Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cultural Confusion

Those of us who went to public school (what I know about, since I didn't go to private school) in the U.S. - and that's a lot of Americans, have a few ideals/experiences/memories in common. I've watched Obama completely miss on these, and some of them are no-brainers.

Generations of us grew up putting our hands over our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, so to see him refuse looked like an act of defiance. That showed disrespect for the country, and a glimpse at how he really views the nation he wants to lead. That may not have been his intention, but that was the message.

He also refused to wear a flag lapel pin for quite some time, not realizing the significance that many people have around the flag. Quite honestly, we expect every politician to wear one, and those who don't, well we wonder about that. Why not?

He also painted over the American flag on the tail of his plane and replaced it with his logo. Some of us wondered why he couldn't have his logo and our flag. It seemed, at least to me, like he was putting his own symbol ahead of the standard of our country. It felt weird. He flew that plane overseas, so other countries saw a U.S. presidential candidate arriving flying his own colors, not ours...

He debuted his own version of the Seal of the President of the United States, which is not only against the law - he isn't the President and isn't legally entitled to use the symbology of that seal, - and it felt, like when he painted over the flag, like he doesn't understand American icons.

When he had his acceptance speech at Invesco Field, the image on the tickets were of an inverted U.S. flag, with the field of blue melding into shirt. Didn't he (or someone on his staff) know that an inverted flag is a symbol of distress, of surrender?

To see him repeatedly misuse core American symbols really made me wonder if he perhaps missed out somehow, on understanding the importance of these icons to American citizens. Or maybe he does know the protocol and chooses to ignore it?

When he began in politics in Chicago, he was a member of the socialist New Party, and most Americans, when they hear the word "socialist" think of Communism. Sorry, but we just do.

He began his political career in the living room of one of the founders of a notorious 60s domestic terrorist organization, and he wants us to believe he didn't know about Ayres background. How could an eager and ambitious young politicians not have looked into the background of someone with whom he was forging a political and financial alliance? It strains credibility. So if he knew, what does that say about his ethics and principles? To see Obama first try to dismiss that he even knew him, then downplay what has come to light now to be a 10+ year alliance, well honestly it sounds like he's lying. Now we are learning that Michelle Obama and Ayres wife, Bernadine Dohrn, former Weather Underground member who claimed credit for fire-bombing the home of a judge, worked at the same law firm in 1988. What is the truth here?

If Obama didn't know about Ayres in 1995, then he's too stupid to be our president. If he did, then he's lying to us. This kind of stuff is historically a career-killer and it sure makes people uncomfortable. We don't want to associate with people who associate with terrorists and we sure don't want them in the White House.

Obama was a 20 year member in a church where anti-American (God Damn America, U.S. of KKK, 9/11 was our chickens coming home to roost, etc.), anti-Semitic and anti-White speech was accepted and, at least from the videos, roundly cheered. When he finally had to answer for that, he did so by giving a "major speech" about America's racism. Not his own. He told us that day he would no more disown Reverend Wright than his white grandmother, and was unapologetic about his membership in that church. In fact, he stayed there for awhile longer, until Wright went on his little media jaunt and embarrased Obama so thoroughly that he finally did what many Americans thought was 20 years overdue - leave the church.

Does mainstream America want a president who, as a brand new U.S. Senator, campaigned in Kenya, on our tax dollars, for a man who fomented genocide? Seeing a U.S. Senator with a bullhorn at a political rally in another country is not what Americans are used to seeing. And to be there in support of someone so heinous is clearly out of step with American values.

This is why people are uncomfortable with him.

Not his skin color.

His choices.

It has been said that people support Obama not because of who he is, but because of who they want him to be. Yet now it is coming down to crunch time, and Americans are nothing if not realistic. Can we really trust this country in the hands of someone who is so radically different from the values we were raised to respect in our leaders?

Because American voters understand how important this election is, I still believe that sanity will prevail and Obama will return to the Senate to do what the people of Illinois elected him to do. The media may love him, and liberal Democrats may have been willing to fracture their own party to put him at the top of the ticket, but will mainstream Americans, alone in the voting booth, pull the lever for a man whose worldview is so very far removed from their own?

If they don't, it won't be because he's black.

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