How Did We Get Here? Tribal Identity and Accepting President Barack Obama

| 8/21/2009 3:21:50 PM

Tags: Barack Obama, culture, conflict, tribes, American culture,

FlowersUntil fairly recently, the people we depended on lived nearby. Most human beings never traveled more than a few miles from their home. We lived and died in the same small group of people, typically, with one set of traditions and one language.

Among aboriginal societies it’s very common for the name of a tribe to be the equivalent of “the human beings” or “the people” in that tribe’s language. Out of almost 100 tribes listed on the website,[1] more than 30 define the name of their tribe in more or less that way — “the people,” “the original people,” “the best people,” (the “best people,” the Illiniwek from which the state of Illinois takes its name, now call themselves the Peoria, which means “backpack people”), or “the true people.”

Until recently we could afford the luxury of seeing our personal tribes as God’s chosen people. The Judeo-Christian Bible is, of course, full of these declarations. We consistently and systematically considered our local, tribal interests superior to the needs and interests of other people who spoke a different language and wore a different style of footwear.

To a surprising degree, our modern wars have been tribal wars. The Nazi movement, which catalyzed World War II, was explicitly a tribal movement designed to distinguish the Aryan race from other Europeans. Predictably, the people trying to distinguish themselves defined the “Aryans” as the original speakers of Indo-European languages and therefore, in their opinion, the “original people” of Europe.[2] The First World War’s proximate cause was the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, monarch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian student inspired by the annexation of Bosnia by the Austro-Hungarians. A lot of Serbs lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time. Princip evidently believed he was defending his ethnic heritage. The ethnic divisions of the Balkan States, including Bosnia Herzegovina, are cultural fault lines along which violence has often erupted. Like World War II, the First World War germinated in a tribal mindset.

A strong tribal identity must have been important to our survival. Durable ethnic divisions characterize human history in every part of the world. As our territories filled up and our communities grew closer together, though, we found ourselves trading with the strangers over the hill. Then our children began marrying within other communities. The next thing you know, it was hard to tell which tribe our grandchildren belonged to. Those grandchildren constituted the common interest between neighboring peoples.

As I write this my father and I are trying to heal a cultural rift in our own relationship. Day before yesterday he included me in a group e-mail to his siblings and several of my cousins. The email was a reprint of an open letter to President Obama written by a retired Proctor & Gamble sales executive named Lou Pritchett. In it, Pritchett repeatedly says to the president, “You scare me,” for a variety of reason, almost none of them directly related to actual public policy. The reasons Barack Obama scares Lou Pritchett — like my dad, a white guy in his 70s — range from the allegation that the administration wants to turn the United States into a “European-style country,” to the assertion that the president is, “culturally, not an American,” because he lived in his stepfather’s home country of Indonesia from age 6 to age 10. For better or for worse, I responded to all the recipients and suggested that my upbringing on the Mexican border and my subsequent Ivy-league education gave me a powerful sense of connection with the President, and that I resented the implication that either of us is “not an American,” culturally, ethnically, psychologically or otherwise.

elton lyon
12/10/2009 5:43:48 PM

I don't dislike Obama just because he is 1/2 black. I don't like the 1/2 white part either.

12/10/2009 4:05:29 PM

"To my eyes, Barack Obama personifies the greatest virtues of our diverse, progressive country." -I just swallowed the puke in my mouth. The greatest virtues? What great virtues? How about appointing communists to his administration. That's a great virtue. Communism steals freedom from the people. Nice. And what does "progressive" country mean? If that includes trashing our constitution, then that's not our country. The reason he got elected was because of populism. He said "change" and people cried. I hope you like your change now. Health care is a right given by government? Are you kidding me? I enjoy Mother Earth's articles about self sufficiency, but I am increasingly annoyed by it's ideological spewing bullcrap. Therefore I tend to read Country Side Living instead and will never buy the magazine.

