Friday, April 11, 2008

African Hero

Dr. Paul Kengor, noted biographer of Ronald Reagan, pens a fascinating article about George Bush's leadership, derived from his Christian faith, in mitigating the miseries of Africans. The fascinating thing about what Bush has done is how quiet the left has been about it. Much of Kengor's column recounts the history behind Bush's initiative in the course of which he writes this:

If a Democratic president had done what Bush has done for Africa, the New York Times would recommend a 100-foot bronze statue on the Mall. Instead, there is utter silence concerning this stunning, expensive act of human charity-one certainly beyond what American presidents would ever be expected to do. Liberal college professors and Hollywood types would be walking around with special little ribbons on their lapels representing the president's Africa initiative.

Then Kengor says:

George W. Bush, devout Christian, in the role of Good Samaritan, was doing what no leader of any country had ever done for Africa.

I wrote on this in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle in September 2004. The opinion editor of the Chronicle was, like Bob Geldof, a fair liberal; he happily ran the piece, thinking it would enlighten his readership, especially the faith component-a bracing revelation to an angry left that insists Bush's "born-again faith" makes him a narrow-minded troglodyte.

What was the response? I received hateful e-mails telling me that not only was Bush - and myself as well - a "moron," but the entire Africa AIDS thing was a ruse, a sham, and the money wasn't even being spent. Bush was a "liar," and so was I. One e-mailer acted like a child with his hands over his ears screaming, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Facts made no difference whatsoever.

Likewise, there is denial or disinterest by liberals who dominate America culture and shape perception: Hollywood, academia, media. The left so detests this president that it will not give him credit for anything. He is a new kind of Frankenstein's monster: half Torquemada and half Boris Karloff.

I'm not surprised by the lack of credit Bush has received on this from the right. Conservatives don't like how this president spends money like a drunken sailor, and his action toward Africa is viewed as another such manifestation - a raft of do-gooder poppycock that isn't the job of the federal government.

The big story is why the left isn't thrilled, and then, beyond that, the deeper silence that refuses to acknowledge the link between this work of Bush benevolence and his Christian faith. For George W. Bush, this is simply a reward he will need to receive much later - much like the Good Samaritan.

The fact is that many on the left are not as fair-minded as Geldof or Bono. Their hatred for Bush is personal, not just political. The New York Times won't be erecting any monuments, but I'll bet a few go up in Africa someday, which is where it counts, anyway. I'll bet a few also go up in Afghanistan and Iraq as well. I wonder how many monuments there are in foreign countries to any other American president.


Show of Hands

Speaking of Africa, let's have a show of hands - How many think we should use force to rescue the Sudanese? More than 200,000 people have died, and 5.4 million have been driven from their homes as the devastating war continues in Darfur, Sudan. Suffering children and families urgently need food, water, and medical care to survive according to World Vision.

This tragedy is little different than the one in Rwanda in 1994 when the nation's of the world stood around twiddling their collective thumbs while a million Tutsis were savagely butchered by the Hutus. The pace of the genocide in Sudan is somewhat slower, but it's just as deadly.

Diplomacy seems to have little effect on the thugs in Khartoum. The only way to save these wretched people from the ravages of the militias who are murdering, maiming, raping and enslaving them appears to be to use military force. Let's take a stand. Should we rescue them or should we not? Should we send in troops and pacify the countryside and topple the brutes who hold power in Khartoum or should we sit around the air-conditioned United Nations, wining, dining and generally talking the problem to death while the Sudanese starve in the oppressive heat? These seem to be our options, so which do you support?

I think our answer to that question says a lot about what kind of people we are, don't you?


Liberal Governance

Rich Lowery illustrates in just a few short paragraphs why liberalism is a terrible philosophy by which to govern. Many of our major cities are disaster areas, like New Orleans but without the hurricane, and almost every one of them is managed by liberal Democrats. Lowery focusses on just one particularly egregious example, Detroit.

Detroit suffers from every possible malady except a plague of locusts, and that's only because they find urban living uncongenial. The city has a revitalized downtown, but all around it, the city rots. Forbes magazine declared Detroit "America's Most Miserable City," on the basis of its unemployment and crime rates, among other things. The unemployment rate of 8.2 percent is the highest of any major urban area in the nation, and its homicide rate is higher than New York's in the bad old days of the early 1990s.

The city has lost 1 million residents since 1950. It was hit by the decline of the auto industry and white flight, fueled partly by racism. These trends would have rocked the city no matter what. Detroit compounded them with disastrous governance, personified by Mayor Coleman Young, who held office for 20 years beginning in 1974.

His record raises the question why, if it wanted to engage in a nefarious plot to hurt blacks, the federal government would invent the AIDS virus when it could simply emplace mayors like Coleman Young instead. "Imagine a Rev. Jeremiah Wright with real power," says urban expert Fred Siegel. Coleman taunted suburbanites, accusing them of "pillaging the city," while his scandal-plagued administration managed the city into the ground.

Read the rest at the link for which thanks are due to Jason for passing it along.

To Lowery's column we might add the recent news that seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates less than 50 percent, with the lowest rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

Nevertheless, the people of these cities keep electing the same party to run the schools despite their abject and catastrophic failure. It would be amusing were it not so tragic.