Well, shut my mouth and call me “Lord Hanuman.” It’s true!
In my previous post, I truly tried to give the Senator the benefit of the doubt. Frankly, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that a man who could very well be the next POTUS would be carrying around a good luck charm based upon a semi-simian Hindu deity. Particularly a guy who professes to be a Jesus follower.
But what do I come across today? The photo above is from a Time Magazine piece on what the candidates like to carry in their pockets for good luck. I learned that John McCain has a lucky penny. Senator Clinton has a bracelet with a cross charm on it. And Senator Obama?
Well, based upon the photo above, let’s just say Sen. Lightworker likes to keep his bases covered. According to Time, the Senator is carrying:
- A U.S. soldier’s bracelet (currently deployed in Iraq)
- A gambler’s “lucky chit”
- A “Madonna and Child” charm
- “A tiny monkey god”
- And three or four other unidentified items, among which seems to be a slug, an angel coin, yet another Virgin Mary charm, and some other coin-y detritus.
Good grief, it’s a wonder the man can keep his pants up! Superstitious much?
I’m not sure what to make of this Times of India newspaper article. I think the pronouncements should be taken with a huge grain of salt given that they are made by an overly-excited Indian politician named Brijmohan Bhama. But sweet smoking Judas, this is odd . .
NEW DELHI: With Democrat senator Barack Obama busy in the run-up to the US presidential polls, a group of well-wishers in the capital have decided to send him a symbol of his lucky charm, Lord Hanuman, to help him emerge victorious.
Obama’s representative Carolyn Sauvage-Mar on Tuesday received a gold-plated two-feet-high idol which she will pass it on to the Obama after it is sanctified.
The idol is being presented to Obama as he is reported to be a Lord Hanuman devotee and carries with him a locket of the monkey god along with other good luck charms.
An hour-long prayer meeting to sanctify the idol was earlier organised at Sankat Mochan Dham and by Congress leader Brijmohan Bhama, Balmiki Samaj and the temple’s priests.
“Obama has deep faith in Lord Hanuman and that is why we are presenting an idol of Hanuman to him,” said Bhama.
Accepting the souvenir, Sauvage-Mar, who is chairperson of Democrats Abroad-India, said, “Obama has extended his thanks for the support.”
Just when you think the cultish, new age-y circus surrounding Obamamessiah worship has reached the upper limits of absurdity. . . Someone named Brijmohan whips out a big fat golden idol and raises the bar.
Hopefully some enterprising young reporter at Sen. Obama’s next campaign stop will ask a few questions and clear some of this up for us. Will someone please ask:
Sen. Obama, do you indeed have “a deep faith in Lord Hanuman” as asserted by an Indian congressional leader? And if so, what does the monkey-god mean to you?
Do you carry a monkey-god locket and other “good luck” charms in your pocket? If so, may we see them?
What do you plan to do with the big golden image of the monkey-god presented to your representative in New Delhi? Does Michelle have a spot in your foyer in mind? Would it move to the White House with you? Would the girls be allowed to dress it up and give it a nickname?
According to the article, the graven image has to undergo 11 days of additional blessing and consecration before it can be delivered to the Obamas.
All this follows the straight-faced suggestion in the San Francisco Chronicle that Obama is some sort “enlightened being.”
And the election is four long months away. How strange does all this have to get before the average American pulls the emergency cord on the crazy train and says, “That’s it. I’m getting off here.”
Update: A helpful commenter with knowledge of India informs us that Mr. Bhama, quoted above, isn’t necessarily a member of Indian parliament, but is rather a member of the “Congress” political party, and therefore may just be some local yahoo. The whole story is priceless, nonetheless. (Be sure to check out the YouTube video he links to.)
I came across a fascinating article in “The Atlantic” about the way Internet use is altering the way we think and, as a by-product, robbing us of the ability to read large bits of text as found in books and long articles.
It is, of course, a long article. And wouldn’t you know that about half way through it, I started to lose focus and
Friend of Blather, Bonnie, is visiting Scottsdale and the desert has inspired some moving and meaningful musings. Read, “Desert Purple.”
Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times best-selling author of such books as The Faith of George W. Bush; The Faith of the American Soldier; Ten Tortured Words; as well as biographies of Churchill, Tom Delay, Pope Benedict, and Derek Prince.
