Thursday, January 13, 2011

Post No. 150: God, Obama, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Green Party

© 2011 and 2013, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

We previously posted this piece in connection with past sports world championship battles. Since the Super Bowl is about to start, we thought that we would re-visit some of the issues addressed. Enjoy.

Last evening, during his comments at the memorial service for the victims of the Arizona shootings, and after visiting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, President Obama shared that Ms. Giffords had, shortly after his departure, opened her eyes.

There followed some confusion regarding an earlier statement, several days prior, by her doctors regarding the opening of her eyes (in response to stimuli) and her opening her eyes on Wednesday (on her own).

Today, all over the Internet, articles flew back and forth bearing titles describing the President as, “the Miracle Worker,” “the Great Healer,” and “the Savior.”

Of course, his detractors characterized the media attention as another example of Obama having been designated as “The Anointed One,” which further complicates his reputation as a detached leader.

However, it reminded us of a conversation that we had two weeks ago in a men’s restroom in a “home style” restaurant here in the Southeast.

All of us have perhaps reflected on comments of players winning championships in their respective games, stopping to thank their God for their victories on their way to Disney World. Obviously Satan was in the locker room of the losing team.

(Hmmm. Does that mean that God sanctions the activities at Disney World and its owners?)

We’ve all witnessed the Democrats and the Republicans claim to be the party of “the People,” sanctioned by God. Somehow, we’ve always felt that some party, other than the traditional parties, might be the party sanctioned by our God; but then again, we suspect that reasonable people could take issue with that assessment. That may be the beauty of Pentecostalism.

Returning to our restaurant, we observed the fellow diner standing at the urinal in the restroom wearing a baseball style cap, which had a donkey on its side, with the top half of the donkey colored red, and the bottom half colored blue.

Our first inclination was to inquire as to which sports team had the donkey as its mascot or symbol, but when he turned to respond to our greeting, we noticed that it was an Obama campaign cap.

More than 2 years ago, the Logistician wrote a piece entitled, Why I Am Concerned that Obama Might Win. He suggested that the economic problems facing the nation and the world at the time of the article (the Fall of 2008) were 25 – 30 years in the making, contributed to by both political parties, and that we were in store for a long period of economic pain with anemic improvement.

He implied that because of the anticipated slow economic recovery, Obama would be a one-term president, and that the masses, both within and outside of his party, would call for his head at mid-term. From a philosophical perspective, he hoped that the first of any minority group, which historically had not occupied the Oval Office, not be viewed as a failure, due to factors far larger and more complex than those capable of being addressed by a mere mortal, no matter how well connected to God.

Since the diner in the restroom was obviously an Obama supporter, we asked him whether he thought that President Obama would be re-elected. Without hesitation, he exclaimed, “Yes. God is on Obama’s side, and Obama has a few tricks up his sleeve for his detractors.”

Although, because of the nature of our training and the mission of the Institute, we were tempted to explore God’s relationship with Obama further, we let the diner’s comment slide. However, it did cause us to remember a comment made by Professor Jonathan Haidt, which he noted in his article, What Makes People Vote Republican?, which we shared with you previously.

Paraphrasing, Haidt claims is that what Democrats have recently failed to appreciate, and upon which Republicans have learned to capitalize, is that politics is more like religion, and less like shopping, which seems to dominate their approach.

And so we watched our fellow diner leave the restroom, content in his mind that God was going to guide President Obama through the remainder of his term, and that he would be re-elected. We also wondered whether more Democrats might choose to attend places of worship during the upcoming year, and spend less time at Wal-Mart.

This just in from our Washington Office: President Obama will take the First Lady and the kids, Aaron Rodgers, and Ralph Nader to “Disney World” shortly after the next presidential election.


  1. Your fellow diner is one individual, not a spokesman or metaphor for the Democratic party. By contrast, I have frequently seen Republican leadership (both pundits and politicians) make the claim that God is on their side (George W. Bush, Sharron Angle, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin to name a few).

  2. Yogurt:

    Thanks for weighing in. We definitely agree with you that our fellow diner is one individual, and not a spokesman or metaphor for the Democratic Party.

    How would you explain the contrast to which you referred? Why is it that Democrats do not make that claim? Wouldn't it be to their advantage to do so? Is it unnecessary?

  3. WSteffie:

    Thanks for your comment.

    An informed shopper will evaluate each potential purchase (issue) individually, and will not purchase Proctor & Gamble products only. Additionally, an informed shopper arguably will visit different stores and not just shop at the one store where his friends or cohorts shop.

  4. I would take a different view than yogurt (that sounds rather strange, doesn't it?) and say that the hat man at the urinal (which also sounds strange) is a metaphor. Not for the Democratic Party but for the President's supporters.

    You and I agree, I think, about the silliness of God choosing sides, Inspector. We have been constantly told that we (humans) cannot know or understand God's will. So how can we know that God is on our side? I digress.

    I worry more about his supporters infusing Obama with some supernatural power. It is sad that we humans desire to place other humans "above" us, that we feel the need for a "savior" among us. I think we really need to see ourselves as our own "saviors" and not look to others for that status. It is one thing to appreciate the wisdom and talents of another, it is another to elevate that person to some kind of godhood.

    You and I discussed (I think I may have posted some of my thoughts on my own blog) the precarious path Obama's presidency presented, I believe. I expressed that I was worried that too many would expect too much from him. I also worried that, if he failed to live up to these expectations, it would set back so many advances we have made in just the last 50 years.

    I must admit I did not see this "beatification" coming. We do elevate our presidents to a lofty position but we have rarely, while they were alive, spoken of them as "saviors". Post-mortem? Yes, Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, have all been given exalted status. I find even that sad because, after all, they were just men... not gods visiting us from Olympus... and had their faults and made mistakes as all human beings do. And because of that sanctification, we ignore the mistakes they made and the problems they caused as a result. Or we fight over them.

    When we start placing this kind of status on a living human being, I worry. I worry a lot. I will worry more if he fails to get re-elected. Not because I am one of his supporters but because of this "God is on our side" mentality that we all too often buy into.

    Obviously, I place "reason" above "hope" in the hierarchy of things.

  5. Douglas:

    There's not much that we can say counter to your comment. Sweet discussion.

    We might have to extend an invitation to you to join the Institute.

    One thing that did occur to us in reading Yogurt's and your comments together. There is no monolithic ethnic group or party or anything in the world of supporters. There are varying percentages of support amongst various groups, with some percentages constituting majorities.

    We sometimes forget that people are individuals, and complex at that.

    For management, manipulation, and organizational purposes, it is frequently convenient to lump people together and think as them as fungible units. We all need to be reminded periodically of the individual nature of humans, although we frequently behave like lemmings.

  6. Douglas, we know that you are an atheist, but do you think that many Republican supporters believe that God will lead their presidential candidate to victory in 2012?

  7. As we type this, Turner Classic Movies is airing one of our top ten movies of all time, "Inherit the Wind." It is the story of the school teacher in Tennessee who taught Darwin's Theory of Evolution in a public school, and the trial which followed. It's movie making at its best./

  8. You might find this video on U-Tube interesting. Pat Robertson claims that God told him who the next President will be.


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