Friday, July 25, 2008
Trouble in Obamatopia?
SECOND COMING. I'm not saying the bloom is off the rose. But there are signs that the rose is slowly morphing into the plastic kind American liberals usually have to settle for. The kind that has to be dusted off regularly and sprayed with expensive perfumes that can't wholly cover the stink of artificiality beneath. You know. The valorous command personaility of John Kerry. The incandescent intellect and heartfelt populism of Al Gore. The "I feel your pain" sincerity of Bill Clinton. Etc. All fictions (un)scrupulously upheld for campaign purposes but never believed. Not really. Not without a certain cynical wink they winked at each other and never thought the rest of us could see. And certainly not the way they have believed in Obama -- devotedly, uncritically, irrationally, passionately, even religiously.
That's the explanation for the ridiculous displays featured in the McCain ad above. Forget the metrosexual ramifications of the creepy man-crush behavior exhibited by so-called hardened journalists in the ad. It's not really sexual. It's spiritual. (Well, maybe not for the giggling women on 'O-Force One.') The immense peril of the strictly secular culture the libs want us to embrace is that all people need a spiritual element in their lives. That's why hard-line marxist feminists trash all organized religions and then perversely immerse themselves in New Age fantasies about Gaia, Wicca, Yoga, and Reiki. The quest for meaning is not synonymous with calculating the solution to an algebraic equation. The most determinedly atheistic adherents of social-engineering rationalism have historically been the most vulnerable to getting swept up in a cult of personality of the sort Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, and now Hugo Chavez exploited in achieving absolute power over their followers. Having renounced the divine in the universe itself, they must find an outlet for the ineradicable human yearning for a higher power who can fill the hole in their souls created by the absence of meaning.
As this site has proposed before in other contexts, that's the real genius of the founding fathers. What has been called "separation of church and state" was more importantly the excision of the divine from politics. It's a corollary of Matthew 22.21, which reads, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s": the constitutional understanding of this is, "Render unto your God the things that are your God's, and render unto Caesar only those things that are Caesar's." Which represents, above all, an absolute prohibition against allowing or enabling the state to usurp -- in terms of individual belief, obedience, and worship -- the role of private spirituality in everyday life. Politicians, however highly placed, are only politicians -- i.e., ambitious men who are fallible, inherently sinful, prone to corruption, and never to be trusted as arbiters of individual values for the populace as a whole.
The mission of secular liberals to exterminate all traces of the Judeo-Christian tradition from any part or institution of society that government touches -- which is, by now, all parts and institutions -- couldn't be any more contrary to the intrinsic intent of the founders. But the more they succeed, the lonelier they feel. As the spiritual -- and, yes, by that I mean an ineffable sense of the divine -- becomes less and less a part of their lives, they begin to seek it in the impoverished secular realm they have consigned themselves to. Without a Yahweh, a Christ, a Buddha, or an Allah of their own to whom they can pray in the dark night of private pain, they begin to long for... want... need... absolutely have to have a savior. Behold! Here he is! Eureka! They don't know what's happening to them. Their hyper-intellectualized worldviews are suddenly transformed by a profundity of emotional response that has no precedent in their experience apart from sex. But in matters of the spirit, they have become children, and so they respond to it like children making their first acquaintance with sexual attraction. As worshippers they are as inept and slavish in their devotions as any pubescent boy or girl who descends into the confusion of a hopeless crush. When it comes to religion they are tyros (and, yes, I am absolutely saying that Catholic Chris Matthews is no Catholic; he couldn't be such an ass about Obama if he were a Roman Catholic in anything but name only...)
Poor Obama. He's been set up. He's been propelled by this wave of misplaced desire for a secular messiah to heights where he cannot help but be humiliated, perhaps even destroyed. The MSM fever is so advanced that none of them -- and I mean none -- has yet perceived the horrifying irony of an American politician standing on a podium in Germany recruiting that nation's citizens to join him in his grand personal mission to usher in a new age of life on earth. No one has done that in Berlin since Adolf Hitler. And if the Germans should like it, does that really confirm his mission? Or does it sound a chord that Americans most of all are likely to respond to with suspicion and alarm?
Poor Obama. Back in the 19th century, Herman Melville wrote "Billy Budd," a short novel offering a different kind of Christ figure -- a pure innocent so guileless that he became the scapegoat for a multitude of sins he had nothing to do with. He was sacrificed to relieve everyone around of him of their very real guilt. Billy believed what people told him. He trusted them. And they killed him.
As a politician, Obama is not entirely an innocent. But he has the innocence of the talented neophyte in believing that he can somehow control the vast forces that are carrying him to power. He can't. He did not know that his messianic speech in Berlin was, however it's reviewed today and tomorrow, a truly terrible idea. He may not have a deeply developed sense of his own identity, which would make him a ripe target for manipulation by those who read their own hopes onto the blank canvas of his personality. And he is almost certainly unprepared for the price that will be paid by a putative savior who insists that good intentions and a friendly meeting of minds will solve all the problems of the world. The consequences will be worse by an order of magnitude if he has actually come to believe that he is the fiction his promoters have written for him.
What the liberals don't understand is that a great many of the people they habitually look down on are far more sophisticated about matters of spirit and divinity than they are. When they see a Golden Calf being worshipped by idolaters, they cock their heads and say, "Uh oh. This is something we know about. And it's never good."
I don't believe much in the polls. Some of the conservative blogs are trying to make hay out of the fact that so far, Obama doesn't seem to have gotten a "bump" from the World Tour spectacle. Time will tell.
But here's the one statistic I think might be meaningful:
The extraordinary peak for McCain appeared suddenly on July 22.
Moreover, there are other signs of cracks in the faith called Obama.
The MSM is showing, well, some resentment of the lordly Obama campaign.
The "house conservative" of the New York Times has actually employed the phrase "jumped the shark." (And he didn't get his column mailed back to him for 'revision')
Not all the Brits are apparently on board. (So much, btw, for the idea that there's no way to make fun of Obama.)
Even the Germans seem anxious to correct the record.
And perhaps the troops, who have made the most sacrifices in recent years, aren't altogether buying the act.
It may well be that (some of) the true believers are starting to realize that their candidate is just a man, not a substitute divinity.
That would be a good thing. It may not change the end result of the election. But if Obama remembers that he's just a man, it may improve the end result of this campaign season, regardless of who wins.
What did the Goddess Gertrude say? "A rose is a rose is a rose." Even if it's a plastic counterfeit. This is America. We can live with that. As long as the rose knows what it is. Can you?