“When a conniving woman with a heart of ice and hair the color of chemical flaxen runs for tribal chief, her devious ways will be undone by the private letters she sent by the power of lightning, and she will be defeated by a mysterious man from a tall tower.” — old African proverb.
Not buying that proverb? Well, you’re right. As the inimitable Jeannie Bueller once said, dry that one out and you could fertilize the lawn. However, it’s just as real as the “old African proverb” that inspired the name of Hillary Clinton’s new organization.
And it’s likely to peeve fewer social justice warriors, as well.
According to Truth Revolt, the kerfuffle has to do with the name of Clinton’s new PAC, Onward Together. You may think it’s named after where the Democrats should be moving from Clinton after last November’s election, but you’d be wrong. That, after all, would require her exiting stage left.
Clinton’s people say the name came from an old proverb — not identified as African on her website — which states that “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Of course, there’s the one obvious problem that Clinton didn’t go particularly quickly (she needed until just before the final primaries to clinch her victory over rumpled socialist Bernie Sanders) or far (at least, not as far as Pennsylvania Ave.) during her 2016 campaign. But that’s not the only problem.
You know that “old African proverb?” Yeah, it’s probably fake. The errant provenance was first pointed out last year by NPR after Democrat Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey used it in his speech at the Democrat convention. He traced it back to “an African saying.”
In spite of this, even though some experts agreed it was keeping in the spirit of African proverbs, it couldn’t be linked back to a specific culture, meaning either Sen. Booker and Hillary Clinton have more expertise on African folk sayings than academics who have studied the field for years or they have no idea where the heck it came from.
Booker got a bit of heat for saying that at the DNC — which was, you know, the convention where Clinton was nominated for president. You’d think she might have remembered.
There’s also the fact that some debate whether the “African proverb” she named her 1993 book “It Takes a Village” after was really so African after all. It, again, couldn’t be traced back to the continent, and one person quoted by NPR said it sounded like “some sort of pseudo-African mix of Hallmark and folk sentiments.”
Prominent liberals on Twitter condemned Clinton for her appropriation of African proverbs, according to Heat Street. Interesting that “appropriation” trumps “fake” in their books, but who am I to judge?
As of this Tuesday morning, the “proverb” language wasn’t on the Onward Together website. In its place was a quote from Hills herself, telling people to “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”
Not only does that quote not make any sense if you think about it for more than 10 seconds, but it’s an obvious appropriation of Dr. Seuss. How dare this privileged white woman shamelessly identify herself with the plight of the Sneetches? Her star-belly is America’s shame.
Oh well. At least we should probably rejoice at the fact she didn’t call it “an old Whoville proverb.”
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