Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama's real patriotism problem
Echoes of these attitudes can be found in Obama's now infamous explanation that "bitter" working-class rural voters won't embrace him because they "cling" to God, guns and bigotry. But Obama's sometimes messianic rhetoric about "remaking" America - and the explicitly revolutionary aesthetics of his campaign - also rings a bell. "I am absolutely certain," he proclaimed upon clinching the Democratic nomination, "that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." So wait, America never provided care for the sick or good jobs for the jobless until St. Barack arrived? That doesn't sound like the country most Americans think of when they wave their flags on the Fourth of July.

Obama went on to say that he will "remake" the country. Well, what if you don't want it remade? And Michelle Obama - who believes America is "downright mean" and is proud of America for the first time because of her husband's success - insists that Barack will make you "work" for change and that he will "demand that you, too, be different." What if you don't want to work for Obama's change? What if you don't want to be "different"?

America's 'Jedi Knight'

Liberals might giggle at what to them sounds like paranoia. But if you aren't already entranced by Obama, Obamania can seem not only vaguely anti-American but also downright otherworldly. Star Wars creator George Lucas recently proclaimed that it's "reasonably obvious" Obama is a Jedi Knight. Mark Morford, a particularly loopy San Francisco Chronicle columnist, says Obama isn't really "one of us." Rather, he's a "Lightworker," the sort of being who can help us find "a new way of being on the planet." Self-help guru Deepak Chopra insists that an Obama victory would bring about "a quantum leap in American consciousness." Even NBC's Chris Matthews has been entranced by Obama's Jedi mind tricks. Obamania, he says, is "bigger than Kennedy....This is the New Testament."

The notion that what America needs is a redeemer figure to "remake" America from scratch isn't necessarily unpatriotic. But for lots of Americans who like America the way it is, it's sometimes hard to tell when it isn't.