Author of Saving Democracy!, Wasted Genius and Common Genius

Swastika Carvings–Much Ado About Nothing?

My local newspaper has the Obama swastika story as a major front page news item, and the same story has dominated the news on most papers and TV shows for several days now. The lurid headlines refer to “An Act of Hatred,” and everyone is falling all over themselves to express outrage at what they identify as “racism.” Even the Secret Service and FBI are inspecting the carvings!

Are the politically correct commentators over-reacting to what could well be a schoolboy prank? No one knows why someone carved the word Obama and the ancient symbol into the grass on the 18th hole of the Lakeville golf course, but everyone is horrified. In this new age where words and symbols have taken on more significance than acts or deeds, one might well ask, 1)- is the angst over this presumed desecration justified, and, 2)- whether there is not more important news for the front pages of the papers? Is this very hyped and over-exposed incident another sympton of how the American media is so rapidly and steadily losing influence, readers and advertisers?

There is, after all, little useful discussion over the detail, history or meaning of the swastika. It may be useful to recognize that for thousands of years, the swastika has meant happy life and good luck. Today’s schools and media appear ignorant about history and this is a good example, for they seem to only look at the Nazis who briefly (for about 15 years) used it to connote their idea of conquest and hate. But for buddhists and Hindus, as well as American Indians, the swastika has been a benign and religious symbol. There is in fact two completely opposite meanings for the symbol.

Furthermore, no one seems concerned about the direction of the swastika and whether the one carved in the grass was a clockwise swastika or the counter-clockwise sauvastika. Some people have tried to differentiate the two meanings of the swastika by varying its direction – trying to make the clockwise, Nazi version of the swastika mean hate and death while the counter-clockwise version would hold the ancient meaning of the symbol, life and good-luck. It is the counterclockwise presentation that was carved on the grass in Lakeville, so it is conceivable that the carver was attempting to associate good things with President Obama and should not be condemned but praised by the thought police trying to make news out of this event.

It is also conceivable that we as a people should pay more attention to actual deeds and results than the more insignificant world of utterances, promises, and statements of good intentions.