For several months after last November, the American media raved about Barack Obama’s achievement in becoming the first African-American president of the United States. I didn’t—and couldn’t—join in the jubilation, for several reasons.
First, it had always seemed to me obvious that we would have a black president someday. When I was in junior-high school I had three excellent and witty black teachers (for geography, science, and math), any of whom I would rather be governed by than by any politician I know of. It was just a matter of time. Colin Powell, perhaps, could have been elected a decade or so before Obama.
Second, 2008 was the Democrats’ year. After eight mighty long years of George W. Bush, the country was sick and tired of the Republicans. Even the grand imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan might have preferred a sharp young black candidate to a nutty and fanatical old white guy like John McCain, for whom one misguided war in the Middle East wasn’t enough.
Third, as a friend of mine points out, parties that lead their countries into war usually do badly in the next election. Think of Winston Churchill in 1945, LBJ in 1968.
America has been congratulating herself a little too much on the last presidential election. Racial prejudices and loyalties have hardly evaporated: Blacks voted almost unanimously for the black candidate. Had whites voted that way, our president would be John McCain.
Obama might also have had a paradoxical appeal to the grand wizard on racial grounds. In order to become president, he had to get the Democratic nomination. And in order to do that, he had to appease the party’s feminists by supporting abortion all the way. And in order to do that, he had to ignore the actual demographics of abortion.
People on both sides talk abstractly, as if abortion were only a matter of the individual woman’s isolated “choice.” Yet this avoids some striking social disparities. Women who get abortions in this country are disproportionately black and Hispanic. The abortionists are overwhelmingly white and male.
So, concretely, abortion actually means white men getting rich killing black and brown children. And Obama’s promotion of this hideous practice casts a strange light on him as a symbol of racial “progress.”
It casts an even stranger light on his claim to be a Christian: for “inasmuch as you have done it to these, the least of my brethren, you have done it to me” (Matthew 25:40). No verse in the New Testament, I suppose, more deeply defines Christian morality than this one. How can Obama ignore these words?
Obama has been implicitly quite willing to abandon the least of his brethren to physical extermination. He may be even more destructive than Bush and McCain. They are merely conventional jingoist warmongers; he has made a deal with the devil.
As Tolstoy puts it, many men “choose their opinions as they choose their clothes—according to fashion”; and may hold them very passionately for all that. Obama seems to have glib opinions where his convictions should be. If people really believe that abortion is a right, why did so few of them say so before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all laws forbidding it? Did millions of people independently (and suddenly) come to the same conclusion about abortion at the same time? And had all their ancestors always been wrong about it?
One might ask similar questions about contraception, which was condemned by Christian consensus until the (Anglican) Lambeth Conference in 1930, which permitted it only under strict conditions of hardship; today, of course, the only major Christian body that still condemns it is the Roman Catholic Church, which sees the natural affinity between artificial birth prevention and killing the unborn. In fact, many people now regard “birth control” as a positive good, even a duty. Obama is presumably one of these.
It comes as no great surprise, then, that Obama has run up against the Catholic Church.
When Notre Dame University offered the President an honorary degree, this gesture outraged many Catholics, including the local bishop and many of the school’s priests. The modern world rarely discriminates against Catholics so long as they don’t insist on practicing their faith. But Christ warned His followers that, as the world hated and persecuted Him, they should expect the same treatment. And so it has often proved. The hostility of Obama, loyal follower of Jeremiah Wright, confirms the ancient pattern from the Roman emperors to recent communist regimes (and approved by liberal opinion, which has seldom protested the persecution of Christians). Contrast Obama’s enmity to Catholics with his eagerness to curry favor with Zionist Jews.
Of all the praises heaped on him by his admirers, the one I find hardest to accept is the assertion that he is “inspirational.” As I often say, he reminds me of a champion high-school orator, knowing how to say the sort of things the grown-ups like to hear—trite platitudes—but unable to think independently. His highly acclaimed speech on race in March 2008 was simply incoherent. Let’s hope the fashion for him soon passes.