Monday, August 23, 2010

The Dumbening

Ed Kilgore:

No one, of course, doubted Ronald Reagan's religiosity even though he never affiliated with a church in Washington. And the famously pious George W. Bush wasn't much seen in churches as president, either. As for playing golf on the Sabbath, I'm reminded again of the time when the wife of "Mr. Republican," Sen. Robert Taft, was asked where her husband worshipped on Sunday mornings. "Burning Tree," she blurted out, referring to the congressional golf course.

In this as in many other respects, Barack Obama is being held to a different standard than most politicians, but I guess that's just his cross to bear. 
The PEW survey showing an increase in those who believe Obama is a Muslim denotes a willing lack of responsibility by Americans to stay informed and believe what they're neighbors send them in chain emails.  The obsession with the topic thereafter displays how petty, childish, and trite our national narrative becomes on a regular basis these days.

Personally, I don't care about the chosen faith of my elected officials.  That's between them and whoever/whatever they believe in.  Every inch of newsprint and broadcast space dedicated to the topic, while possibly answering questions that are important to some out there, is space that could've been used discussing something far more relevant, like policy.  I do understand why it might be important to some (especially those brainless xenophobes who believe all Muslims are terrorists infiltrating our country), and I even acknowledge that there are those out there small minded enough to factor such things as which church an individual frequents above all other considerations for elected office, and that those types of voters would want those types of questions answered.

But the question has been answered time and time again.  Hell, most of the people I hear perpetuating the lie are the same people who think Jeremiah Wright (a Christian) had programmed Obama as a one man sleeper cell set to activate one's the new drapes were in the Oval Office.  There's something bigger (and dumber) going on here.  It's not a credible source issue, and it's not that the President has been vague about his faith.  I think it's a deep dedication of some to see evil in all things either different from them or that they don't bother to learn enough about to understand.  And lost in all of this is another question: At what point did we decide, as a country, that being Muslim was like a scarlet letter?  Even if the President was, are we really that immature?


Ah, for the days of August '09, when all we had to combat to have an adult conversation were teabaggers screaming "Death Panels!"  I thought then that the discussion over direction we were having as a country could not possibly get any dumber.

Those were the days.

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