Wednesday, February 02, 2005

First Interesting Review of President Bush's Second Inaugural Address

Truly ecumenical, the second inaugural address of George W. Bush did not give any ground. You gotta love a world leader who can be inclusive without back peddling.

In the understatement of Peggy Noonan, it was not pedestrian. Ms. Noonan is the one who wrote the Wall Street Journal opinion:
Way Too Much God.

Today I came across (finally) a review that had something to add:
What Bush understands about ‘tikkun olam’
By Lloyd M. Green
"tikkun olam" is described as the perfection of the world through the Almighty's sovereignty and the text and tone of the address is compared favorably with language from the High Holiday liturgy. We're talking Old Testament worship here, or Hebrew Bible.

In other words, tikkun olam is not about "Kumbayah," holding hands, taking a village, or even leaving no child behind.

Rather, liturgically and traditionally tikkun olam is about all of humanity calling G-d's name, and literally and metaphorically eradicating idolatry...
Idolatry referring not just to false gods (higher, divine beings) but also ideals or stuff we use to replace God, the Highest.

My non-liturgical, non-political take is that Bush is talking about doing right as a nation.

But relax. Mr. Green turns conventionally against the address by the end, and suggests we might be better off with a "right to party" and tax cut.

He points out man does not have a good track record with cleaning up the world for God, and we know most atrocities have been done in the name of one God or another, often the Judeo/Christian Creator.

So Mr. Green asks the question:

But is the pursuit of the eradication of tyranny, as opposed to the pursuit of happiness, a viable policy and goal for government?
There it is.

we have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without dealing with terrorism, despotism, and tyranny? Can we afford not to eradicate tyranny?

Can we afford tyranny? Is protecting life, liberty and happiness from tyranny in the job description of a nation?

Bush reached out ecumenically, as is his practice and belief, but also stood firm on the ground that more must be done and there is One who will help. Is he naive, dangerous, on the money?

While we also appreciate the "liturgical sweep" and "better grasp" of "tikkun olam" noted by Mr. Green, we are not yet ready to trade freedom from tyranny for a party, even with a tax cut.

Stay tuned, Mr. Green. Not all world leaders, not all followers of The Book, are bad and doomed to a bad end.

Here's to Mr. Bush and his ecumenical, faith-based, right-doing.


Blogger rysolag said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 2, 2005 at 4:42 AM  
Blogger TheMalau said...

See, I do not oppose the idea of a man using his faith to determine what he believes is the right thing to do. We all do it! What I have a poblem with, is when that man lies to me to convince me of the righteousness of the idea... but let's not get into that argument. Eradicating the world of tyranny is a MUST, that much Mr. Bush got right. And if G-d called him in the morning to tell him that, then Hurray for G-d! But as a third-worlder who has often been in the receiving end of US-backed dictators' murderous policies, allow me to doubt the methodology, and the underlying intentions of Mr. Bush.

Favorite joke in my country: "How does Bush KNOW that Saddam Hussein has WMDs? Because he kept the receipts, that's why!"

February 14, 2005 at 6:13 AM  

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