saying otherwise is no man of integrity. A man whose government is filled with incompetent cronies, and who values loyalty above merit is no man of integrity. A man who spends so irresponsibly the money of generations to come and who does not think of the economic and social consequences for this nation's future is no man of integrity. A man who courts the views of extremists and fundamentalists whose own views are grounded in hate and fear and who would choose to scapegoat homosexuals to win votes is no man of integrity. A man who would ignore scientific evidence and instead professes support for the dodgy theory of intelligence design is no man of integrity.

The word integrity actually needs to mean something. It should not be a platitudinous word that is used by men so flippantly. Your reader is wrong in this regard. George Bush is no man of integrity.

One further thought:

The use of the word integrity by Bush supporters as a platitudinous term of praise devoid of actual content parallels Bush's assertions that "So-and-so [Rumsfeld, Putin, Bolton, Gonzalez . . . whoever] is a good man. I know his heart, and he is good," which Bush uses to defend his associates against charges of wrongdoing or incompetence. As if "being good" is an unchanging, abstract quality with no connection to concrete actions, decisions, or policies.

Once Bush decides you are "good" then you can lie, cheat, and screw things up till the cows come home and never suffer any consequences . . . because Bush "knows" you are "a good man," and that's all that matters.

For those who think of themselves as Christians, note that Jesus never spoke of "goodness" in this empty way. "By their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew 7:16). Integrity is measured by what people do, not by what they say, how they look, or who their friends are.
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