"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
Flocking to Bush
It is estimated that in the 2000 Presidential election, 40% of the votes cast in favor of George W. Bush came from the Evangelical Christian movement. Bush had worked carefully to cultivate a base of support within this movement, to expand upon it and to retain it. Correctly, Bush advisers saw this movement as George W's political salvation.
What was it about Bush which drew right wing Christians to his pulpit? Certainly the ticket of Albert Gore and Joseph Lieberman, stained with the legacy of Bill Clinton's peccadilloes, was not an option for Bible-believing Christians. More importantly though, George Bush was one of them. On his 40th birthday, Bush forswore alcohol and the party life to discover Jesus and become born again. His conversion came at the hands of none other than the Reverend Billy Graham.
This is a familiar pattern among those who become born again. They seem to find God the same way that they found other altars in their lives such as alcohol, drugs or gambling. They tried alcohol and they were hooked. They tried drugs and they were hooked. They tried gambling and they were hooked. They tried the Bible and they were hooked.
Nothing else is quite as important. Evangelical ministers are the father figures they had been missing in life ' the men who would guide these lost sheep into the flock and direct their every move thereafter. This is one of the main appeals of born again life. It really requires no thought and no introspection. For individuals who never could take responsibility for their lives, this pitch offers the perfect solution. Just follow the rule book and everything will be fine.
The born again movement also offers opportunity for those interested in controlling others. Armed with a decent public speaking voice, some salesmanship and a Bible, these ministers love to watch their flock of sheep growing ever larger ' along with their weekly contributions.
Bush was a perfect leader for the movement. He is a man not prone to critical thinking. He is a man who admits to not reading newspapers, because he prefers to get his news through the filter of his closest advisors to avoid being influenced. He is a man who sees the world in simple poles of good-and-evil, with-us-or-against-us. He is comfortable in this black and white environment. It is not challenging. This is welcome territory for a man who is not up to the challenge of analyzing.
The believers match this mindset. It is difficult to know which came first ' believers following Bush because he did not require them to think or Bush becoming a believer because he would no longer have to think. In either case, the result is the same ' a leader who does not think and does not want others to do so.
The election result should surprise nobody. Government has grown by promising citizens that it would take care of their every need. All they needed to do was believe, accept and contribute capital. This attitude has created a nation of individuals who prefer to be led and who are willing to surrender their free will and better judgment to any leader who is strong enough to command their attention. In the end, government and the church are not all that different, and a person who is comfortable being the ward of one is at home with being the ward of the other.
So, Bush gathered his flock on November 2nd . . . and they were pleased. Do not try to analyze why or how. Neither the President nor his flock would not want you to.