February 27, 2008
The sliming of Obama
Posted by: Andoni
As a 61 year old, I vividly remember the last time I got this excited about a presidential candidate. It was 1960 and the young charismatic, intelligent, candidate was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He spoke with ease in a manner that conveyed ideas clearly and inspired me.
One distinct thought I remember from that election was that all the presidents before JFK had been born in the prior century, the 1800s or before. I had nothing in common with these people. Kennedy would be the first president born in the 20th century, my century, the one I could relate to.
If the election comes down to John McCain and Barack Obama I believe there will be a similar symbolic divide in the minds of voters born after mid-20th century. They will find it harder to relate to John McCain, born in 1936, than Barack Obama born in 1961.
The other vivid memory I have from 1960 is just how far the people who resisted change (whether to a president from a new generation or because he was Catholic) would go to disparage Kennedy. My next door neighbor was Protestant. She hated Catholics and said so daily. She loved to show me photos of the pope where she had added artwork to include devil’s horns. She showed me pictures of the pope with Kennedy where she added cartoon dialog bubbles with dirty thoughts. She never missed a moment to scare me with thoughts of the Pope ruling America if Kennedy got elected. Where these outlandish thoughts came from -- other than pure hate and fear -- I do not know.
Today, Barack Obama is a similar barrier-smashing, change candidate who is threatening the status quo in America’s political arena. And today Barack is being hit with smears just like Kennedy.
In January I received chain emails (even from smart people whom I would not think of as bigoted) claiming Obama was a Muslim who attended a madrassa in Indonesia and then refused to use a Bible when sworn in as a senator, using a Koran instead. When put to any independent fact check test, all those claims turned out to be utterly false.
Now even someone from our community has gotten into the slime-Obama act. For the past several months, Larry Sinclair has been peddling a story that he picked up Obama in a bar, had sex and did drugs in the back of a limo:
To stretch credibility even further, Sinclair claimed that Barack liked him so much that he returned for more a few days later. News surfaced yesterday that, not surprisingly, Sinclair failed a polygraph test but we'll have to wait and see if that finally put this particular whisper campaign to bed.
Now I’m hearing claims that Obama is some sort of cult figure, even putting himself out there as a Messiah. One example is in the first comment under a previous post of mine, "Dr. Barack Obama."
The cult charge is really off the mark. There is one easy, significant and important difference between a cult or messianic movement and the Obama campaign. The former put all their faith in the leader (Jesus, Jim Jones, etc.), but the Obama campaign spreads the power and responsibility around. “Yes we can.” Notice the “we.” It’s not “Yes, I can” or “Believe in me, I can do it for you.”
When Obama exites people by saying “Yes we can,” he follows the example of none other than the United States Constitution and “We the people…” In founding our Republic, “We the people” gave the power to our elected officials. Now that it's apparent that elected officials have really botched things, Obama is returning to the original motivation to rouse people into action, to rebuild the country.
So just like John F. Kennedy, Obama is going to have everything thrown at him from anyone who fears the seismic change that Obama represents. Let’s hope that a majority of Americans are able to objectively analyze each onslaught and see through the bigotry and the lies conjured by those who feel most threatened.
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