Yin and Yang and Miscellany

Posted to Subscribers on 11 December 2007


Dear Subscribers,

This email might be a strange mixture of politics and philosophy but after hundreds of private emails and months and months of hesitation, I have decided to speak out just a tad more because I really believe the fate of the Planet depends a great deal on who next sits in the Oval Office.  When people first began tossing their hats into the ring, I thought we would have, for the first time in ages, some interesting choices.  However, as the voracious quest for funds casts its dehumanizing shadow on the realities of our political system, we see more and more candidates appealing to what they perceive to be their bases of support.  We need, however, to keep in mind that every day they are more beholden to their donors . . . rather than individual voters or constituents.

In Il Principe, Machiavelli explained for the whole world to understand that a prince must always appear to be what the people want.  This is the cardinal rule in campaigning, but as we have come to see, it means very little once elected.

So, we see Mitt Romney standing in front of the flag saying his religion is separate from his politics and Mike Huckabee reaching farther to the right and saying he is defined by his religion.  We see Sean Penn endorsing Dennis Kucinich because of his consistent position on war and peace and we see Oprah stumping for Barack Obama and speaking to issues of poverty and other forms of disenfranchisement.  We also see the candidates sniping at one another.  Hillary Clinton cannot control one man, how can she control millions?  It just goes on and on so I thought I would speak my two cents . . . again.

When the powers that be began to launch World War III, the two most visible and ergo accountable faces were Tony Blair and George Bush the latter, both with serious problems with their own authority and identity.  So, does it matter whether a poltician is first a Catholic and then an official or first a president and then a pacificist, we have to conclude that IF it does not matter, then the infrastructure of the psyche itself is not in tact so the rest of the presentation of the individual is not authentic or reliable.

In my role of student of the human dilemma, I have noted that those with the most ambition tend to have the least tendency towards introspection.  You might say that some people are outer driven and others are inner driven.  Therefore, if I had to choose between Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, I would chose Oprah because she has gone to the trouble of sorting herself out without losing her grip on the outer world.  However, she has steadfastly refused to run, but I always thought it would be refreshing to have a president whose secrets are an open book rather than something an unconscionable reporter tells us decades later he/she knew from the start.

It strikes me as totally absurd that people who stand up and ask for your money — dare we say "day in and day out" — have the slightest concern for the less fortunate. While there may be exceptions, these money eating machines that we call politicians are basically just that and the hunger for money never stops because they have to reward so many with the bridges to nowhere and so on and so forth.

However, in this campaign, there are a few candidates who appear to be what they say they are.  Not being in their shoes, I cannot, of course, be sure of anything, but I really do believe Ron Paul is who he says he is and that he is past the point when his hormones dictate his need to dominate.  In a crazier sort of way, I think Dennis Kucinich is who he says he is, but I think his concept of himself is based on idealism and what is needed is a president who can actually administer and implement the changes that are essential . . . since more of the same will be a disaster.

By more of the same, I mean, if we keep hearing about terrorism and Islamic extremists, we will have our day in hell.  If we believe in peace, sustainability, a world without fear, we will create this reality.  You choose your belief system and then support it with gray matter and action. 

I knew Barack Obama's father very well.  We met as students at the University of Hawaii and we played tennis together, went swimming together, and danced through our undergraduate days and we went on to see each other when he was at Harvard and I was at Yale.  It would be very difficult to describe our relationship and a part of me has struggled for nearly half a century to interpret the senior Barack Obama.  He used to eat dinner at our home and he called my mother "mom", something she encouraged.  She had a term for people like Barack:  "superior" and her definition was that these people can be of any race or creed or socioeconomic background, but if they walk into a room, their excellence is immediately apparent and beyond question.  I have absolutely no doubt that she used to have private tête-à-tête discussions with Barack to help him with the many questions he had about cultures that were so different from his own.

Barack Sr. was the most intelligent and indefatigable person I ever knew, but what was even more remarkable was his simplicity and lack of arrogance. He was warm and "safe" and natural, but everything he did appeared effortless.  He was one of the few exchange students who was not in search of a green card because all he wanted to do was get an education so he could go back to Kenya and make a difference.  Certainly, I never thought his intentions were otherwise and I knew he would one day take on big challenges.

When I read Dreams from my Father, I had to put it down again and again and again because I felt that a deeply hurt and angry little boy was trying to describe a giant of a man.  Barack Jr. did not really know his father and he could only understand him through people who also probably did not know him, at least not well.  For the boy, the boy who looked so different from all the other children, the father was missing and I believe it is almost impossible to sort out one's identity until coming to grips with the truth, even if one is unaware that the story told was not the truth. 

This probably seems like a total leap off the deep end for some people but if George Jr. had a larger than life father who was not merely the wits behind some of the most atrocious activities of the CIA but also a past president, then Barack the Younger cannot expect to master foreign intelligence and poverty and everything else any better than Little George if he doesn't even know whether to speak pidgin English, the King's English, or to fake a Martin Luther King accent.  The idea that if you wear fatigues you look like someone who has been in the trenches is absurd and I hope it is not fooling anyone where Little Bush is concerned.  Likewise, I feel the issue of whether or not Obama the Younger is black or white or, as we used to say in Hawaii, "chop suey" is just as important as the issue made of the matter.

I do understand that when Barack the Younger looks in the mirror, he sees a black man, but he got that from a father he didn't know and a father who was African, not African-American.  Barack the Elder did not descend from slaves and did not lose touch with his roots.  He knew his roots and connections to his roots and in this, the two Obamas are very different.  Okay, it's perfectly obvious he inherited his father's brains, but he inherited a lot more that I think he can't see.  He inherited his father's passion and desire for making things better and he ought to be very thankful to his father for these gifts.

I've been very conflicted ever since my best friend called me to suggest turning on the TV to hear the newcomer.  At first I could not believe there was another Barack Obama on the Planet.  So, I sent an email via his web site (and received a response from a staffer) but as time has gone on, the question I have asked myself is how would his father feel about the son?  I think it's a very important question — and because my connection to the father was so profound, it has taken me many years to adjust to the reality that the father left so much of a legacy for America.

I find myself bristling when I read what others have written about the father.  He was perhaps not such an easy man to understand.  First of all, he was simply too brilliant.  His mind was years ahead of everyone else's.  Where he and I connected and connected so deeply was in our desire to make the world a better place, but he was committed first to Kenya and then to Africa because he really did know and appreciate his roots.  Most of what I have read, even from the son, is just nonsense so it makes one wonder what else that we read is also nonsense?  I really think we should try to answer this question before we vote.  Maybe then, there would not be as many petitions to sign during the years running up to 2012!

For the record, as wind blows today, I am leaning more and more towards Ron Paul so this sentimental commentary on Barack the Kenyan is just that: some remarks, not an endorsement.



Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2007







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