This story was written by Michael Millington, Indiana Statesman
Identity crises are not so easily overcome as we would like to believe.
Racism may have taken a severe hit with the election of Barack Obama as our 44th president; however, the future of civil rights remains rather ominous as several bills were passed, limiting, or I should say denying the rights of gay citizens.
While these social (or moral) issues remain brooding over the American people, the most startling development during the final weeks of the campaign strikes to deeper, more ideological aspects of the American psyche.
Proposals for a universal health care system are criticized as a movement towards socialism, yet, after Obama's well-known run-in with Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, the President-elect's tax policy rose to the forefront of the anti-Socialism campaign.
Many stern critics of the Democratic nominee found a new outlet for their irritation with the John McCain campaign, latching onto Obama's response to Wurzelbacher's question of why his taxes would go up if Obama were to enact his tax policy."I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," Obama said.
This single statement sparked a resurgence of McCarthy-esque accusations reminiscent of the Red Scare, aligning Obama with Karl Marx, the co-author of the "Communist Manifesto," and inciting claims of anti-Americanism.
More startling than these accusations is the overwhelming hypocrisy that spawned in the wake of these allegations. Democrats are typically labeled "godless" due to their support for modern gay and women's rights issues, as well as an inclination to favor government assistance for the socio-economically disadvantaged.
Today's Republicans pride themselves as the moral backbone of this nation, utilizing the Bible as the vehicle for outlandish claims of moral superiority.
Yet the current criticism of Obama's tax policy as a move towards socialism contradicts one of the basic tenants the New Testament.
In Acts 2:44-5, while utilizing the teachings of Christ, Peter instructed a fellowship of over 3,000 using the basic lessons passed down by the Teacher, and "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possession and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."
A little over 1,800 years later, Marx presented an outline for a social structure in which citizens worked for the betterment of the state, donating "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Both Christ and Marx prioritized the welfare of the masses over the material status of the individual. The two men saw the ultimate fate of an individual functioning in a materialistic or capitalistic society.
Somehow, many individuals claiming to be Christians sternly oppose any government effort to provide tax relief to those hardly able to care for themselves, and instead prioritize their own financial status in a capitalistic system predicated on the notion that debt and loans can, by some means, convert into capital.
As the current Wall Street implosion signifies, such a system can never be sustained.
Jean Baudrillard, the French cultural theorist and postmodern philosopher, wrote that "it was capital which was the first to feed throughout its history on the destruction of every referential, of every human goal, which shattered every ideal distinction between true and false, good and evil, in order to establish a radical law of equivalence and exchange, the iron law of its power."
He added that "everybody belongs to [a collective demand for signs of power] more or less in fear of the collapse of the political." And although we may try to escape this incessant ned, as well as the mourning associated with an acknowledgement of this disintegration, "it is through the death of the social that socialism will emerge."
It is hard to imagine a system more juxtaposed to that promoted by Christ, and subsequently lambasted by self-proclaimed Christian conservatives than capitalism. This is indecisiveness and hypocrisy at their finest.
In Revelations 3:15-6 Christ declares "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
If our economy continues to decline at the current rate, we may find ourselves in a world promoted by Christ and predicted by Baudrillard, and, somehow, I don't see the problem with that.