I'll not provide the footnotes for I presume you are all familiar with recent history but let me refresh a few recollections.First there was the disgraceful embarrassment of recruiting Donnie McClurkin who was the “... black preacher who sang at the Republican National Convention in 2004" and “gained notoriety for his view that homosexuality is a choice and can be “cured” through prayer, a view ridiculed by gay people.” Since McClurkin's notorious reputation was well know this was no accident but the backfired SOP wherein State bows to Church.
Then there was his utterly revolting choice of the soon-to-be bankrupt homophobic tub-thumping Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., to deliver his smarmy sophistry at the first inaugural. Aside from his infamous homophobia there was his anti-Semitism. As the late Christopher Hitchens reported in his Fighting Words against 'crackbrained religious nut-bags', when the purpose driven huckster and “end-of-days ranter” Warren was present at a meeting of the Aspen Institute he was asked by Lynda Resnick—she of the pomegranate-juice dynasty—if a Jew like herself could expect to be admitted to paradise, “Warren publicly told her no. What choice did he have? His own theology says that only those who accept Jesus can hope to be saved.” So the first man Obama knowingly chose to deliver his inaugural invocation was,
“a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans—non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers—are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors.”Then the pundits and sycophants applauded (nary a bubble of protest) the front page spin wherein Obama Admin confected new spin on old ketman to, cavalierly, eight years late, toss over the same classic segregationist 'Separate but Equal' 'States' Rights' rubbish claptrap the patronizing Dick Cheney dished-out almost a decade before; but who even noticed? Then a miracle happened! Even the NAACP 'evolved' (watch out for that “e” word!) and ceased disgracing it's legacy and one of the Civil Rights Movement's most towering heroes.
Julian Bond, you may recall notably boycotted the 2004 funeral services for Coretta Scott King on the grounds that the King children had chosen an anti-gay megachurch. This was in contradiction to their mother's longstanding support for the rights of gay and lesbian people. Throughout his entire tenure as chairman of the NAACP (from 1998 to 2010) Bond had to make it clear that his support for Marriage Equality was his personal position and not that of the NAACP which stood obstinately at odds with him under the direction of NAACP president Kweisi Mfume. Mfume, you may recall, finally only 'evolved' (there's that 'e' word again!) when he feared his own political rump might get roasted if he did not keep up with public opinion that was evolving faster than he was. And he lost that election. It was only after Obama 'evolved' that the NAACP too held its finger to the wind and followed.So understand this word 'evolved' as used in American politics: It is the politically correct euphemism for holding one's finger to the wind to see which way it blows and then proposing to dole out civil rights piecemeal. Roll over in your graves Coretta and Martin Luther King, Jr. In turn, 'Political Correctness' is a euphemism for the doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
With all I have read about this issue I find it amazing that so few have abjured spin and propaganda for a genuine effort to educate. (See, e.g., the 2006 Bay Area Reporter op. ed. titled “Untangling Barack Obama's audacious mumbo jumbo”.)Cut to the present. Yet again who did Obama choose to deliver a 'benediction' at his second inauguration on January 21st? Louie Giglio, the pastor who has called homosexuality “probably the greatest addiction” and said marriage between same-sex partners is “absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.” And there we were: sameol, sameol religious poison.
Isn't it amazing what you can get away with in America if you just shove the word “Reverend' in front of your name?Abjuring journalism for public relations spin Lisa Keen wrote “It appears the president may have been unaware of Giglio’s LGBT sermon from the 1990s.” Wiggle, equivocate, and wiggle some more. Sorry but that’s just not a credible statement. Indeed it strains credulity. This is far too sensitive an issue, it has already caused Obama too much embarrassment, angered too many people, and he has a splendid professional staff. These things are vetted into infinity by the spin masters and they do not happen by accident. While Giglio did withdraw I suspect he was asked and permitted to do so as a face-saving device for a dis-invitation would surely have angered the religious lobby.
And now, after the Inaugural Committee announced Friday (January 18) that it has invited Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, to deliver the sermon, Lisa Keen takes the spin that Inaugural pastors [are] now more moderate.What's missing here? Heaven forbid the propagandists and spin doctors be upstaged by an authentic journalist asking relevant questions. Fuggetaboutit!
With this foundation, let's now return to the opening question here: What's missing in this second inaugural and why does no one notice?In his book Dreams From My Father, author Barack Obama wrote at length about what his Christian faith was founded on and why he chose the United Church of Christ as his denomination. Why is it that President Obama has twice failed to choose a minister from his own Christian denomination to participate in this inauguration?
Do you think it might be because Americans United for Separation of Church and State was founded by lawyer Barry W. Lynn who was also a United Church of Christ minister and the head of AU who has spoken out repeatedly against Obama's (Bush established) Faith-Based initiatives?Or could it be because, as far back as 2005, when, in the name of religion, and using Jesus as its model, the UCC Synod (Obama's own denomination) issued a declaration of Equal Marriage Rights For All” and did so several years before this “civil rights lawyer” disapproved of those equal rights purely because of the 'religions connotations’ to marriage”? Like most politicians the language Barack Obama speaks most fluently is Ketman.
