Archive for the ‘Celebrating Diversity’ Category

WHAT!?!  HOW CAN YOU SAY SUCH A THING!???!  RACIST!!  HATER!!!1!1!

Wait.  It get’s better.  DON’T ELECT A WHITE MAN EITHER!  Don’t elect a woman.  Don’t elect a hispanic, or a lesbian, or Jew.  Don’t elect a Mormon or a Christian or a Buddhist.

Next time…Elect. A. PRESIDENT.

The criteria used to select the qualifications of those who serve in the highest offices of our lands, of those who will help frame and craft our laws, who we elect to guide the country forward and make the difficult decisions required of leaders in this day and age should have NOTHING to do with their skin color, their gender, their religion or their “cultural heritage.”

ObamaHalo2I propose that we are in the mess we are in right now because we elected a black man. Not because Barack Obama is black, but because we as a voting populace became so enamored of the idea of electing an African-American as President, became soooo fixated on the sense of accomplishment we could collectively feel at breaking through this cultural barrier into a new, undiscovered “enlightenment” that we allowed ourselves to be swayed.  We turned a blind eye to what should have been some very real concerns about this individual’s (lack of) qualifications, experiences, questionable associations and storied background, and allowed ourselves to be swept along on a carefully manipulated wave of euphoric idealism.

And so we elected a black man.  Because it made us feel good to do it.  Not because he was in any way the most qualified, not because he had any demonstrated talent or ability for the position, not because he would best be able to represent the interests of the United States on the global stage…but because he was an icon we wanted.  More than anything, I think voting for Barack Obama became a sort of social statement about our ability to somehow atone for a shameful past. {Cue Music: “We are marching to Pre-torrrria….}

There aren’t enough of any one particular minority demographic in the United States to elect a President.  Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Amerian Indians, Asians, young, old, rich, poor…we aaaalll had to play a part.  It became part of a collective social consciousness.  For some it was a chance to speak out, to elect someone they hoped would “represent their interests” better than an establishment white guy might.  For some it was, I think, a chance to show how enlightened, how tolerant, how progressive they were in bucking the existing paradigm.  Many perhaps voted for Barack Obama out of some vague sense of racial or social guilt which they felt might be assuaged or expunged if they participated in this great social awakening.  Of course, many just bought into the class warfare schtick he was selling and wanted the free stuff he was offering.

NONE of which is a very solid foundation for picking a candidate for the office of the President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got absolutely no problem with either the idea or the practical reality of someone who is black becoming president.  You put a Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas or an Alan West or maybe even a a Condolleza Rice in there and hey, they’ve got my vote.  Why?  Because I like their politics.  Their personal philosophy resonates with me. I can look at a record of accomplishments which suggest to me a level of overall professional competence which grants me a sense of confidence in their ability to handle the demands of the position.

Not because of, or in spite of their skin color.  Or their gender.  Or their religious beliefs.  Because I think they are the most qualified, and so that other stuff SHOULDN’T MATTER. Right?  Isn’t that what true equality is really all about?  Shouldn’t THAT be considered the truly “enlightened” approach?

So, I hope we’ve learned our lesson.  As we sit mired in double digit unemployment, as our national debt continues to skyrocket, after six years with no signed federal budget and a sequestration which imposes daily pain on the infrastructure of this nation while the President golfs and vacations, I hope our euphoria has faded.  I hope our guilt-motivated idealism has moderated a bit.  I hope that when the times comes again, whether on the local or national stage, we don’t elect a black man, or a white man, or a woman, or a {fill in the blank}.

I hope we wise up and elect the people MOST QUALIFIED to lead this country, regardless of how their chormosomes are configured.

…I want to see Nature’s Engineering Degree!

Yet another installment of, “How an Incredible Design TOTALLY Supports the Theory of Evolution!”  Courtesy of Wired Magazine.

High-Speed Video of Locusts Could Help Make Better Flying Robots

Oh how I long for the day when the evolutionist crowd can manage to kick out some puff piece without anthropomorphizing inanimate objects or non-sentient critters.  But that day is not today.

Even though researchers have been studying how insects and other creatures fly for a long time, “we still don’t completely understand the aerodynamics and architectures of wings,” comments Tom Daniel of the University of Washington in Seattle

Because, you know, the best minds in modern science and engineering still struggle to understand just HOW all these things work, given that they all came about through random chance.  Design? We understand. Blueprints?  No problem.  Complex computer algorithms and microchips? Got it handled.  How a hummingbird really works?  Not a clue.

