Failing at simple arithmetic - R.H. Joseph

Is it any wonder American students lag behind young people throughout much of the industrialized world in science and mathematics? Their parents are unable to put 2 and 2 together.

Take Bush's recently stated desire to establish habitats on the moon and send a manned mission to Mars. Half the pundits are livid about spending money we haven't got on things we presently do not need and half are waxing euphoric about boldly going where no one has gone before.

Folks, put 2 and 2 together, he's doing it to you again. He's deliberately distracting you so you won't attend to the important issues.

Don't worry about the moon and Mars, Bush's words are hollow; he lies to further his own agenda.

This whole sudden space exploration hubbub is about influencing the feckless conservative white men comprising the majority of his constituency. Like marketing experts who promise the affection of large-breasted women immediately following the purchase of an enormous vehicle with a muy macho sobriquet (Tundra, Explorer, Navigator, Mountaineer), Bush provides his psychologically emasculated constituency the illusion of potency.

Rockets to the moon and Mars may just be space ships to you and me but Herr Doktor Freud understood their symbolism to the those faced with cultural irrelevance. Sure, a few bucks will be tossed in the appropriate direction (to one of Bush's industrial contributors, no doubt) but most of this is simply headline hooey. See how much cash is allocated following the election.

Ironically, the Bush league's manipulation of its constituency of willingly malleable followers is as contemptuous of this group as my own perspective of the very same voters. Those who tell Bush what he thinks exploit the character of his constituency knowing full well those predisposed to follow do not engage in analytical thought or question authority.

Momentarily flush with the blood of conquest, the powerless are engorged with self-esteem. Their man, their leader has granted them a significance they do not otherwise possess.

Which brings up Bush's attempted manipulation of Hispanics. Again, unable to put 2 and 2 together media pundits decrying the president's recent actions as a blatant attempt to entice this significant bloc of voters into the Republican fold are missing the point.

In this action by Bush, Republican leadership proves itself as contemptuous of Hispanics as it is of its own constituency.

"How?" you ask.

Remarkably, Republican leadership is capable of exploiting the pervasive racism (and religious triumphalism) among its constituency without being able to fathom the moral outrage of those impacted by such elitism. Fully appreciating the result of a provocation to which they remain blind, Republicans have virtually abandoned attempts to attract black voters.

Time and time again polls indicate blacks and Republicans share many common values. "Why, oh why don't they vote for us?" ask those incapable of an objectivity challenging the conceits of self-absorption. (Don't forget, the religious right pretends to occupy a moral high ground.)

The answer lies in the systemic racism of the Republican constituency. American blacks see the Republican Party for what it was and what it remains.

Bush may toss a few crumbs in the direction of Hispanics in order to influence (buy?) the next election but in the long run they, too, will be confronted with the same virulent racism that alienates blacks.

When it happens, when the majority of Hispanics vote for Democrats, Republicans will be flummoxed. "Why, oh why don't they vote for us?"

Republicans can't put 2 and 2 together and neither can media pundits, for that matter. The latter must attempt to see beyond the short term, to extrapolate objectively.

Too many of us have become comfortable dallying amidst the smoke and mirrors of consumerism. We have become accustomed to accepting the Madison Avenue-style rhetoric of the Republican Party without focusing our attention on the reality behind the razzle-dazzle.

If industrialists cut down all the trees during Bush's Happy Forest campaign, the forest won't really be happy. Put 2 and 2 together.

Similarly, Bush's Happy Air and Water campaign will foul our own nest for a buck. Put 2 and 2 together.

I'd like to ask Bush, America's pinnacle of moral rectitude, to describe the difference between such behavior and prostitution.

Trouble is, he can't put 2 and 2 together.

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.