Barack Obama looks good, and he sounds so pretty. I would be entranced, except for that sniggly little part of my brain that demands logic and intelligence. If only I could just shut that off and enjoy the rhetoric of Barack Obama for what it is, flavorful nothing, like Jello, except it won’t make your fingernails stronger.
Senator Obama gives a speech on his website, taped in a home somewhere, as if he were leading a discussion group regarding religion and it’s place in American society. Check it out. I dare you.
The two and a half minute video is entitled “Welcome To Faith Forums”.
Speaking about the past few years, Senator Obama says, “On the left, too many became afraid to speak about their values, for fear of offending others or sounding preachy. On the right, the language of faith has been used too often as a weapon, to divide…”
Yeah, it’s those right-wing nuts out there who have forced this country into such hostilities about ‘belief-systems.’ We, for I count myself among those cuckoos, wield our faith like a bludgeon, striking down without pity all those who would oppose us. Just the other day I was clobbering my drycleaner with my Christian “language,” (hitting him with words like “grace,” “peace,” and “forgiveness.”) Religious zealots on the right have wreaked such destruction with their “language of faith” that finally the non-right-wing/non-believers forced us to take prayer out of schools, and the Ten Commandments off of the courthouse in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Ten Commandments, the actual bona fide (from the Latin, meaning “good faith”) basis for our legal system, has a more certain place in our society than just about anything else, including Obama, but apparently it is too “divisive” to tolerate on display at a court of law.
I’m guessing that on the other side, the left-wing religious zealots are just too afraid these days to pronounce any morally relevant thoughts, so they scream other stuff instead. To be sure, they would prefer to proselytize, if they could only do so without sounding “preachy”, or getting their heads blown off by tolerant Muslims.
Luckily, Obama has an answer for that. In his discussion to the audience he admonishes that he wants to lead us to determine:
“…how to bridge this divide and reconnect our values to the most urgent social and political problems we face as a nation… [problems – poverty, war, the uninsured,] rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness…”
Careful! Be very careful when listening to him, because he sounds almost like he makes sense, but in fact he changed subjects while you blinked. Apparently, according to Obama, our societal problems stem simply from our lack of concern. Read it again, if you’re not certain. I’ll wait. He asserts that our apathy is caused by our moral values vanishing in a sea of religious tension. Poor people are poor because you don’t care, and war happens because you’re indifferent, too distracted are you by the religious campaign you are embarked upon. The uninsured population is really just a matter of – nobody bothers about those people! These accusations, that Americans are apathetic in general, and that our thoughtlessness is the root cause of our problems – of all of our major problems - is outrageous and insufferable. Perhaps Obama believes insensitivity is what “caused” the attacks on 9/11, since he firmly places blame for the war in the same camp of “individual callousness”. Yes, of course! Why didn’t I see it sooner? The twin towers came down as a protest against coldhearted and unsympathetic America, the same America whose representatives just agreed on a bill authorizing a $50 billion AIDS relief package, virtually tripling Bush’s current program, which is already the largest disease-focused foreign aid initiative in US history. Hmm… someone should tell Bono. He seems to think we aren’t doing enough, like Obama. But, in fact, after hitting an all-time low in the mid 1990s (under President Bill Clinton), total foreign assistance for fiscal years 2003/2004 (excluding Iraq reconstruction,) in real terms, has been larger than any two-year period since the mid-1980s.
Hey, Barack, have you thought that perhaps our problem is just a lack of good PR? (If only Hollywood were pro-America.) With a good press agent, you could have people nodding along to just about anything. But, of course, you know that already.
Senator Obama goes on to say that solving our problems (meaning poverty and war) “…will require not just a change in government policy, but a change of heart… it will require reaching across religious divides.”
Uh oh… Hold on, because he switched back again. Let me translate: The reason you don’t care is that we as a people and a country are divided religiously, and so nobody gives a crap about the war. I’m sorry, but does this really make sense to anyone? Let me try again: We have to stop bickering over what Muslim beheaded which Christian, so we can focus on caring about each other, so that war and poverty will end. Yeah, right.
Actually, I’m all for that, but talk to the commuters with the bombs in their pants, first, please. As far as I’m concerned, and I’m just one religious right-wing nut, so I can’t speak for all the mental cases out there, but they attacked us, so shouldn’t they be doing the reaching? I’m just concerned they maybe want to yank me into that chasm Obama has just pointed out down there.
“I’m glad to be a leader in this effort to heal our country… if we can embrace a common destiny… we’ll be doing God’s work here on earth.”
Or Allah’s work, anyway.
Actually, though, “embrace a common destiny” sure sounds pretty, off the tongue, but what does it really mean, do you think? We should all want the same things, not necessarily, but let’s just suppose yes; for everyone, sure, fine; equally, maybe… but that’s starting to sound almost like ‘embrace a communist destiny.’
And yet, this rhetoric stands relatively unchallenged by the throngs who shout, “Yes we can!” Ostensibly, ‘yes they can’ vote for a nice-looking gibberish-touting spokesperson for president of these United States and ‘yes they can’ do it without at all understanding what the heck he’s talking about, because there is no sense in his schpiel. Blaming the religious divide in the US for causing the war, poverty, and uninsured, among other societal woes (perceived or documentable) is absurd and disingenuous. Any actual religious split is simply that, and perhaps in a small way a reflection or alternate definition of the political differences that exist today over how to proceed in the brave new world, post 9/11.
You know where the real divide is? The Intelligence Divide. Maybe I’ll reach across to understand Obama as soon as he stops his speechifying and articulates some real wisdom. If you want beauty and brains, keep looking.
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