What locusts lack in agility, they make up for in distance: the four-winged insects are built to fly hundreds of miles at a time.

D’oh!  We should make this into a drinking game.  Any time an article nominally in support of evolution uses the words, “built” or  “designed” you have to take a swig.

Most earlier models of insect flight relied on stiff, straight wings, overlooking the important effects of flexibility and shape, says Thomas. “Engineers like these things simple,” he says. But this new study shows that wings with a little flop can actually get more air-pushing lift from each flap.

Hmmm.  Engineers learning from nature.  Amazing what that random optimization thing can do for you, eh?

Figuring out the details of how locusts and other insects fly may help researchers design tiny robotic fliers. “There is a growing interest in the exploration of micro air vehicles,” says Daniel. “Nature’s designs may be useful in creating synthetic ones.”

DRINK!

It is amazing to me that engineers can’t seem to recognize the work of a fellow designer.  It’s like someone who want’s to design a better timepiece looking at a fine Swiss watch for ideas, without ever acknowledging or addressing the question of the origin of the original design.

Whatever lets you sleep at night, I guess.

Listening to the radio on the way to work this morning, I heard something that chilled me to my very core.  I literally got a chill down my spine.  I quite literally spoke out loud, “Oh, shit.”

It was a “top of the hour” news blurb about how the push for Hate Crimes legislation is gaining steam, being pushed through Congress to bring harsher penalties to those who commit crimes motivated by hate.  You know, rather than the much nobler greed, anger, disinterest, or predatory exploitation.  It’s HATE that we have to watch out for, right?  I mean, in addition to all those “love crimes” we’ve got on the books.  But I digress.

What really rocked me back on my heels was one sentence that came across towards the end of the sound bite.  Some mouthpiece promoting the legislation spoke of trying to keep better track of “bias motivated events.”

Bias. Motivated. Events.  Think about that fer just a sec.

In one swift and subtle movement, we knocked the edges off the definition of “hate crime” and squishy-coated it down into “bias motivated events.”

Can you see the inherent, insidious danger here?

If someone mugs a pedestrian, say, man dressed up in women’s clothes, does this constitute a hate crime?  What is the burden of proof to say that the alleged criminal  didn’t target this person because of their “lifestyle”.  What if the crook took the dude’s predilections for frills and lace to suggest he might be an easy target.  Not because the crook hated the tranny, but because he figured he/she might be an easy mark.  Too effeminate to fight back, who knows?

Instead of 6 months, suspended, for attempted robbery, our felon gets 5 years because it’s a “hate crime.”

But wait.  This goes back to prosecuting intent, rather than actions.  If I further dumb this down to say that any “bias-motivated event” can be prosecuted, ANYTHING I DO that is motivated by my personal bias or worldview, can now become prosecutable.

Anything.

Say a church decides that since Sally has decided to become Sam, that maybe we don’t want him/her teaching Sunday School anymore.  Is that my right as a private institution, or is it now a hate crime, because it was motivated by a religious bias against Transgendereds?  Not that we hate them, but just that we don’t want them teaching our sunday school class.  That’s not hate, it’s bias.  Instead of just being unfaaaaaaaair, is it now also a hate crime?

If I choose not to rent to a couple of guys because they look, act, and sound like belligerent gang bangers, can I be prosecuted for my “bias” against thugs who will likely wreck my rental?

If a pastor speaks out against men preying on boys for sexual exploitation, can I be prosecuted for a hate crime because of my BIAS?

This is an incredibly dangerous area, a slippery slope that, in the name of protecting rights, will end up destroying them.  I mean, short of a diary, a blog post, or a text message, etc., how can you prove INTENT behind an individual’s action?  Do gays, or blacks, or hispanics have special protections against crimes that others don’t?  Shouldn’t all be equal under the law?

Robbery, murder, rape, arson.  They are crimes.  They are illegal.  They shouldn’t be MORE illegal because of who the victim is.  WHY I committed the crime might make me an asshole, a reporbate, a truly descpicable human being.  Sadly, or thankfully, there’s no law (yet) against being an asshole.  It is only the CRIME I commit which makes me a criminal, regardless of my motivations for it.

Isn’t that what this trend in hate crimes suggests?  That eventually, what you THINK about a situation will have as much legal weight as what you actually DID about it?

Scary stuff.  Beyond even 1984.  Madness.

