Dick Polman, 7/7/2015 [Archive]

Yet Another Right-Wing Obama Freakout

By Dick Polman

Americans typically celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, fireworks, food, and flags. But alas, some people are incapable of swinging with the holiday spirit.

I'm referring, of course, to the Obama haters. They never take a day off, and they're constantly off their meds.

Their latest freakout occurred last weekend, when the president voiced cheery remarks about Independence Day. Granted, Obama did laud the military ("we are so grateful for their service and for their sacrifice"), he plucked the chords of patriotism ("we honor everyone who continually strives to make this country a better, stronger, more inclusive, and more hopeful place"), and he praised the Founding Fathers ("this is the day when, 239 years ago, our founding patriots declared our independence, proclaiming that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"). But the haters' heads exploded anyway.

Why? Because he didn't say the word "God."

The right-wing Washington Examiner announced, "Obama omits 'God' from Fourth of July address." An Examiner reader duly tweeted, "Obama omits 'God' from Fourth of July address Obama is a secular Muslim with communist leaning." Elsewhere, the right-wing Infowars website announced, "Obama leaves out 'God' from 4th of July weekly address." An Infowars reader duly tweeted, "Closet Muslim leaves out 'God' from 4th of July weekly address." Others duly re-tweeted and contributed their own scholarship, such as, "The godless little man - Is anyone surprised?" and "This proves he is a muslim" and "Devil only mentions God when damning him."

I could go on. The right-wing Gateway Pundit blog opined, "Who the man is, and what he truly stands for, is beginning to seep out" and a blogger at BizPac Review lamented, "He may as well have said, 'Tell all your friends you love Obamacare'....I'm beginning to think he does things like this just to tick people off." But that's enough troll bilge for one day.

Perhaps a few hundred sessions of anger management would help school these people in the benefits of rational thought. The word "Creator," which Obama referenced in his holiday address, is listed in the dictionary as a synonym for "God." And last time I checked, Obama concludes virtually every formal address, including the State of the Union, with variations of "may God bless the United States of America."

In fact, Obama recently delivered a formal address in Charleston, eulogizing nine victims of racist domestic terrorism, and if my ears were functioning correctly, I could've sworn that I heard him say the G-word. Like, for instance:

"Giving all praise and honor to God....Blinded by hatred, (the terrorist) failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood - the power of God's grace....According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It's not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God....May God continue to shed His Grace on the United States of America."

Any anger-management candidate with a keyboard can search the transcript and discover that Obama mentioned "God" 17 times.

By the way, if the haters have truly convinced themselves that Obama is God-lite, they might want to extend their ire to Thomas Jefferson - because our Fourth of July author was notoriously indifferent about religion in general. For instance, we have this passage he wrote in 1782: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket or breaks my leg." And this letter he wrote in 1813: "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance..." And this letter in 1820: "Priests...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight." Heck, when he ran for president in 1800, his opponents warned that if he won, he would shutter all the churches.

The Fourth of July is a secular holiday and Jefferson's Declaration of Independence is a secular document. But if the haters prefer to stay fixated on Obama's G-word omission, perhaps they should play his remarks backward and listen carefully for coded praise of Allah. The task could take a while, but these people seem to have the time.

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Copyright 2015 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia (newsworks.org/polman) and a "Writer in Residence" at the University of Philadelphia. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

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