The Campaign Spot

The Left Finally Accepts Religion in Government… So Long As You Worship Obama

Thinking about the Smith College op-ed where a student declares Obama to be her “Personal Jesus,” I’m reminded of something I wrote on the off-duty blog:

This [children singing about Obama] video illustrates a phenomenon that I’ve periodically underestimated in assessing politics this cycle.
A large number of Americans, like the poster on Mulder’s wall, Want To Believe.
They want to believe in a political leader who they can describe in Messianic terms. They want to touch hands that have touched him. They want the face of their leader staring down on them on posters in public places.
They want to indoctrinate their children about his greatness before they can think for themselves, as we saw in the “children singing” video.
They want to sing songs about him, and credit him for “healing people’s souls.” They want to get together in groups of tens of thousands and chant their leader’s name. They want to make that silly “O” salute.
Cam, you and I have talked offline about the Founding Fathers and their vision of what a citizen of the new nation would be: fiercely independent, largely self-reliant, skeptical of government power, fearful of the passions of the public at large, and modest in his national ambitions. A large swath of the public is the exact opposite of this.
“A Republic, if you can keep it.” It’s tough to keep it if enough of the citizenry wants to see the chief executive as a Xersian God-King.

We can argue if Obama’s tax plan is good or bad, or whether unconditional face-to-face summits with Iran’s leaders is a good idea, or whether McCain or Obama have the managerial skills to be an effective president. But it’s impossible to refute someone who believes that Obama is healing people’s souls. You can’t dissuade someone whose criteria for a president is whether or not he can make that “mythical voice boom out over the mountaintops.” It’s fascinating that the press that screamed bloody murder over John Ashcroft holding prayer meetings with some staffers before work is now shrugging its shoulders at the fact that a portion of the national conversation includes, “In the Name of Obama, Amen.”

Most Popular

History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
History

The 1620 Project

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived on the eastern coast of North America. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. After all, these were ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
U.S.

Raise the Entrance Fees for Our National Parks

In my role as your go-to purveyor of unpopular opinions, I offer this: We should jack up the entrance fees for our national parks — a lot. One of the many disappointments of the Trump administration is that in spite of his DGAF posturing, Donald Trump has always been a slave to public opinion, which made his ... Read More
U.S.

Raise the Entrance Fees for Our National Parks

In my role as your go-to purveyor of unpopular opinions, I offer this: We should jack up the entrance fees for our national parks — a lot. One of the many disappointments of the Trump administration is that in spite of his DGAF posturing, Donald Trump has always been a slave to public opinion, which made his ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
The Economy

The New York Times Sells Envy

A product always sure to sell, even on Thanksgiving, and especially amid a pandemic, is envy. So I can hardly blame New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo for capitalizing on a bull market. Lamenting that the portfolios of America’s richest men and women have made a quicker recovery from the ... Read More
The Economy

The New York Times Sells Envy

A product always sure to sell, even on Thanksgiving, and especially amid a pandemic, is envy. So I can hardly blame New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo for capitalizing on a bull market. Lamenting that the portfolios of America’s richest men and women have made a quicker recovery from the ... Read More