11/9/2009 7:45:16 AM

I've been reading these comments. What exactly is HATE speech? Can someone honestly answer this? I hear alot about it being tossed around, but nobody wants to define it. Also, I am a native American. Not American indian. I was born and raised in America.My Grandmother, and her Mother were born and raised in America..... so, I'm American. I'm really tied of hearing.... well, if your great, great, great, great grandpappy was born in england, then you're not 'native american' poppy-cock! I was born and raised here.... and I don't like what I see going on in my country. It's not up to the government to financially take care of anyone... it's only up to the government to keep the entire nation safe... that is their ONLY function... and they " congress" haven't done a very good job of that. Also, would some people stop saying this 'mess' was handed to obama by President Bush. You seem to forget, he was a senator... he helped to create the mess!

ken larsen
9/27/2009 5:14:53 PM

"Can't we all just get along?" It's focusing on what divides us that leads to many of our problems. Obama is white too. In fact, most of us are probably of mixed "race", whatever race is. It's the political labels and geographic boundaries, especially those artificially imposed from without, which have led to zenophobia. If we all tried to learn another language, watch a foreign movie, or visit another country, wouldn't we see that life isn't about hatred and fear, but about joining forces to learn the best from each society? Our president is confronting a nation and a world in crisis. Instead of hurling insults, those with "better ideas" should write and speak in a civil manner in order to educate the people and positively influence our future. This much is clear- healthcare in America is a business, not a humanitarian undertaking. As long as profit takes precedence over health and our common humanity, progress will be very difficult. The so-called "socialism" so feared by some is a natural response and remedy to extreme free market ideology (deregulation). Trying to bring back balance is not radical. Some extremists claim we can learn nothing from such societies as Cuba. While condemning the lack of freedom there, we should ask ourselves, why is the average lifespan in Cuba only 3 months shorter than in the US, while the US spends more than 20 times as much per citizen for healthcare?

michael belle_2
9/19/2009 1:24:13 PM

This is a risky slope for Mother Earth News. If you plan on continuing to get involved in this type of politics please let us all know so that those of us who just want a simple lifestyle and a life of less consumption can cancel our subscriptions. Either stay out of politics or cancel my subscription.

brian alexander
9/19/2009 3:15:19 AM

I'm a white guy in my sixties, and Obama scares me for all the reasons that man listed in his letter, and I don't like him to boot, not to mention disagreeing with most of his accomplishments so far, especially the nationalization of American business and the health-care monstrosity with its multitrillion dollar budget he keeps shoving down our throats, but he is our president for the time being, and the 2010 Congressional elections are comming up soon. Perhaps a Republican Congress would rein him in a little. I live in hopes. That being said, however, I'm not sure that politics and MEN should go together. I think that I would prefer it if you kept out of the political arena altogether, and concentrated on what you do best--presenting alternative lifestyles such as homesteading, food preperation, etc., so that those of us who would love to live those lifestyles and can't , for what ever reasons, can at leasts live them vicariously, and that those who can, will. MEN is an excellent publication, and I have been a more or less continuous subscriber since near its beginngs. Keep up the good work.

9/16/2009 2:41:39 PM

Our choices last fall were articulate, intelligent, compassionate man of international heritage. OR - an angry cancer survivor who chose as his economic advisor a guy in the pocket of wallstreet. Who chose as his second-in-command a Diva Governor who looks forward to the "end times" and who rarely composes a coherent sentence...After eight years of enduring an anti-scientific, dyslexic draft-dodger who ignored warning signs of an attack by airplane in August 2008. Who then went on to use that attack as a convenient excuse for two unjustified wars that killed far more innocents than we lost on 9/11 and injured thousands more. Spending a Trillion dollars + all the while and giving a break to his rich cronies... After all that, yes, we need a more socially conscious reflective kind of President. God help him with the MESS he was handed on January 20th.

9/15/2009 11:54:56 AM

You know what's really scary??? Not Obama's leftist politics or the now-ascendant left-wing desire to centralize every aspect of the running of this country (though I don't like it). Not the rightist Neoconservative tendency to fearmongery. Not even the fact that both sides seem determined to play the race card to their best advantage; not even the good ole boys down at the gas station hollering that "Obaden" needs to go back to the back of the bus. Not even watching a publication that's supposed to be about living a simple life pick up the stupid glitz of politics. What's really scary is the way we, the simple-lifer readership, goes for it. We scream at each other, call each other names, threaten to cancel our subscriptions because we don't like what's said (even though it's being said in someone else's linked blog that's not even part of the printed media you subscribe to). If we-- the simple folk, the backbone of the nation, the ones who intend to go on when the going gets tough-- are this hotheaded and this easily divided, America is already screwed. No matter who the Celebrity-In-Chief happens to be.