So, I have determined that it is only appropriate to focus on a person’s race or gender if you are “heralding” it.  Judge Sonomayor is being “heralded” as the first hispanic Supreme Court Justice.  Barack Obama is “heralded” as the first black president.  Every month is some sort of minority appreciation month where we “herald” the contributions of blacks, pacific islanders, native americans, women, children, those with a cleft palate, the tone deaf and wiccan transgendered performance artists.  Okay, I might have made up those last few.

So, lemme get this straight.  Basing your decision on whether or not to pull someone over for a traffic stop or to give them “extra screening” at the airport based on their race or gender is BAD, profiling, ptooie, but basing your decision on whether or not someone should sit on the Supreme Court of the United States in large measure because of their race and gender is GOOD?  Hoookayyyy….

If you believe that, by nature  of her gender or her ethnicity, Judge Sonia Sonomayor has some unique and/or unmatchable ability to perform her job as Supreme court justice, you are a racialist.  She certainly seems to think so, as per her much quoted sentiment:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Did she mean in general, or merely with respect to women’s issues, or Latino issues?  Which, of course, then begs the question, why do we need a special set of rules or a unique viewpoint to properly and impartially apply the law to women and/or Latinos?  How is suggesting that a latino woman is somehow inherently more capable of making the correct decision than a white man at its core any different from barring blacks from military service because they aren’t “smart enough?”

Answer:  No difference whatsoever.

There is of course that touchy-feely, squishy-guishy idea that a minority woman should be cherished and protected because of her unique perspective based on her upbringing and challenges.  Bollocks.  That’s called “coddling,” and it promotes all sorts of enabling behaviors that cause us to overlook clear and present concerns with the performance and methods of an individual or group out of some misguided sense that we should not “quell their voice.”  

Sure, let ‘em talk.  Just don’t let them make “policy” from the bench!

So, lemme ask.  Whyizzit that a white South African man who emigrated to the US last week is on his own, has to compete in the marketplace just like everybody else, and is lucky if he can avoid paying out-of-state tuition at a college, but a black man whose ancestors came to this country 185 years ago is an “African-American minority” who deserves special consideration in hiring, academic scholarships, and other  quota-based entitlements?   How long until “minorities” are required to just be “Americans,” and compete on an equal and impartial basis with the rest of us genetic misfits, especially when a lot of them would be hard-pressed to find Africa on a map?!

There is NO EQUALITY where there is PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.

If all men (and women) are created equal with respect to the law, then they MUST be treated equally.   NOT given undue priviledge based on a real or perceived injustice now divorced from their present situation by several generations.

One would hope that the selection for a Supreme Court justice would be completely blind to race, skin color, gender or taste in music.  One would HOPE that we would simply chose the most qualified individual for the job, REGARDLESS of the nature of the adjectives one might ascribe to their appearance!

But no, it would appear that we still have a LONG way to go in the area of equal rights in this country. 

If Sonia Sonomayor is qualified for that seat on the Supreme Court, good on ‘er.   BUT.  She must be qualified because of her experience as a judge, her demonstrated performance as a jurist, and her proven and demonstrable committment to upholding the principles of established Constitutional law.

Not because she’s a latina chic.

Whoa, I got a somebody-a-lanche on my Media coverage post.  Don’t know who linked me, but thanks!

Other Opinings:

~  I’ve never understood people who can’t bring themselves to believe in God, but will readily profess that they think The Universe has a plan for them, or that the Universe is trying to tell them something.  I’m sorry, but if thinking that God talks to you means you are a loony, what does thinking that the Universe is talking to you say about your mental stability?

~ This is perhaps the best, most succinct summation of my problems with much of traditional thoughts on evolution in a comment to a post by Professor Bob over at Mitchieville:

Never understood this kind of anthropomorphizing when it comes to evolution:

Evolution is nature’s mechanism for modifying a species over time to suit the local environment.

You should be capitalizing Nature in this sentence, as your are treating is as a proper noun. Nature, in “her” wisdom, “uses” evolution to “modify” species based on her perception of their needs relative to their environment?

Nature is truly a maginifcent engineer, designer and programmer! Wait…I thought this stuff was all random and unguided by anything but happenstance? Selection by reduction and elimination, not by optimized adaptation.

Also, sentient trees?

to whom it provides, deliberately,

How does a tree “deliberately” provide food and shelter to ants? Are you suggesting that it is “aware” of its ant protectors, and conciously makes “efforts” to ensure that they are well-provided for? Where does TreeBeard fall in all this? Or the Forestalls?

I often challenge evolutionists to defend their viewpoints without resulting to anthropomorphic language. Species cannot “adapt themselves” to the environment, unless they can somehow perceive changes in their environment and then encode changes into their DNA based on this input. To date, no mechanism for such a step has been identified.

