Elections in the United States tend to bring with them some casual partying, maybe a keg stand or two for freedom, some shots for ‘Murica. But ultimately you know you’re going to end up with lady liberty naked in your bed at 1:00pm and a mild hangover; just casual bro shenanigans.
But Kenya doesn’t mess with that banal party swag. No man, when Kenya has an election they rage hard. Like Halloween foam party hard; like someone accidentally delivered a case of Smirnoff at our door the day after finals and bunch of bitches are coming over later to get down hard; like your country has undergone years of forced integration at the hand of colonial powers, resulting in intense animosity and resentment that fractures the country along ethnic and economic lines, rather than a shared nationality, hard.
So Kenya has a history of raging. So what? If raging was a crime we’d all be locked away by now (well, probably not because our dads are rich as fuck and we got swagged out legal representation).
But when Kenya rages, it’s a little different. The last time Kenyans went to the polls in 2007, the results were disputed and ethnically aligned gangs took the lives of more than 1,100 people during weeks of violent unrest.
Also, while raging on college campus is (for the most part) legal, two of Kenya’s presidential candidates this year, Former finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, are due to appear before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in a few weeks, charged with torturing, persecuting, killing and displacing civilians during Kenya’s last election crisis. Kind of like a more intense, internationally condemned form of pledging that ultimately destabilizes an entire region.
Mr. Ruto is generally considered the main instigator of violence, but is revered as a political hero in the Kalenijin ethnic community. Mr. Kenyatta is the son of former President Jomo Kenyatta, hailing from an entirely different ethnic background. The potential for serious violence is as clear as a fifth of Grey Goose premium vodka (which, ironically, also causes mass ethnic raging within the Greek community).
Complicating the already tenuous peace between the two ethnic rivals is the deep inequality prevalent throughout the country. While unemployment in some regions hovers around 40%, the political elite continues to award themselves inflated salaries and perks, again along ethnic lines, even in the face of mass strikes and labor unrest.
A little context: Kenya is an important country for a number of reasons. It has long stood as one of the most industrialized and democratic countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is the cornerstone of US security in the region. So unlike the majority of Africa, the United States actually cares about what happens politically.
Following the mass outbreaks in violence in 2007, the international community, and America, was like, “nah man, screw this noise,” prompting then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to fly into Nairobi and moderate meetings between the two main political factions.
The result was a referendum on a new constitution in 2010 that devolved power and established a “bill of rights,” as well as the Integrity and Leadership Bill (whatever the hell that means) and local tribunals to prosecute suspects of election killings.
But, like most things political in Africa, politicians implicated in the violence blocked the tribunals and other ambitious reforms crucial to avoiding renewed violence in 2013 were not pushed through. Also, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission have yet to release recommendations for remediating previous cycles of violence, stoking the flames of frustration throughout the nation.
This election-cycle Kenyans will vote for the first time for county governors and senators, as per the new constitution established in 2010, which sounds fine, but also could lead to intense competition and rivalry on a local level and raise the chances of violence.
Shit is cray, bro. What can we even do?
Well, there are a lot of things that could be done to alleviate violence in Kenya, mainly expanding access to reliable public services and providing more opportunities to young people to find work. There is also a large role for community organizations to play in working outside of Kenya’s broken political system to affect change on a local level. Kenyan civic groups have also tried desperately to shift the conversation away from ethnic identities, launching a broad public campaign to make the election issue-focused.
In regards to reconciliation, Kenya should seriously turn to their bro South Africa, who’s post-apartheid reconciliation process was arguably the most successful the world has ever seen. But that’s an entirely different story, bro.
While all attention will be turned towards national politics and regional strife, there are tangible things being done in local communities to find ways out of violence for the urban poor.
That being said, ultimately much of the change must happen from the top before Kenya sees a true path forward. Until then, Kenya’s election ragers are just an unfortunate reality.
On January 21st, Barack Obama gave what could accurately be described as giant bitchslap to the GOP; an inauguration speech so boldly progressive that he might as well have taken out a paddle and told John Boehner to bend over right then and there.
