Monday, November 10, 2008

Poles Apart

The talk shows, newspapers and talk among some small groups of people bring a feeling of freshness, hope and optimism as a result of the election of Obama. It is though a veil of depression has lifted across the nation as a new spirit invades the land; the major impetus beyond that spirit being the recognition that we must get along with others, particularly those with whom we disagree. In politics, that spirit is referred to as bipartisanship. Politically, what it boils down to is this; It means doing the right things for the right reasons, rather than allowing moneyed interests control the agendas and outcomes. The polarized society that was carefully nurtured and fed by right wing zealots masquerading as talk show hosts is going to be a thing of the past. Right?

But wait. This morning I awoke to news that the word "Obama" has been banned in certain Mississippi schools. Kids are sent home from school if they say the word aloud or wear a tee shirt that carries the name. The one polling result that intrigued me most during the pre-election race was that finding that 23-25% of all likely voters in Texas believe that Obama is a Muslim. A conservative friend of mine sent me an e-mail yesterday that contains (in part) the following sentiments

"I just do not trust this man. And especially after the unbelievable public adulation--just like all the charismatic leaders that pressed socialism on the people. People in Germany placed their trust in the National Socialists, same in Russia, Cuba, now Venezuela--all the little banana republic countries-- when the people rise up against their oppressors and freely elect a socialist--who then amasses such power that it is impossible to stop their grandiose pursuit of absolute power. They eventually strip the people of their rights, starting with gun control, then control of the press, etc.

"It is scary to see that beginning on election day, sales of assault weapons rose dramatically and continue. Tom, people are really frightened, and the press has done nothing to show us they have done the job of vetting Obama. They ignore these issues."

I honestly do not know how to respond to these dispiriting thoughts. If a substantial minority in our society harbor these beliefs how will the people of this country ever connect with each other for the advancement of the public good? My belief system is such that the U.S. Constitution holds the answers for all Americans. Namely, that we are a nation of laws, not men. One of the major reasons for the current euphoria is that we have cast out the current group which has run our nation the past eight years because they and their fellow travelers (Palin as an example) systematically attempted to dismantle or ignore the fundamental principles of the law as established by that constitution. Those of us who revere the law welcome the fresh new approach that Obama brings and the strength of our convictions includes the knowledge that if he, like the Nameless One he will replace, attempts to disregard the basic law of our nation, he too will be cast aside in an ensuing election. For now, though, he deserves and needs our prayers and cooperation in getting this nation back on track.

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