If an environmental variable changes enough to result in attrition of a species, only those members who, by whatever random mutation have those traits necessary to survive already resident in their DNA will prevail.

For pure evolution to work, Nature cannot “adapt” a species to survive…it will survive merely by the luck of the draw.

Or it isn’t evolution.

I can adapt to my surroundings. If it is cold, I put on a coat. If it is hot, I drink extra water and change to flip flops and hawaiian shirts.   If an animal’s primary food supply suddenly becomes available, it must find something else to eat.  Only those within the species that can already metabolize the new food source will survive.  The others will die off.  Thus, no NEW information is introduced into the DNA, but rather, merely utilization of that which was already there, if dormant.  This is optimization, not evolution.  Survival of the fittest merely optimizes an existing genus, it cannot account for the introduction of a NEW species.

It’s not like the hapless lizard or ocelot, when suddenly faced with a new environmental variable, goes: 

“Hmm, no more catus pears.  Only pomegranates.  Noted.  Got it.  Stand-by.

{{nnnuuugghhhhh…hhhrrrmmmmm…eeeerrrrrrrgggghhh..{{whirl, clank, beep, KA-CHING!}}}}

There!  I am now able to eat pomegranates where before I could only eat cactus pears.  SOUPS ON, HOGS!”

~ Lastly, and completely unrelated to anything previous in this post, I continue to be amazed at the alacrity with which broad swaths of the Prog culture have managed to forget the last eight years of insanely partisan protests charged with high dudgeon and frothingly caustic rhetoric condeming the Bush administration for all manner of crimes against humanity, to include planning and conducting the attacks of 9/11, replete with inflammatory and violent images calling for Bush and Cheney’s respective heads.

Such that now, somehow markedly less strident if not less fervent protests against economic policies which most sane minds would agree will prove our nation’s undoing are greeted with fear, condemnation and clucking reproof by the media and prog commentators.  When the progs do it, no matter how hyperbolic or bellicose, it’s speaking the truth to power, free speech, and standing up for what you believe in!  When anybody else does it….it’s DANGEROUS insurrection which needs to be watched with the utmost suspicion and prudence.

Remember, the only acceptable form of revolution is a Marxist revolution.

Well, on CNN, the Tea Party protests got only one link, but amazingly enough, the article was balanced, fair, and by no means a hit piece.  I encourage you to read it.  It lays out the basics of what the protests are about, and even seems to paint them in if not a positive light, then at least in neutral terms.

Nationwide ‘tea party’ protests blast spending

However.

Let us compare that article to this one from that bastion of journalistic objectivity, MSNBC.

 Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ being held across U.S.
Obama aims to ease dread of deadline day, vowing ‘simpler tax code’

Notice how they manage to toss a puff for Obama into the Headline?

Also notice that the Page Title in the HTML actually says, “Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ vent anger across U.S.”  The anger part becomes important pretty quickly. I’ll just highlight in bold all the fun, inflammatory terms and polarizing language:

Whipped up by conservative commentators and bloggers, tens of thousands of protesters staged “tea parties” across the nation

Whipped up. As in, into a frenzy.  At least they didn’t downplay the numbers, got to give them that.

Protesters even threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags over the fence onto the White House grounds, causing a brief lockdown at the compound before the package was declared not dangerous.

The assumption being, of course, that something the protestors threw over the fence would be dangerous.  Which, if it “appeared to be tea bags”  would, I propose, be a bit of stretch, wouldn’t you think?  Unless of course it fits your narrative.

Shouts rang out from Kentucky,

Looks a bit like “shots rang out,” doesn’t it?

“Frankly, I’m mad as hell,” said businessman Doug Burnett at a rally at the Iowa Capitol, where many of the about 1,000 people wore red shirts declaring “revolution is brewing.”

That’s right.  Angry, red-shirted Iowans warning of revolution.  Hey, maybe that DHS report was right!?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up a tea party at Austin City Hall with his stance against the federal government, as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”

Not just revolutionists, but successionist as well!  The way this is worded, does it not give the impression that Texas Gov. Rick Perry might tacitly approve this sentiment, as it is “HIS” flag-waving audience?  Not THE audience, but HIS audience.  A subtle but grammatically significant difference.

Other protesters also took direct aim at Obama. One sign in the crowd in Madison, Wis., compared him to the anti-Christ.