gail o'leary_1
9/15/2009 9:44:12 AM

Please stay out of politics! I really enjoy and benefit from the information in your publications. I am only angered by the politics and want to cancel my subscription every time you all think you are entitled to share your opinions here. I don't really want to read about your politics, I am not interested, it doesn't matter to me or my family. I would however be interested to know how all of the "do your own thing" "be your own person", "don't follow the crowd", folks got to be the "do it my way or else there is something wrong with you" crowd. You all sound like my parents did in the 70's, when they objected to my wanting to live in an alternative sort of style, you know, do my own thing! I like your magazine, please don't make it a mouthpiece for the radical left agenda, I won't go there with you. I just won't subscribe.

9/14/2009 10:53:43 PM

Mother earth response 1. It is not nor has it ever been an issue of acceptance. What the pundits of socialism and the liberal left continue to use as a smoke screen is the race card. Whenever someone raises issue with Charlatan-in Chief Obama, it is his or her intent to confuse the discussion or discourse with allegations to color-based hatred. The progressive liberals who want to dismantle the American entrepreneurial system will never admit that their goal is the socialization of every aspect of an individual’s life. While it is true that the current administration has only nationalized 10% of this nation industries and infrastructure so far, but at the rate, it would be 80% by the end of his term. Probably more, even faster due to the increasing regulatory demands placed on private firms and organizations by the Swami’s Czars he has appointed so far. Remember that they do not answer to anyone but Sultan Barack. The allusions made by some that because the State Department has confirmed three times that Prince Obama is a US Citizen should make the question go away is ridiculous because Secretary Clinton would not allow the truth to be told if it could hurt this administration. By the way, does anyone remember what she tried to push during her husband’s term as president, Health Care Reform, imagine that? Rejecting what is contrary to the very core of an individual person or nation’s constitutional value system will always be attacked by the very group that demands acceptance of their views while not even recognizing the rights of others to have an opposing view. The imperious ACLU, Anti-Constitutional Lunatics’ Unit, will be swift in their ponytail legal endeavors to thwart the truth at all costs while defending the lollipop left’s give-a-way to the lazy and under achievers of the world. The author of “RANCHO CAPPUCCINO” would have you believe that everyone who agrees with his own father should be flushed away like yesterday’s dirt so that the diverse global trib

sandra dyer
9/14/2009 6:48:34 PM

What is this doing in Mother Earth News? It sounds like the New York Times! We will never have a truly colorblind society until it becomes unacceptable to cry "racism" as a means to get our way.

eric williams
9/14/2009 5:06:08 PM

Some of the comments on this matter (actually a lot of them) make me wonder what kind of people I am sharing the world with. First, the negative comments about Obama are nothing more than racist propoganda and fear mongering. Use of the word "socialism" to connote some Orwellian drone society is unrealistic and linking "socialism" in that form to Obama is as ridiculous as questioning his citizenship or religion. In fact, that would appear to stem primarily from the hysterically preposterous onslaught of Republi-Con propoganda as spewed by such absurd entities as Sarah Palin. For those of you who don't want socialism in the Obama sense, please do not accept your Social Security or Medicare. It is ethically and morally wrong for you to do so while you preach against that very kind of thing. Yes we need government provided healthcare! It works in the countries that have it, despite what the propogators of perverted propoganda spew. We pay taxes. Those should be used to pay for our healthcare, education, and general wellbeing rather than to meddle in political excess and the procurement of oil finances for those such as recently vacated the White House. I believe that Obama was the only hope we had. I don't agree with him all the time, but I know the country would have died stagnant in the status quo if left in the hands of the alternative.....

