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Is Obama the Anti-Christ?

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Our political campaigns have degenerated into fund-raising campaigns and advertising campaigns. Politicians spend more time raising money than they do legislating because they know that having the biggest ad budget is the key to holding on to their well-paid jobs. The staggering amounts of money that must be raised to be considered a serious candidate, and the fact that far too many voters are influenced in their decisions by the ads they see on television, are the means by which moneyed interests control our government. We are a plutocracy masquerading as a democracy.

I don’t watch much TV and that has probably saved me from a nervous breakdown. I will readily admit that, as a general rule, I don’t like advertising. I do enjoy ads that are amusing or entertaining. Political ads never meet either of these standards. I have a special hatred for attack ads. They are preaching to the choir in my case. I was persuaded long ago that very nearly every politician in our venal, corrupt system is, well, venal and corrupt.

There is a serious discussion of the rather serious issues facing our nation taking place in a select group of magazines (don’t ask Palin to name any of them) and among some of the bloggers on the Internet, but the candidates and their surrogates rarely join in the discussion. Most candidates do have position papers buried deep on their respective web sites, but the give and take of arguing in support of their positions is sadly absent from the political process. The presidential and vice-presidential “debates” that took place recently involved little more than mind-numbing repetitions of their favorite talking points, most of which are really ad slogans cleverly crafted by their media handlers. The candidates have gotten far too adept at staying on message.

With both Obama and McCain making noises out of the gate about taking the high road, my hopes for an issues-oriented contest were elevated. Those hopes have, of course, been dashed. I know that Obama has gone negative as well, but I have been especially taken aback by the surrealistic nature of the scurrilous attacks from the tag team of McCain and Palin. When Republican candidates draw a rebuke (however mild) from Karl Rove for going too far with what are typically referred to as Rovian tactics, they should know they’ve gone too far. That’s tantamount to Satan himself being disgusted with your sinful behavior.

(A brief aside: Speaking of the Devil, I think the only unanswered question in this campaign is whether McCain and Palin will accuse Obama of being the Anti-Christ. I don’t believe for a second that McCain or Palin truly think that Obama hates America, or is a socialist, a terrorist, or a Muslim. It is conceivable that Palin does believe that he is the Anti-Christ and although McCain might not have shared her belief originally, she might well have convinced him by now. She did, after all, convince him that she would be a good candidate for vice-president.)

If I were Obama, I would sue McCain and Palin for slander and libel. This, of course, assumes that he is not, in fact, a terrorist-loving, America-hating, Muslim, socialist. (Why did “The Main Street Mavericks” pull their punch? Why not call him a communist?) If he is any of those things, I would advise him to avoid making the mistake made by Oscar Wilde when he sued for slander the father of a young man he had buggered and ended up going to prison for being a homosexual.

I would advise other politicians to take the same course of action. A healthy round of slander and libel suits would be far more entertaining than the endless reporting of poll results that passes for journalism these days. A few victories here and there might give future candidates something to think about before they set out deliberately to distort the positions and impugn the character of their opponents.

I know that attack ads go back to the days of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and that money has always found a way to seep into the system, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I can’t shake the nagging feeling that a serious discussion of the issues would serve the voters and our country better than endless name-calling and mud-slinging.

I will grudgingly admit that attack ads occasionally serve some purpose, especially when the allegations are true and lead to corruption charges and the removal of a criminal from public office. I also accept the fact that a ban on political advertising would violate the First Amendment. So I am left to dream of a day when voters simply refuse to watch attack ads, either through the miracle of Tivo or by simply turning to another channel or turning off the TV when an attack ad comes on. Perhaps that would eventually lead to people attending rallies falling deathly silent when red meat is hurled at them from the podium.

I also occasionally dream of flying, sometimes it’s Superman-style, other times it’s more like I’m swimming through the air. My flying dream will probably come true before my dream about voters developing an aversion to attack ads.

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About Winston Apple

Winston Apple is the author of "Edutopia: A Manifesto for the Reform of Public Education." He is a former teacher. He has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1990). He is also a singer-songwriter and recording artist.
  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    One of my brothers has been telling a funny joke for the last few months: “OF COURSE Obama’s not the antichrist. Everybody knows the antichrist is Roman Catholic, and Obama’s a Muslim!”