Don’t forget rabid, fundie Christians.   “Taking direct aim” at Obama.  I believe they use to call this sort of thing “yellow journalism.”  Now they just call it, well, MSNBC.

Jim Adams of Selma carried a sign that showed the president with Hitler-style hair and mustache and said, “Sieg Heil Herr Obama.”

Must have changed the name on one of the Code Pink signs, I guess.

To be honest, I can’t tell if the penner of this AP piece was simply trying to present a sense of the moral outrage of the participants, but I doubt it.    The use of such charged terms as “whipped up” and “shouts rang out” do more than convey intensity…the suggest a frenzy, the possibility of violence.  Which is at odds with the vast majority of other reporting on the events out there.

The movement attracted some Republicans considering 2012 presidential bids.

Really?  Like who?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich planned to address a tea party in a New York City park Wednesday night. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sent an e-mail to his supporters, letting them know about tea parties throughout the state. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford attended two tea parties.

These three have all expressed interest in running in 2012?  Who knew?

To me, giving cherry-picked statements from isolated firebrands equal time with the more common tone of frustrated but motivated political activism in the name of “balance” really isn’t.  It makes it appear that this undercurrent of revolutionary fervor was a common theme, which it is not.

The TEA Parties are really just about getting the government back on track, under control, and accountable to the people again.  Rather than the other way around.

Folks, all you have to do is look at the pictures from the various Tea Party rallies, and then compare and contrast the pictures over at ZombieTime from a series of Lefty proteests, to see what a fallacy it is to be so cautionary against “conservative” activism.  The Radical Left long ago cornered the market on crazy.

In keeping with my overall mood of late, I’ve decided to spontaneously create a meme called “Things I Hate,” the first in what it likely to become a regular series of installments, unless I by some amazing miracle get run over by the Perkiness and Happiness Steamroller.  So, without further ado, Things I Hate Hate With The Intensity of 70 Burning Suns Going SuperNova:

- People that call an office phone and let it ring 13 effin’ times.  Folks, most offices these days are pretty small, and if they don’t pick up by the fourth ring, guess what?  THEY AREN’T FUCKING THERE!  Staying on the line for the next ‘leventy rings accomplishes nothing but sending his poor hapless office-mates into a fit of blind seething rage such that if they were ever able to find out who you are, and where you live, they would immediately jump into their car, run on over, and stuff that phone up your ass.  And by “they” I’m sure you realize, I mean ME!

- Also phone related, people who 1) insist on using the speaker phone, and 2) use the speaker phone like it is a window across a busy street, and you are on the other side.  Thus, they have to YELL TO BE HEARD OVER ALL THE TRAFFIC, RIGHT?  BECAUSE IT’S NOT TECHNOLOGY, IT’S A CAN AND A PIECE OF STRING, AND SO I HAVE TO YELL LIKE THIS SO YOU’LL BE ABLE TO HEAR ME CLEAR ACROSS THE EVER-LOVING UNITED STATES.  Folks, technology is real. It works. Most speaker phones are TOO sensitive, such that you can hear some guy fart three cubicles over whenever you’re having that conference call.  So please, speak in a conversational tone, such that I don’t have to come over and pull a Terry Tate on yo ass.

- The word “Di’nt.” You know, as in, “Oh no you DI’NT!?”.  Folks, there are two, count ‘em, TWO “D’s” in that word.  Use them.  They were put there for a reason.  Saying “di’nt” doesn’t make you sound hip, it makes you sound like you have a speech impediment.  Or are perhaps ever-so-slightly retarded.

- White people who use phrases like “I’m down wit it.”  Guys, gals, come on.  If you’re melanin challenged, then leave it alone. It’s not for you.

- And lastly – Dudes.  Pull. Up. Your. PANTS!  As mentioned above, it does not make you look hip, or cool, or “down”, or street.  It makes you look developmentally disabled.  Or worse – just plain stupid.  It doesn’t proclaim your individuality, it proclaims that you are unable to perform such basic functions as dressing yourself in the morning.   Walking around with your boxers bunched up  in your crotch, with a belt riding mid-thigh as you constantly hitch your pants up an walk with that lurching, shuffling gate doesn’t say “cool,” it says “I’m a walk-away from some institution.  Please call the number on my red aluminum bracelet.”

Throughout his ascendency to the presumptive nominee for President during the recent campaign, Obama, or perhaps more accurately, Obama’s crack media and PR machine, built a groundswell of enthusiasm which soon bordered on euphoria.  Through deft manipulation of images and soundbites, along with the willing collusion of the media, seasoned liberally with generous dashes of Bush-bashing, Barack Obama was propelled to almost rock-star status in a very short period of time.

