First of all, do I have to point out that, to support Obama’s candidacy, one has to be a little selective in one’s application of principle? I don’t think it should be necessary, but then again, I shouldn’t have to tell my kids to wash their hands after using the restroom, but sometimes the blindingly obvious needs to be restated. Forgive me if you already know this, or, better yet, skip down to the next paragraph. But for those of you who still need to be reminded of personal hygiene, or who can’t detect the inconsistencies in Obama’s rhetoric, let me give you a quick run-down. First, there’s the two-decade membership in a church that professed Christianity, while teaching hatred of other races. Then there’s the association with scurrilous characters, one of whose only regret in life is that he didn’t try to blow up more U.S. government buildings. Then, of course, there’s the association with groups like ACORN, while declaiming voter fraud. Nor should we overlook Obama’s participation in the arm-twisting of mortgage companies, intimidating them into making risky loans, and then his blaming of Republicans for the fallout that eventually occurred. Is that enough, or do I have to go on? Let me see if your hands are clean, and then I’ll know whether I can proceed.
Living and working, as I do, here in Saudi Arabia, I’ve noticed that Saudis are no less willing than some Americans to deny many of their strongly held beliefs, not to mention logic and sanity, in a headlong rush to support Obama. Abortion, of course, is deeply offensive to Muslims, and it has no greater ally than the Democratic nominee for the presidency. Still, almost all the Saudis with whom I’ve spoken get positively misty when the possibility of his winning is mentioned. Nor do Saudis, as a whole, agree with Obama’s take on sex education for some of the youngest schoolchildren. Still, they get giddy when they think he might actually win the election.
Many Americans can be understood, if not forgiven, for thinking that Obama’s election will say something great about racial equality in America. Saudis aren't particularly worked up about racial equality, definitely not in America, and probably not in Saudi Arabia, either, so what is the appeal of an Obama presidency for citizens of the kingdom?
Strangely, most Saudis I speak to support Obama because they believe he either is a Muslim, or was raised as one, but that is the greatest contradiction of all. Although his enrollment paperwork from his boyhood school in Indonesia stated his religion as Islam, Obama has denied being Muslim, and has openly talked about being a member of a Christian church. This does not bother anyone I’ve talked to. Most of them simply choose to not think about it. This in spite of near universal acceptance, even by moderate Muslims, of the notion that someone who leaves Islam must be killed. When I press them on this issue, they admit that they believe he has never actually left Islam, and that he has, understandably, claimed Christianity in order to succeed in America, a largely Christian land.
So Americans support a man who belonged to a racist church because they believe electing him will prove America is not a racist nation, and Saudis support him because they believe he is a Muslim, despite his claiming Christianity and his unwavering defense of abortion.
Not since Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” have so many people so willingly allowed themselves to be persuaded of what they had known all their lives to be false. We can only hope that the effects of this mass hysteria will be as short-lived.