Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

A Fifth Of All Americans Believe Obama Is A Muslim

50 years ago the sort of people who instinctively hate Barack Obama would have called him a commie. Now the enemy de jour is Islam, so he must be a Muslim. Apparently a fifth of all Americans believe this. He's brown, his middle name is Hussein, he doesn't namecheck Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour every other sentence so he must be one of them. QED.

And somehow they're missing the obvious fact about him, that's he's the sort of pragmatic political person to whom any kind of ideology is beside the point. He's complex, he spends his life dealing with complex problems- and he knows the simplicities of the Bible and the Koran won't get him very far in framing solutions. If you could get him on the sofa in a moment of absolute candour he would probably tell you that he has far too much on his plate to give much thought to religion.

But ideological people- I was one once so I know- find it very hard to believe that their enemies aren't as ideological as they are .Life is a game of chess and we've chosen white, so that guy over there must be black, right?  Tell them the game isn't being played on a board, but in many dimensions, and they blink back in confusion.

It could be that the great struggle going on in the world today isn't a struggle between ideologies- left right, east West, Christian Muslim-  but between the ideologues- those who live in a dualistic world of right and wrong- and those who see life as full of complexity and ambiguity. It's a war between crazy conviction on the one hand and clearsightedness on the other. I'd like to say clearsightedness will eventually triumph, as- over the very long term- in spite of many setbacks-  it always has-  but I find I simply don't have the confidence.
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