He came from essentially nowhere…an ill-recognized first-term Senator with a mediocre voting record and no significant achievements to single him out from the crowd.  Suddenly, he was riding a wave of popularity and fervent adulation so broad, so deep, and so completely unexpected that it left many an observer stunned, bemused, and more than a little suspicious.  The meteoric rise to fame, especially one so completely at odds with anything in his background to justify such fervent devotion, lent more than one conservative commentator to draw parallels to the equally sudden and similarly inconceivable rise to national fame of an unkown corporal in 1930′s Germany.

The detractors on the political Left poo-poo’d such comparisons, invoked Godwin’s law, and surmised that after eight years of Pres. Bush’s “failed policies,” people were just refreshed by a fresh face and fresh ideas.   But’s it’s gone far beyond that now.  Has for quite a while in fact.

In a Jan. 21st CNN article entitled, “Black first family ‘changes everything’,” we see the Obamas painted as a sudden and convincing role model for black families, where before there were none.  Until now, it asserts, black families have been woefully misrepresented, or at best, suffered under their own, self-imposed mediocrity.

America has often viewed the black family through the prism of its pathologies: single-family homes, absentee fathers, out of wedlock children, they say. Or they’ve turned to the black family for comic relief in television shows such as “Good Times” in the ’70s or today’s “House of Payne.”

But a black first family changes that script, some say. A global audience will now be fed images of a highly educated, loving and photogenic black family living in the White House for the next four years — and it can’t go off the air like “The Cosby Show.”

The essence of this sentiment is apparently that, until now, black families have only risen to the level of that portrayed of them in the media. That they’ve suffered under a global stigma of poverty, broken homes, and eubonics.  Now, with this new, “positive” portrayal of a loving, solid, black nuclear family, black families are now free to strive for a greater standard.  Or something.

The relationship between Obama and his wife may help untangle some of that pathology, some black commentators say.

Because only now, now that the Obamas are, can decades of afro-american family dysfunction be truly addressed.

Several black women actually sighed as they talked about how much Obama seems to touch his wife and exchange soulful glances with her in public. They said Obama will show young black men how to treat women — and young black women how they should be treated.

Morgan Freeman couldn’t do it.  Bill Cosby couldn’t do it.  Scores of other black thinkers and philosophers who exhorted their culutral brethren to stay married, to turn away from drugs or gang violence, to build a strong self-identity that didn’t revolve around racial guilt or some nebulous “legacy” of slavery have now all been marginalized in favor of a new, true example for the black demographic to emulate.  Barack and Michelle Obama {{swoon}}.

Brea, the writer for EbonyJet.com, is the daughter of a white mother and a Haitian-American father. She says she felt pressure to claim one race growing up. She never quite felt like a full citizen.

Obama’s biracial background and his “exotic” upbringing relieves her of that pressure. Obama will help other blacks who come from multiracial backgrounds and immigrant communities to be comfortable in their own skin, she says.

Again, we see this strange sentiment at play such that only through the example and influence of Barack Obama can mixed-race Americans truly feel acccepted.  Nothing else has worked until now.  They struggled with their self-image and self-acceptance until BARACK came along.  Now it’s suddently “okay” to be black, or bi-racial, and you don’t have to feel like a second-class citizen anymore.

Again, in this fawning review of “Slumdog Millionaire” by the British Telegraph, every good and noble and refreshing element in the film is somehow tied to the new idealism which has sprung up around Barack Obama.

And in that single word {love} lie the key qualities of Slumdog Millionaire. It does not have an ironic moment. It is utterly devoid of cynicism. Instead, it is bright-eyed, optimistic – idealistic, even. To generations reared on a drip-feed of corrosive cynicism, the elevation of greed for greed’s sake and weary disillusion with our leaders and our institutions it feels almost shocking.

Yet maybe we’re ready for it. We saw these laudable qualities in the hundreds of thousands of people (most of them young) who toiled to elect Obama. Those whose work limits them to poring over the minutiae of life in Washington’s Beltway and the Westminster village have already been murmuring that this idealism looks like naïveté. Yet look where our defensive cynicism has landed us: maybe we do need to look at the world anew.

Next week, millions of Americans – and no doubt hundreds of thousands of Britons – will cluster around television sets to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama, whose election victory is rooted in the notion that while the world may be troubled, complex, and even ugly, our best instincts can help make it better. Slumdog Millionaire – a truly remarkable film – is rooted in that same idealism.

