September 26, 2012 | Back to: Columns

Changing tribal cultures  in the world of politics

Most people throughout history have been tribal. We have finally discovered, at an unbelievable cost in lives and money, that each of these Middle Eastern tribes had its own culture that is nearly impossible to alter.

Our presidents and elected Congress members didn’t discover the futility of changing these tribal cultures until it was too late, and many are still oblivious to this inevitable danger, which is still in progress

They evidently weren’t well versed in the history of the Islamic culture and sent our young people to die without seeking this knowledge.

To recapitulate a history lesson that many of our politicians weren’t aware of or didn’t consider important: When Muhammad died, he neglected to name a successor, resulting in a debate over who would succeed him.

Leadership was claimed by two dynasties, the Shiites and the Sunnis. This split developed into hatred between the two sects that has lasted until the present, often resulting in violence although both groups still had the same religion.

Our country originated with two tribes: John Adams, who believed in a strong central government, and Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of states rights.

These have been healthy disputes between the two parties, although they had human characteristics and weren’t always polite in their disputes.

The slave owners and Jefferson felt that it was up to the states whether they could have slaves while Adams believed the opposite.

This was one of the reasons for the Civil War; should states or the federal government determine which states could have slaves? The issue of states’ rights is still being debated today and a difference between our two ruling tribes.

In the past 30 years, our two major tribes have come to resemble the Shiites and Sunnis, resulting in a stalemate in both state and federal government function.

This has led to an oligarchy with a few men filling in the void of no government. Our tribes have reached the point of hating each other while the Supreme Court, with Citizens United, is giving corporations and those with money complete control of our lives. I must add that they were actually our government before Citizens United.

The two political conventions are hilarious with tribal members in their funny hats and garb waving meaningless signs and chants, vying for their hapless leaders.

A variety of speakers bashing the opposing candidate with a plethora of half truth, which I consider whole lies, ignite cheers from members.

These conventions wouldn’t be classified as reality shows. If we really were interested in reality, we need a convention of corporate and Wall Street lobbyists who really could tell the representatives with the funny hats what is really in store for them.

The genius of our ruling class is that it keeps a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most of the people drudge along, paying taxes for which they get little in return.

Rather than go into detail about our need for a corporate and Wall Street lobbyists convention, let’s take a closer look at the president’s State of the Union ritual and its similarity to the ongoing ceremonies of the conventions.

The president makes a grand entrance, shaking hands with members wanting free TV coverage. The two tribes are separated by an aisle so each tribe can rise and applaud while the other tribe remains seated and pouts. If they weren’t separated, it could end in fisticuffs.

The speech is usually rosy with many impossible solutions suggested to raise the hopes of one tribe and the ire of the other. The opposing party then gives a rebuttal with as little meaning as the president’s speech.

Both parties then retire to their offices and resume their quest for campaign donations and forget any vague promises they wildly cheered for at their conventions or state-of-the-nation ceremony.

I’m still in awe learning the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull asked at the 2008 convention.

This not only brought the delegates to their feet but made a multi-millionaire out of the speaker.

Even Levi Johnson, who didn’t practice abstinence, profited from this crowd-pleasing statement.

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent.”

— Gore Vidal.

Don Cooks lives in Nevada City.

The genius of our ruling class is  that it keeps a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most of the people drudge along …

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Don Cooks


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The Union Updated Nov 16, 2012 12:01PM Published Oct 11, 2012 08:05AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.