Stephen is also a buddy who announced to the world on his blog a few weeks ago that he and I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania early next year–a date roughly six months after his 50th birthday and six months prior to mine.
Stephen has a new book coming out in August. It will be titled, The Faith of Barack Obama, and though it hasn’t even been printed yet, it is already earning him attacks, denunciations and hearty helpings of vilification.
The funny thing is, the folks feeling all denounce-y and vilifilacious are mostly Stephen’s fellow conservative Christians. As he relates in a blog post titled, “An Internet Mugging,” he’s being deluged with emails suggesting that he is surely a son of perdition and thoroughly hell-bound.
So, what has the knickers of my fellow religious righties in such a twist? As best as I can tell, it all stems from an early review by Ben Smith on the Politico.com web site. More specifically, it is the review’s headline, which has now been repeated and linked to thousands of times all over the Web, that has folks all worked up: “Bush Backer Pens Pro-Obama Book.”
Of course, Stephen hasn’t written a “Pro-Obama” book. (I had the opportunity to read the manuscript before it was sent to the publisher.) He has written a fair, objective, earnest exploration of the spiritual influences on Barack Obama–one that makes a gracious, good-faith effort to decode just what the man believes. In other words, Stephen attempts to answer the question so many people are asking right now. Namely, “Is this guy a real-deal Christian and, if so, what flavor?”
Why did Ben Smith characterize Stephen’s book as “pro-Obama?” I can only assume that the polarized political climate has conditioned Smith to assume that every book about a political figure has to be either a vicious, screedy hit piece or a great big advertisement. Smith must have looked at Stephen’s past books and resume; pegged him as a Republican; and therefore assumed the book would be the former. When, to his surprise, it wasn’t, he then defaulted to assuming it was the latter.
I don’t think it occurred to Smith that a pro-life evangelical like Stephen might actually be interested in just presenting the facts fairly and objectively so readers could make their own evaluations. What I know is that Stephen has the soul of a historian. That sensibility comes through in this excerpt from Stephen’s blog post:
[T]here are certain lives you have to understand in any age in order to understand the times. Franklin Roosevelt may not be of your political persuasion but you can’t understand
Americain the twentieth century without understanding his life. The same is true of Obama. Whether you are an evangelical pastor, an anarchist guitar player, a home school mom, a feminist doctor or a libertarian accountant, if you are going to understand Americatoday you have to know a bit about Obama. When you decide that this is true, you are going to hope for a book that tells the facts with as little bias as a flawed human being can manage. Not everything is political. Not everything is perspective. Some things are just true but they are best learned from a decent storyteller.
Maybe when enough Americans conclude that this is so, I won’t have to go to hell after all.
Ironically, the misinformation cascade triggered by Politico’s review may actually work in the book’s favor. It may now get read by liberals who wouldn’t have otherwise picked it up.
In any event, I recommend it to you if you’re interested in some perceptive insight into the spiritual beliefs of the man who may be the next President of the United States.
One year ago tomorrow I used this space to share that my Dad had just been diagnosed as being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or one of the other dignity-assaulting flavors of dementia, hand crafted in the darkest heart of hell.
Dad’s birthday, Father’s Day and the annual Holland Family reunion all fall within a few days of each other this time each year. Thus, I just left Dad, Mom and a throng of other Holland’s this morning in the hilly woods of Southeastern Oklahoma. I learned from Mom last week that Dad believes this reunion is his last.
The highlight of the trip for me was an opportunity to sit in on a game of dominoes with my dad and two of his brothers. That may not sound like a big deal but you have to know that most of my misty, watercolor memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases as a kid involve seeing dad and my uncles at Grandma’s dining room table playing dominoes. Sitting at that table seemed to me to be an impossibly grown up thing to do.
Mom had quietly expressed concern about Dad being able to manage all the mental math on the fly, but she needn’t have worried. It is not the math side of Dad’s brain that is under attack. In fact, it is only the cognitive file drawer that holds all the nouns that ever more frequently seems to be stuck shut. He and his partner won.
For decades now–at least since I left home for college in 1979–Dad and I have parted with an awkward handshake and a “See you soon. Or maybe a “Drive safe.”
