Sunday, August 22, 2010

Triple Bad

There are at least three problems bundled together here:

Two new polls say as many as one in four Americans mistakenly believe President Obama is a Muslim, presenting the White House with the unique challenge of defining a central element of the president's life story.
First, it shouldn't matter if President Obama is a Muslim. Why care if he believes one set of delusions rather than another? Polls consistently show Americans want the "believes in god" box checked for all their presidents for some reason, and belief in the god character from the Koran would check that box.

Second, Obama is Christian. Remember all that nonsense about Obama's pastor, Reverend Wright, whose preachments from a church gave rise to the last great wave of racial panic mingled with fake right-wing outrage? Note key words pastor, reverend and church, and absence of key words imam and mosque.

Third, this points up the profound problems of getting too concerned about an elected official's convictions about god, "spirituality," and similar kinds of supernatural flotsam: what is publicly avowed without evidence can be denied without evidence. There are clearly no rules in a game in which, say, the convictions of Senators Vitter and Ensign go unquestioned through all the prostitution and worse while those of Obama remain "debatable" because, I gather, he resembles his African-born father.

Reasonable people will reject this game. The trouble is, it's not reasonable people who are perpetuating it.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Quite right, Dale. I can't help but wonder what the point is. Two years ago it was to beat him at the polls, but that ship sailed. All this does now is help Obama by reminding people that some of his opponents are unhinged.

I'm inclined to think it's another case of people who just can't let something go, perhaps because it helps them cope with a reality they never thought would come to pass, much like Limbaugh's minions had to deal with Clinton's success, or Al Gore supporters lived with George W. Bush being President. It could even be a variation on the continued adherence to Nazi or Soviet ideology, or the belief that Elvis is still alive, by people who just can't move on.