Ancestors hold sway over everything we do

STEPHEN OLIVER
Last updated 07:25 06/08/2012

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Stephen Oliver

Nun's soapy penance offset by cream buns What became of the cowboy builders and the shonky jobs? Romney rides into the sunset as US hopes spring eternal Down in the lowlands where the rivers run a dirty brown Skullduggery in high places fodder for feisty gossip Vatican scandal is just another in a long sordid list Another cathedral much admired and beloved Marching to the beat of freedom again A landscape littered with haunted faces of humanity Behind the facades, shaken city's identity still in ruins

As the presidential race warms up so too does the ancestral soup. We now have official word that Barack Obama, the incumbent President of the United States, has genetic ties to a slave ancestor out of Africa on the distaff side. His mother is white so something of a surprise otherwise explained by mixed ancestry. We are all mongrels after all. This signifies what precisely - entitlement to another term in office - the imposition of global democracy? It has been suggested that President Obama's bloodline goes back to the infamous Scottish adventurer and brigand, Malcolm McTaggart of the 17th century; perhaps more popularly known as pirate of the Caribbean Seas and notorious slave trafficker.

Obama's love of bagpipes is well known. The skirl of bagpipes has occasionally been heard curdling from the Oval Office late into the night. Apparently it helps the man deal with the big issues. Official reports have passed off this eccentricity as fire drill. This is our man in charge guiding the ship of state to a safe haven.

Though any privileged guest who has been privy to the famous Obama Hogmanay Chow Down can attest the Celtic gene courses strongly through the president's veins. Aye, he's a proud Scot for sure. The man can cook up a storm and his haggis dish is the stuff of legend. Get Obama holding forth on Scottish Devolution over a single malt and he will chew your ear off. You bet! And as to his formidable cooking skills many a tale has been spun around his long-horn, big steer haggis served up out of a giant cauldron out the back of the White House. Everybody, family and presidential staff alike are expected to participate.

As sure as God made little fishes once that great Scottish New Year event comes round to the White House absenteeism suddenly soars. Security personnel have been observed after the banquet bent over double on the front lawn of the White House, or the “Big White” as the president jokingly refers to his official residence, crying “Ruth!” Or heard yelling into the “Big White Telephone” in one of the many white tiled lavatories within the precincts of the White House, after consuming by presidential edict a generous serving of his haggis concoction comprising a choice selection of innards from prized long-horned heifers from the Scottish Highlands.

On the other hand, the presidential hopeful for the Republican cause, Mitt Romney, is a different kettle of fish. For one he's Ivy League, a billionaire and Mormon to boot. Does he lean toward polygamy regarded as a favoured indulgence of that denomination? We know that he has at least distanced himself from his wife, who owns a horse that is competing in the dressage event in the current Olympics. Said he wouldn't be watching it, in fact. The man doesn't want to appear elitist - so he dissed his wife. Mitt, of course, looks presidential but makes regular cringing gaffes in his runup to the presidential elections. Telling the Brits that they aren't up to running the Olympics; getting up close and personal with Israel and as much as saying that if he were president - go ahead and invade Iran. You got my support, he implies. Poor Mitt. As far as his ancestry is concerned, he thinks he comes from if not Atlantis certainly some other planet.

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Ancestral echoes are written in our DNA - those genealogical batteries of ancient recall. Like an old mailing address of the psyche. Dig deep enough, and you will dig yourself up. We are the shadows of our past. Perhaps this might become a whole new field of scientific endeavour. Ancestralism. That who we think we are is not who we are but who we might have been. No, I am not responsible for my shortcomings, even my ambitions. My ancestral heritage made me do it.

Now what about Vladimir Putin? That old KGB hipster. Vlad is a man of few words but boy does he make some cool moves. Before you could say, “authoritarianism” he has literally captured the hearts and minds of the young. Well, captured them anyway. Vlad has a thing about punk rock and is a close follower of the Russian all girls punk band, “Pussy Riot”.

He just loves what they do, so much so that he follows them round night and day, can't keep his eyes of them. Don't be deceived by that poker faced demeanour, Vlad's emotions are a samovar of bubbling passion.

The man is obviously obsessed by everything “Pussy”. The girls can't make one move without him not knowing about it. That's loyalty for you.

Russian oligarchs are like that. If they think it's worth it, they'll follow you night and day. Of course, this has as much to do with Vlad's genetic disposition as anything else - that hot-blooded nature of his. It's been rumoured throughout the steppes for decades that Vladimir Putin is Hawaiian. The broad smile, that vibrant dress sense, his ukulele collection. A dead giveaway. Needless to say, the girls of “Pussy Riot” are dumbstruck at the attention they are getting.

Stephen Oliver is the author of 16 volumes of poetry. He lived in Australia for 20 years and now resides in the King Country, and is a freelance writer and voice artist.

- Waikato Times

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