Inauguration of a Metaphor

Joseph Campbell once said that if you want to change the world you must change the metaphor. Campbell spoke of religion but that wisdom seems to transfer to politics as well.

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, is above all a metaphor. He is a metaphor for everything and anything you or I want him to be. He is a metaphor for, among other things, hope, dreams no longer deferred, a melting pot, America, the unknown, and the anti-christ. As a metaphor, like Santa Claus, he has huge expectations placed on him, a nation who believes in him, and the world watching. Regardless of who Obama really is, through the power of metaphor we have projected upon him what we want and need him to be.

Good luck Mr. Obama. We have changed the metaphor; here’s to changing the world for the better as the result.

SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters – Yahoo News

SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters – Yahoo News
A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil.”

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

Churches are becoming too involved in politics. It is this sort of coersion that should see a church lose its non-profit status. Non-profits are not supposed to get involved in politics in this way. As such, this church should lose its status as a non-profit.

It is fine for the priest to say “this politician is wrong to espouse pro-choice with regard to abortion – abortion is wrong.” But this priest has crossed the line saying a parishioner is going to hell for voting for that person and should not receive the sacraments of the church. He might as well said, vote for John McCain or don’t bother coming to this church any longer. That is the effect of his position.

In addition, it is small-minded and ignores all of the other reasons someone may vote for a candidate. Abortion is just one issue in a haystack of issues. What about all of the other social causes that the Catholic Church and Catholics care about? It would seem to me that Obama aligns himself with a greater number of those causes.

Furthermore, at a time the Catholic church is losing relevance and parishioners (except in immigrant communities), this does nothing to help its cause.

Dividing America

Although this is nothing new, I think that supporters of both sides in the presidential race are creating the unnecessary division between Americans. Case in point:

VIDEO: The McCain-Palin mob in Strongsville, Ohio | blogger interrupted.

Itâ??s no wonder that the slightest incitement from Sarah Palin or John McCain will turn one of their rallies into a lynch mob. Just talk to the folks who attend.

My camera was rolling for literally seconds before people happily said to me, on camera, that Barack Obama is a terrorist. If I hadnâ??t spent most of my time at the event inside, waiting for the candidates to show up, I could have gotten dozens of these people on tape.

I commented on the video and have decided to also comment here. The video and the attitude taken by the videographer adds to the ideological canyon that divides America. He hurts progressive causes by stirring the pot in this way and causes these sort of folks to ignore progressive messages, sight unseen, that are brought by others with more constructive methods.

Like a lot of other well meaning activists, his current methods are not effective and come off as contemptuous. If I were to witness something like this, I’d think the guy a nut and perhaps an ass for talking down to people. Instead, I suggest that all aspiring boat rockers instead provide constructive forums for debating people and provide educational material and resources to help explain your positions. For example, you can direct people to which is equally scathing of both campaigns/parties for their inaccurate statements and portrayals of the other. You can also provide information about McCainâ??s role in the S&L crisis, deregulation of the financial services industry, and recent comments about the economy. And, it is extremely important to provide independent sources for your material that can be easily fact checked against. Direct people to use Internet searches and educate themselves. Too few people want to read let alone learn more than the sound bites they hear. This is an opportunity to give them a boost.

You may not convince everyone (like the guy who thinks Obama was raised from 1-6 by militant islamists) but I think you can convince a few outliers or centrists who can go either way. Each and every person who decides on Obama may in turn bring another one or two to their viewpoint. Talking down to people just make them dig in their heals and resist.

To be fair to the people in the video, a camera has a habit of pulling out the ignorance in people. Jackass comes to mind. Add to it that the fact he comes off as baiting people, I expect them to say ridiculous things or act like morons as does the woman jumping in front of the camera demanding he say when the first time he’d heard of Obama. Not that ignorance is excusable but this is a crowd of people who blindly follow a party based on an ideology they neither understand nor check the policies of. Sadly, the policies of the Republican leadership do more to hurt many of these people more than many of them comprehend or care to check. These are the type of people I grew up with. :( Sadder yet is that there are equal numbers of people like this on both sides. :(

BTW: Obama gets my vote because I think his team will manage the country much better and respect the Constitution more than McCain and the Republicans. We aren’t voting for a candidate, rather for the candidate and the party machine and philosophy of governing they bring.


I liked Obama’s acceptance speech tonight. If you haven’t heard or seen it, it is worth listening to.

The Obama web site highlights this portion of the speech. I felt it was a powerful statement.

That promise is our greatest inheritance.  Itâ??s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours â?? a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincolnâ??s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there couldâ??ve heard many things.  They couldâ??ve heard words of anger and discord.  They couldâ??ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead â?? people of every creed and color, from every walk of life â?? is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked.  That together, our dreams can be one.

â??We cannot walk alone,â? the preacher cried.  â??And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.  We cannot turn back.â?

America, we cannot turn back.  Not with so much work to be done.  Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for.  Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save.  Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.  America, we cannot turn back.  We cannot walk alone.  At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future.  Let us keep that promise â?? that American promise â?? and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

I liked the reference to Harlem (also known informally as Dream Deferred) by Langston Hughes, the poem that begins A Raisin in the Sun. Good poem.

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

	-- Langston Hughes

One theme I picked up on and have heard him say before is that we must be the change we want to see. And, like his other references to famous but unnamed persons/events, he channeled the ideas of Gandhi without specifically calling him out.