As Christians, we should be leery of such sentiments.  Putting all our faith in one man, depending on one man for our provision, our faith in the world, or emotional sustenance or our hope for the future is idolatry unless that man is Jesus Christ.  In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are told:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

The “He” in this passage is clearly God, not Barack Obama.  There is a very real and present danger in putting your faith and hope for your future and well-being in the hands of one man.  Not only does this give one man more power over your life than you should be willing to give up, but you will inevitably be disappointed when that man proves himself to be all too human.

The moment we give the man who is President the power to be our Savior, we elevate him beyong a mere elected official, and make him our spiritual stand-in.  We give him undo power to speak into and control our lives.  We credit his judgement to be superior to our own, his values worthy to supplant our own, his demands sufficient to supercede our desires.

The strange, almost reverent way in which many people seem to describe Barack Obama, the assumption of some implicit goodness and the idealistic fervor with which many seem to follow him suggests an almost cult-like obsession. 

A Cult can be defined as: “…any group of persons devoted to a charismatic leader(s) who changes their outlook and behavior by transmitting his/her values and views and perhaps a kind of “energy,” spiritual or otherwise. ” *  Hmmm.

Before you dismiss the “cult” label out of hand, first examine some of the “warning signs” of cult behavior:

  • Adherents who become increasingly dependent on the movement for their view on reality (!!!)
  • Important decisions in the lives of the adherents are made by others
  • Making sharp distinctions between us and them, divine and Satanic, good and evil, etc. that are not open for discussion (Bush evil, Obama gooood)*
  • The spiritual group uses a special set of rules that you must obey or be cast out (Oppose Obama?  RACIST!)*
  • The spiritual group demands that you give up as much of your assests and your yearly income to it as possible. (kinda funny, but not…”spreading the wealth around”)
  • The spiritual group demands that you accept its teachings without reservation, even when those teachings are in direct conflict with your understanding of basic scientific knowledge (global warming, stimulous package).
  • Provide an authority figure that everyone seems to acknowledge as having some special skill or awareness  (!!!)
  • Provide a philosophy that seems logical and appears to answer all or the most important questions in life
  • Promise instant or imminent solutions to deep or long-term problems (!!!)
  • The leader sets forth ethical guidelines members must follow but from which the leader is exempt (72 in the White House?  Sure….no prob.  I’ve got the carbon offsets to back it up)

Barack Obama is not the savior of this nation.  He is not the Moses who will lead us to a promised land, or a Savior who will redeem us from our collective national sins.  He is just a man.  One third of the triad making up our separation of powers.  To grant him any more power or authority – legal, spiritual, or otherwise – than that is to set ourselves on a very dangerous path towards the kind of oligarchical centralization of power so many accused George Bush of attempting, and against which our Founding Fathers spoke so stridently.

I know I said that the blogging was off for a while, but this question has been burning its way through my brain for a while now, and I’m simply just dying to find the answer.  So here goes:

Just what exactly is it that Pres. Obama is supposed to deliver us out of?  The sweeping rhetoric during most of his campaign, and the rallying cry of his fervent followers is that Pres. O! will right what is wrong, and deliver the downtrodden people of America from….what?  In all seriousness.

Everyone seems to point to the last “eight years,” as though only in the last eight years has our country devolved into some sort of nightmarish monster, and Pres. O! is the dragon slayer come to rescue the defenseless villagers from the menace of….what?

Why just the last eight years?  Because there was a Democrat president before that, so of course things couldn’t have been that bad?   It’s the sole responsibility of one Republican president that drove this country into the ground in just eight years, and only through the vision and greatness of O-ba-Ma! can we hope to recover?

So please, in all seriousness, if there is some minority reader out there, a black or hispanic or some other group who feels that Barack Obama is somehow this Ghandi or some other visionary who will lead you out of your circumstances, please tell me what exactly those circumstances are.  Because I’m just not seeing it.  Or at least, I’m just not seeing how Pres. Obama is somehow the magical cure for whatever ails you.

Is Barack Obama going to somehow resolve the problems of innner-city single mothers raising teens at risk from gangs and drugs?  Will he solve teen pregnancy once and for all?  Broken marriages, unfaithful husbands and wives?  Will he somehow magically bring economic prosperity to areas suffering from urban blight and business flight?  How?  What makes him so different that he will somehow be able to miraculously solve problems that have been plaguing Presidents – both Democrat and Republican – for the last 30 years or more?