9/14/2009 3:05:45 PM

Sally Davis, Please give us your take on the meaning of the words fascism, rightwing and racist. I'm so confused. Thank you

sally davis_3
9/14/2009 2:22:40 PM

Thank you for this article, one of the best I've read describing the huge cultural divide that exists in this country. The right wing of the country is exhibiting the most overwhelming shortsightedness I believe I've ever witnessed. I am way more afraid of right wing Christians than I am of so-called "socialism." I grew up among those people - I was one of them until I was in my forties, so I know how they think. The world, for them, is rigid and defined - it's all about their view of it, what they believe is "God's will." And they cannot see anything except pushing their agenda, and forcing their worldview and so-called morality on all of us. They do not understand that they are being used by corporate interests to promote the corporate profit. It's not about "God." It's about money, and these ordinary Republicans will have empty pockets along with the rest of us. Sinclair Lewis was the man who said that when fascism came to America, it would be carrying a Bible and wrapped in the flag (paraphrased) and he was right. It's here. I am embarrassed by these people who call themselves Americans.

9/14/2009 2:16:55 PM

I am sooooo tired of everyone coming out of the woodwork to thrust Obama in my face again and again each time with a new reason why we should like him. Since when do I have to listen to any political drivel at MEN????? That is not what I come here for and, while I wish this author the best of luck, I resent having his personal journey/family therapy couched in political terms and taking up space here. Obama...if you think he is leading the tribe you aren't paying attention to his numbers. I personally like the guy, but I am sick sick sick sick of seeing his face everywhere. He has made more speeches than the number of days in office. Let me get over him a bit and maybe I will find him interesting again. BUT GET THE POLITICS OUT OF M E NEWS!!!

9/14/2009 12:43:06 PM

I'm sorry, did I miss something? I thought this was Mother Earth News, you know living a simple life on the earth, not a political paper. I resent this article being placed in this edition but, since you have, in all fairness and, of course, "diversity," it is now required that you post another article with an opposing viewpoint. I look forward to reading it very soon.

9/14/2009 12:14:41 PM

Can I dissagree with the ideology that His Majesty, Master O personifies without being labeled a Tribalist, Racist, Homophobe,right winger, redneck, McCarthyite, white supremist, neoNazi, etc, etc,etc. Probably not! Bryan did you vote for Master O just to prove to yourself that you were none of tha above. Think about it little man, being on the left is really rather easy.

michael o. christense_1
9/14/2009 11:41:28 AM

As a middle-of-the-road Christian, as a Democrat, as a European ethnic American (Danish), as a person who prays daily for justice and inclusion, especially in health care, I have to ask? What the heck would be wrong if we DID have a simpler, Canadian or European or British health care system, where the government provides a basic coverage, and private insurance covers any add-ons? Holland does it well, so does Germany. Sure, it costs, but the current system is SO BROKEN. How about extending a popular program - Medicare - downward to all legal residents and citizens, plus temporary visitors? Poland, even, does this when an American needs emergency care, so does Australia!! Democracy doesn't need to keep looking the same, or working the same -- that great ability to change is our strength. Or are we still voting for Alf Landon in an FDR world?

linda pierucki
9/14/2009 10:22:20 AM

The issues the older generation has with Obama have nothing to do with either age or genetics: the difference is in how education has changed over the last two generations. The under-forty crowd has overwhelmingly been taught a Marxist ideology instead of an American ideology - history, if taught at all has been twisted, rewritten and re-directed. This has held true for even those older than this if they spent a great deal of time in our institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately,our educational system is geared toward 'change' and 'change-agents' bringing about a population desirous of an overwhelming State-sponsored top-down society where government has control of everything. Critical thinking, as it is called in our schools, is anything BUT critical thinking. Perhaps worse, our youngsters have been consciously taught to denigrate their elders and change society in ways in which they don't see the dangers coming. Thousands of ten year olds didn't suddenly begin saying 'old white-haired guys shouldn't be in charge' during the last election cycle because they came to that conclusion themselves! They were taught that in our schools. Older Americans have a clear memory of seeing this before in Europe before WWII. We know where it leads and we dont want it . .we don't want YOU to have to experience it. Respect your father, Bryan. . .he is much smarter than you give him credit for and has much of value to teach you. Stow the arrogance and read some true history.

jim price
9/14/2009 10:15:47 AM

Dear Bryan, enjoy your freedom of speech, us old guys paid for it. I have watched the development of the Obamanation for more than fifty years now. Personally, don't bite the hand that feeds you!!!---jim---

