It was always easy to dismiss the occasional signs on the fringes of Tea Party and anti-tax rallies -- the ones depicting the president of the United States in a loin cloth with a bone through his nose -- as products of a few extremists. But when Newt Gingrich
, the man some tout as 2012 presidential material, joins the fray, slamming Barack Obama's "Kenyan, anti-colonial" mindset, you have to take the disgusting mess seriously because you know someone else will.
Gingrich recently told National Review Online: "What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together" his actions? A Dinesh D'Souza
piece in Forbes was Gingrich's inspiration. In it, D'Souza writes: "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 realization of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son." He demonizes a dead man before tying his supposed political philosophy -- which, of course we have to take D'Souza's word for -- to the son he barely knew. And he slides in a "tribesman" reference in case you don't know he's talking about Africa.
D'Souza's version finds a young Barack soaking in a world of push-back to European colonial powers when other children his age were cutting figures with the square-edged scissors. The president's poignant memoir, his search for self, is twisted and transformed into militant political manifesto. (What book was D'Souza reading?)
Of course, the author also takes statehood away from Hawaii, which he characterizes as "off the American mainland" and a foreign influence on Obama. Tell that to the 50th state's senior senator, Daniel Inouye, a Medal of Honor winner for the brave fight that cost him his right arm in World War II. Being Japanese-American, Inouye might know something about having your loyalty questioned because your very American-ness is thought to be in doubt.
If President Obama's opponents would stick to opposing his policies -- from health care to tax cuts -- it wouldn't be problematic, just politics. But since he took office, loud voices have attacked Obama the human being, the sincerity of his motives and his very character. Critics have purported to bore into the brain of this husband and father of two -- who even has a great relationship with his mother-in-law, for goodness' sake -- to discover something sinister. D'Souza's latest book title, "The Roots of Obama's Rage," says it all. Calm down and consider the sometimes criticized, even-keeled demeanor of the commander-in-chief; Al Roker is better suited to the role of "angry black man."
If anyone wants to change the narrative of the American Dream, it's Gingrich and D'Souza -- and the absent chorus of voices rushing to denounce them. If "anti-colonial" is the newest slur, would we have to stop teaching the history of our anti-colonial ancestors, patriots who questioned British rule and fought to establish a democratic country? Would we no longer honor George Washington, John Adams and the Thomases -- Paine and Jefferson?
I shudder to think that citizens with Irish last names would be poked and prodded for some innate sympathy for the IRA, and on and on for every ethnic group that makes up this country of immigrants. Or is it only some groups that deserve the scrutiny when political expediency allows, as Muslim-Americans are asking right now?
Certainly Sarah Palin's "Real America" vs. everywhere else selectively whittles away the diversity of thought and life that has made the country strong. It's a good thing that Alaska is "on the mainland."