September 10, 2009
Obama and the Plight of the Dancing MasqueradeBy L.E. Ikenga
The Igbo language is one rich in proverbs. These proverbs have the capacity to instruct, admonish, and predict the fate of any given situation all at once. In my opinion, the best that the Igbo language offers are the uncomplicated one-liners, abridged versions of a thoroughly instructive tale -- a tale that disguises as sage advice.
I have been watching Barack Obama for some time now. Ironically it is he, a man whom I feel has no wisdom whatsoever -- that has more than anyone in my short history -- inspired me to look back towards the wisdom of my forebears. Those forebears used to have a saying, "okonko, tomeji m'adaa." Translation: "okonko, as you show off, be careful that you do not trip and fall." It is the proverbial saying that illuminates what I like to call the plight of the dancing masquerade.
In parts of rural Igboland, okonko is one of the most anticipated of all masquerade dancers who only makes special appearances at important festivals and celebrations. His costume is so elaborate, and his dance is so spectacular, that children and adults alike gladly wait for hours at the spots where okonko is rumored to appear. Once he makes himself known, his dancing feet become virtually invisible; his twists and turns, and the flashing colors of his fantastically decorated costume, work in tandem to captivate his audience in ways other masquerade dancers are at a loss to imitate. In short, when okonko is around he commands all attention.
But for this most flamboyant of all masquerades, there's a catch. Okonko must be very careful during his performance not to trip (on a stone) and fall. If he does fall, everything about him will come completely undone; it will be impossible for him to resume his dance, his focus now disoriented, his painstakingly put-together costume now in pieces. He will at once become the object of laughter and ridicule for his once adoring audiences and the other masquerades. Okonko rarely falls; but when he does, it is usually because of his inexperience.
My friends, I am beginning to see that what we have in the White House is our very own inexperienced Masquerade-in-Chief. Here are three perilous stones that Obama's two left dancing feet have already unearthed, which assure that he will hopefully be a one-term president.
Stone # 1: Obama's Three-Card Monte Race Hoax:
To win the election, our post-racial President played a version of the three-card con game on the American people. But the jig is up.
First, (card #1) to get the black ghetto vote and the white, middle-class, liberal pity vote, Obama sold himself as the protagonist in Claude Brown's classic, Manchild in the Promised Land.
Take for instance, when questions concerning Obama's elitism surfaced after "Arugula-gate". What did Obama do? He and his outside man, David Axlerod, contrived an understanding for the American people that bellied Obama's privileged, international, and culturally ambiguous background. The Obama campaign immediately went on the defensive claiming that he had come from very modest means; and that his single mother, at times, used food-stamps in order to make ends meet.
Obama scored extra points with these groups by also speaking somewhat earnestly about his past drug use. At times, during campaign stumps, he seemed a bit too eager to paraphrase from Dreams From my Father where he said, "Pot had helped and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it".
Second, (card #2) to get the Black Elite Establishment (B.E.E) vote -- NAACP, Colin Powell, Henry Louis Gates Jr. et al. -- Obama sold himself as a member of the "Talented Tenth", a term coined by international Communist and black imperialist, W.E.B. Dubois. Dubois was a pivotal figure in black American history -- a figure whose socialistic and elitist paradigms many blacks, in this country, continue to emulate without even knowing it. Like so many other black imperialists, Dubois was a rabid Marxist who used this socio-economic philosophy and his high-society intellect to engineer a small and permanent elite class of blacks that continue to speak for the whole. Here is classic Dubois, from his essay, "The Talented Tenth":
(By the way, is it just a coincidence that, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., a good friend of the president's, happens to be the Director of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard? Regarding the Gates-Crowley-Obama snafu, I've already connected the OMG! so-that's-what-was-really-going-on dots for myself. Can you?)
By getting the B.E.E. vote, Obama was able to "kill two birds with one stone". Members of the black middle class, who continue to take their marching orders from the B.E.E., simply watched for the thumbs up on Obama. Once the B.E.E. voiced its approval -- after Obama "won" the Iowa Caucuses -- there was nothing left for black middle classers to think about.
And last, (card #3) to get the white upper-class imperialists on board, Obama simply played the part of the Good and Tame Negro, ready, willing, and able to please -- the anti-Al Sharpton. A black man made in their image is how Obama sold himself to this group.