Needless to say, I’ve made up my mind. I think Obama will make a better President, manage the government better, and he will put better and more competent people in charge than McCain will.

Even then, I don’t like how either canidate handles the subject of the budget deficit. A deficit today is a tax tomorrow. Deferred taxation is not good policy. But both argue for tax cuts. If you disagree and want a tax cut, see whether Obama or McCain will cut your taxes more.

Race is not always the issue

I think it is unfortunate for African Americans and others who are non-white that some people choose to blame race whenever something goes wrong in life. For example, consider the reaction to a verdict today in New York regarding three police officers shooting 50 rounds from their guns and killing an unarmed man.

NYPD officers cleared in killing; rights leaders want probe – Yahoo! News
NEW YORK – Civil rights leaders demanded a federal investigation and vowed to march through the streets in protest after three police officers were cleared of all charges Friday in the killing of an unarmed man cut down in a hail of 50 bullets on his wedding day.

The verdict by Justice Arthur Cooperman elicited gasps as well as tears of joy and sorrow. Detective Michael Oliver, who fired 31 of the shots, wept at the defense table, while the mother of victim Sean Bell cried in the packed courtroom. Shouts of “Murderers! Murderers!” and “KKK!” rang out on the courthouse steps.

Two of the three police detectives involved were African-American. I don’t understand the connection to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to this case. I can see a strong argument for excessive force but I don’t see much, if any, argument for racism.

It is unfortunate for America when the race card is pulled in a situation like this. In fact, it occurs far too often. Another example comes out of the Motor City. Current Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has accused numerous folks of racism in his recent text messaging scandal, even though race doesn’t play a role. He is accused of perjury in his testimony during a lawsuit by former cops (neither white) he had fired because they were looking into corruption. Speaking of Detroit, former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young used it too frequently through the 1970’s and 80’s to retain his hold on political power, meanwhile driving his city further into the ground. Remnants of the antagonistic relationships with other local cities is still evident in local life and politics.

Race comes out too often when it has no relevance to a situation and is used only to raise hackles. But the louder and more frequent these cries are, the more they are ignored. Sadly, it has become a situation much akin to the parable regarding the boy who cried wolf. This was demonstrated by the Jena 6 imbroglio. It took weeks before the mainstream press bothered to cover the story and it is still taking a beating these many months later. That story deserved the discussion about racism that our country should have. But it didn’t and has been largely forgotten by most of America less than a year later.

As Barack Obama recently argued, a discussion about race in America does need to occur. However, I don’t think it can be very constructive in a world in which the little boy who cries wolf about racism is ignored. It is time for people to step back and collect all details about a situation before inferring that racism is a cause and, even then, to be more careful before pulling it out. There are many other reasons beyond racism that may cause a person to say or do something. In the case of the New York City cops killing Sean Bell, I would think that there are many, many other reasons such as fear, the early morning hour, a crowd of mostly intoxicated young men dispersing after an altercation, and society’s love for and access to guns. In the end, I think that America has been desensitized to cries of racism, as unfortunate as that is for us all.

BTW: I think Obama’s speech is well worth watching. I wish someone spoke up and made this many years ago.

John Edwards and Obama both call for an Open Media For The 21st Century

I need to say that John Edwards understands America’s communications policy needs. He’s been open for months about his thoughts regarding what he calls Open Media. Now Obama has picked up on Edwards’ message and has introduced his own policy guideline/pledge and tied an open media to innovation and the economy. I like the sound of what both say. I can only hope it isn’t just smoke and mirrors.

John Edwards for President-One America, Many Voices: Open Media For The 21st Century
“The basis of a strong democracy is a diverse and dynamic media. It’s time to take away the corporate media bullhorn and let America’s many voices be heard.” â?? John Edwards

  • Fighting Media Concentration
  • Restoring the Public Interest to the Public Airwaves
  • Building a Universal, Affordable Internet
  • Keeping an Open Internet
  • Tuning in Thousands of Communities with Low Power Radio

Barack Obama ’08 Blog: Obama rolls out innovation agenda
â??I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality. Because once providers start to privilege some applications or web sites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out, and we all lose. The Internet is perhaps the most open network in history. We have to keep it that way.â? – Barack Obama

  • Ensure the Full and Free Exchange of Information through an Open Internet and Diverse
    Media Outlets

    • Protect the Openness of the Internet
    • Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership
    • Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment
    • Safeguard our Right to Privacy
  • Create a Transparent and Connected Democracy
    • Open Up Government to its Citizens
    • Bring Government into the 21st Century
  • Deploy a Modern Communications Infrastructure
    • Deploy Next-Generation Broadband
  • Employ Technology and Innovation to Solve Our Nationâ??s Most Pressing Problems
    • Lower Health Care Costs by Investing in Electronic Information Technology Systems
    • Invest in Climate-Friendly Energy Development and Deployment
    • Upgrade Education to Meet the Needs of the 21st Century
    • Create New Jobs
    • Modernize Public Safety Networks
  • Improve Americaâ??s Competitiveness
    • Invest in the Sciences
    • Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent
    • Reform Immigration
    • Promote American Businesses Abroad
    • Ensure Competitive Markets
    • Protect American Intellectual Property Abroad
    • Protect Intellectual Property at Home
    • Reform the Patent System

I haven’t seen any similar commitments from the Republican candidates.