December 24, 2009
The Myth of Liberal Populist DivinityBy Brian Coulter
Americans say a bittersweet farewell to 2009 in anticipation of the next year. More and more citizens keenly remember this year's manifold promises for better times as they peel away from the euphoric flock that elected the oath-breakers and charlatans who, by design and rank incompetence, have wrought change for the worse.
The costly lesson is that whenever hope for deliverance is the catalyst behind a nation's political and social movements, it is tempting to fête elected servants as messianic figures. That Obama was repeatedly labeled a truth-teller, a light-bringer, and even a savior underscores the dangerous inducement of liberal populism. For our votes, we are promised salvation from ourselves. No mortal (and certainly no politician), however articulate or charismatic, can work miracles.
A year ago, a throng chanted "O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!" His presence elicited such an emotional outpouring that even he and his aides were overwhelmed. Obama's driver half-joked that he expected "Barack ... to rise up over the people and start saying, 'My children, my children, I have come to free you.'"
Apostolic Newsweek editor Evan Thomas gushed last June that "Obama's standing above the country, above -- above the world. He's sort of God."
An effigy of a crucified Obama is the work of Angelo Cruciani, and it is a blasphemous interweaving of Christ and Obama that in the artist's words was "erected as a symbol of the new martyr for humanity, like the cross that bears the weight of expectations placed on him."
"I'll do whatever he says to do," swore actress Halle Berry. "I'll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear." To her credit, she didn't throw palm fronds into his way.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews fatuously opined, "This is bigger than Kennedy ... this is the New Testament."
An East Point, Georgia minister knelt in front of his congregants and gave thanks for Obama's election. "Lord, we have again come to you in prayer, and you have heard our cries from heaven, and you have sent us...a man called Barack to heal our land."
The lyrics to "Obama Be Thy Name" by Kenyan singer Makadem, include,
Elle Magazine Associate Publisher Samantha Fennell announced in July 2008 that she was resigning her position to follow Obama and raise funds for his campaign. Fennell exulted, "I have thrown myself into a new world -- one in which fluffy chatter and frivolous praise are replaced by a get-to-the-point directness and disciple-like devotion."
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. on Obama's winning the Democratic presidential nomination: "The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance."
Gods are not elected, and the Bible is no political pamphlet. What is portended in the near-worship of Obama by these and countless other liberals reveals something unsettling about where they most comfortably place their faith. That their patriotic commitment to America was stirred only after November 2008 is no compliment to them, either.
Barack Obama and the liberal statists in congress are hardly saviors. Yet there is something to the many quasi-religious references made about him. If his supposed divinity isn't Christian, then what celestial plane does he inhabit? Perhaps the Roman pantheon best exemplifies him (no, never mind the vain Narcissus; he was a Greek invention).
The Roman god Janus was a being iconographically depicted as having two faces or heads facing opposite directions. In addition to being the namesake for January, he was the patron god of beginnings and endings, gates and doors, and he often symbolized change.
Leading up to his election, Obama donned a Janus mask of dual identities, worn mala fide. The forward face was that of the moderate Democrat: reasoned, thoughtful, and sensible to the world's realities. He was to be "president of us all."
The truth appears in the rearward face, which belongs to the liberal statist incognito. It is the political stripe that dares not speak its name, lest elections be lost. It is the fleece on the wolf's back, the thin veneer that if but scratched will reveal a damning illegitimacy.
Never again must we entrust our Republic to this sort. Likewise, we should be unwilling to hang the mantle of savior upon the Palins, Jindals, or Rubios among us. The prescription for our troubles lies not with a populist movement behind a cult of personality, but with an unyielding adherence to the original American spirit that distinguishes itself from the socialism that has brought disaster worldwide with appalling regularity.