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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Obama and Kenya are being dragged in the mud of US racism

Since November 2008, almost every Republican, and especially those in the Tea Party, the fringe wing of the oldest political party in the US, knows that a country called Kenya exists.

All of a sudden the right wing is so knowledgeable about Kenya’s politics and geography than ever before. All this courtesy of US President Barack Obama.

The American right wing has relentlessly tried to push this misinformation to its followers and the shocking thing is, it is sticking. In a country where the public will believe a lie to be true when it’s repeated over and over again despite obvious evidence to the contrary, the right has definitely exploited this weakness. The freedom of expression has brought out the worst of these conspiracy theorists who somehow believe Obama fooled the entire world into believing he was born in Hawaii.

These Obama-haters will compete to display the most ignorant protest signs. In one of the Tea Party rallies, some of the attendees displayed protest signs reading: ‘‘A village somewhere in Kenya misses its idiot” and “Go back to Kenya”.

For a country that prides itself as the world’s largest democracy, these acts by a bunch of ill-informed people are regrettable. Mr Obama is not likely to get a break as long as he is president, and if comments by one Newt Gingrich last weekend are anything to go by, the worst is yet to come. Gingrich, who wants to make a stab for the presidency in 2012, borrowed a line from the ‘‘Birthers’’’ playbook, and in doing so gave us an inkling of what will be coming.

He had this to say in an interview with the National Review Online: “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan anti-colonial behaviour, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behaviour.”

The article further quotes Gingrich as saying, "This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.”
Gingrich, a former House Speaker, made these amazing comments in apparent agreement with an article that appeared in Forbes by a conservative writer, Dinesh D’Souza. In his feeble attempt to explain “Obama’s thinking”, D’Souza, who was born in India, goes to great pains to convince Americans that he knows who shaped. “Clearly the anti-colonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. goes a long way to explain the actions and policies of his son in the Oval Office. And we can be doubly sure about his father’s influence because those who know Obama well testify to it.

He goes on to say: “Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realisation of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.”

Clearly D’Souza’s intellectual laziness is evident as he does not bother to back up any of his charges. His piece is full of divisive rhetoric and he is definitely gunning to be quoted by conservatives in high positions.
Gingrich’s position on D’Souza’s piece is even more baffling considering that he is a former history lecturer who should have known D’Souza’s article was pure hot air.

But who is surprised really? Gingrich’s main intention is to push the narrative that the President is exotic, non-American, and not “one of us” as the November midterm elections approach. He is trying to appeal to voters’ fears. He comes from the same party that instilled fear in senior citizens, lying to them that Obama is trying to kill them by way of passing health-care reforms.

It is unfortunate that now “Kenya” has become the buzz-word used to score political points. The conservatives would really love to replace the name “Kenya’’ with the word they want to use, “Black”, but for the sake of political correctness “Kenya” seems to be a good cover.

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