If much here comes as news to you it's not entirely your fault if you have been duped by the spin-doctors and propagandists. As R. M. Dworkin wrote in Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate,
"The vicious spiral winds downward. If the political consultants tell the politicians to treat us as ignorant, we will remain ignorant, and so long as we are ignorant, the consultants will tell the politicians to treat us that way.. No candidate can afford to jump off that spiral ...... Truth as a gold standard has become obsolete.”Since Barack Obama has finally 'evolved' to where Dick Cheney was over eight years ago perhaps, in his second term, I hope Obama will have the courage to devolve back to where his own church was before Dick Cheney evolved. To many non-believers (the fastest growing group in America) the very idea of the necessity that a cleric be marched into the public square, to bless a secular ceremony under a secular constitution, is offensive and reminds me of Denis Diderot's famous line, “Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre, Au défaut d'un cordon pour étrangler les rois. “ There are many variations but in modern American vernacular it's, 'Mankind will never be free until that last politician is strangled by the entrails of the last preacher.'
Yet again, as religion threatened to poison secular function, I was reminded of Lord Byron's question: "What is hope? The paint on the face of existence. Just a touch of truth rubs it off and then we see what a hollow cheeked harlot we've got hold of." Then again hope is like a splinter of light: just a tiny crack and it will always break through the darkness. When it comes to Realpolitik in the United States of Dollaria Obama is about as good as it gets and we must take our victories as we find them; but that does not mean deceit must be met with deceit. Jaded cynics applaud winning the propaganda war by exploitation of ignorance. Others think education the better road and some agree but urge there is no time for education– minds must be bent and hearts programed now and that's what Madison Avenue is for.So it's been a battle on two fronts: the courts (which decisions are the very best education and easy enough for a high school sophomore to comprehend) and the activist and journalists engaged in bald propaganda wars. Unfortunately, most Americans having the reading skills of the Three Stooges and the attention span of poodles, are perfect targets for propaganda and spin and expect education on a bumper-sticker or in a tweet.
For the most part politics is always a snow job. I have compassion for Barack Obama the person. He is a tightrope walker. One can't simply march into the Oval Office and do what one pleases--unless they are George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan–and certainly not when they, like Obama, have been stuck with the wreckage of a 30 years in the making disaster that could only transpire behind the smokescreen Kulturkampf of rabid, homophobic, fundamentalism and gun-slinging nutjobs who can't comprehend the plain language Second Amendment that refers to a “well regulated militia.” So I have little patience for those who accuse Obama of not sprinkling magical fairy dust to transform the lives of every feverish selfish little clod of ailments who complains the world will not devote itself to making them happy. What a pity the country lacks leadership when hoards of unemployable internet trolls have the answers down pat?In case you get the message but miss the meaning the lesson here is not that Obama played the requisite game of political hypocrisy behind the mask of power but that the 'manufacture of consent' was so easy to get away with. On the left and the right this took a dumbed-down electorate of legal illiterates who do not comprehend the most rudimentary legal bedrock principles laid out in our Bill of Rights. This is not rocket science and it's easily taught.
How uniformed is the American Public? Brace yourself. According to The National Constitutional Center only 6% of Americans can name all four rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. (Twenty-four percent cannot name even one and 27% can only name one while 43% can name two or three.) Sixty-two percent cannot name all three branches of the Federal government. (One-third cannot name even one, 14% can only name one and 15% can only name two.) Thirty-five percent actually believe that the Constitution mandates English as the official language and only a mere 7% can correctly identify the Constitutional Convention as the authors while 84% believe that the U.S. Constitution is the document that states that "all men are created equal," thus confusing it with the Declaration of Independence. One out of 6 believe that the Constitution establishes America as a Christian nation, 32% believe that John Hancock had a hand in drafting the Constitution, and only 5% can correctly answer 10 rudimentary questions about the Constitution. We have produced a confederacy of dunces! What a disgrace.Why do you think education is so dumbed down and is the first to suffer budgets cuts? To paraphrase Lady Augusta Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest,
We do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate, exotic fruit. Touch it, and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in America at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did it would prove a serious threat to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Zuccotti Park.And what a gift to propagandists and spin-doctors. With an ill-educated electorate of legal dunderheads, as the nearly blank slates and empty heads for the press/propagandists and spin-doctors to write on, it was simply a matter of who had the better propagandists for, as been said before quite perfectly, Obama's legal position on Marriage Equality should have been an embarrassment to lawyers and subject of ridicule for any second year law student. The disgraceful part is that almost no one in the main stream made the least attempt to vet his legal rubbish by educating voters to think for themselves based on sound legal principals that are easy to understand. We are no doubt lucky it came out as well as it did but unless we teach Americans critical thinking we might easily go back to being as lucky as we were from Reagan through Bush II.
Francois ArouetCopyright © January 2013