Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009--Wither the Golden Rule?

As wrong as Maureen Dowd was last week when she criticized Barack Obama for being too much like Star Trek's passive Dr. Spock and not enough like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa, in her New York Times column on Sunday she got it, sadly, exactly right--the real reason many on the right of the political spectrum despise Obama is because he is . . . black. (See Dowd's piece linked below.)

They may resent his elite education, his grace, his high intelligence, his way with words, and his cool; but the fundamental reason they hate him and want to "break" him (in the unintentionally revealing words of South Carolina’s Senator Jim DeMint) is because of his race. They can’t stand the idea that a black guy is their president. They’re all right rooting for African-American athletes and paying to see Will Smith in every one of his movies, but a black man as president just sticks in the throats.

And thus to quote Congressman James Clyburn, also of South Carolina who knows them when he sees them, they are doing all they can to delegitimatize him and his presidency. That's what all the so-called birther stuff is about. If Obama wasn't born in the United States, he would be constitutionally not permitted to serve as president. (They did not have the same problem, however, with john McCain who was born in the Panama Canal Zone.) They are going after him with a fury on this account, claiming that his Hawaiian birth certificate is a forgery and that thus he is not our real president.

Then they are still after him in regard to the role ACORN played during the presidential campaign. The community organizing organization hired a few dozen part-time workers who phonyed up some voter registration applications in Nevada and Colorado—they were paid by the number of forms they turned in. ACORN, it is claimed, because of this fraudulent work tipped the general election to Obama and thus this is yet another reason why he is not our legitimate president. (All of these registration forms, by the way, were discovered and discarded well before Election Day.)

Though by this logic, since Vice President Joe Biden also benefited from the same alleged fraud, if these Obama haters had their way he too would be tossed out of office and the constitutionally next in line would become our president. In this case that would be Nancy Pelosi, who, up to this point, I thought was even more despised by these conservative radicals than the bogeyman Obama. So wouldn't it be ironic if she were to become our president? But on the other hand, to them, though she is a woman and probably a Communist, she is at least white.

Speaking of the Republic Right, which in almost all instances is synonymous with the Christian Right, what ever happened to their piety when it comes to the Golden Rule, which requires devout Christians to follow the ethic of reciprocity—to not only seek just treatment for themselves but also to work to assure that it applies to all others? To do unto those others as they would have done to them?

Or, for that matter, the even higher sanction to love they neighbor as themselves? That too appears to have been lost from their notion of public discourse and behavior. And here I am not talking about what they might be doing privately in public men rooms or along the Appalachian Trail, but rather what they are doing daily about the welfare of those who have fallen on hard times and who need a little assistance from the side of our better angels.

Where do we today find these noble Christian verities—these God-ordained directives—being carried out in the words and deeds of those of our public officials who so steadfastly and publicly proclaim them while in their behavior as legislators and leaders act as if they did not apply to them or for which, according to their professed beliefs, they will be eternally responsible and held accountable?

The hatred and mean-spiritedness that we are seeing today on such flagrant display, that they are so knowingly unleashing, is unworthy of them and their proudly asserted religious principals. I can only, therefore, assume that they are cynically insincere—proclaiming their beliefs only to benefit themselves and to manipulate and enflame others.


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