What's Wrong With You People?

"What's wrong with you people?" he asked in a phone call from Europe .

You people must have been the reason why the expression ÔÇśpolitical incorrect' was created.

There is no good way of using the phrase. The first thing it does is separate the speaker emotionally from the audience, intentionally isolating the audience for degradation. It is also the epitome of generalization- grouping a people together and castrating them all with one stroke of a knife.

Though he lives in Switzerland , we were born in the same town and attended the same high school. So my first mission was to figure out what group he had assigned me to while tactically extraditing himself. He was unusually upset so I let him speak with little or no interruptions.

"You people are about to screw up what would have been the greatest deed of your 400 years of existence."

I was all ears. Four hundred years of existence. I presumed he wasn't talking about my existence.

"Imagine, you people's impetus. What is experience? What experience did Gov. Bill Clinton of little Arkansas have when he defeated President George Herbert Bush? What experience did Gov. George W. Bush have when he defeated Vice President Al Gore? Experience my foot."

Aha! It was about Obama, I finally figured out.

"It would be a terrible thing if you people throw away this once in a generation opportunity to make a lasting statement that will reverberate across the globe."

Yes. I was now sure it was about Obama and the election. So I managed to squeeze in the question, ÔÇśWhat happened?'

He did not answer me directly. He had more venting to do.

"When you people cannot say he is dumb, you say that he is inexperienced. When you people cannot say that he is black, you say that his values are fundamentally un-American. When you people cannot say he is pessimistic, you say that he is weak on defense. When you people cannot say that he is unprogressive, you say that he is a bleeding heart tax-happy liberal. How many times will the same bee sting you people before you begin to fear the housefly?"

Well, it was about the recent polls, I found out. These polls suggested that Obama was losing ground to John McCain. Coming at this time, it isn't a bad thing, I said. Nothing good comes easy. The polls should wake up the base and kill any feeling of complacency about this election.

Dethroning the entrenched is not a task for the lily-livered. It is like getting into a bare knuckle fight without envisaging ones back hitting the ground. I did not tell him that, though. He wouldn't let me put in a whole lot of words.

"You people must be careful the way you play with the emotions of the world," he continued. "This is not Iraq , for Christ sake. On this one, we shall neither forget nor forgive."

I wanted to scream. I wanted to say that we did not promise him and his world out there anything. But then I remembered, ÔÇśYes, we can.'

So when he was all done, I said to him, ÔÇśYes, we can.'

"How?" he asked, his voice subdued.

"Because I just started to write the introduction of my new book, Obama & Me: How I Helped Elect Obama President of the United States ," I said. "And I do not plan to change the title."  



On August 23, 2008 at 9pm, Children of A Retired God, Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo's first book will be launched at the People's Club Hall on

38 Winthrop St , Hyde Park , Massachusetts.