9/6/2009 2:32:01 PM

To those who are worried that President Obama is a socialist: you keep using that word. I don't think that word means what you think it means. I wish Obama were a socialist! Then we'd be discussing how to push through a single payer health system, completely dismantling the current murder by spreadsheet insurance industry, instead of waffling over whether to include a public OPTION, as an alternative to the private companies' lame products. Oh, and so far the consensus seems to be that a public option could only come into existence some time after 2013, and then only if the health insurance "reforms" aren't able to provide affordable options for all Americans. BUT, all Americans will be MANDATED to buy the crappy private insurance policies right away. Oh yeah, that's really socialist. I've got patients going without needed medicines NOW. People are dying every day for lack of adequate health care. If you come down with a "million dollar diagnosis," you have a 50% chance of having your insurance policy cancelled. If your insurance company realizes you've come down with something expensive, they hire private detectives to go through your past and dream up some reason to cancel your policy. This is standard operating procedure. This is criminal, and it's got to stop.

9/3/2009 8:05:22 PM

WOW!!! Reading back through some of these comments has taken my breath away!! You know what's so scary? It's not Obama and his "socialist" programs (which are not socialist at all) but the palpable, cut with a butter knife hatred that just reeks through most of these posts!! I'm all for respectful discourse and discussion but what I'm seeing (and hearing in the media) is just in your face anger and hatred!!! It's this type of assault that is scary to me. Nothing presented to me by the administration that is in office now is as scary as all of these people screaming at each other. This administration will be in office for 3 1/2 more years. When the next election time comes around, get out and vote, after carefully researching what the candidates stand for. Democracy is what makes this country so great and the ability for each person to stand up and state their opinion. That's what all of these posts are, each persons individual opinion. This country has lost the ability to recognize that the person next to you can have a different opinion from you and still love their country and the people in it. I didn't agree with the Republican administration that just left office; so I went to the polls and voted against the Republican candidate. Had he won, I would have waited 4 years and gone out and voted again. That's the way this country works. Since 2001, there has been enough violence in this country. Please, let's all be peaceful in our disagreements and remember that we are all parts of this great country and all of us deserve to be heard.

8/31/2009 2:19:14 PM

Back when Obama was just a candidate I could see he was a socialist at heart. Anybody that took the time to research the candidates before voting could have seen it, but it appeared to me that everyone was so caught up in this intelligent black man running for president, they failed to listen to common sense. I don't care what color a person is, nor do I stand on party lines, what matters is what the person's agenda is. During the election I was working around a lot of 30-40 year olds, and they were all excited about electing the first black president. I asked them where they got their political information on the candidates, and the overwelming response was; Bill Maher and John Stewart. When I informed them that both of these individuals were comedians, they just gave me blank stares and could not believe it. I am afraid that the young people of today are so caught up in the internet, and cable tv that they never look to see what the sources are for the information. Anyone can post an article, or a blog and nobody ever asks for sources, or documentation to back up the claims that are made. Today's younger society accepts what they read and see as the truth, and are too lazy in most cases to look for the facts. Back when we were a tribal nation, the Elders were highly respected. You went to an Elder for advise, and counsel, to disrespect an Elder could get you removed from the tribe. The Author is questioning his father's counsel, and assigning fault on the father because he is from another generation. History repeats itself, and I bet the Author's father has seen this scenerio played out in the World before, so he knows where it is heading. Mainstream America is not what today's media wants it to be, it is what the majority of Americans say it is. The media and Obama know how to manipulate the uneducated, and this is how Obama got elected. The majority of uneducated do not pay taxes, own businesses, and contribute to American

