The cover of The New Yorker magazine is the flap du jour in a presidential campaign filled with flaps of one kind or another. On this particular cover, Democratic candidate Barack Obama is pictured in what is apparently intended to be Muslim garb and his wife Michelle, rifle slug over her shoulder, is apparently being depicted as a new millennium Angela Davis. The satire of the magazine's cover escapes me. The bad taste does not. The outrage expressed by Senator Obama and his staff is certainly understandable and the outrage expressed by Senator McCain and his staff is certainly appreciated.
There is no law -- yet -- against a slick, successful magazine's having a cover which in the opinion of many is in the worst of taste. Nor should there be such a law. Hopefully reader outrage and decreased revenues from advertisements, subscriptions and sales will be voices loud enough for the publishers of The New Yorker to clearly see the outcome of bad judgment.
Here's what concerns me.
Once again Senator Obama is having to deny that he is a Muslim, that he took his oath of office with a hand on a copy of the Koran, denying that he etc. etc. etc. In a country claiming to have been founded on a separation of church and state, should it really matter whether Senator Obama is a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim or even, God forbid, an atheist? Or even for that matter, should we have cared that Mitt Romney was a Mormon? The greater concern should have been over why his parents named him Mitt not whether he was a good Mormon or a bad Mormon or any kind of Mormon.
In this season of presidential hopeful hoopla where the first woman ever in our history made a serious run for the office, where the oldest man ever to seek the office is presumably the Republican nominee and where the first racially mixed and selecting to call himself black or African American man to seek the office is the presumed Democratic nominee -- in this year in which diversity in the race for the nation's highest office cannot be ignored or denied why should any candidate's religious affiliation be questioned? Is it because deep down inside we as a country reject this alleged separation of church and state or mosque and state or synagogue and state? Or do we really only care about the church part and all other belief systems are suspect for any number of things?
Come on. Give me a break.
Wouldn't we be better off having an honest Muslim in the Oval Office than a crooked Christian?
Barack Obama is not a Muslim. That's okay.
But if he were, what difference would it make?