Obama in Wajir

Drudge posted a photo of Barak Obama in Wajir, dressed in traditional garb, and apparently there’s a bit of a furor over it.

Now, I’m not sure which makes me angrier – the fact that people would take such a photograph as evidence that Obama would make an unfit president (some nonsense about turban = terrorist, perhaps?) or the fact that the Obama campaign would dignify such absurdities by calling the photograph shameful, offensive fear-mongering.

Up until now, what appealed to me most about Obama was his ties to rural Africa, and thus, I assumed, some understanding of what it actually means to have sensible international relations with third-world nations. To my mind, the only sane response to the posting of a photograph like this would be, “why, yes, I do believe in respecting the traditions and dignity of my friends in Wajir.” Instead, he’s reacted in such a way that it almost seems that he’s ashamed of the photograph.

Even more offensively, this article in Slate implies that he endured the indignity so as not to offend the people of Wajir, much as you endure an ugly sweater given you by your aunt. Surely he realized that they were doing him an honor by dressing him as a village elder – an honor he had not earned, and was an expression of highest respect and esteem. The notion that anybody would see this as a reason to not vote for Mr. Obama is a profound insult to the people of Wajir, and Mr. Obama merely added to the insult by his reaction to the posting of the photo.

As though I didn’t already have little enough respect in the electoral process. Sheesh.