8/27/2009 2:14:32 PM

(Part 2) ... in every available slot in the Obama Adminstration. My family is split politically and although my mother voted for Obama, she now regrets doing so. She has been a registered Democrat all of her life. Why, at the age of 78 would she do an about-face, apologizing for what she did? Because she already realizes what Obama is attempting to do to America! It's not about race or "culture", it is about a radical ideology that was NOT presented truthfully to the voting population last year. I would assume that the author believes his father might be objectionable to Obama's skin color because it is so much easier to dismiss such a petty grievance as race than to admit that perhaps his father might be frightened of the Socialist/Marxist agenda that he sees Obama leading. Maybe REAL dialogue is warranted instead of silly supposition. Americans who are politically in-tune and/or educated in politics are expressing not only concern for Obama's socialist agenda, but for the economic policies that he is pushing on America. We just learned several days ago that our Nation is $2 TRILLION more in debt that was previously stated. Obama's Administration failed to count correctly in our National Debt and in our Unemployment figures as well. Obama can't even implement "Cash for Clunkers" without failures -- and he wants to turn this Nation towards Nationalized health care? Oh, and we must act now, act fast....hurry, don't be late! There is an elite far-left radical Machine in place, at the ready. It has nothing to do with "hope and change". Who will be ready? Who here really understands all of the undercurrents and will be self-sufficient if this country falls or goes bankrupt? Think it won't happen? Anyone gotten the word if the Federal Reserve will be audited? And what about the FDIC which is now under-funded due to bank failures. And speaking of bank failures, just where DID all of that TARP money

8/27/2009 2:08:59 PM

The author is so unbelievably naive it is disturbing. His last statement, "Today, he’s not only a member of the mainstream American “tribe,” he leads it." shows just how little he understands about the Obama Administration and about how his socialist politics have already greatly affected America. First, Obama is NOT a member of "the mainstream American tribe." Quite the fact, Obama's polling numbers are indicative of how Americans are now more strongly opposed to the Obama Administration than in favor of it. Why is that? Obama misled (lied) to Americans by saying that he would bring "hope and change" to our country if he were elected. Obama neglected to mention that he would radically change our Nation into a socialist hell-pit. Americans are not stupid, and now, WEEKLY, the polls prove that more and more Americans see what Obama is doing to our Nation. No tribesman or tribal leader would intentionally march the tribe off the cliff for some completely different "ideal". Obama also has done little more than create a socialist machine where he, as Chief Community Organizer, can push the socialist-agenda-based Bills through Congress to rape our Nation and convert us from a Republic to a Marxist society. Obama is still in campaign-mode, trying to convince Americans that some ideological health insurance/health care bill is what America needs. Obama's problem is he doesn't show that he is even informed about the health policy, so he looks like an inexperienced fool trying to sell something to people who know much more than he does. Obama can't talk about it articulately and he can't even argue a solid case. Obama has yet to prove he even HAS a health care Bill, much less lead our country as President. Obama has surrounded himself with Socialist and Communist czars and people who required a payback for his election. And let's not forget the SEIU, ACORN, and G.E. which has representation

t brandt
8/27/2009 12:07:43 PM

Color is not the issue. Obama has surrounded himself with advisors who are avowed enemies of the United States. He hides behind policies appearing to be altruistic, but in reality, are only meant to consolidate power in a centralized govt, now bordering on totalitarianism. Caveat Voter!

wichita wayne
8/26/2009 11:03:21 PM

What I see above seems to be a lot of hate and discontent. The other thing that I see is a group of people that do not have very much faith in our form of democracy. I could also complain about our history and politics but I generally trust the people that we elect to hammer out laws that will keep us dead center. Not too far "right" or "left". I for one moved away from the city so I would not hear all the hate talk that is popular in the U.S today. I for one love my country. And I love it with all its bumps and bruises. I have friends that are conservative and friends that are liberal, and have never brawled with any of them. Also, for all of you out there that feed on hate I will give you some of my vitals. I am Native American, Irish, Norman English, Anglo Saxon English, French; and probably had a few others back there if I knew the real truth. I am a disabled vet (Vietnam), retired reserve officer, and a retired civil servant. I am currently in the zero tax bracket, have a Masters Degree, several guns, gay and lesbian friends, African American friends, real African friends, Mexican friends, Asian friends, Jewish friends, Arab friends, hillbilly friends, vegan friends, KU friends Mizzu Friends, and even a few communist friends. I believe in evolution even though I am a Christian (obviously not a fundamentalist). And last but not least........I have a pit bull. Wichita Wayne

