As he reminded us again after losing narrowly to Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, Barack Obama likes to evoke Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.
We must all hope that, like King's, Mr. Obama's dream is "deeply rooted in the American dream." But before giving him the keys to the White House, Americans might like to know a little more about the content of Mr. Obama's dream.
Let me propose an unlikely place to start looking: Kenya. Even in the midst of the primaries, the horrific scenes from that country since the disputed election on December 27 will not have escaped most people. In particular, the burning of a church with up to 50 men, women, and children inside, while machete-armed mobs slaughter up to 600 more people, have evoked memories of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Who is behind these massacres? The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has had a good press in the West, after he accused the president, Mwai Kibaki, of rigging the election. But the victims of the recent violence have mostly been members of Mr. Kibaki's tribe, the Kikuyu, while those who have gone berserk are supporters of Mr. Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement, which is dominated by the rival Luo tribe.
Whether Mr. Odinga has ordered his men to commit murder and arson is unclear. But his own background does not exactly suggest enthusiasm for democracy and the rule of law. Mr. Odinga's father, Oginga Odinga, led the Communist opposition during the Cold War and Raila Odinga was educated in Communist East Germany.
In 1982 he was implicated in a failed coup against the then president Daniel Arap Moi. His eldest son is named after Fidel Castro and his daughter after Winnie Mandela.
Even more sinister has been Mr. Odinga's electoral pact with the National Muslim Leaders' Forum — a hardline Islamist organization that represents Kenya's Muslim minority. According to this document, dated August 29, 2007, Mr. Odinga promised the Muslim leaders that, if elected, he would establish Sharia courts, not only in the northern and coastal regions where Kenyan Muslims are concentrated, but throughout the country.
He also promised to impose Muslim dress codes on women, ban alcohol and pork, indoctrinate children, ban Christian preaching, and dismiss the Commissioner of Police "who has allowed himself to be used by heathens and Zionists."
In short, Mr. Odinga in effect offered to Islamize Kenya in return for Muslim votes, despite the fact that Muslims make up only 10% of the population, compared to the 80% who are Christian. Mr. Odinga himself is nominally an Anglican, yet he signed a document that refers to Islam throughout as "the one true religion" and denigrates Christians as "worshippers of the cross."
Whether it is likely, as Mr. Odinga claims, that his party won the election with such a program, only to have it stolen by Mr. Kibaki, I cannot say. Nor am I qualified to speculate about why Mr. Odinga threw in his lot with the Islamists. It should certainly concern us that one of Africa's most stable and pro-Western countries is apparently threatened with the same grim fate that has befallen other East African states, such as Sudan and Somalia.
What, you will be asking by now, what does any of this have to do with Barack Obama? Well, Mr. Obama's father came from Kenya and his son is proud to call himself a Luo. His Kenyan relations boast that, even if they cannot get a Luo into the Kenyan presidential residence, they can look forward to a Luo in the White House.
Indeed, the connection may be even closer than a tribal one. Mr. Odinga even claims that Mr. Obama is his cousin, because the senator's father was Mr. Odinga's maternal uncle. Whether or not this true, the two men are friends and political allies.
In August 2006, Mr. Obama visited Kenya and spoke in support of Mr. Odinga's candidacy at rallies in Nairobi. The Web site Atlas Shrugs has even posted a photograph of the two men side by side. More recently, Mr. Odinga says that Mr. Obama interrupted his campaigning in New Hampshire to have a telephone conversation with his African cousin about the constitutional crisis in Kenya.
What should Americans make of Mr. Obama's Kenyan connection? If he has been putting tribal or family considerations above America's national interest by supporting Mr. Odinga's anti-Western candidacy, it raises serious questions about his judgement.
At the time of his visit in 2006, President Kibaki's spokesman complained that Mr. Obama was behaving like a "stooge" of Mr. Odinga — which was at best undignified for a visiting American senator, and at worst unwarranted interference in the internal politics of another country.
Even more serious are the doubts raised by Mr. Obama's attitude toward Islam, which has so far received much less scrutiny than might be expected in a post-September 11 presidential election.
If Mr. Obama did not know about Mr. Odinga's electoral deal with the Kenyan Islamists when he offered his support, then he should have known. If he did know, then he is guilty of lending the prestige of his office to America's enemies in the global war on terror. We need to know exactly what Mr. Obama knew about Mr. Odinga, and precisely when he knew it.