Obama: Antichrist Superstar?
Recently, the campaign of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has released a series of satirical attack ads against his Democratic counterpart Barack Obama. Following the now notorious "Celeb" ad which lumped Obama in with the likes of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears, the campaign released a new ad, "The One", which lampoons him for behaving like the second coming of Jesus Christ:
For mainstream McCain supporters, the ad amusingly tackles Obama's perceived self importance and the messianic fervor of his hard core supporters. For Barack backers, the ad is proof positive of the McCain campaign's bizarre, out of touch desperation.
For me personally, the ad had a stranger effect. In an odd incidence of life imitating art (if the world of politics can indeed be called "life"), McCain's attack ad shares many of the themes and images featured in The Grand Inquisitor, a web miniseries filmed in the summer of 2006 which I helped to create.
The Grand Inquisitor is inspired by a famous fable from Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, which has been cited by Laura Bush has her favorite work of literature. Our updated version features a visionary African-American leader known as "The One" who is pilloried by the state-controlled media as a false prophet and an Antichrist.
I conceived the miniseries along with screenwriter Ruth Margraff in response to the presidential election of 2004, which was widely thought to have been decided by unprecedented turnout among right wing, evangelical Christians. At no time during the film's long gestation period did we have a possible Obama candidacy in mind, although he makes a cameo appearance in a opening sequence (created late in post-production). We simply wanted to explore the spectacle of hypocritical religious power, forced to accept a messiah in a form abhorrent to its racist hegemony.
At the time the series was released in late 2007, it was admired for it's dark humor and it's kaleidoscopic visual style. But as political commentary, many thought we came too late to the table. "No one cares about the evangelicals any more" I was told by a politico-blog junkie pal of mine. "They can't even agree on a candidate. They are no longer a factor."
Now, I am quite sure that any connection between "The One" from The Grand Inquisitor and "The One" as Barack Obama is simply coincidence, or at best a fascinating example of synchronicity at work. But looking at McCain's ad though the lens of The Grand Inquisitor, I see something far more troubling, and dangerous, than mere satire at the expense of Barack Obama's vanity.
The truth is, John McCain has little chance of winning unless he can reawaken the Republican Evangelical base. And they have been cool towards him. Not many people I know recall that as a candidate in 2000, an earlier and more authentically "maverick" McCain made a courageous speech attacking the influence of religious extremism in the political process, calling evangelical leaders such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell agents of intolerance.
But many on the religious right do remember. McCain doesn't seem to inspire the loyalty among evangelicals that Bush commanded in 2004, with his born again personal narrative (despite the fact that McCain's own story of receiving grace, recounted in the above speech, is infinitely more moving than anything in Bush's spoiled saga). Any many Christians feel manipulated and abandoned by the Republican party, and seem determined to sit this election out.
But if this influential voting block can't be inspired to vote for McCain, they might be inspired to rally against a man who might be more than a minority with liberal/radical views, and more than a mere "Manchurian Candidate" for Al Qadea.
Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth and father of the modern End Times Prophecy movement, has this to say about Senator Obama:
"America has never faced so many different crises at the same time in living memory. The war with al-Qaida and Islamic terror, the Iran crisis, Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, the rising price of oil, the falling dollar, enemy acronyms like OPEC, NAM, OIC, U.N. ... Obama is correct in saying that the world is ready for someone like him - a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib and seemingly holding all the answers to all the world's questions.
"And the Bible says that such a leader will soon make his appearance on the scene. It won't be Barack Obama, but Obama's world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.
"He will probably also stand in some European capital, addressing the people of the world and telling them that he is the one that they have been waiting for. And he can expect as wildly enthusiastic a greeting as Obama got in Berlin.
"The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance."
Despite hedging his bets with "It won't be Barack Obama..." Lindsey's message here seems pretty clear. And McCain's "The One" ad appears to share that message. We are a long way now from John McCain, crusader against the lunatic fridge of the religious right. We now have someone willing to go to considerable lengths to court that very specific demographic.
The terrifying part of this "end of days" flame fanning is this: if you were a true believer convinced that Barack Obama was the Antichrist, you most likely would not settle for half measures like campaigning for John McCain. You might have more drastic measures in mind.
Here is a new posting of relevant scenes from The Grand Inquisitor:
To view the entire five part series: http://newsdate2011.com.Tweet