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Priests on the Stakes

Posted: Updated:
Video from CNN:

And oddly, this update from a Russian press agency, which does work for the government :

"MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - High priests from around the globe are reported to have taken part in rituals and prayers in an effort to help U.S. Democratic party candidate Barack Obama become president in November.

...However, the effectiveness of the ritual may have been diluted somewhat, when it turned out that two of the priests supported Obama's rival Republican, Senator John McCain, and had placed his photographed alongside the presidential favorite.

Priests in New Delhi in India have also danced around a fire chanting in support of Obama. While in southern India an Ayurvedic doctor has been saying prayers every day since September to ensure an Obama victory, the Hindu newspaper reported.

"I have no special interest in Obama. But I was fascinated by his campaigning style when I was in America recently," said the head of the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Krishnakumar. "Finding him to be a black, dynamic, poor and above all a pro-Indian, I wanted him to win the elections."

I'd view the message of these priests more as a warning to us, a kindly fyi about the stakes in this election.

Enough said.

Or perhaps not. I'm all for humor but Wonkette's post on this topic is a tad obnoxious : "Barack Obama Captures Coveted Peruvian Shaman Vote":

"Oh hey what is that sort of wet popping sound? It is the heads of thousands of Bitters exploding as they discover that Barack Obama is worse than a Muslim. He is a South American voodoo skull cultist!"

People around the world may not be held in equal esteem by some Americans, but foreigners do see us and what we do does impact them. The fact that Wonkette refers to these priests and the impact of their work as the "coveted shaman vote," seems unnecessarily sarcastic (even ethnocentric) to me. I wonder what her headline would read if a group of priests outside an old Church in Norway held a vigil for the candidates.

Moreover, to repeat the Muslim narrative ("they discover that Barack Obama is worse than a Muslim. He is a South American voodoo skull cultist!") just elongates and enforces fears about Muslims and the outsider. If the goal is to make a critique of how fearful Americans are of others - whether they be the Peruvian priests or the latest boogey-men in our culture, then it's more useful when raising that topic to replace the imagery with something else, something you want folks to aspire to. Just bringing up the image isn't enough.

The Lefty press still has a lot of work to do confronting what it says it values (inclusivity! insight! everyone's equal! we really do care! . . . ) How do you sign-on for change when you don't know who you are? Where are you going?

Something to think about at your next yoga class :)

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