You know who I'm talking about - the one uncle or sister-in-law or cousin who might be genuine but who still manages to come across as goofy or over-the-top or...well...downright offensive. It's that person you warn newcomers about. The one who tests your limit for controlling a knee-jerk eye roll.
For the family of people who support the president for re-election this political season that person has just become Madonna. Oy vey. Does the phrase with friends like these...who needs enemies? come to mind?
I am referring to her Verizon Center performance last night in Washington, DC.
We could forgive her for thinking it was a good idea to flash her political loyalties across her bare back. We might even overlook the Madonnalogue that ended with, "...vote for (expletive deleted) Obama, okay?"
But saying, “For better or for worse, all right, we have a black Muslim in the White House, okay?”
I have officially rolled my eyes and dropped my head and pounded it a few times on the desk.
How many ways does it need to be said or demonstrated that Barack Obama is not a Muslim?
As soon as I type that sentence I wonder, just like I wonder when one of the relatives embarrasses me over Thanksgiving pie, "Why do I care?"
For the record, every Muslim I know is a good person. A peace loving person. A good neighbor. A solid friend. An earnest seeker of righteousness and authentic relationship with God. Some of them would probably make a fine president. I have no more reason to believe every Muslim is a USA-hating terrorist than I think I should believe every Christian is a doctor murderer or a Qur'an burner or a distatesful movie maker. Why should this comment from Madonna bother me any more or less than anything else she has ever said about anything?
But Madonna made me cringe. She provided fodder to the people who want to make Barack Obama seem like a fringe-hanging political radical. She introduced - yet again - the Muslim/Not A Muslim conversation that wastes so much time and energy. She handed every broad-stroking painter of people the perfect brush for a uniform coloring of democrats as offensive.
She just made the whole family look bad.
And so I comforted myself for a moment this afternoon with the truth that the other Big Political Family has had some eye-rolling moments of its own this year. Ha! Todd Akin! That's where I began. But the ease was short-lived, as I started to check my own biases to make sure I hadn't picked up that broad bristled brush and colored every conservative stupid.
Because in the grand scheme - we are ALL family, aren't we? Which means we are all required to breathe through the trying moments with our embarrassing relatives. Then we go back to the melting pot from which we lovingly emerged with a new appreciation for the family members who move quietly through differences and preferences with grace and style and good manners.
Which is not to say I'm not looking forward to seeing what Jon Stewart makes of our goofy Auntie Madonna...I promise to laugh with you.