    It’s funny, unless you’re stupid enough to believe either of the latter statements, in which case, well, never mind.

  • Cannonshop

    People use (and abuse) attack ads because they work. They work, primarily because when you have thirty to sixty seconds to get your message across, serious discussion of issues pretty much isn’t on the table as a useful option, and while in olden times you had things like the series Lincoln-Douglas debates (a debate in each state), where positions and policies would and did come up, and philosophies had to be expounded on, today, the schedule of raising funding and making stump speeches with all those neat one-liners (that fit into thirty and sixty second ad-space) pushes the format negative by default.

    It would have been amusing to see Obama and McCain go at it on the Senate floor, instead of tumbling over each other to suck paulson’s dick for the good of their parties’ financial contributors. I suspect Party involvement is a bit too high.

    Personally, I’d love to see a campaign season (maybe 2012?) where the major candidates of the major parties debate one-another in each of the fifty states in order, one debate per state, live, with no tape-delays or teleprompters to cover up their mistakes. It ain’t gonna happen, but I think it would be really, really nice (not to mention cheaper than the current model of ‘handlers’, ‘stumping’, and ad-blitzes).

    Not Three debates, FIFTY, under PRESSURE, with no give-backs or re-dos, and points deducted for ‘talking points’ repetition, ad-hominem attacks, and outright lies.

  • http://ralphspoilsportmotors.com Timothy Earl Osburn

    I, too, watch practically no television. I am, however, assaulted by CNN with no sound and closed caotions for eight hours each night at my job (I work in a telephone network operations center), so I do get plenty of what’s going on in the world.

    Attack ads work because the ignorant masses love to see a bloody fight. Just like people don’t go to NASCAR races to watch guys do interminable left turns, they go in hopes that they’ll witness a spectacular crash! i know that’s a gross over-generalization, but it’s more true than not, don’t you think?

    Yes, debates like we trained for in high school and college: timed affairs, rigorously moderated, back and forth, argument and rebuttal. These media events that passed for debates hurt my brain, but were not really conceived for consumption by intelligent beings.

    I am just glad that the campaign portion of our American Nightmare is coming to an end. At least whatever happens next will be relatively hard to predict and should make for interesting times.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Interesting site, Winston. Do you follow it?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Kinda funny. Attack ads don’t really work in Canada, the people don’t like them. Are our cultures really that different?

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Cannon
    I approve of your debate idea
    and am still trying to get the whole dick-sucking image out of my mind. But I DO wish both of the candidates had put up a lot more fight on the bailout……. I do, I do. I wish Obama had reshaped the whole thing to be more people and less bank friendly, esp. with what is happening (and I knew it would) with the bonuses….

  • Cindy D

    Jordan,

    Are our cultures really that different?

    Yes. Apparently you people are able to have guns without shooting everyone up too.

    Your TV looks very different. Rational discussions and things instead of fearmongering.

    Maybe you guys don’t watch enough movies like Top Gun.

  • Cindy D

    Phillip,

    That was funny. Works better with “everyone knows the anti-Christ is a Christian” imho.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Cindy hit it pretty well. We Americans are a bellicose bunch. All in all we really don’t like each other very much. The “I’ve got mine, so fuck you” attitude that many here carry around lends itself quite seamlessly to multiple gun ownership and rabid support for it. It’s no wonder that our politics are so full of vitriole and hate. It’s simply an extension of our desire to shoot one another.

    A great number of Americans retain the old wild west, shoot from the hip cowboy, persona that has been reflected quite aptly by the current presidential administration. John McCain hopes to carry that tradition forward for another 4 to 8 years.

    Yes. Many Americans may publicly complain about negative attack ads, but they do tend to lap them up with a similar enthusiasm as those who used to attend public executions and lynchings. Obviously, we’re not alone in this. Remember scenes of beheadings performed during breaks in soccer matches in Afghanistan by the Taliban. When the sword came down, the cheers went up. The French loved to watch the guillotine in action, but of course to be fair, that was 200 years ago.

