I was talking via email with an American friend the other day – and this was someone I already knew to be a conservative Republican – when he threw me by saying that he ‘really feared Obama’. And the ‘really’ was capitalised. We don’t usually talk politics and I am not about to do so with someone who does not want to but I would have liked to have heard just what the basis of this ‘fear’ is. There have been, and still are, people who get themselves into power and damn well should be feared. Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin and, more recently, Sadam and Mugabe are just the tip of the iceberg. But Barack Obama? What can be so scary about him? Bush is scary. Cheney is scary. But Obama? I don’t get it.
If you really need someone scary then look no further than Sarah Palin, VP running mate of the not really that scary John McCain. This is one scary woman. This woman is so delusional that not that long ago she would have been locked up.
The vast majority of Americans are ordinary people. They live normal lives, they work, they raise everyday families and are, on the whole, decent people just living their lives. Politically they might lean towards the Democrats or sway a bit more right towards the Republicans and that’s all good for the mix. Many of them are members of their local church and follow a Christian path and there is nothing wrong with that.
Then there are the right wing fanatics who may call themselves Christians but are disowned by the majority of Christians around the world. These people, these vicious, nasty people are extremists of the worse kind – often racist, often advocating violence – they have taken the Christian message and distorted it beyond recognition to the point where if Jesus Christ himself were to return and wander into one of their church meetings he would be lucky to escape with his life. Exactly what motivates these people is beyond me although I suspect an enormous feeling of insecurity and a low IQ both play a big part which leaves them vulnerable to being sucked in by one of the hate-mongering, evangelical ‘Christian’ corporations.
Their God, and apparently, Sarah Palin’s God, tell them things that He doesn’t tell other, ordinary believers. For the majority of Christians the world over, the message is about peace, tolerance, love and respect. It is about living a good, honest and productive life, about helping those less fortunate, about fairness and selfless behaviour. For Palin and others like her, their religion is about hatred and intolerance, about war and conquest, about loathing those that are different and about money. In short, it is built on outrageous hypocrisy. These people sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a “task that is from God.” And it is, apparently, “God’s Will’ that a gas pipeline be built across Palin’s state of Alaska.
Anyone that believes their God cares about such things as a gas pipeline is either seriously deluded or, as I suspect, is using the name of God to claim a moral high ground to sucker these fanatics into a vote. And to suggest that the Christian God of peace and tolerance personally directed the USA to invade another country is just an attempt to use religion to mask something rotten and sick within the core of the current American political administration.
Bush is scary because he has proved himself inept, corrupt and quite plainly fairly stupid. Cheney is scary because, at the end of the day he is little more than a political thug in the pocket of corporate America. I now find McCain scary for the simple reason that at his age, if he dies in office he will leave the White House in charge of someone who is, perhaps, scarier than all of them.
The only reason I can see that people would fear Obama is the very reason he would make a good choice to heal the self-inflicted wounds of the Bush years. And this is that he is a highly intelligent and honourable man with a strong set of moral values that the Christian extremists claim as their own while proving, with their every action and incantation of Gods name, they are actually completely bereft of.