How will Barack Obama “finally” free the black men and women of this country from their chains?  And of what are those chains made?  What oppression do you suffer?  And how is it Barack Obama that will fix it?  I’ve seen t-shirts with His image overlaid with those of Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman.  Harriet Tubman, who helped slaves escape to the North, and Freedom.  MLK who helped break down long-standing racial and social barriers, the catalyst to sweeping changes in integration and equal rights for minorities.  And so now Barack Obama steps up and ushers in the next era of…what?  He can’t help free the slaves, get blacks the vote, or secure equal access for minorities.  IT’S.  BEEN.  DONE.  ALREADY.

So, what is this next great barrier, this next level of oppression that B.O. is supposed to break through, to bring freedom and release from?  What EXACTLY is it that he is saving you from?

Please help me understand.

Well, how goes the Inaugural afterglow?  Has your Obamagasm left you feeling spent, a little weak in the knees?  Me, I’m feeling that sort of bitter, dirty regret you feel when you wake up after a big kegger and realize that you probably cheated on your girlfriend last night with some ugly, fat chick, but you’re not really sure, because it all gets a little hazy after the third Jeager-and-Red-Bull shot. It’s probably a good bet, though, considering that she’s still lying in your bed, snoring heavily, and is wearing your underwear.

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.  I’ve even changed the theme of my blog to reflect that I’m officially in mourning.  The death of innocence, or some such.

As a tribute to the departing President Bush, I’d like to briefly recap some of his more significant failures.  These are things that a fairly significant portion of the American populace expected of him, on which he completely failed to step up or follow through:

  • The Constitution wasn’t suspended, scheduled elections weren’t postponed, and he didn’t declare himself Emperor For Life.
  • A theocracy wasn’t established, Christianity did not become the official state religion, and prayer wasn’t made mandatory in schools.  Atheism wasn’t outlawed, and Michael Newdow wasn’t assassinated by a CIA hit team. Damnit.  No wiccans were burned at the stake in the public square.
  • Large swaths of the GLBT crowd weren’t rounded up and sent to re-education camps to cure them of Teh Gey.  Homosexuality was not outlawed, there was no fatwah or Kristalnacht smashing out the windows of hair salons and designer boutiques.
  • He didn’t force the Supreme Court didn’t overturn Roe v. Wade, thus condemning women to endure another reproductive Dark Age.
  • Liberal bloggers were not rounded up and imprisoned for daring to question the ruling junta.  Although, I might mention that several conservative commentators were threatened with fines or jail for alleged “hate speech.”

On a more serious note, despite the vitriolic lambasting by the Progs and the Gay caballeros, George W. Bush has probably done more for AIDS research, global AIDS awareness, and funding for AIDS prevention in Africa than any other President.  But you don’t hear about that much.  You hear about the 4,000+ plus that died in Iraq, but there are no stats on the number of lives he may have saved through his efforts to combat AIDS in underpriviledged countries.

There are a great many things on which I might disagree with Pres. Bush, things I didn’t like, such as his stand (or lack thereof) on immigration, and his just flat stupid approach to economic “recovery,” but the fact remains that he has persevered through eight hard years, dealt with a number of severe crisis in a more than adequate fashion, and, whether you agree with the specific methods or not, prevented another terrorist attack on U.S. soil for the entire tenure of his presidency.  Through his efforts, numerous attacks have been prevented in OTHER countries as well.

It will be interesting to see if Pres. Obama will be able to claim the same thing at the end of his tour.

It will be interesting to watch as the months and years progress, how long the dopey school-girl crush between the media and Prog pundits and O-Ba-MA! lasts?  I wonder how long it will be before the feral, demanding special interest groups begin to savage B.O. for his “failures” to live up to all the hype and promises.  Until they start using words like ‘betrayal” and “sell-out” if he doesn’t bring sweeping special rights and privileges to gays and other minorities, or if he fails to trim the military down to the size of the Coast Guard in four years.

I, for one, am going to do my best not to become a victim of ODS and scream bloody murder every time He does something liberalish.  Besides, as a government service employee and a member of the Reserves, I’ve got to keep my bile in check since he’s actually the Commander in Chief now, and not just some marxist looney running for office.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t be checking the list of Presidential Executive Orders almost daily to see what kind of wacky shit he’s trying to slide in under the radar.

All that said, blogging will be light to non-existent over the next couple of weeks as I try to get out from under a couple of big projects.   So, all 12 of you can spend your time doing other, more important things, like scraping your Bush/Cheney ’04 bumperstickers off, and replacing them with O! stickers.  I know I have.