Echoing this clever observation, I wonder that so many Democrats see Obama as an agent of change. Change…Chicago Democrat. Wouldn’t those ordinarily not be a strong association? BHO started his political career running for state senate in Illinois by getting all the other Democrats thrown off the ballot in 1996. Maybe that’s just hardball politics, Windy-City style, but it hardly inspires one to think “Woo baby, that sure is a change in the way we do politics.” A young friend active in Chicago politics assures me that the regressive, machine-politics, spoils-system methods are still in play there. (He didn’t state it that way, of course). Get your place at the table, and all else flows from that. It’s a recipe for continuing identity politics disaster, but our cities seem unable to rise above it. Perhaps living cheek-by-jowl with other groups allows no other form of cooperation. Those of us in small towns and suburbs have more distance, and can appear more tolerant than we might otherwise be.
Following gringo's comment that Obama is running on the same platform as President Wintergreen in "Of Thee I Sing," I thought a visual would help.
Obama’s church of twenty years is slowly gathering attention for its disquieting merger of Christian and Afrocentric creeds. Christian groups have found that over time, such mergers usually result in the Christ-part taking a back seat. Without specific correctives being applied, the religious aspect becomes a mere decoration. White Christian groups revert pretty quickly to talking more about whiteness than Christ, eventually defining their Christianity in terms of not being Jewish. The YMCA & YWCA are no longer “C,” and so now just adopt their nicknames as formal titles, becoming simply “the Y.” Christian socialists become just socialists. The Christian Right has fared somewhat better, primarily because of near-constant voices within preaching out warnings. Anytime those voices are hushed, the Christian Right slips back into becoming just The Right. (The voices I refer to here are not those who openly or surreptitiously advocate instead for the Christian Left, but those which preach the primacy of Christ). Does Obama’s church have such voices within it, always calling it back to Christian basics and preventing its co-option? If so, then perhaps there is little problem with its African emphasis. But I have not read anywhere that this tension exists in the congregation. So far what I have read indicates a congregation which is going to be puzzled and angry twenty years from now that everyone else is still so racist.
How the white-wine drinking progressives have become so enamored of Obama is certainly amusing. The Christian Left I can understand. But the Residually Religious Left is usually disdainful of dramatic preaching styles, considering them rather southern (read redneck). Perhaps they think it is quaint when delivered by an Authentic Black Person. Perhaps they are easily moved by such things but don’t want to admit it to themselves, and so project that fear onto those (lesser) others who get out of control. They are certainly projecting whatever they want onto Obama’s screen just now. He’s an iPod, and a toaster, and a cure for gout.
Now there’s an interesting intersection of ideas. If Hillary won over so many Democrats with tears in a Plymouth café,* perhaps they deplore emotionalism because they fear that they themselves are vulnerable to it. This would match up with the gun-control idea that the ownership of a firearm makes one more likely to become violent. Projection. It is their own being out of control they fear, so they figure you must be out of control.
That Obama and Clinton are Ivy League uptights who have this emotionalism seeping out may actually be part of the attraction. The Princess Dianas of American politics, so almost-perfect but so breathtakingly real underneath, the realness being a secret only a few (million) have been privy to. Bleah.
* “Tears In a Plymouth Café” would be a great album title.