Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Short Story by Barack Obama

"We can't just tell people what they want to hear, we need to tell people what they need to hear. We need to tell them the truth!" - Senator Barack Obama, from his latest campaign commercial

I had hopes when this primary race started that we might see something different this time. Obama used to speak like a normal human being. Now, obviously, the speech writers are busy feeding him sound bites and making him into another pontificating politico-bot.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Didn't we see this plot in
The Seduction of Joe Tynan? As long as we have political regimes running both parties like privately owned machines, we have no chance of getting anyone in office that will effect significant changes.

The question that comes to my mind is why? Why can't we tell people what they want to hear? It seems like a good idea if we want something from them, like votes or money. The context of the quote above: Obama was speaking to a room full of people about his having gone to Detroit to confront the auto manufacturers about better fuel economy. He argued that we were sending too much money to potentially hostile nations for oil, and contributing to global warming to boot. All true, but I suspect that's what that particular roomful of people wanted to hear, that someone was standing up for these issues. Talk is cheap.

Telling people what they want to hear can be quite profitable. Just ask this guy.

Joel Osteen and his trophy wife have been telling people what they want to hear at the Lakewood Ministries ever since his father died and left him the family pitch. They emphasize the "Sunshine and Light" version of the gospel, and also push self-help materials in true medicine-show fashion. They seem to be getting a lot of free publicity lately on news and morning TV shows. Maybe he's being groomed for the recently vacated Jerry Falwell slot. The fire and brimstone crowd complain that Joel and his lovely wife are ignoring all the possibilities of selling fear and guilt. In short, they are being well paid to blow sunshine up the respective asses of their follower/victims.

This is also what I have come to expect from the modern breed of politician; sunshine. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to know what a politician wants to do, I'd like to know how they plan to get it done.


At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've decided to vote for Marilyn Manson for President. Let the pretty boys and spin doctors put THAT in their respective pipes and smoke it...


At 6:50 AM, Blogger concerned citizen said...

After listening to the Republicans spout all their religious drivel & looking at their value tally(or what ever they called that bit of propaganda)I decided I'd hold my nose & vote for any Democrat they put out there & worry about principles later.

Osteen & the "sunshine & light" brigade are real snakes in the grass, aren't they? One thing that is pissing me off about these powerful Christian groups is they can afford to buy their way into politics because they are on a tax free ride. Something is seriously wrong with that.

At 3:10 AM, Blogger Kalanchoe542 said...

I finally made a new entry in my blog. I guess it's about time....

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Mark and Pam said...

Great post. I couldn't agree more about the current direction that this election is heading in. To tell the truth, it's a little disheartening no matter which side you're on.

On a side note, I disagree with your portrayel of Christianity as the "sunshine" Christians vs. the "Falwell" Christians. My guess is that about 85% of Christians in this country fall in between those two extremes.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Anon: I am voting for Dennis Kucinich for much the same reason. I am sick of voting for the lesser of two evils, and I no longer care if I am backing a "winner".

concerned citizen: I firmly agree that religious organizations should be taxed, or banned from politics. Values should stand or fall on their own merit, and not be implemented at gunpoint.

Kalanchoe542: Welcome back, I will read with relish.

mark: I believe that the darker aspects of human personality, and upbringing, also known as one's family's particular dysfunction, is resposible for the flavor of religion that one will be drawn to. All are subject to wide interpretation and either wishful thinking or selective focus to fulfill a predetermined agenda. The worshipers accept what they are comfortable with, and the clerics set the agenda. If this were not so, there would not be so many sects. I am curious. How do you differentiate a cult from a sect? In this current election atmosphere, it has once again come to light that some Christian sects consider the Mormons and the Catholics to be cults. I could argue that they're all cults.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Mark and Pam said...

breakerslion: Regarding the argument of cult vs. sect, I generally approach the issue by asking a question of each religious group, Do Mormons/Catholics/Lutherans/etc. profess the Apostle's Creed? The creed cites the basics of the Christian faith. Anyone who would have a problem with the theology of the Apostle's Creed would not be considered a Christian. That being said, Mormons would not agree with some points in the Apostle's Creed but Catholics definitely would have no problems with it.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...


Sorry I missed this comment earlier. I'm in a generous mood right now, so I'll say that the Apostle's Creed is as good an arbitrary stake in the ground as any. What makes a cult is what is defined as cultish behavior. Usually, this is all manner of mind control, arguments from authority, and identity-blurring indoctrination techniques. If you want to appraise a mainstream religion, treat the Sunday School as a separate problem and evaluate accordingly.


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