I’ve been pointed to the last straw on Uncorrelated.com.
You know, I didn’t say anything about the Obama Children’s Chorus, because while I agreed that “Sing For Change” was a little creepy, I thought it was an isolated incident:
Likewise, I didn’t say anything when the Alpha Omega Fraternity/Obama Militia video surfaced either, because I know that fraternity hazing rituals can be baffling sometimes, though considered together with the above Choir it constituted signs of a disturbing trend of recruiting impressionable kids or young adults eager to impress into a weirdly cultish form of authority-worship: [UPDATE: Not a fraternity…middle school kids, at a teacher’s behest! See below.]
Now comes the third incident of such weirdness in just over a week (via Gateway Pundit), and I’m finally moved to post. A shopper at Costco stumbled upon a children’s book by Jonah Winter entitled Barack, a hagiographic roman-a-clef (complete with serenely beatific cover portrait) of a subject who, if the book is to be believed, is nothing less than superhuman.
See a cover photo, excerpts, and the implications below the break.
Read the description of the book at the link above, and remember that this is a book for kids. The author’s retelling of Obama’s arrival at Trinity United Church of Christ, home of black liberation theologist and embarrassment-with-a-collar Jeremiah Wright, is truly other-worldly:
For somehow his journey had led him to Trinity Church, surrounded by the people from his neighborhood including many he had helped. And there, swept up in the waves of their singing with tears on his cheeks he knew why he was there. He knew who he was, and where he belonged.
That’s not the way I remember Sen. Obama telling it. Does Winter know something we (and, for that matter, Obama) don’t?
Speaking of Winter, read the part about him too, including this gem from the man himself about the themes running through his books:
It was pointed out to me recently by an editor that all my books seem to contain a subversive subtext that could more or less be summed up as, “Don’t be afraid to challenge authority.” That may be true, but it’s not “the message” that I am necessarily trying to get across — at least not the only one. I want children to be compassionate towards those who have suffered unjust treatment and to admire those who have had the courage to “be themselves” in a world that promotes conformity, and to inspire my readers towards decent, tolerant, courageous and independent behavior in their own lives.
Well, no. With this book, Winter is instead nurturing a cult of personality, elevating Sen. Obama to something approaching godhood. Not only does the book discourage his young readers from challenging Obama’s authority, and promote the conformity he professes to despise — who would argue with Superman, after all? — but more fundamentally, how does Winter think he is encouraging anyone to “be themselves” when he can’t even bring himself to conjure anything but a cartoonishly far-fetched image of the man they’re reading about?
Sanctification of government leaders, especially before they’re even elected, can never come to any good. Left unchecked, it can lead to smiling portraits in every room, giant murals on every building, and a statue in every public space. As Mick Stockinger writes for Uncorrelated, “this is President-for-Life stuff,” and it’s the kind of pervasiveness of the state throughout our everyday life and culture that we ourselves have come very close to, surprisingly recently.
Franklin Roosevelt, the closest thing we’ve had to a President-for-Life, didn’t stop with purely governmental power grabs like his effort to pack the Supreme Court with a truckload of New Deal lickspittles. The hallmark of all of FDR’s state-deifying pet projects was an air of omnipresence. Creepy war propaganda posters on every wall of smiling American civilians giving up their very identities for the state; the morphing of the WPA and CCC into virtual paramilitary corps; the fetishization of the National Recovery Administration’s “Blue Eagle” logo in every store window (few know that the Philadephia Eagles football team was named for the Blue Eagle)…you couldn’t escape the all-encompassing Church of FDR.
And it all starts with the kids…the ones without the necessary critical thinking skills to see such tactics for what they are. Children’s choirs singing hymns to Obama (who art in heaven), scarily conformist college teenage drill teams in fatigue uniforms ditching the idea that their aspirations and successes are their own and shouting instead that it’s all “because of Obama!”, and now in Jonah Winter the senator has his own Parson Weems. This is the time where children need, more than ever, to be reminded they should be “unafraid to challenge authority,” even the fuzzy, friendly, cloying, suffocating authority that comes in flatter-focus with an uplifting score and sunny young faces raised in angelic song (something those who have seen Cabaret know well):
UPDATE: It just got worse. It turns out that what I thought was a fraternity stunt of some kind wasn’t any such thing. They’re not college students, but middle school students, and their little indoctrination dance was sanctioned and led by a teacher.
The school brass wasn’t talking, but news reports say the teacher in question has been suspended. Not for organizing the mandatory youth rally, of course, but for “insubordination” after he posted the video to YouTube afterwards.