8/26/2009 7:59:28 PM

The reason the young generation believes in Obama is because they have had everything handed to them. I am a 29 year old female, I feel that I am still in the young generation, however, I do not look at what is going on like any of the people that are in my age group. The problem now is that people do not know what hard work is. Most Americans could not survive if they had to raise their own food, fix their own car, or even possible walk or ride a bike to work. I do not believe in welfare or government aid. I believe that people need to work for everything they have. The economy is not in any trouble...the problem is that people do not know how to live within their means and they expect others to give them a hand instead of learning from their mistakes. I do not believe in debt. I have a college education with 3 degrees. I have a son who is disable...I do not get help from Social Security or government funding that aids with helping special needs children. The reason being is because my child is my responcibility not the tax payers. If people had to take care of what was theirs we would not have the issues that we have now. People need to grow up and learn that what happens is their fault and no one elses.

8/26/2009 10:51:43 AM

Old white guys seem to have the biggest problem with Obama. Obama looks different -- a young, handsome man with dark skin. It scares the bejesus out of some of these old coots. The younger generations see things differently. We don't care if your skin color is light or dark. We don't care if you lived aboard as a child. We care about the education and intelligence of a man elected to the most powerful position on earth -- president of the United States. We have a mandate to install single payer health care so EVERY AMERICAN can have health insurance. With any luck, the old coots will recongize that their world is ending and let us fix the mess they've made.

8/26/2009 7:10:07 AM

Why do questions about Obama's culture have anything to do with race? Culture has no race. If your grandpa has problems with Obama making the US a "european styled socialism" How does that make him afraid of obama being 1/2 black? Who cares if his dad is black, his step dad indonesian and his mom a white kansas girl. The issue is that he is violating the constitution with every breathe he makes, every new "czar" he appoints with out congressional approval, every company he ok's the government to purchase. The socialization of health care, the back room deals giving trillions to big wall street companies. I will have you know that I am equally pissed at Bush. Bush did all of the same crap set up the patriot act, and started the iraq and afghan wars along with killing many of our constitutional rights like habeus corpus. I don't understand how just because your grandpa is against socializing America that your he is suddenly a 70 year old bumpkin who is stuck in their old school racist ways and failing to "see" his modern day "tribe". I can agree to disagree, but not when it comes to constitutional grounds. It was written the way it was for a reason, if we want to change something, the whole country needs to go through the process to change it, not simply pick and choose what parts we want to follow. The law is the law, it is supreme and applies equally to all "races" and "cultures". That is the one and only true American "culture". That we have property rights, the ability to believe as we choose, say as we choose, and do as we choose so long as it doesn't infringe on someone else's right to do the same.

8/25/2009 3:32:30 PM

There is no doubt that Obama is unique among our presidents. There has never been a president of the United States with his type of background. There are going to be people who are uncomfortable with this. Also being a political figure there are people who will be opposed to his policies and programs. Nothing is wrong with this and it is important that anyone in power be watched and questioned. It is a vital component of democracy that those in charge be accountable to the people. Having said that we the people must educate ourselves as to what is going on and not simply follow the rhetoric of tv personalities and extremists. There are so many myths, misunderstanding and flat out lies out there these days and many many people prefer to believe these things and to actually do some research themselves. Just off the top of my head (for example) Obama is NOT a muslim, he WAS born in this country (the state department has CONFIRMED this 3 times now) and we are not being turned into a socialist nation (less than 10% of the entire countries industry and infrastructure has been nationalized). I'd also like to know where all these patriots were when the Bush administration took away 2/3 of the bill of rights? Why were you silent then? We had the closest thing to a dictatorship this country has ever known for the past 8 years and I did not hear any complaints then. We can and should question the government but it must be with rational questions and informed educated oppinions. Not with fear and ignorance. This country is seeing a difficult time and a lot of people are suffering and affraid but we cannot let fear rule out lives and decisions. Our tribal identity has been a growing change creature almost since the founding of the United States of America. We shift and flow with the generations and some will always remain stuck in the mud.

