January 2, 2009

OM Oh Bah Ma, Om

Here are two blogs that catalogue the cultural phenomenon of people trying to draw religious parallels between President-elect Barack Obama and Jesus or, alternatively, a Bodhisattva, depending on your spiritual persuasion. I was genuinely moved by Obama's election and his acceptance speech, and I have a nascent talent for finding parallels to religious narratives and current events as a kind of storied exercise in symbology; but, this? This is as sad as silly can be. He is going to make mistakes, and some people are going to be crushed and confused. Unless they decide his mistakes too are part of God's great plan, as did the evangelists in reading the failure of the McCain/Palin race. I'm not clear on why God would grant humans self-determination and then thwart their democratic process, but I envy the certainty of those who ignore such challenging counter-implications. Their logic may yet serve the Obamadans.

Obama for Messiah '08

The creator — not, The Creator — writes at the bottom, "Barack Obama may be a great candidate but he’s not likely to turn water into wine at any point in the near future. This site is intended to poke a little fun at those who seem to be waiting for Christ to abdicate his throne to Senator Barack Obama." And to sell the related merchandise, like blasphemers are wont to do. He also provides a link to the next site.

Is Barack Obama the Messiah?

While the above is a fun, quick diversion, this site is way exhaustive. It's an ongoing blog with quotes from and illustrations by people who clearly do need another hero, yet find Mel Gibson's messiah-empathy complex unsettling or misdirected. Obama may smoke, but he has yet to demonstrate a paranoia towards Jews or a mocking disregard for women in authority. No, Obama loves everyone — sinners like Mel included — and speaks ill of no one. High Priestess Oprah Winfrey has proclaimed that he has "a Tongue dipped in the Unvarnished Truth." Note the capitals. They draw away from the laughably poetic imagery so favoured by people ordained in B-movies. If the thought contained genuine gravitas, it would not require Reinforced Gravitas. We should be glad that Oprah promotes fiction, and does not write it.

I was intrigued to read that he "carries with him a bracelet belonging to an American soldier deployed in Iraq, a gambler's lucky chit, a tiny monkey god and tiny Madonna and child." Not sure about the gambling chit as that represents Mammon, but tokens of Hanuman and a female-inclusive Christianity(1) is kind of reassuring. Maybe he really does love everybody. Or, maybe, in his hubris, he thinks of this as his family portrait. (Hanuman is an avatar of Shiva, one of the Trimurti gods in Hindu cosmology, considered the Supreme Being by one major Hindi sect.)

This is my favourite post so far, because I'm helplessly drawn to Platonic philosophy, all the more romantic because I know so little of it: "Barack Obama is the Platonic philosopher king we’ve been looking for for the past 2,400 years." Okay, but, the philosopher king I'm writing a (fictional!) story about would never, ever take political office. She's too wise.

(1) I'm considering this charm to be female-friendly based on the specific imagery, not the definitely non-inclusive dogma of the Christian sect that the Madonna is most associated with. This whole paragraph, I know I'm stretching.

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