The Obama-Moses Ad: God is Dead

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.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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7 thoughts on “The Obama-Moses Ad: God is Dead

  1. Perhaps – just perhaps – it’s McCain who is the “heir” to Moses. He has seen the people worshiping Obama, their “golden calf” and he has chastised them for it.

    The ad my be shorthand for “do not put your faith in idolatry.”

  2. I strongly disagree that the McCain ad is an affront to faith. I’m no fan of the ad, but I don’t think any religious person would see that ad and say, “hey, McCain is mocking my belief system.” Instead, McCain is attempting to expose Obama’s humanistic rhetoric as a false religion — one where a single human being is attempting to imbue himself with powers and aspirations that no person, regardless of how impressive, can attain. When a guy says his election will begin the healing of the world and the lowering of the oceans, he’s asking to be parodied. Religion isn’t being mocked here, but demagoguery is.

  3. Vivian, it’s interesting how the interpretations of the Spears-Hilton ad do not run along racial lines. Some whites saw the black man-white woman theme and some did not … same for blacks, some inferred an insult and some saw nothing at all. I suppose how one interpreted the ad depends a lot on one’s world view.

    Marque, I think it’s sad that the level of public discourse has so deteriorated that a man must say “my administration will address global warming” instead of “lower the oceans.” Have we gotten so used to the bumbling public speaking style of Dubya that we reject great oratory? Personally, I WANT to be intellectually challenged by my president.

  4. Rutherford, I suppose that if Obama considers himself so profound a leader that, by his election, he will conquer global warming, then yes, he’s being being poetical. But anyone can conjure grandiose and beautiful phrasings for ideas they can never deliver on. It takes a leader to link his claims to achievable goals, and even the most aggressive environmentalist would disclaim the notion that cap-and-trade will lower the oceans during the next four years. But enjoy the speeches — they are pretty, without a doubt.

  5. No, Rutherford. The ad doesn’t say that Obama is as great as Moses, or that Moses is as big a boob as Obama. It says that Obama’s self-regarding rhetoric means that he thins of himself as great as Moses if not a bit greater (after all, Moses only parted the Red Sea, while Obama will lower all the oceans everywhere). It’s the (implied self-) comparison that’s ludicrous. That’s why it’s funny, see?

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