Like, seriously bro, who is this guy? Struttin’ up on stage like he just banged an entire sorority in one night. Which he probably did, the man’s swag is off the radar right now, bro.
But a lot of my less politically inclined bros seem to have missed the message so I’m going to break down the most swagged out parts of the inauguration speech real quick, and what it means for Bro-bama’s second term.
First-term Obama was kind of a little bitch. I’m hesitant to use the term “little-bitch,” because he did get some shit done, but let’s be honest. Bro rolled up into Washington like the NIB he was thinking that “post-partisanship” was a reasonable goal. Post-partisanship is probably as achievable as hooking up at a sober mixer. It just doesn’t work like that and Republicans pounced on the chance to haze the fuck out of him.
Second-term Obama seems to have learned his lesson and wore his Liberal ideology on his sleeve like a bro wears his letters. We got a “fuck-you” to the 1% and a “wuttup bro” to the middle class. We got a Stonewall name-drop and a passionate defense of LGBT-rights. Shit, we even got a full 8-sentences on climate change, the most of any other specific policy area. Liberals eat that shit up like bros eat burritos after a fat blunt.
Next Obama dropped a reference to a theme Paul Ryan was slamming throughout the presidential campaign. Obama was all like, “[social programs] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great,” but what he really meant was “Yo Paul Ryan, come at me bro.”
Obama was all about progress in the speech, laying out a progressive vision for America that was pragmatic, well thought out, and most notably, bold as shit. Obama came to the speech with the confidence of a bro who just maxed out at 300 on the bench press, and left swollen as fuck.
And it’s showing in his approaches to negotiating with Congress as well. We saw an aggressive Obama during the fiscal cliff debacle and a full-scale effort to be forceful on gun violence. And we’re only one week in.
So yeah bros, I know a shit ton of you are conservative business school students who probably don’t agree whatsoever with Obama’s policy choices. But you gotta admit that man has swag, and you can’t fault him for that. Here’s to four more years.
Bros fucking love to get high, but not for pussy, tree-hugging existential bullshit. No, we smoke weed to get fucked up as shit. You might think frat life is all about booze and bitches, but you’d be fucking wrong, bro. After a heavy night of raging and banging slampieces there’s nothing we love more than getting high and playing FIFA with our bros.
Which is why when weed was legalized in Colorado and Washington we threw a mad rager and pounded through a couple zips of that good kush. That shit’s a step in the right direction, bro and deserves to be celebrated.
But now the Federal Justice Department is considering plans for legal action that would undermine the voter-approved initiatives. Bro, what? We finally have real progress on ending the expensive, cruel and unnecessary War on Drugs and the Federal Government wants to come in and take that shit away? Totally not chill, bro.
First of all, Barack, come on bro. We all know you smoked mad herb in high school and college. In Dreams of My Father you even wrote that you would smoke “in a white classmate’s sparkling new van,” or “in the dorm room of some brother, “ and even “on the beach with a couple Hawaiian kids.”
And in an early sign of your policy genius, you even popularized the concept of “roof hits.” Here’s an actual quote from one of Obama’s former classmates:
“When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.”
Who even does that? That’s like next level stoner shit bro, and I’m impressed as fuck.
Secondly, and arguably more important, draconian Federal drug laws place a huge burden on our economy. When we’re embroiled in a debate on how to adequately address our country’s fiscal maladies, why reject policies that could help reduce the deficit in a profound way?
One report showed that legalizing marijuana and implementing a system of taxation and regulation would save the federal government $7.7 billion a year and generate between $2.4 and $6.2 billion in additional revenue for the federal government depending on how it is taxed.
A policy that would drive huge amounts of revenue and cut spending? That’s something Congressional Republicans and the White House should light up a joint and celebrate about.
This is shit you probably already know but it stands worth repeating: Legalization of marijuana is good for society and our economy. And as we stand on the precipice of real progress towards serious, tangible drug reform, the prospect of the federal government stepping in and destroying voter-approved, constitutional policies state-by-state is a scary one indeed.
And Barack, you know we all got your back bro. Do the right thing and let the states determine their own policies. Choom Gang for Life, homie. Don’t let us down.