    Now, in the U.S. we don’t publicly execute criminals any longer, although there are some who ardently wish we did. Lynchings are rare. Generally, the news media take great pains to prevent explicit scenes of violence from hitting the airwaves. I saw Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswalt live on TV. Now, with standard 7 second tape delays utilized for all so called live broadcasts, such an event will likely never be seen here again. We Americans just don’t get to see much blood letting.

    Aside from sports and some so called “reality” TV, there’s not much we can see that will satisfy our lust for blood and gore. I suppose that’s why “hack-em up” horror flicks are so popular, but they ultimately aren’t very satisfying because after all, it’s just make believe. Hell, now that Mr. Blackwell has shuffled off his mortal coil, we won’t even get his killer “worst dressed” lists anymore. We can only hope that another smug, condescending “fashion maven” will take up the Blackwell gauntlet.

    Political campaigns are about the nearest we get to a blood sport (that’s not actually a sport, anyhow.) Generally, the most we can hope for is a cutting sound bite. Unfortunately, while we begrudgingly settle for such moments to sate our hunger for political “red meat,” our country is tumbling willy-nilly over the waterfall, its arms and legs flailing helplessly about on the verge of being smashed on the rocks below.

    B

  • http://winstonapple.blogspot.com/ Winston Apple

    Lisa (#4) – I checked out the site. I don’t follow it. In fact, I make a sincere effort to ignore all polls. I would like to see all of the time and money invested in taking, reporting, and analyzing polls diverted to discussing and analyzing the candidates’ positions on issues.

    But, thanks for the link.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Winston, I thought the article at the top was pertinent to the discussion.

  • http://winstonapple.blogspot.com/ Winston Apple

    Lisa, I just went back and read the article at the top of the site you referenced. You are correct. It was pertinent. I appreciate you steering me back to it.

    The fact that I didn’t read the article when I first went to the site is an example of how quickly I move past anything to do with polls.

  • Marlowe

    I refer you to my posts a few weeks back and later.

  • http://winstonapple.blogspot.com/ Winston Apple

    Marlowe (#13),

    I just read your pieces and enjoyed them both thoroughly. Very nicely done. The ammunition you provide with your research could come in handy as we enter the “end times” of this election.

  • Baronius

    Winston, maybe some circles use the term “Rovian” to describe name-calling and mudslinging, but it’s hardly universal. In fact, calling it “Rovian” is an example of name-calling.

    But there’s a bigger issue than you’ve touched on. TV is no longer the center stage. How will campaigns look in 4 or 8 years, when television’s influence has largely disappeared? It’s an interesting thought: 2008 will probably viewed by historians as the first post-newsprint election.

  • http://www.thepolitikos.com Heloise

    Tito the builder rails against Obama on Sean the wingnut show tonight. After what Bush the Criminal and Cheney the Constitutional Con have wrecked America the beautiful by killing Saddam the dictator over in Bagdad the oil field is one equation that will be balanced by Obama the Muslim.

    Heloise

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius @ #15:

    What a fascinating topic. It may be that the internet is largely responsible for the projected surge in voting by younger people at this election, for one thing.

    There’s so much information, misinformation and just plain bullshit out there on the Web that it’s become even harder to make an informed choice of whom to support. That in itself may cause a backlash, as people fall back on older, more moderated sources of information.

    And yet even TV is not the staid, sober observer it used to be, as witness the antics of Hannity, Olbermann, Matthews, Maher and the like.

