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Tribalism in the USA

Friday, June 5, 2009 5:41 PM

In President Barack Hussein Obama's book, Dreams from my Father, Obama writes about his Kenyan father, his namesake. Barack Senior spent very little time with the future president, yet appears to have been a big influence on him. However, Barack Senior, who died in an auto accident in 1982, failed to warn the future president sufficiently about the scourge of Kenya that has kept that country in turmoil for generations: tribalism. In fact, Obama the president is an avid promoter of tribalism in the USA. He and his political allies don't call it tribalism - they call it "identity politics."

What is tribalism, and why is it being advocated in the USA, in the guise of identity politics?

In the general culture, the term tribe is used to describe a distinct group of people within a larger group, such as Indians (Native Americans) whose "tribes" include the Iroquois and the Pima, and Africans, whose "tribes" include the Ibos and the Senufo. In some ways these "tribes" are actually nations who lack sovereignty (although the US Government has negotiated treaties with Indian "tribes"). In Canada, Indian tribes are called "first nations" and the distinction between such "tribes" and nations as described by Curiousyellow in his blog may only be a choice of vocabulary.

Anthropologists have somewhat stricter definitions of tribes as kinship groups, but the actual word "tribe" comes from Latin, and in the Roman Republic, a tribus had more of a connotation of a neighborhood or an electoral district than either a kinship group or a nation.

In other words, a tribe is whatever you call a tribe, and tribalism, then denotes a conflict between one group and another, not necessarily a kinship group. This takes us back to Kenya, where the primary conflict has long been between the two largest groups, non-sovereign nations as well as kinship groups, the Luos and the Kikuyu. The Kikuyu outnumber the Luos by a little less than 2:1, and although neither tribe comprises a majority of Kenyans, the Kikuyu are considered the dominant tribe.

Barack Hussein Obama, Senior was a Luo, born in a Luo district of Kenya. Barack Hussein Obama, Junior, president of the United States, is associated with a powerful Luo political family, the Odingas. Barack Senior, an economist trained in Hawaii and at Harvard, became associated with Tom Mboya, another powerful Luo political figure, but after a Kikuyu, Jomo Kenyatta, came to power around 1964 (when Barack, Jr. was three), Barack Sr.'s star fell and eventually his career was demolished. Kenyatta, by the way, had been involved in the violent independence movement called the Mau Mau, and was therefore sort of a hero among Black Kenyans.

Barack Senior became a hard-drinking, opinionated individual and Wikipedia states that his fall from power was due, at least partially, to his boasting and intemperate speech. He was in a series of auto accidents, including one which resulted in limb amputation, and another which caused his death in 1982, when Barack, Jr. was 22 years old.

Barack, Jr. became associated with Raila Odinga, a controversial Luo politician, who has been accused of genocidal ethnic cleansing of Kikuyus by the Kenya government. Raila has called Barack, Jr. his cousin, an association which was never repudiated by President Obama.

Recently it was announced that President Obama would be replacing Michael E. Ranneberger, Ambassador to Kenya appointed by President Bush, who reportedly was partial to the current president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, a Roman Catholic Kikuyu. (Barack Senior and his own father were Muslims, and Raila Odinga formed an alliance with Kenya's Muslims, a minority in Kenya, to support his campaign for president of Kenya.

After his foray into tribal politics in Kenya, President Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. ultimately decided to avoid a visit to Kenya anticipated for summer, 2009, and will send Hillary Clinton instead.

This experience, however has not diminished President Obama's zeal for "identity politics." Barack Junior thinks only in terms of social groups, not individuals. Claiming to be an advocate of minority rights, Obama ignores the smallest minority of all, a minority of one. He does so because he believes implicitly, and perhaps explicitly, in collectivism, an ideology shared by both "progressive" socialists and Fascists.

His Supreme Court appointee, Sonia Sotomayor, though she is a native New Yorker, a Yankees fan and a childhood admirer of the Nancy Drew book character and Perry Mason, styles herself as a "Latina", her parents having been immigrants from Puerto Rico. A now notorious speech Sotomayor gave eight years ago is a tour de force of "identity politics" ideology.

I have taken the liberty of taking verbatim excerpts from Ms. Sotomayor's speech, substituting the word "Luo" for "Latina" and "Kikuyu" for "white." The result is astounding, so astounding that I doubt that either Raila Odinga or Tom Mboya would have dared make such a speech in Kenya:

I would hope that a wise Luo woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Kikuyu male who hasn't lived that life…

I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Luo heritage…

For all of us, how do change the facts that in every task force study of gender and race bias in the courts, women and Luos, lawyers and judges alike, report in significantly higher percentages than Kikuyu men that their gender and race has shaped their careers, from hiring, retention to promotion and that a statistically significant number of women and Luo lawyers and judges, both alike, have experienced bias in the courtroom?

[Keywords: impeach-them-all.org barack kenya kikuyu luo obama president tribes ]