I learned long ago that my Dad wasn’t going to express a lot of verbal affection. In recent years I’ve come to understand that Dad’s “love language” is “acts of service.” Even in years when words came more easily, he wasn’t going to tell you how he felt. He was going to show you. Those oil changes, deck repairs and a thousand other unsolicited helps took on a new significance once that light came on.
When it came time to hit the road today, I said “Try to come see us when you can,” and stuck out my hand.
I was not met by his hand, but by a hug. And a raspy -voiced “Love you, son”
To be honest, I’m not sure I’d ever heard him say those words before–though I’ve never once doubted it was true. Maybe it’s the law of supply and demand at work. Perhaps words rise in value when they ‘re suddenly so hard to come by.
“Love you too, Dad. Thanks for everything.”
It’s been months now since I added Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism, to my “Currently Reading” page.
It’s a reflection of how ridiculously little time I’ve had for recreational reading that I’m just now getting the book finished. Finding time to write a proper review would take another six months, but the book is important, so I want to at least put a few thoughts out there.
So, here’s some of my finest thin gruel for you:
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First . . . about the packaging, branding, and positioning of the book. Liberal Fascism is not the book it’s title and cover will lead most people to assume–and this is both a blessing and a curse to the book and its author.
I suspect that too many people, both liberal and conservative instantly pegged the book as belonging to that shrill, preaching-to-the-converted genre endlessly produced and consumed over the last ten years or so. Al Franken got the party started for lefties with Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot. Since then, there have been scores and scores of screedy tomes–lefty and righty–designed to provide gratification and validation for those who agree with the author and zero persuasive influence on those who don’t.
These tend to sell like crazy because few things are more exhilarating that having all your closely-held biases endorsed by an authority. I have a bookshelf full of them. We all love to told be we’re right.
Liberal Fascism is not one of those books. But it is titled and packaged like one. That has probably helped sales. (It made a strong showing on the New York Times bestseller list.) But it has also certainly kept some people who would benefit greatly from reading it from picking it up. And that’s a shame.
Indeed, I wish every intellectually honest liberal in America would read Liberal Fascism. At minimum, the general tone of our public discourse would improve as there would be far fewer people throwing the label “fascist” at people they don’t like.
And any liberal reader with a sense of shame or decency would never again dare suggest that the modest security/intelligence measures the Bush Administration took following 9/11 somehow represented a dangerous and unprecedented effort to turn America into a fascist dictatorship. They would have learned that Woodrow Wilson and FDR both took far more extreme measures.
No, this book isn’t another volley in the Left vs. Right name calling wars. It’s an extraordinarily well-researched and well-written book of history. Particularly the history of a set of ideas that, in the early part of the 20th Century, went by the name of “Fascism.”
One learns, in fact, that there was a worldwide “fascist moment” in which Benito Mussolini was toasted in better dinner parties all over the planet as the prototype of the enlightened leader of the future.
The work springs from something I’ve seen in Jonah’s columns and blog posts for some time. On many occasions he has remarked and marveled at liberals’ general disinterest in the history of their own ideas. In contrast, Jonah observes, conservatives are always discussing and debating the origins of their principles–in Hayek, Adam Smith, Friedman, et. al..
Apparently, Jonah decided that if liberals wouldn’t take an interest in where most of their impulses and agendas originated, he’d do the job for them. In the opening chapter titled, “Everything You Know About Fascism is Wrong,” Goldberg tells us:
Indeed, it is my argument that during World War I, American became a fascist country, albeit temporarily. The first appearance of modern totalitarianism in the Western world wasn’t in Italy or Germany but in the United States of America. How else would you describe a country where the world’s first modern propaganda ministry was established; political prisoners by the thousands were harassed, beaten spied upon, and thrown in jail simply for expressing private opinions; the national leader accused foreigners and immigrants of injecting treasonous “poison” into the American bloodstream; newspapers and magazines were shut down for criticizing the government; nearly a hundred thousand government propaganda agents were sent out among the people to whip up support for the regime and its war; college professors imposed loyalty oaths on their colleagues; nearly a quarter-million goons were given legal authority to intimidate and beat “slackers” and dissenters; and leading artists and writers dedicated their crafts to proselytizing for the government?
As I said, most of the Americans who would most benefit from reading this book, won’t. But you should. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
[For a proper, meaty review, see this, from the Claremont Review of Books.]