". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Audacity of Hubris

It would appear that as Mr. Obama gets closer to the victory he is obviously expecting (but that I am far from convinced of), his high opinion of himself and contempt for those who don't share it is being increasingly displayed. Why else would he feel confident enough to kick reporters from three leading newspapers off his campaign plane with only five days remaining until Election Day? These are reporters who have been covering him from the beginning but whose respective papers (the Washington Times, New York Post and Dallas Morning News) have in recent weeks endorsed John McCain. Might there be a connection there? And might Obama's treatment of these reporters signal how he intends to deal with the press during administration--by refusing access to all but the most adoring?

A similar haughtiness is demonstrated in Obama's comments several days ago ridiculing those who have described his economic plan as socialist. Obama responded by saying that McCain would soon "be accusing me of being a secret Communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich." (source)

Does this man hear himself? People have deep and valid concerns about what impact his "spreading the wealth" tax and economic measures are going to have on the country as a whole and on them individually. But they aren't allowed to ask those questions and get straight answers. Instead they are mocked with ridiculous assertions such as the one above. For the record, Barack, sharing your toys and your peanut butter sandwich was something YOU decided to do with YOUR PROPERTY as a result of YOUR FREEDOM. It was a voluntary act. Assessing higher taxes on one citizen so that you can give that money to another citizen who paid no taxes to begin with is more akin to the teacher coming and taking your toys and peanut butter sandwich away from you so as to give them to someone else. I don't call that sharing; I call it confiscation, and there is nothing voluntary about it. But anyone who dares to question your obviously faulty reasoning is dismissed and mocked.

The history of this presidential campaign is replete with examples of Obama's arrogance, which is in strong contrast to McCain's and Palin's humility. That arrogance is doubtless fed by the worshipful crowds that amass at his campaign stops. I will admit that I have worried about the high numbers of those crowds when compared with the more modest turnout at McCain's appearances (although I have wondered if maybe some of the rally attendees are the same people, who are just following Obama around the country kind of like Grateful Dead fans). But after reading this article by Fouad Ojami, I am less impressed with the specter of the adoring crowd. Because what Ojami argues is that the crowd is not as much a reflection of enthusiasm for Obama as much as for itself. In other words, the good feelings among those in attendance are not founded on anything real but are simply the result of the crowd experience. That experience is intensified because every member of the crowd is able to project onto Obama--the blank slate--whatever they want him to be. It doesn't matter what anyone believes as long as we all believe in THE ONE. If that's where you're coming from, the group experience is all. Because while facts are stable, feelings are fleeting, and if you're basing your hope on feelings you need to feed those feelings by having regular mountaintop experiences. On the other hand, if you're voting on the basis of fact, such emotional experiences are less important, as is the affirmation gained from feeling like you're part of a group.

(Aside to my confessional Lutheran readers: do you see an analogy here between Obama followers and church growthers?)

Voting is a solitary, not a group act. I am hoping that what that means is that Obama's numbers on Election Day will be less than expected, and McCain's will be greater. Because you can't take that crowd into a voting booth with you.

2 comments:

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I heard on Fox News that those seats were being replaced with journalists from Ebony and other black magazines.

Its wierd, I was watching Fox News all day, and it almost seemed like they were trying to point out how random this was (obviously, they said, since they were still there). There was no mention that these papers had endorsed McCain

Cheryl said...

Wow, that is strange, Lora, because the very first I heard of this was a Fox News alert (I think at about 9:00 in the morning).