“The Squid” Revisited

                                                     Copyright, (c) 2001 Jordan White



            I wrote an essay back in December, 1999 about then-Presidential candidate George W. Bush.  I predicted that he would be elected as the next President of the United States.  I also said that I didn’t trust him because he reminded me of a squid hiding behind its cloud of ink, avoiding any  sort of confrontation it was likely to lose.


            Well, friends, give old Jordan the high-five.


            I was right on both counts ( though whether or not you could say Bush was legally elected is another story).  At any rate, Bush is in office, and he’s still hiding.  I know what you’re going to say: Give the guy a chance, already.  He’s only been in the White House for two months.  He’s still making connections, finding his way around.  It’s too soon to make a call about how this guy will operate.


            Well, in my last article on Bush I said, “Yet I see some very disturbing signs,” meaning that though I respected much about his character and capabilities, I did not like what I saw when some people attempted to get some very real answers to some very real questions.  Questions that George W. Bush did not like.


            So he evaded them.  He backed away from answering them straight, and came up with a little diversion to hide behind until the “danger” passed.


            And, lo and behold, what headline did I see in the March 21, 2001 edition of my local newspaper?  “BUSH VOWS TO BACK OFF MIDEAST”.


            Now there’s a surprise. 


            According to the article, authored by Warren P. Strobel for the Knight Ridder Newspapers, states, in part, that “Bush’s assertion of a relatively hands-off approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks amounted to a victory for Sharon...but Bush’s promise is almost certain to anger the Palestinians...”  Over a year ago, I  “warned Israel” ( I guess you could say in the format of an “open letter”) in my essay on then-candidate Bush, to “think very seriously about solving the Palestinian problem yourselves”, by returning the Occupied Territories to their rightful owners, who are, of course, the Palestinians.  I also recommended that they dismantle the settlements and allow for the return of the (at least) 4.6 million refugees.  My reasoning was (and is) that Bush would not be willing, in my view, to continue the US role of brokering any peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. 


            So, now what?  Will Israel decide to do the only sensible, humane thing and follow the path to peace by finally granting just treatment for the Palestinians?


            I’m sorry to have to say this, but I don’t think there’s ever been a time in history where that was less likely to occur than now.


            All right, I’m done with President Bush.  I’ve knocked him around as much as I’m going to.  And, believe it or not, I’m also done with the Israelis.


            I addressed the American people in my earlier article on George W. Bush.  I urged them not to vote for the man, because I did not feel he had what it took to be the leader of the “Free World” (nice term, huh?  Not very accurate, but nice).  I still don’t.


            But Bush is here to stay, at least for the next four years, so, Americans, I think it’s time for us to let him continue to prove himself for what he is, and for us to own up to the fact, that, in reality, Bush is the way he is, and will remain so because we want him that way.  You see, George W. Bush is not the only “squid”.


            America, you too are hiding behind your own particular cloud of ink.  And that has been your unprecedented prosperity of the past few years.  Interest rates have been low, inflation has been held in check, the stock market has soared.  High-tech industries have brought incredible spending power to twenty-and-thirty-somethings who own million-dollar mansions and drive ultra-ritzy automobiles.  And I don’t mean just a handful of people.  This kind of lifestyle is available to anyone who is willing to go to school, learn the stuff for a few years, and then go out and do the work.  The payoffs are enormous.


            Yet what do I see of you, America?  And yes, especially (but not exclusively), young America?  At a time that you have so much extra, so much to give,  your attitude seems often to be “every man for himself”.  TV shows reflect the self-absorbed mental state of our money-and-property-obsessed culture.  Advertising appeals to the sex, drugs, and rock and roll interests of those whose lives are all about themselves and whose only problems are how to spend as much as possible while making someone else pay.


            Am I being a gloom-and-doomer?  Oh, yeah, you bet I am.


            Because, if it’s every man for himself now, when there is so much for so many, what is going to happen when the resources start to dry up, the stock market totally crashes, and there are massive layoffs, and there will not be enough of anything to go around?  And it will happen.  Mark my words.  IT WILL HAPPEN.  We have lost our way.  Our national character and reputation is severely damaged.  Our God is money and power.  Even our churches bend over backwards to indulge the self-oriented outlook of their members, and instead of pointing the way to a spiritually satisfying life drinking at Christ’s springs of living water, opt for “retreats” and “dining groups” and such that appeal to the temporal, the meaningless.


            God help us.


            America, let us regard the Palestinian people as a chance to redeem ourselves.  Let us decide to follow Christ’s example of caring for the poor and needy instead of aiding and abetting the selfish schemes of those who are abusing them.


            These people are our wake-up call.  This may be our final chance to summon up our final shreds of humanity.  We have the power to help these people achieve their dream of statehood, of independence, of freedom from oppression and abuse from the power that has illegally occupied them for so long.


            Jesus said, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”  (Matt. 25: 40)



            Many of our encounters with those whom the world has neglected and despised are an opportunity for us to show just how much we really value what Christ has done for us.  It’s an opportunity to be less absorbed with the material and temporal, and learn the values that go beyond this life, and begin to touch eternity.


            Jesus has a human face.



                                                                                                March 2001