Unless you’ve been vacationing on Mars (and if you have, I’d love to hear about it, ‘cause that would be the coolest vacation I can think of), I’m sure you’ve heard about the latest Obama kafuffle: the New Yorker magazine cover. For a view of the actual cover and a pretty good overview of what the furor is, go to The Swamp (Chicago Tribune's Washington website).
Apparently, the majority of us don’t understand satire anymore, including, I would submit, the staff of The New Yorker. The basic problem is that only the truth can be satirized; lies and vicious rumors can’t. It is generally agreed that the actual targets of the cover were the conservative rumormongers and poseur muckrakers. But then, the cover should have featured them doing something indisputably ridiculous like, I don’t know, John McCain sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, with the Obama smear sitting on a shelf. The satire failed because it depicted the victims of the rumormongers. I chalk this up to the deterioration of the quality and breadth of even our best educated.
And, now that I’m on the topic. Why haven’t I seen anything that counters the preposterousness of the Muslim rumor with the observation that not a month before, Obama was being vilified for being a 20-year member of a Christian congregation led by the justifiably pissed-off pastor Jeremiah Wright. In his historically important speech A More Perfect Union, Obama talked about Pastor Wright, explained the context and history of this man’s contribution to the struggle for racial equality in these United States and, how could we forget this, the point of departure by Obama from Wright: that Obama continues to have hope and faith in the American dream, whereas Wright has given up.
In the end, Obama is not the problem. We are. We’ve lost our way and all that Obama and Hillary Clinton, for that matter, have been trying to do is lead us back home.
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