It strikes me that President Obama's speech delivered at Cairo University provides a watershed divide. I'd like to point out that the reactions of right-wing, self-proclaimed "patriotic Americans" to Obama are almost word-for-word the same as the reactions from leading clerics of Iran. And the anti-Obama reaction of the more right-wing Zionist Israeli settlers and their Christian Zionist American supporters is just about word-for-word the same as the reaction of the leaders of Hamas.
Disclosure: I was a lifelong well-connected Republican who enthusiastically worked for Obama's election after I got sick of the right wing negativity that I helped create through my former leadership role in the religious right. (A process of change I explain in my memoir Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back)
According to AP here are some reactions that make my point. According to a joint statement by eight Damascus, Syria-based radical Palestinian factions, including Hamas; "Obama's speech is an attempt to mislead people and create more illusions to improve America's aggressive image in the Arab and Islamic world."
"[Obama's] vision is so out of touch with reality" says Aliza Herbst, a spokeswoman for Yesha, the West Bank settlers' council.
According to the Daily News Bin Laden said in an audio clip (broadcast on Al Jazeera) "Obama and his administration have planted new seeds to increase hatred for and revenge against America. So, let the American people prepare to continue reaping what the chiefs of the White House sow during the coming years and decades."
During President Obama's trip overseas in April, Fox News took Obama's remarks out of context to support the claim that he was on an "apology tour." Fox News made same smear of Obama's current trip. And in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh repeated his desire for President Obama to fail. Limbaugh claimed that Obama was doing such a good job of destroying the country that: "If al-Qaeda wants to demolish the America we know and love, they better hurry, because Obama is beating them to it."
Listen to Fox News and change a few words and you're listening to the official anti-American and anti-Obama reaction from the most extreme Islamic leaders and other anti-Americans worldwide. Rush Limbaugh and bin Laden have the same take on our President and the same desire to destroy him.
What we see happening is the realignment of the world, and not just in United States. Simply put the world is now divided into two camps: The Party Of Eternal War and those who genuinely long for peace. Members of The Party Of Eternal War would rather lose the peace, the future and the earth but be proved "right." (Note: as the father of a Marine who was deployed to our current wars I feel these issues deeply and personally!)
Members of The Party Of Eternal War, whether they're called evangelical pro-life Christians, Muslims, secularists or Jews seem to recoil from people ready to lay aside differences and vitriolic rhetoric and try to meet others on some sort of common ground. They hate the idea common ground because their identity is bound up in feeling uncommonly morally superior.
The more militant of the Israeli settlers, the Iranian mullahs, Islamic terrorists, right-wing evangelical Republicans, Fox News commentators, gay bashing "Christians" and of course toxic individuals like Rush Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney are now part of The Party Of Eternal War.
The Party Of Eternal War is co-joined in strange ways in a campaign of ideas waged for the defeat and/or failure of President Obama and we hope-filled Americans that voted for him. The odd bedfellows in The Party Of Eternal War are joined at the hip by fear and lies and well-honed (and sometimes even beloved and proudly displayed) ignorance.
This is not a question of right versus left or Republican versus Democrat. This is a question of The Party Of Eternal War clinging to the vested interests of conflict. Individuals ranging from bin Laden to Rush Limbaugh, from Sean Hanity to the mote extreme of the Jewish Settlers and the leaders of Hamas and all the rest of this hate-filled, hate-driven angry mob are bent on taking the rest of us with them into an abyss..
On some days members of the The Party Of Eternal War gun down Dr. Tiller in a church in Kansas. On other days they mock President Obama's best efforts to reclaim the reputation of America from cretins and torturers. They dismiss all our hopes as "mere words." On yet other days they drive planes into buildings or call a Supreme Court nominee a "racist," since they can't come up with any other arguments against Obama's brilliant and experienced pick.
In spirit these are all the same people. Members of The Party Of Eternal War may hate each other (and most of them have never met) but they unite in their hatred of our President and we the majority of ordinary live-and-let-live Americans who love him.
We owe ourselves, our children and our magnificent president a redoubled effort to provide a bulwark against the insanity offered us by The Party Of Eternal War and the professional haters both here and abroad. Our future literally depends on President Obama succeeding. We will never see his like again in our lifetimes. His vision, international stature, decency, calmness and intellectual ability is our last and best chance.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. He is author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and also author of the forthcoming Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)