Last week we entered Silly Season in presidential politics with the McCain campaign publishing two ads that look like audition tapes for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote an op-ed on Saturday discussing the black man, white woman taboo exploited by the Britney Spears ad. To the modern eye (including mine) this subtext went completely unnoticed but to the American bigot who has not emerged from the pre-civil-rights era, the message was there, albeit subliminal. On “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, David Gergen made a similar analysis, this time citing the “Obama thinks he’s Moses” ad and indicating that the message clearly understood by traditional southerners is that Obama is an “uppity” black man.
I don’t need to go to those arguments. Lots of reasonable people didn’t see what Gergen and Herbert saw. I did see one thing that I am shocked no one else is talking about. The Obama as “The One” campaign ad is an affront to faith. I am not religious, but if I were, I’d be insulted by this ad. The ad says that the high aspirations, lofty goals and faith that we can have a better society, represented in Obama’s soaring rhetoric is a joke. It is something to be mocked. In attempting to ridicule Obama, they ridicule all that is positive about Obama’s message. The ad is an exercise in detestable cynicism. The ad is shorthand for “Vote for McCain because God is dead.”
The McCain campaign makes the very bad mistake of ridicule by comparison. In the Spears-Hilton ad, the comparison is odious but logical. Spears and Hilton are perceived as mindless celebrity burnouts. The implication that Barack is a fad, soon to burn out, is obvious. However, in the “Moses” ad, Obama is compared to Moses who led his people to freedom with the help of God. This means either that Obama is a truly great man or that Moses himself is laughable. If we cannot believe in Obama, who asks us to appeal to our higher callings, then by extension, we have no reason to believe in God or faith in anything at all.
It is one thing for a campaign ad to attempt to destroy a man, it is quite another for it to attempt to destroy hope, idealism and the lofty goals for our country.
A man who tells us to abandon our dreams is not fit to be President of the United States of America.