Star Spangled Non-believers Rise Up!

obamaflagI feel part of this, and then I dont. We were all included: jews, muslims, hindus, christians, ‘and non-believers’ (Obama 20.1.09). Though the phrasing parsed this as something of a an afterthought or hanging clause, it was about time an American president made a space for me, for I am a ‘non believer’. (On the same day of the speech I had used the phrase ‘god-botherers’ on a college website, but this was deemed unsuitable and edited. Ah well, at least I did not go for the term ‘bible-bashers’ – though I’d point out that neither phrase is disrespectful of ‘god’, but rather of bibles and prattlers. He who who don’t exist don’t get offended, only the fools who think he does, do [forgive my grammars & tresspass against us!]). Anyway, as tolerant freedom loving people [pah, relativists!] we have to consider things from a non-believers point of view: just as we would endorse any other ‘denomonational’ conviction or set of axioms.

So, to move this on past the rhetorical lists of inclusions, I turn to the question of nostalgia and look for explanations/speculation. Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me 44’s articulation of hope is a repackaging of pretty old dreams (King, Kennedy, Camalot … Lincoln, Gettysburg, Khe Sanh [!!! sheesh]). All this seems to return to the fable of a lost America, an America that still had unquestioned superpower status, a 50’s or 60’s America perhaps – yet all the while this nostalgia looks back at the past it does several things. It manages to be at the same time contrived, knowing, nostalgic and a forward march. This is somehow endearing, and productive in a weird, contentless way. I see it as something like Admiral Adama’s speeches in TV’s “Battlestar Galactica” (“lets find ‘earth'”) or how things turn out in Celebrity Dance shows where anyone who works hard and has poise, good looks and a very fine outfit can succeed (or be judged at least 2nd or 3rd runner up. Even Hillary gets a job – yay!). Sure, the fantasy of hope as tricked up nostalgia still inspires people to feel confident, capable and constituted – but it is also fragile. It relies on old glories (we saw such a lot of that old say can you see…) and it relies upon ‘resoluteness’, on ‘fortitude’ and ‘tenacity’. This sets up, for the mass of people who adopt its outlook, a dependence upon a precarious ‘confidence’ which, in its pernicious effect and whims, permeates the market from the stock exchange to the high street small business, and reaches even so far as to the countenance of people waiting for a bus. I swear Londoners today seemed less disgruntled… but still the market drops like a stone. The double play is underway, and its unclear which way the crumble is cooking… I’m still a non-believer.

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Comments

  • Lia  On 22/01/2009 at 23:08

    A-men brother! So eloquent… have you thought of becoming a presidential speech writer???

    Like

  • Yee Ha  On 23/01/2009 at 13:59

    I was really disappointed by the whole thing. He seems so down with kids, I was expecting something a bit more symbolic.

    Burning crucifixes on the White House lawn, Dizzee Rascal singing Strange Fruit…

    Like

  • Joan  On 23/01/2009 at 15:37

    This made me think

    i was walking to the computer lab today and there were two of those Jews with the tall hats all dressed in black

    Anyway, they offered me a cookie and told me that they were trying to set up a resource group for Jews. I asked them what they thought about Israel and they said that they don’t disclose their opinions in public.

    I asked them if they were Zionists and they said that they were Jews. I asked again, but are you Zionists, and they said, we’re Jews.

    Then I said that 10 million, not six million, people were gassed in Germany and asked if they think that Zionism is anti-semitic.

    They got really agitated and started to pack up their table. I pointed out that a good friend of mines was part of group called Jews for Jesus and asked again if they thought that there Zionism meant that they were anti-semitic and adding to discrimination against Jews like Hitler did?

    I am a believer but not dogmatic, but am I the only one who thinks that this is such a crock? Seriously, they just said thank you for your opinion and have a nice day and totally ignored me.

    Will Obama be a dredel for the Zionists?

    Like

  • Joan  On 25/01/2009 at 15:45

    hey john, i’ve got a question. I was watching the South Park episode the other night with Richard Dawkins in it and it remnided me of this. One of the kids points out that evolution doesn’t have anything to do with God and that it can only answer the question how and not why?

    What do you think?

    Like

  • lara  On 28/01/2009 at 12:18

    I noticed that too, the non-believer bit. And as a non-believer, yes, I agree, it was kind of nice. But really, I bristled at the idea that we who don’t believe are dumped into a non-group at the end of the list, a slightly loathsome troublesome bunch of teenagers who will ‘one day’ grow up and find God. And I didn’t really believe him (Him?) either… the pluralism… too much. I don’t buy this idea that you can have an umbrella of love for everyone.

    Like

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