Olavo de Carvalho

Laigle’s Forum, July 9, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama is, in so many aspects, so different from what one normally assumes to be a candidate to the presidency of the U.S. that only by an enormous stretch of the imagination could anyone think that the most significant detail about him is the color of his skin. The motto of his campaign is “change”, but to bring it about he needs not even get elected: he has already changed everything about the electoral ways and customs of the American people, and he has changed it so much for the worse that many decades will be necessary to repair the damage, if indeed that is possible.

For one thing, he is the first candidate without any administrative experience – and with below-minimal political experience – to be accepted by any party to run for such a high office. He also had no military or professional experience, except as an NGO operative. But if you tell that to an Obamaniac, they will invariably answer: “What’s wrong with that?” The natural sense of strangeness about what is truly odd has become anti-natural, offensive and intolerable.

With the possible exception of Brazilian president Lula, whose ignorance was actually praised as a superior form of wisdom, never has so little been demanded of one seeking maximum authority. Even in Third World countries, the bearer of such an insignificant resume would hardly be accepted as a candidate for the top public office. In the Democratic Party and U.S. big media, nobody seems to find anything strange about Obama. Even among supporters of John McCain there is some sort of tacit agreement not to hurt the opponent’s feelings with demands beyond his capacity. Everyone prefers to ask: “What’s wrong with that?”

Furthermore, the candidate lacks not only a resume but even a trustworthy biography. Suggestions that he is a Muslim in disguise pop up every day, but their quantity seems to be inversely proportional to the interest that his adversary and the big media have in clarifying the matter. All seem to want the electorate to accept as utterly normal and unproblematic the hypothesis of voting for an unknown candidate who conceals his origins, even if these somehow connect him to the enemy that is fighting his country in the battlefield, and even if his dedication to covering up his past prompts him to hide his own birth certificate. Evidence of the candidate’s proximity to communist and pro-terrorist organizations is piling up, but raises nary a shred of curiosity among bien-pensants. After all, what’s wrong with that?

Even in the most elementary issue of respect for national symbols – the minimum of etiquette that candidates from all parties have always observed – Obama seems to have acquired the right to mess everything up, without any hint from the establishment that they are offended by it. He listens to the Star-Spangled Banner with his hands on his genitals, and not on his heart, he tampers with the national coat of arms and turns it into a grotesque electoral ad, and, to top it all off, he says that the flag of the country he wishes to represent before the world is “to many people a symbol of violence.” But if you think about it, what’s wrong with that?

Still, it is in violating the law with an innocent face that the candidate displays the kind of absolute trust in his own invulnerability that is so typical of revolutionary sociopaths. Every week new abuses turn up that would normally be enough to destroy the career of any politician or, worse, send him to jail. But Obama seems to be immunized to the consequences of his actions. This week’s latest abuses were: (1) To collect funds for his campaign, he organized a lottery system – which is illegal in all 50 American states. (2) He flies everywhere in an airplane that does not meet the required security standards, and was recently forced to make an emergency landing. But again, the general reaction is the same: “What’s wrong with that?”

Obama is so utterly weird that apparently the only way to attenuate the embarrassment of his presence in the presidential contest is to pretend that he is normal. But the prohibition of finding anything odd is truly a prohibition of the act of understanding, a veto against the formal exercise of intelligence. The readiness to accept this imposition reveals an alarming weakness of character and the almost diabolical effectiveness of the “politically correct” blackmail that produced it.

Translated by Donald Hank