Friday, December 26, 2008

Thoughts About Obama and America

When I was about nine years old, my mother used to take me to a little coin shop about a mile from where we lived. It was meant as a reward for transcending my extremely poor attention span and getting passing grades in my weak subject of math. It was a powerful incentive, but the proprietor made it clear to my mother that I was one of his more annoying customers.

One coin that my mother talked me out of buying bore the following inscription.

"This coin is redeemable for one dollar at the first bank to open its doors for business on the moon before December 31, 1970."

At fifty cents, the coin seemed to be a good way to double my money in only five years. It was with difficulty that my mother finally impressed upon the the implausibility of such conditions being met within in that time span.

Back in the mid 1980's, the Lubavitcher Rebbe advised his followers in Israel to break ground for a housing development for Soviet professionals newly arrived in the Holy Land. To many, it seemed as unlikely as a shopping mall on Mars. Followers of the Rebbe still followed the Rebbe's advice, despite its seeming implausibility.

Subsequent events vindicated the Rebbe's amazing prescience. The Soviet Union is a memory. I still look with astonishment upon money that bears no communist icons or symbols. What was all the more astonishing is that Mikhael Gorbatschev was a loyal communist who had no intention of dismantling his country's godless political system. He had envisioned a shakeup along the line of Krushchev and his Twentieth Party Congress , which resulted in a shakeup that left communism intact.

The late eighties and early nineties brought with them an abundance of miracles, including the general fall of communism throughout Europe and the dramatic , almost surreal fall of the Berlin Wall.

I can not put my finger on it, but I smell the scent of miracles in the air. The world has been badly shaken by an unprecedented financial crisis. The power of image and mood in keeping our monetary system afloat is out there for all to see.

Obama's election was a remarkable departure from the established order. I do not laud it at all, despite my understanding of its meaning to African Americans. Obama had a disturbing collection of friends, from the racist Reverend Jeremiah Wright to the unrepentant flag trampler Bill Ayers, Obama inspires in me no confidence. The mainstream edia's role in promoting Obama's candidacy defies all logic. They passed up countless stories that would have pumped up sales in a troubled industry. Serious questions about Obama's constitutional qualifications were swept under the rug. I look at this entire election as a departure from the norm, a suspension of the normal rules of operation.

It saddens me greatly that religious Christians and Jews tacitly (and in some cases actively) supported Obama. I don't know how this can be reconciled with any sort of faith in G-d.

Somehow, I see Obama and am reminded of the saying "the hearts of leaders are in the hands of G-d." I see him as someone who might make the right decisions in spite of his own inclinations. I hope and pray that G-d guides him in the right path.

It seems like we are headed into uncharted waters. My confidence in the future has nothing to do with my faith in our leaders. To the contrary, I believe we are a blind people being led by leaders no better than ourselves.

I voted for McCain, who I feel had greater loyalty to biblical values. The majority voted otherwise. My vote was cast as a prayer for our country's future. I will continue to pray. The hearts of leaders are in the hands of G-d. And so is the world.

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