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Andre Hollings: The taking of America

Right Here, Right Now

Posted: January 14, 2010 8:53 p.m.
Updated: January 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Admittedly, President Barack Obama is a man of sterling qualities. He has a temperament and charm befitting one probed by the glare of history’s contemplation; an intellect suited to the complexities of a seamless 21st century world; and a big-speech eloquence worthy of the historian’s pen.

Yet beyond those familiar distinctions, there is an unfamiliar and remarkable charisma born of race, circumstance, youth and personality that has become the stuff of mass mesmerization.                       

Make no mistake about it, such qualities — as considerable as they are — ought not seduce one into believing the myth which this nation has always known as ill-fated: the idea of the indispensable man.  

Whereas America once held true, in the words of Harry Truman, “there is no indispensable man in a democracy,” today millions have been proselytized by the likes of MSNBC’s Chris Matthew’s quasi-religious faith that enshrined the Obama candidacy by saying “This is the New Testament.”

American Prospect writer Ezra Klein stated: “Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and just for an instant, contracted around you. ... He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color — over despair.”

Most alarming of all is the consensus around Oprah Winfrey’s road-to-Damascus moment that beguiled her into saying America is not in need of politicians who simply know the truth, but “politicians who know how to be the truth.”

Hailing Obama’s arrival in a John the Baptist-like fashion, she baptized him “the One” and the multitudes believed.  

In his wonderful book “Liberal Fascism,” Jonah Goldberg writes: “This is precisely the sort of thing that American progressives, German National Socialists and Italian Fascists preached: The leader will deliver us from history, the state is the mechanism of our redemption.”

Bottom line, it is blatantly un-democratic, frighteningly un-American and eerily reminiscent of the “faith” that was Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.  

Before you trash this column as right-wing fear mongering or extremism, wrestle with the actual arguments.

From atop American pop and literary classes as noted above, to the Santa Clarita Valley herself, there is an undeniable “faith” similar to Europe of the 1920s-1940s that holds one man as indispensable to national progress and longevity.

As one local Democrat told me: “He is the savior!”

As another put it: “I am so taken with Obama.”

Or as a former reporter for The Signal said of Obama’s inauguration: “This is the greatest day of my life. The hopes of all those who didn’t get the follow-up interview or were told they weren’t a good fit for the company were vindicated — if only for a moment.”

If this were Italy in 1934, these “believers” would be standing hands clasped and singing that old fascist favorite: “You’re the top!

You’re the Great Houdini! You’re the top! You are Mussolini!”  

“Camp Obama,” as the New York Times dubbed it, was the training ground where Obama volunteers were catechized to never discuss policy or issues, but rather “testify” regarding how they “came to Obama.”

On YouTube, videos of glassy-eyed youths crooning about “the One” were pervasive. As “Liberal Fascism” described them, “starkly cultish and spiritual terms” told of their adoration of “the One.” Reminded of a certain youth movement in early to mid-20th century Germany? I am.  

What it all boils down to is this: The seeds of a type of quasi-religious, lock-step “faith” directed toward one man perceived as indispensable to a nation have come to American soil.

I am not saying these seeds will mature into the drones’ “faith” of German National Socialists or Italian Fascists, but the seeds are not foreign to American soil.

Furthermore, I am not saying if you voted for Barack Obama in 2008 you have succumbed to this glassy-eyed, un-American “faith.”

I am saying if you hold Barack Obama as indispensable, as “an evolved leader who can bring evolved leadership to our country” (Oprah Winfrey), as “not operating on the same plane as ordinary politicians” (Gary Hart) or the like — whether you put it into those words or not — then the seeds are already in your heart.  

The remainder of Truman’s quote is: “When a republic comes to a point where a man is indispensable, then we have a Caesar.”        

F. Andre Hollings is a Newhall resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Right Here, Right Now!” appears Fridays in The Signal and rotates among local Republican writers.


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