If you ask Hugo Chavez, he will tell you that U.S. President George W. Bush is the devil. If you ask Dr. Jerry Falwell the same question, he might say Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. While I happen to disagree with all of the aforementioned people in one way or the other, I am pretty sure that none of them are Satan. Chavez’s comments were petty grandstanding. Falwell’s comments were not quite as directly offensive, yet they were inappropriate coming from a man of his spiritual position and maturity. Name calling is for grade school kids not religious leaders or heads of state.
In all fairness, Dr. Falwell was using an expression of speech he did not call Senator Clinton the devil. His point was that the religious right would strongly oppose her if she ran for President. I think that he is right because we all know that her move to the “center” is more a political parlor trick than a real change of heart. Of course, many conservatives do the same thing when it comes election time too. They just happen to be moving from a different fringe of the political spectrum.
Chavez directly called President Bush the devil. He made a joke about still smelling the smoke because the President has spoken at the same spot where Chavez gave his address to the U.N.
In the end, both of the comments were inappropriate. Dr. Falwell should have known better. He should have expected the media to blow his comment out of proportion. I don’t expect much from Chavez although his offer of low cost heating oil for poor people in the Northeast is a very nice gesture.
What makes me upset about the whole thing is how much emphasis people put on words and not actions. I guess that I am just as guilty as the next guy because I am blogging about it. The media talks about these things because we like the street fight more than the real substance of the issues. It makes for more entertaining TV.