as to dislike him because he isn't white.
--e. e. cummings
Bring me little water, Sylvie
Every little once in a while
--Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie, Leadbelly
You call that a preacher?
He scandalized my name!
Lord loves a workin' man; don't trust whitey;
see a doctor and get rid of it
--The Jerk (1979)
I know of an amateur videographer who has captured Obama's Oral Roberts moment in two different campaign rallies. It sounds like Elmer Gantry, redux.
Twice, a young women has fainted at Obama rallies, in approximately the same area of the arena. As the kerfuffle unfolds, from the stage Obama raises both hands shoulder height, a la Rev. Wright and in his stentorian voice calms the crowd: "Do not worry -- she has only fainted. She needs water. Someone please bring water." Subsequently, she revives.
It is right out of the tent revival circuit. The only thing missing was the KFC bucket for the contributions, but that would be simply gauche amongst his latte-swilling demographic.
Two possible explanations come to mind:  The faints were scripted, or  He is accustomed to women swooning in his presence, and so takes it all in stride. If so, perhaps the campaign should travel with smelling salts.
I thought we'd already laughed the millenialists off the stage after Y2K. Yet after suffering through 7+ years with a born-again fundamentalist president, we are now being cadged by this tent revival hokum from the democrats?
I guess to someone who's never been to a revival, this all sounds very new. And to those who do know the revival circuit, very familiar. Obama is playing a winning hand among the dupes.
Carolyn Glick writing at RealClearPolitics.com took a compelling look at "Obama's cult of personality." Following is an excerpt:
OPPONENTS OF Clinton claim that she is a soulless woman who will do whatever is necessary to have power, because she likes power and wants it. But if this is true it is hard to see why a power-hungry president is worse than a president who believes that he is the people's redeemer. It is hard to see why a leader who wants power because she likes power is less reasonable than a president who thinks he has a right to demand that the American people follow his lead and fix their souls in the name of unity. In the former case, opposition to the leader is a policy dispute. In the latter case, it is apostasy.
Speaking in February of the man she knows better than anyone else does, Michelle Obama said that her husband, Illinois Senator and candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination Barack Obama, is the only candidate for president who understands that before America can solve its problems, Americans have to fix their "broken souls."
She also said that her husband's unique understanding of the state of souls of the American people makes him uniquely qualified to be President. . . He can heal his countrymen's broken souls. He will redeem them.
But then, saving souls is hard work, and Mrs. Obama won't place the whole burden on her husband. He'll make the Americans work for him. As she put it, "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."
At base, Mrs. Obama's statement is nothing less than a renunciation of democracy and an embrace of fascism. The basic idea of liberty is that people have a natural right to live their lives as usual and to be uninvolved and uninformed. And they certainly have a right to expect that their government will butt out of their souls.
It is the ultimate PoMo hagiography, a total mashup: Obama will enter the white house and make it white again. He will wash you clean, pick you up and give you faith. A preacher-man politician. He listens to Jay-Z on his i-Pod, but listens to Old School, too. He is a 12-Step program for the nation. Because we are guilty as sin. Of course, we started out that way, according to the Good Book.
You're paying five bucks for a blended Frappacino, when you know the hard-working brother down the street is going to Micky D's. Worse yet, fixing his coffee at home. Maybe even instant. Do they even make that anymore? You don't know, so you follow Michael Moore's admonition to atone for Dred Scott in the 19th century -- maybe before your people even came here. It doesn't matter, for you go to Panera Bread, and that can't be all good.
You are weaned on Oprah, and have never been to a tent revival, so the gesture seems redemptive and new, and all the New Age sages want to help you to be your best self, and here he comes. Presto-chango! Hop on the Obama train and vote for a new and better you.
The religious pander is especially unctuous. Redemption blather has no place in the American political circuit. Our Founding Fathers were fairly stern on the matter of separating church and state.
The savior choreography simply grates, probably because of the contradiction between the posture and the reality. The iconography is so simplistically rendered -- how can a thinking person fall for it?
Hillary's tossing pack boilermakers renders her the workingman's pal, but that construction is more easily borne than that of messiah, for the latter engenders an unquestioning herd mentality, as Glick says.
It is more than a little terrifying to see Americans so accustomed to being pumped up -- whether via Prozac or Oprah or whoever the cheerleader du jour might be -- that they now take their self-improvement fix even from politicians. Is the raft of self-help books at Borders not enough?
Rick Warren, where are you now?