rn: the presidency…and affecting power


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

One book I have been reading lately, Machaelle Small Wright's _DAncing in
the Shadows of the Moon, suggests there are entities at another level who
try to direct world leaders towards good, even people in the Pentagon. The
idea is a bit hard to concieve of for someone like me, who sees so much evil
in places like the White House or the Pentagon...

But, if nothing else, I think the idea is very useful as metaphor. I
strongly believe that we must never write anyone off as unreachable
(although we may decide at some point that some people are unreachable by
ourselves with our limited abilities). And so it is exciting to think that
it might be possible to reach even someone who could be called a "serial
executioner and an idiotic twerp" (Bush).

Hence the two postings below. (The second shows that Bush is in a most
peculiar position, of having power that arguably he has no legal right to
have. This may help make him more "permeable" to the power of truth? Let us

all the best, Jan
PS I find _Dancing in the Shadows kind of hard to relate to, but Wright's
earlier book, _Behaving As If the God in All Life Mattered_ was great!
From: "Carolyn Ballard" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: Sojo Mail 12/22/00
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 15:15:06 -0800

Jan-  There might well be some dark ulterior motive lurking behind Dubyah's
most unusual calling together of these spiritual leaders/thinkers, but the
optimist in me hopes not!!   FYI....Sojourners is a very progressive
spiritual organization, promoting justice, economic reform and
open-mindedness.  You might enjoy their website/newsletters!


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> An unexpected meeting with Mr. Bush
> by Jim Wallis
> When the call came from Austin last Friday, I was
> very surprised. President-elect Bush was already
> wanting to meet with religious leaders about
> faith-based initiatives in solving the nation's
> problems. And he was reaching well beyond his base
> of conservative evangelicals. Would I come and suggest
> others who should be invited?
> Having both been arrested on the White House
> sidewalk and had breakfast meetings with a president
> on the inside, I've concluded that the latter is more
> dangerous to prophetic integrity than the former.
> Nevertheless, I do believe it is important to talk to
> political leaders and do so on a regular basis. And
> because many of us did that with President Clinton
> (until he cut off the relationship when we were
> critical of his welfare reform), I thought we should
> be willing to speak with the new Republican president
> as well. There could be both dangers and opportunities
> here.
> Sitting in a small circle in a Sunday School
> classroom in Austin's First Baptist Church, seven
> Call to Renewal leaders joined about 20 others
> for a conversation with George W. Bush. The meeting
> turned out to be more than a photo-op. Bush mostly
> listened and asked questions for over an hour, then
> stayed longer to mingle and talk to several of us
> individually. He clearly believes in faith-based
> organizations and the important role they can play
> in solving social problems, and wants to make support
> for such grassroots efforts is an important part of his
> administration (there will be a new White House office
> on faith-based initiatives).
> The faith-based leaders in the room were both strong
> and clear about their commitments and concerns. I
> thanked him for being willing to meet with people who
> didn't support his election, but said we would work
> with him if he decided to do something real and
> significant to overcome child poverty. Specifically,
> we suggested he use his inaugural address to call
> the nation to reduce the child poverty rate by half
> in five years. Such a call could be for a nonpartisan
> effort, carried out through new partnerships between
> the government and many other sectors, including
> faith-based organizations, and should be put forward
> as a moral commitment, not just a political one. When
> he asked how to speak to the nation's soul, I suggested
> starting with the kids, who reveal our worst failures
> as a society, but also embody our best hopes.
> We also talked about focusing education reform on
> our poorest children, and forging new partnerships
> between congregations and schools. The importance of
> Africa and the pandemic of AIDS there being on the
> foreign policy agenda was also raised, and he responded
> positively to all the recommendations. Bush asked
> theological questions of the religious leaders, like
> what is justice? It's a key question, especially amid
> fears among some that an emphasis on faith-based
> organizations will be used to substitute for crucial
> governmental responsibilities.
> George Bush was relaxed, informal, witty, and sincere;
> "I don't want to be thought of as just a white Republican
> guy." Afterwards he told me he didn't really have any
> experience with poor neighborhoods like mine, so I told
> him we were just 20 blocks away from his new house
> and I would be happy to show him around when he gets
> to town.
> It was only a first meeting, and just an opening to
> further discussion. But it was a good start. If the
> new president is responsive to the concerns of religious
> leaders, I believe we can find ways to work with a new
> administration and Congress. If not, then our opposition
> to the new administration will be based on having begun
> with some personal contact and relationship. I think
> that's a good thing.
> Afterwards, I told the new president-elect, "I hope
> you surprise us." To which he responded, "I better if
> I hope to get reelected." Perhaps a Republican preaching
> compassionate conservatism, working with Democrats who
> want to fight for poor working families, and both
> joined by faith-based organizations at work on the
> streets could accomplish things that neither
> Democrats and Republicans have been able to do. We'll
> see. The ball is in both our courts.
> For news coverage of Wednesday's meeting:
> The New York Times
> http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/21/politics/21RELI.html
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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2000 22:56:17 EST
Subject: the count


International News
Sunday, 24 December 2000
Ed Vulliamy in New York

As George W. Bush handed further key government posts to hardline
Republican right-wingers, an unofficial recount of votes in Florida
appeared to confirm that Bush lost the US presidential election.

Despite the decision by the US Supreme Court to halt the Florida recount in
the contested counties, American media organisations, includ ing Knight
Ridder - owner of the Miami Herald - have commissioned their own counts,
gaining access to the ballots under Freedom of Information legislation. The
result so far, with the recounting of so-called 'undervotes' in only one
county completed by Friday night, indicates that Al Gore is ahead by 140

Florida's 25 electoral college votes won Bush the presidency by two seats
last Monday after the Supreme Court refused to allow the counting of 45,000
discarded votes. But as the media recount was suspended for Christmas, the
votes so far tallied in Lake and Broward counties have Gore ahead in the
race for the pivotal state, and hence the White House.

Gore's lead is expected to soar when counting resumes in the New Year and
Miami votes are counted. In a separate exercise, the Miami Herald
commissioned a team of political analysts and pollsters to make a
statistical calculation based on projections of votes by county, concluding
that Gore won the state by 23,000.

The media initiative is likely to bedevil Bush in the weeks to come,
thickening the pall of illegitimacy that will hang over his inauguration on
20 January.

It has already led to a face-off between almost all the news media
organisations in the state and Bush's presidential team. In the most
extreme example of the Bush camp's desperation to avoid a recount, the new
director of the Environment Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, has
proposed that the Florida ballots be sealed for 10 years.

Bush's spokesman Tucker Eskew dismissed the recount as 'mischief-making'
and 'inflaming public passions' while his brother, Florida governor Jeb
Bush, accused the papers of 'trying to rewrite history'.