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By J. Pharoah Doss

 

Friday, March 20, 2015.

 

I don’t question the commitment of political office holders.  It’s a prerequisite proven by losing elections and running again. 

            Now former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani might scold, “I didn’t question President Obama’s commitment in my recent remarks.  I said he doesn’t love America!”  But Obama supporters, the mainstream press, and even some Giuliani followers didn’t understand what exactly the former mayor meant.

             Of course not, the English word love is problematic.  It lacks degree. 

            Theology students encounter this problem when they study the beatitude, “Love your enemies.”  What exactly does that mean?  Fortunately theology students can return to the original Greek manuscript.  The original text has multiple words that translate into the English word -- love.  From the original the student can pin point the Greek word that was translated into the English word love, find its distinct definition, and understand the exact degree of love implied.  For those that can’t refer to the ancient text the meaning of the passage is lost in translation and subject to individual interpretation which leads to confusion. (Like the pundits trying to figure out what Giuliani meant.) 

            But is there an old manuscript one can reference to decipher Giuliani’s language of love?

            Yes, political science students probably viewed Giuliani’s remarks through the pages of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984; one aspect of the novel comes to mind.  The Ministry of Love which enforced loyalty, and I’ll add patriotism, to the government.  So to political science students love is not left to the individual interpretation of Big Brother’s subjects it translates clearly.

            But I thought Obama proved loyalty and patriotism at a press conference during his first presidential campaign when he repudiated his pastor Jeremiah Wright. 

            What did the pastor do that damaged the prophet of “Change We Can Believe In”?  In a video clip Wright asked for God’s damnation on America for killing innocent people and for treating its citizens as less than human.  Before the video was public Obama’s non-black background was acceptable to white voters, but after the video was viewed Obama’s opponents painted him as an acolyte of black rage.  

            The Obama campaign worked hard to brand their candidate as the antithesis to the previous Jesse Jackson - Al Sharpton candidacies.  Wright’s militancy threatened to alienate white support.  So Obama proved his Orwellian love by distancing himself from his pastor, but his distance went beyond Wright.  He distanced himself from “The Black Church” and traditional Black leadership headed by men with the title reverend.  I thought it was clear Obama loved America, and he was not a member of the modern civil rights establishment.   

            I thought that book was closed.  Obama passed that test before he won the presidency.  Why is Giuliani questioning loyalty and patriotism toward the end of Obama’s second term?  Then I remembered the rest of Giuliani’s remarks, “… he [Obama] wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country … with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world.” 

            Then I was able to translate Giuliani’s language of love.  It differed from the concept in Orwell’s novel.

            When Giuliani said Obama doesn’t love America.  It translates into Obama’s not in love with America, which translates again into the president doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism. 

            American Exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations.  It doesn’t mean superiority, but many have promoted the concept with cultural elitism.  This phrase was an issue in the 2008 presidential race.  The republicans attacked Obama for not believing in the concept. (Which translated to their base that the democratic candidate would not promote American cultural elitism abroad and translated to others that Obama was a proponent a liberal cultural relativism.)

            Now when Giuliani responded to the backlash of his statement Giuliani said he “didn’t intent to question President Obama’s motives.”  But he said the president’s words and actions had an effect on American morale, and Obama must begin to act and speak in a way that draws clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life.

            Giuliani said the president must begin to act and speak in a way…?  What!  For who?  He’s about to leave office, but that’s it! He’s about to leave office.  Obama’s about to become the first black member of the ex-president’s club, and American Exceptionalism, according to Giuliani, is a prerequisite for acceptance into an elite club that was formerly for white males only.

J. Pharaoh Doss is a contributor to The New Pittsburgh Courier. He blogs at jpharoahdoss.blogspot.com

 

 

 

On Giuliani’s Language of Love for President Obama

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