In the words of Obama's own Vice-President, "I mean you got the first main-stream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean -- a nice looking guy. I mean that's story-book man!"
Besides the color of his skin, Obama really didn't have much going for him. So to win, he had to rearrange his racial identity cards pretty quickly to make himself into all things for all people. But most Americans have grown weary of being the mark for Obama's card tricks. What we now know is that putting this black man in the White House has not helped race relations at all. His presidency has actually made those relations worse. My bet is that this will be one of the reasons that thinking Americans will vote this guy out in 2012.
Stone #2: The bread & circuses playbook.
It worked in Imperial Rome, but it will not work in America.
During the campaign, Obama liked to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln in order to convince Americans of his wisdom and innate abilities to govern despite his inexperience. Well, it has now become all too obvious that the historical figure that Obama is most desperate to model himself after is not President Lincoln -- it's Augustus Caesar.
Augustus especially was the master of using tactics from the panem et circensus (bread and circuses) playbook. For imperial politicians like Augustus, these tactics were pretty much a no-brainer. The imperialists just promised the people tons of grain and entertainments in order to shift the people's focus away from the imperialists' complete control over their lives. Of course, Roman imperial political history was much more complicated than this. Obama probably just glossed over the Cliffnotes for Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars; therefore, he missed out on some very important details.
To his credit, Obama certainly provided the nation with plenty of entertainment while running for the presidency. From his "I am a citizen of the world" theatrics in Berlin, to the over-the-top stagecraft used for his "Obama has a dream" acceptance speech in Denver, our Masquerade-in-Chief kept his crowds begging and pleading for more circus acts. But it looks like Obama has run out of tricks.
Then there's the bread. Obama gave (lower and middle-class) Americans false hopes of having a chicken in every pot to the kitchen where they would cook it. We all remember the thoughtless woman at an Obama rally who believed that an Obama win would mean instant mortgage payments. But much to his chagrin, Obama is finding out that not all Americans are as thoughtless as that woman. Most Americans know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. So, Obama's "giveaways" have come under real scrutiny. ObamaCare is one of those giveaways.
First seen as Astroturf, and now as the "barbarians at the gate", Americans who oppose Obama's dubious healthcare bill have been dubbed everything under the sun; we've had enough. A more critical read of Rome's Imperial history would have revealed that us barbarians should never be underestimated. As Rome unfortunately found out, the barbarians were the ones to permanently change the game.
Stone #3: The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Strategy:
This strategy worked to subdue Hillary Clinton. It will never work on Sarah Palin.
Liberal strategist Donna Brazile and her sidekick Roland Martin used what I call the Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Strategy to clear the (presidential) way for then candidate Obama. There were times (back in the days when I still watched CNN) when I could almost swear that the two were quoting from the famous slave narrative of Harriet Jacobs.
Brazile & Co. waged a successful campaign against Hillary, whereby she came to symbolize nothing more than the wicked slave-mistress whose immorality had been so meticulously recorded in the Jacobs narrative. As the months of the primary season rolled by, Obama's wins and loses mattered for naught. Instead, what mattered for the Democrats was a re-creation for Americans of a not-so-typical minstrel parody: poor little ole' Obama's dreams of doing good deeds for the country were being out-maneuvered by Hillary, the "jealous, manipulative, and overbearing white slave-mistress, who was prone to fits of jealousy and rage" to have her way.
Hillary might have had the experience and the cachet to be the nation's first female president, but Hillary is no original. This is one of the reasons that the strategy worked so well against her. And whether or not the Left wants to admit it, when it comes to Sarah Palin, they have a real problem on their hands. Palin is an original who will not be used and abused; and I really hope to see this woman as my president some day soon.
Former Governor Palin understands many things that Obama does not. Here are the two most important: our government must be strong enough to protect the rights of the people, but restrained enough so as not to infringe upon them and the elites are destroying America. In some way or other, Palin will eventually defeat Obama.
The thing about Obama is that he is very good at imitating but he is not very good at being. This is where Obama differs from the okonko masquerade. Okonko imitates no other masquerade. He just is. This is why it's such a treat to watch him. To be an okonko masquerade is a huge honor. The rare fall notwithstanding, one must go through the necessary "course of honors" to prove that they are worthy of doing the dance. Obama has been allowed to wear the costume without proving that he could actually do the dance. In Igboland this would be unheard of.
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