8/25/2009 2:32:23 PM

I don't care what color his skin is or what religion he chooses to follow. What truly terrifies me is his policy. It would seem that the author is not following the news too closely or perhaps he believes socialism is a good thing. All throughout history, socialism and it's next of kin, communism, is a failure. People do not flourish under these falsely equitable circumstances, they become downtrodden and slaves to the country they call home. And the freedoms we hold dear such as freedom of speech, right to bear arms, our right to life, LIBERTY, and the persute of happiness is being traded as we speak for world power by those who crave world power. Barack, Hilary, Nancy and company... if you truly believe they give a damn about you, you are naive and the lesson may be too costly to bear. Socialism is NOT "hope". It is a steady march towards bondage. Also, I'm so tired of hearing people pull the "race card" when we don't agree with an issue put forth by a black leader. The "race card" is a smoke screen to avoid talking about the real issues. Sniffle, sniffle, sob... "They just don't like me" B.S!!! Do the right thing and we'll back it. If his policy is good we'll support it. If his policy is bad we will NOT support it. He is supposed to be workin FOR us not bulldozing over us or becoming contentious when we sound out our disagreement with his actions. He has behaved more like a dictator and not like the highest level civil servant our president is supposed to be. Obama's policies and practices are dangerous and have put the United States of American on a terrible course. I hope with all my being that we can correct and recover.

8/24/2009 11:35:42 AM

I am just totally amazed by people in this country when they continue to argue the immigration issue. NO ONE IN THIS COUNTRY IS A "TRUE" AMERICAN UNLESS YOU ARE A NATIVE AMERICAN!!!!!!!!! This country traces its roots back to the Spanish conquerors, the Pilgrims, the French who came down from Canada and some of the nomad tribes that crossed over from Russia down through Canada. Being from the South, there are other issues being debated about President Obama which sickens me to no end. To me these debates are simply tangents to keep all of us from focusing on the real issues of this country, the economy being the main one. I'm sorry you are experiencing problems amongst your family members but hopefully you can all agree to disagree and move on a little wiser.

8/23/2009 6:40:02 PM

President Obama is indeed in many ways representative of our American melting pot. My own family is a fascinating melting pot of Vietnamese, Scottish, French, Mexican, German, Japanese and Italian. FUN! I fervently hope that his presidency will result in an improvement in the health of our national economy. Unfortunately, no matter what "tribe" we come from, bad leadership at the helm is bad leadership. Unfortunately, the man's employment history with non-profit "community organizer" type positions, on the boards of various other non-profits, as a civil rights attorney, state legislator and academic does not automatically qualify him to be the leader of the so-called free world. Escalating the national debt to a phenomenal level within the first year of his presidency is a BAD sign that things are about to hit the wall, and my children's children will be on the hook to pay this bill for the rest of their lives. Yes, I AM scared, but not because of the man's ethnic background.

liz odom
8/23/2009 12:06:26 PM

Bryan, I think your experience with your dad is one that has been playing out across our country. People trying to find a way to bridge what appears to be an ever expanding political/emotional gap and finding it increasingly difficult to do as rumor and innuendo are treated as facts. What I see is good people becoming more and more terrified and foregoing rational discourse as they seek safety. I think, someday, we will look back on this period much as we look back upon the McCarthy era. My best wishes as you and your dad seek to heal the hurt feelings. Liz Odom

doug cresse_1
8/23/2009 7:23:20 AM

I don't care what tribe Obama comes from, I am sickened to see what he and his followers are attempting to do to our great country. As a Christian, I must fight with every means available to remove this man from office as soon as possible. May God have mercy on our sin-sick country.

m. haller yamada
8/22/2009 4:24:59 AM

Oh boy, I know this feeling. A distant relative would intersperse really interesting genealogical information with rabid anti-immigration forwards. I found it very ironical, considering all of our common ancestors had been immigrants just a few generations ago. Finally, I had to ask him to remove me from his list. I did respond to the whole list about the irony of it all, also. I probably didn't change any minds, but at least I got it off my chest. The problem is, the original sender doesn't think about the toes he (or she) is trodding on by disseminating that . . . I want to say garbage, maybe I should be kind and say "alternative opinion." So, if s/he is hurt in return when you speak up, does that mean you have to shut up? No, I think you have to discuss things to the point where you can agree to disagree. Because asking your dad to kill-file you is not an option. What a great post! It really highlights one of the great communication gaps of our age . . . and one I hope we can grow out of pretty quickly.

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