Sunday, February 3, 2008

TRIBAL LOYALTY - January 3, 2008

It is surprising how weak a reed similarity of principles or individual benefit is compared with the desire of people to “vote for someone who looks like me”. We see it today e.g. in Kenya, where being a Kikuyu counts for more that policy or performance in the votes of the largest tribe, that of the incumbent, against the Luo, the 2nd largest, and that of the challenger. And even so, it appears clear that the ballots have been tampered with. Perhaps we are seeing a repeat of the theft in Mexico, where the incumbent party went to bed on the last election day having lost and awoke the next morning to declare that they had won & would brook no recount. It seems that we now have the same scenario in Kenya. In Zimbabwe, the burden of the struggle against the white Smith regime in S Rhodesia was carried by Joshua Nkomo but when election time came his tribe was smaller than that of Mugabe, so Mugabe became president & has used every police state tactic he knows to remain in power. In UK, some people with weak links to the Labour Party voted for Margaret Thatcher, enchanted by the thought of a woman as Prime Minister. They learned to their cost that they should have looked more at the shape of her beliefs and less at the shape of her skin. So it was not only of the people whom some consider to be less evolved in their political thinking that people vote their identities instead of their principles or their interests. The British and Americans think of themselves as the most enlightened of peoples in political matters, & yet there are those who will vote for the candidate who looks like them rather than their needs or the needs of the Republic. There are, among the Democratic candidates, those who would give us an eight year repeat of LBJ’s struggle to redeem the Vietnam war with victory, and then not have the gonads to pull out when that was necessary. Be careful of the basis of your vote; it might not turn out to be what you had expected.

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