Ritualistic evocations of “America” . . . and the deep-seated sense that somehow the United States is sacrosanct space—war, by definition, taking place elsewhere—are ways of being toward the world that mask an overwhelming desire, sometimes ferocious, to avoid all sacrifices: professionalized (class-based) military, ridiculously low taxes (especially for high earners), lax popular engagement, minimal obligations, a dislike for central authority bordering on hatred. The “exception” was extended into the 1950s by means of the Cold War (which was in fact the intention), but the last time the sacrifice was generally accepted was indeed the last: Vietnam. From then on, the geopolitical imperative has looked different. Accepting the globalism of the U.S. in one form or another is one thing; sacrificing for it is an altogether different one. Sovereignty, the right to decide on the exception, has thus typically resided in the geopolitical imperative, and it has been experienced on the outside. Few foreigners make any mistake about the importance of U.S. geopolitics and the “right” that it seems to embody.
Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’
As I noted in August, one in five Americans mistakenly believes that President Obama is secretly a Muslim. Yet more disconcerting than the fact that this propaganda has been so widely disseminated, is that one of Obama’s most recent strategies for combating the problem is simply giving in.
More than nine years (and a few weeks) have now passed since the events of 9/11, and as Religion in America blogger Paul Matzko noted on the attacks’ ninth anniversary earlier this month, the religious overtones of how Americans remember that day are palpable.
In her Washington Post opinion column, The Spirited Atheist, Susan Jacoby reflects upon the “billions of words” published in newspapers, blogs, and articles about Obama’s religion, arguing that “there is nothing ordinary, or traditional in American politics, about subjecting a president’s private faith to this kind of scrutiny.”
By now, everyone has seen the Newsweek poll indicating that a majority of Republicans believes President Barack Obama sympathizes with radical Islamists who would like to impose Shari‘a on the United States. Certainly, political debates in America generally get fairly nasty whenever the defense of “the American way of life” is at issue. And in America, such threats have had a long history of steering the popular imagination back to the question of race. But this time around, the mixture is especially volatile, I think, because race is once again being stirred into a mixture with religion.
A recent Pew Research poll indicates that an increasing percentage of Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.
As the mid-term electoral season enters its final months, the growing controversy over the construction of Park51, the now well-known Muslim community center proposed to be built near the former site of the World Trade Center, has rocketed from an issue of local concern to one of apparently national import.
To “bear witness:” Obama’s phrase was widely quoted but not seriously analyzed. Some attacked (and some still attack) the President for leaving the protesters in the lurch; to these commentators, “witness” meant passive spectatorship when a robust intervention was needed. Others found the Administration’s aloofness a shrewd tactic that gave the good guys breathing room while respecting Iranian sovereignty. Few, as far as I know, took note of the Christian roots of the phrase. That’s too bad, because they help to shed light on Obama as a politician, a diplomat with “realist” predilections, and a national phenomenon—and how he manages to be all three at once.
Concluding a class trip to the Supreme Court, Maureen Rigo and her class from Wickenburg Christian Academy, Wickenburg, AZ, stopped to pray on the Oval Plaza in front of the Court steps. The Supreme Court police ushered the teacher and her class from the steps, having deemed their behavior unlawful—actions that bring to the fore questions of the religious neutrality of public space and the application of the First Amendment.