RTE compares 'Copycat' Flanagan to Obama

To accuse a politician of dealing in 'doublespeak' is usually an insult, but I make a case for the exception.

Anyone who has heard Barack Obama deliver a speech will admit that he is a charismatic orator, regardless of whether or not they agree with the sentiment. Personally, the speech that most impressed me was his 'Call to Renewal' [video; text] keynote address, delivered almost two years ago, which investigated the connections between religious faith and political will.

Since I am, what you might call, an anti-religious atheist, I make it my business to hear the opposing views, and ponder them carefully before I make my criticisms. Obama's speech was complex yet intellectually sound; inspirational yet highly articulate; sober yet entertaining. Full marks there.

While performing my exegesis , I came to separate the manifest content from the underlying meaning and I began to understand that the speech was really about political expediency.

He puts it across so well that the faithful don't recognise the double entendres. They don't see that when Obama says people long for 'a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives,' when he speaks of a realisation that

without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone

when he articulates these ideas, he is actually speaking in code to the agnostics, the realists, the intellectuals, and the skeptics.

The thrust is: America is religious. Religious people only trust people like themselves. If you want to get elected and change the world, you better sign up with a church. Religious beliefs sway political decisions, so get the churchgoers on your side.

All in all, it's a fascinating piece of writing from a thoughtful and literate scholar. Therefore, I was quite disturbed by the recent reports of plagiarism which were levelled at the Senator. Why would he need to steal ideas?

As it turns out, instead of ripping off Alice Walker, Sweet Honey or June Jordan as the accusations would have it, he used (quite eruditely) far older concepts from traditions of the elders of the Hopi tribe, from whom the others had drawn uncredited inspiration.

It's another non-story (such as his request to be sworn in on the Koran, and his refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and his attendance at a Muslim school, all untrue of course) that has gained credence through repetition, the biggest hammer in the Republican toolbox.

As you may know, backbencher Terence Flanagan(FG) denied and then today admitted helping himself to passages from Joan Burton's(Lab) speech from the previous day.

Presenter Seán O'Rourke, while throwing forward to an upcoming piece on the story during this afternoon's RTÉ Radio News at One, scurrilously, flippantly, and slanderously, claimed that Flanagan

might have something in common with Barack Obama when it comes to cogging a good line. [listen at 8m 15s]

In that case, he must be wrongly accused and completely innocent of the charge. Obviously, if you haven't bothered to read up on the facts of a story, you shouldn't cross-reference it with a 'knowing' jibe like that. It shows very little respect for truth, facts and 'the news' itself.

I wonder if they respect the Clintons too much to bring up Hillary's 'cogging'?

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