For people who feel lost and lonely, what’s the best way to work your way back to home and wholeness? Does it make more sense to rely on faith or politics?
In this autumnal season of electoral fever – and of the Jewish high holy days – the choice between God and government significantly divides right and left, Republicans and Democrats.
At their Denver convention, the Democrats adopted the most unabashedly liberal platform in the party’s history, including the following remarkable promise: “We will provide immediate relief to working people who have lost their jobs, families who have lost their homes and people who have lost their way.”
While one can imagine frenzied Democratic efforts to muster “immediate relief” for lost jobs and lost homes, how, exactly, do they propose to assist those who have “lost their way”? For all the messianic pretensions of the Obama campaign, the junior senator from Illinois has not yet, to my knowledge, proclaimed himself “the way, the truth, and the life.”
Nevertheless, the candidate’s most devoted acolyte, Michelle Obama, has repeatedly suggested that the purpose of the campaign isn’t just to transform our politics and to heal our earth, but to rescue shattered and stricken souls. On February 3, 2008, she told a rapturous crowd at UCLA: “We have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.” The next week she expressed similar sentiments to an audience in Green Bay, Wisconsin, declaring: “We are dealing with a basic hole in our soul of the nation- we are lost.”
In other words, the wife of the presidential candidate echoes the Democratic Party platform in openly defining the campaign’s goals in spiritual and not just political terms. Is it any wonder that the movement behind Barack Obama has taken on some of the weird, zombie-like trappings of a trendy religious cult? In promising the repair of broken souls and showing the way to those who are lost, this campaign has undertaken tasks usually reserved for religious institutions.