    Yep, it’s going to be a bumpy ride on the way to the brave new world…

  • http://www.revelation-truth.org Rev. Daniel W. Blair

    Is the Antichrist ascending to power on the world stage today?
    In these days many are asking, what does the Bible say about the Antichrist, the Man of Lawlessness, and the Beast. Should we be concerned about any individual currently ascending to power on the world stage? Although my book Final Warning goes into much greater detail about the characteristics of the evil one, let it suffice that all Christians must be aware that one is coming who is beginning to fit this profile; the one who comes as a type of messiah promising to save the world from its present crisis by speaking half truths and outrageous lies; one who promises world wide peace by either sitting down with your enemies or wielding a big stick.
    Beware of the one, who promises universal health care for the whole person (both physical and psychological) with its hidden agenda of leading you to trust in psychology instead of trusting in God exclusively which is idolatry. Furthermore, this allows the evil one and his established order to control your life. This control is precipitated by electronic record keeping and preventative health requirements that will mandate physical and psychological care if you wish to keep your benefits. Be wary of the one who voted for the bailout bill that gives government more involvement in the private sector and definitive control over millions of home loans. Tucked into this bill is a mental health provision that will ultimately give companies power over their employees by requiring that they get psychological counseling and drugs to improve their productivity. Be very careful of the one who promises to bring change to those living in the midst of fallen Babylon through his own experience, strength and intellect.
    Christian don’t be deceived, because both candidates, Obama or McCain, could easily fit this profile. They are both espousing a political rebellion against the so called established order and leading God’s children in open rebellion against Him thus making way for the man of lawlessness to be revealed. Don’t be fooled by the Republican Party and the audacity of talk radio to be on the side of Christianity. They have demonstrated pride, arrogance, and wicked deception. Stop trusting in either candidate to bring about change. Real change is only possible through the transforming power of the Gospel which brings true healing to the whole man and his community. If you have not done so already, let me encourage you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. Then join me in spreading the word that if this country does not repent of her wickedness then indeed she will get the presidential candidate she deserves. God help us!

  • Cannonshop

    #6 Sorry about that, Lisa-I’d just finished watching a whole bunch of Bill Hicks on youtube, and in particular his ranting about mediocrity.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I love Bill Hicks….and his demise was far too early.

  • http://www.thematrixrevealed.kk5.org Wes Hazlett

    May God’s will be done because the grevious wolves have entered the hen house of America and the wolves will not spare any if God were to allow it.

    America is in trouble with God and we will pay horrifically for our grave sins.

    Christ has been rejected for Obama and the whole world will love him for a time.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Wes, thanks for popping in from the outer limits and please don’t forget to close the door on your way out.

  • joy

    Let us be rationale; i am a Christian and the walk that is required is hard for those who are sincere. We are told that no one knows the day or time our Savior comes and in the meantime our job is to bring as many others as possible into salvation God is not willing for any to perish but he gives us free will at the same time that he offers His love and safety freely. So let us encourage others. I do not agree with what i have heard from Mr Obama to date. At best he is a naive newbie , at worst to date the indication that he is a socialist is there. He calls in his acceptance speech for sacrifice, volunteerism- i think many who voted for him will be happy with rebates and stimulus but may not be ready for the sacrifice. The we vs them tone of the campaign – poor vs rich was divisive to me. I hope that God will bless all of us and guide us to be at peace with each other – even when we dont agree. Let us all be mindful of the needs of others and do what we can.Teach a man to fish- dont just give him the fish…Peace to all

  • Zedd

    Wes Hazlett

    I don’t know but I’m thinking America was more in trouble with God when it was treating a large portion of its people like animals, branding them, breeding them and raping them at will while claiming to be for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are probably doin’ a tad bit better on the damned scale. Just a thought.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd,

    An additional thought: perhaps Wes would care to look up the word ‘perspective’ in the dictionary…

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Hmmmmmm. If he has one.

  • http://www.thematrixrevealed.kk5.org Wes Hazlett

    I am not in your house and can do you no harm yet you are attacking me because I am warning you that the wrath of God is coming to America.

    So be it.

    If you are not Saved in the Lord Jesus Christ there is a time coming that the world will marvel at.

    Nothing in the world that has already happened can be compared with what is about to happen to this world.

    How is that for perspective?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Wes, Christ didn’t speak of portents of his return – he warned against misinterpreting momentous events as portents.

    Assuming the Second Coming is imminent just because big things are taking place in the world during your lifetime is what I mean by your lack of perspective.

    Big things are always happening in the world. This is what you are forgetting.

  • Wes Hazlett

    “…he warned against misinterpreting momentous events as portents..”
    DD

    I cannot help it, I fear God and I fear for America for how we as a Country have mocked him. God forgive us and help us to know the error of our ways.

    “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.”

    Nahum 1:2-8

    “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

    Revelation 16:18-20