Friday, January 23, 2009

Drinking the Kool-Aid

I certainly enjoy hyperbole in the service of humor. I love it! In earnest public debate, however, I usually find it to be tiresome and/or grating at best, and all too often repugnant and offensive. Lately a noxious and outlandish comparison has come to my attention that to my knowledge no one has thought to comment upon: "drinking the kool-aid." It's been said that Obama supporters have "drank the kool-aid," that faithless members of the Right have "drank the kool-aid," that a few brave conservatives have refused to "drink [Obama's] kool-aid." This is the worst kind of hyperbole: stealthy and pernicious.

The kool-aid in question was a refreshing beverage and mass-suicide potion served to cult members by their charismatic leader in South America in 1978. Now, I will grant that Obama does have undeniably messianic, charismatic qualities. I will also grant that these qualities bring out a devotion in people that extends well beyond what is rational. But this weak comparison ends there. Barack Obama is a scholar and statesman, a man with a taste for debate and intellectual rigor. He is not a man who seeks blind obedience, nor does he have any apparent megalomaniac tendencies. He seems to be measured and thoughtful and deliberate in all things.

On the other hand, there was a president who for eight years demanded unquestioning support, who shrouded his administration in an unprecedented veil of secrecy, who claimed sanction from God, and who kept his own counsel of what is right and what is wrong, much of which flew in the face of the U.S. Constitution and international laws and conventions. Now that does sound just a bit like a cult figure.

2 comments:

lacifer said...

Great post, Sam. And you've just cleared up something that was kind of bugging me...

Knight of Nothing said...

Thanks Lace! Always glad to help :-)