Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Wingnuttery

President Obama announced that the United States will become a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2007, but  opposed by then-President Bush.  The Washington Post reports that the U.S. is the last major country to sign on to the Declaration, which was endorsed by 145 countries in 2007.  Obama declared that "the aspirations it affirms -- including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples -- are ones we must always seek to fulfill."  While not legally binding, the UN describes the Declaration as setting "an important standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples that will undoubtedly be a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violations against the planet's 370 million indigenous people and assisting them in combating discrimination and marginalization." 

But to the far right, of course, this is all a secret plot.  The Christian conservative group American Family Association claims that Obama "wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians.  He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords."  The conservative Web site World Net Daily asserts that the treaty "could accomplish something as radical as relinquishing some U.S. sovereignty and opening a path for the return of ancient tribal lands to American Indians, including even parts of Manhattan."  Adding to Obama's suspicious motives is the fact that back in 2008, during the presidential campaign, he was adopted into the Crow Nation, and bestowed with the name, “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.”

I suppose the good news is that the recent vitriol about Obama's plan to transfer New York and other parts of the country back to North America's Indian tribes means there is no longer fear that he is really a Muslim.  The bad news is the level of discourse on such "liberal" topics as human rights remains so abysmally low.


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