»  Taki's Magazine

September 15th, 2011

  Crazy Uncles


If I hear Ron Paul referred to as the GOP's "crazy uncle" one more time, I may go a little wackadoo myself. Ron's about 80 percent good sense and no more than 20 percent crazy. I'm OK with that. I like Ron; and 80-20 is not bad for a politician.

The 20 percent of craziness is all of a harmless kind, anyway. Not crazy as in: "Let's spend tens of billions of dollars changing the sex practices of Africans!" More like crazy as when, asked about a border fence at the September 7th candidate debate, Ron extruded the following, inter alia: "I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in."

Just let me be clear there. Ron's response actually encodes two crazy notions. Crazy Notion 1: We should allow foreigners to wander into our country across an undefended border. Crazy Notion 2: Given a fence, the federal government would use it to prevent "us" — citizens, Republicans, libertarians, old straight white guys, cut it any way you like — from making unauthorized exits.

Crazy Notion 1 is crazy sure enough. It is, however, the actual policy of all significant American politicians: of every single Democrat and all but a tiny splinter group of Republicans. Craziness-wise, Ron vs. the rest, it is therefore a wash.

Crazy Notion 2 by contrast stands out as a little nugget of Ron-craziness. The general direction of U.S. domestic policy is towards the marginalization of "us" as defined. Old straight white guys? Federal employment is already heavily loaded against white males, and you may be sure against old straight ones more than others: the Obama administration seeks to make it more so. Private businesses, weighed down with Diversity mandates, are very little better.

If we were to start fleeing the country in droves, does Ron really think anyone in the political, cultural, academic, sporting, or journalistic establishments would not be delighted?

Keep us in? They'd be lining the roads to make sure we left.

But let's get back to the uncle business. I'm not sure why craziness and uncle-hood are yoked together like this in the common imagination. I had twelve uncles. They had their little foibles, to be sure. Uncle Bill had a way of sitting a three-year-old nephew on his knee, fixing the lad with a glare, then suddenly dropping his top front dentures to look like vampire fangs. It was terrifying.

None of my uncles was certifiably crazy, though. The laws of statistics decree that there must be crazy uncles, and history supplies some suggestive instances, but I think literature is mostly to blame for the Crazy Uncle idea. When an author needs a crazy family member, filial piety restrains him from using a parent, so it comes out as an uncle. I offer the stories of P.G. Wodehouse in evidence.

Obama Onyango doesn't strike me as crazy. He's an uncle, though: Barack Obama's uncle — or to be punctilious about it, half-uncle (same grandfather, different grandmother). He also belongs to the category of persons the U.S. government wishes to keep in, though I'm not sure they would go to the lengths of building a 2,000-mile fence for the purpose.

This story started on August 24th outside the Chicken Bone Saloon, a fried chicken shop in Framingham, Massachusetts. Obama Onyango, or "Uncle Omar" as he is referred to in the President's autobiography, came within an ace of rear-ending a police patrol car. None too pleased about the near-miss, the peelers gave 67-year-old Uncle Omar a breath test. He registered twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system. That got him a free ride to the station house.

Going through the booking paperwork, the arresting officers routinely asked Uncle Omar whether he wanted to make any phone calls. "I think I will call the White House," replied the arrestee, whether in jest or in earnest we are not told.

Further enquiries turned up the fact that Uncle Omar is an illegal immigrant. He had come to the U.S.A. on a non-immigrant visa in 1963. When the visa expired, he just stayed. He acquired a social security card and driver license (which was very easily done back then: I did it myself). An immigration judge ordered him deported in 1989. Uncle Omar appealed, but lost his appeal in 1992. A new deportation order was issued. Uncle Omar ignored it. Meanwhile, the IRS had filed a lien against him for $4,000 in unpaid taxes in 1990. I don't know how that was resolved. Uncle Omar got a job behind the counter in a liquor store. There were a couple of small infractions — selling liquor to minors. Otherwise he pretty much kept his nose clean.

Local law enforcement held Uncle Omar on an immigration detainer, as they are obliged to do. He spent two weeks in the Plymouth County lockup. On September 8 he was released. He is now … where?

Where is Uncle Omar? Those who know aren't telling. He should be in ICE custody, having ignored that deportation order. The ICE website, however, has no record of him as a detainee. Boston.com reported on Friday that:

In Framingham, the people who shared a modest frame house with Obama on a residential street said they did not know where he was. A co-worker at Conti Liquors, where Obama worked, said they had not heard of his release.

With his savings from that job at the liquor store, Uncle Omar should at least have no trouble paying the fees of the elite firm of immigration attorneys he's engaged. No more than his sister Zeituni Onyango did when her case came to light just before the 2008 election. Aunt Zeituni's deportation order had been issued in 2004. She'd ignored it, just as Uncle Omar ignored his, and went on blithely living in tasxpayer-funded public housing in Boston. Then, finding herself in the newspapers, Aunt Zeituni got lawyered up — by an astonishing coincidence, engaging that very same firm of attorneys! — and was granted asylum in 2010 on the grounds that if deported to Kenya she would suffer persecution, as the other 8,000 known members of the President's extended family all have.

Uncle Omar, wherever he is, is home and dry. As ICE-insider blogger Federale has reported: the fix is in.

What is happening here is of course presidential-grade corruption. This whole business stinks to high heaven. It stinks so badly, even congresscritters are complaining. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas asked a pertinent question: "Why should citizens and legal immigrants be threatened by drunk driving illegal immigrants when the administration can deport them?" Rep. Steve King of Iowa groused that: "It appears there is a double standard — one for President Obama's family and one for everyone else." Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown opined that "in a fair world" Uncle Omar would be on a plane back to Nairobi.

Ah, Senator, this world is anything but fair. The righteous perish while the wicked prosper in their wickedness.

Let's take what comfort we can, though. We still have our freedoms, and vigilant libertarians like Ron Paul and his followers to guard them. There will be no border fence to keep us in!

Should Uncle Omar find the attentions of the congressfolk too oppressive, or should those $500-plus-per-hour legal fees prove to be more than his liquor-store wages can support, Uncle Omar will be able to make a run for the safety and security of Mexico without let or hindrance from the federal authorities.