The Merely Human Messiah and the Sea
October 27, 2008
"The path to my fixed purpose is
laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Naught’s an
obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”
(Ahab, Moby Dick.)
Perhaps it occurred during the time he spent absorbing the liberalism of
Columbia and Harvard into his already leftist dominated psyche.
Or during his stint "organizing” Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens into a
community that, when he left, looked pretty much as it did when he
Or as he cast another "present” vote in the Illinois Senate, thereby
freeing up time to supplement his Chicago Political Machine education
with lessons taught by power grubbing liberal bosses of the Illinois
But whenever it happened, it happened. And so it was that even as the
thoroughly unaccomplished, audaciously ambitious U.S. Senator-elect took
the oath of office, he thought of nothing else except to rush toward his
Yes! He would set sail for the presidency! Not as a mere mortal, mind
you, but as a Messiah.
Messiah? Some of his confidants must have fretted that striking such a
pose would risk alienating his base that scrupulously attends to every
"secular” tenet of the Liberal Church.
But he smiled a smug smile to those worried faces, reminding them that
because his "life story” is cemented in the ideology of the political
left, it sends liberals into a rapture more fiery than the ecstasy that
consumes them every time they dream of a Supreme Court populated by nine
liberal activist justices.
Therefore, he could and would run as a Messiah — albeit one who dodges
giving an answer that might offend liberal sensibilities by claiming
that the question lies "beyond his pay grade.”
Then, supremely confidant that he and his disciples would neutralize
questions that delve into his true ideology and his radical alliances by
hurling outrageous charges of "racism” and "gutter politics,” he
announced his intentions.
From where? Like a perfect political Messiah, this son of Chicago chose
the hallowed soil of Springfield, Illinois, expediently turning his back
on the politically radioactive turf about which he loves to boast, "It
was in [Chicago’s] neighborhoods that I received the best education I
ever had, and where I learned the true meaning of my Christian faith.”
"At last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided. It
was a sharp, cold Christmas; and. . . we found ourselves . . . cased . .
. in ice. . .” (Ishmael, Moby Dick.)
(How appropriate it is that on an ironic, dangerous, foreboding
Christmas, the Messianic Ahab — perhaps a phantom thrill running up his
ivory leg — sets off to "change the world.”)
From Springfield, Messiah, too, set sail
"preternaturally confident” (Washington Post). However, unlike the dour,
megalomaniac of Nantucket, he stood at the helm wearing a
permanent, smug smile that to this day sends adoringly hysterical crowds
of true believers fanatically applauding his every act and word.
Yes, sir, whether Messiah is blowing his nose or uttering meaningless
nonsense that informs us "We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are
the change that we seek,” all of starry-eyed Liberaldom explodes in
agreement with Gary Hart that he isn’t "operating on the same plane as
Fireworks of gratefulness each time The One addresses his flock! That
is, if breathless and teary-eyed, the faithful aren’t beholding their
wondrous savior with a reverent silence, solemnly sharing a spiritual
kinship with Deepak Chopra, who in perfect Gobbledygook gushes the
claptrap that Messiah is already responsible for "a quantum leap in
The fanaticism — including a million insufferable repetitions of the
term "transformational” — may not be of the kind that pierces our
memories as if it were made of a million shards of exploding ice. And
yet . . . not even a single worrisome peep from the "superior
intellects” of liberal academia, the media, and politics.
"A sky-hawk . . . went down with [Ahab’s] ship, which, like Satan,
would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven
along with her. . .” (Ishmael, Moby Dick.)
Herman Melville could fill the pages of Moby Dick with profound truths
about human experience in large part because "A whale-ship was [his]
Yale College and [his] Harvard.”
Foremost among those truths is that the inevitable downfall of a merely
human savior harms much more than the Messiah himself.
In point of fact, and a terrible fact it is, such a Messiah takes with
him — as Ahab took with him both the Pequod, its crew save one,
and a "heavenly bird” that lived in "its natural home among the stars” —
not just the best of human works but something of God’s creation.
Aware of that frightening truth, millions ask questions of the Messiah
from Chicago, hoping, for the good of the country, to create an
important "national discussion.”
They ask why he practices politics as usual, offering promises,
promises, and more promises to expand government enormously.
They ask why he refuses to speak the truth that he has nothing to offer
"but blood, toil, tears, and sweat [because] we have before us an ordeal
of the most grievous kind.”
However, he answers repeatedly with the old political lie that implies
he can so greatly multiply the money he obtains by "taxing the rich”
that he will make what was done long ago with loaves and fishes appear
They ask why he proposes to place a permanent vehicle for
socialist/Marxist redistribution of wealth in the tax code, hidden under
the guise of providing a "tax cut” to those who pay no income tax
However, he answers that profound question merely by insisting that
goodness and prosperity result when politicians take money earned by the
sweat of other people’s brows to "spread the wealth around.”
They ask why his energy "plan” disdains drilling (including for natural
gas) and nuclear power, to focus only on "investing” in new technologies
that will not be able to replace existing fuels for decades, thereby
forcing Americans to keep the faith as they hope against hope that the
price of fuel for cars and homes won’t inexorably rise to levels that
make today’s prices seem mild and harmless.
However, he answers by essentially mocking Ben Franklin’s warning that
"He who lives upon hope will die fasting” while his disciples defend the
mad gamble by railing against proponents of a "do it all” energy
solution as environmental and technological troglodytes.
They ask why he thought it no big deal to serve on a committee with Bill
Ayres, despite the following truths:
(1) Ayres is an unrepentant former terrorist who more than once since
9/11 has said he doesn’t regret setting bombs and should have done
"more” — including, apparently, "more” to successfully bomb a dance at a
New Jersey army base.
(2) The "work” he performed with the still radical Ayres consisted of
foisting a leftist agenda of "activism” (disguised as "social justice
education”) upon Chicago schoolchildren desperately in need of solid
teaching in the three R’s.
They ask whether he thinks it "beyond his pay grade” to say whether or
not it would be no big deal for an American to serve with a similarly
situated "education expert,” for example, a defiantly unrepentant, still
radical associate of Timothy McVeigh who insists he ought to have done
"more” and who proposes lessons in "community activism” as the best
educational reform for children and their teachers.
However, he answers by playing politics with carefully rehearsed,
cowardly, evasive answers that aim to deflect our attention to Messiah
as an eight year old.
They ask why he should be trusted to oppose the extremist, far-left
agenda sure to arise from the Democratic hegemony of the next House and
Senate, where Democratic leaders are up to their eyebrows in
government’s share of the blame for the mortgage debacle.
However, he insults his questioners with this ridiculous answer: "Unlike
my party’s leaders, I support charter schools.”
They ask why he broke his promise to participate in the federal election
funding system, becoming the first major party candidate not only to "go
it alone” but also to raise an astounding $600 million, much of it from
powerful institutions and rich donors.
However, the man who is adamantly unwilling to admit that the prodigally
swilling federal government is broken answers that he behaved as he did
because this tiny part of the federal government is in need of repair —
with a scalpel and a few stitches, of course.
"And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (From Job, as
quoted in the "Epilogue” of Moby Dick.)
For all of the reasons mentioned above and many more, Americans should
think twice, even ten thousand times if necessary, before they join the
maniacal throngs who scream madly or sigh prayerfully at every word
uttered by a political Messiah who boasts of his ability to "perfect
this nation” and "change the world.”
But not upon this author’s opinion.
Rather, upon the
truths bequeathed to humanity by great creative souls, souls who,
working alone with their God-given talents, escape the clutches of mere
politics and social conventions to "tell” us the truth, not simply
entertain us — for example, with an adventure tale set on the sea.