Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Put Not Your Trust in Obama

As I look to the American scene, I see hope bordering on hysteria.

After the darkness of the past eight years, the wars* (and rumours of wars**), the panic-inducing state of endless emergency, the anthrax terrorism, 911's scar upon the American psyche, the ubiquity of evil titans like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden ... after the unending trauma that was Katrina ... after the constant embarrassment of a president who wavered between puppet and buffoon (albeit with a down-home charm) ... and after the recent series of economic body blows pointing to an almost unprecedented economic disaster ... America wants a saviour to rescue her.

But Barack Obama is a man. Despite the resonant timbre to his voice or the polished orations, he is only a man who cannot possibly begin to achieve all that is hoped of him.

The danger lies in our giving a man too much power, whether in our hearts or in reality: investing in him the ability to correct our world's ills, or handing him the power to do as he sees fit to attempt the same. As Whippleshire points out, today is not the inauguration of a president, but the annointing of a god-king, a Caesar.

We need to remember the words of the Psalmist:
Put not your trust in princes,
In sons of man,
In whom there is no salvation.
America does not need a mellifluous orator, breathing words of hope. She needs a bracing slap - a dash of cold water. She doesn't need ear-ticklers, but prophets.

She needs secular prophets like Wendell Berry or Ron Paul.

But she needs Christian prophets most of all:
She needs another St. Elias, prophet to Jezebel, prophet to the Baal-worshippers.
She needs John Prodromos, out in the desert
calling for repentance.

- V.

* Afghanistan, Iraq
** Venezuela, North Korea, Iran

Edit: A similar post [What's Worse than a US President "Everyone" Hates?] can be found at Sentire cum Ecclesia (and duplicated at Orrologion).

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

I too am worried about the utopian idealism that surrounds this new US president; whatever one's opinion of him is, I do find it dangerous to expect so much out of any one man!