Sunday, March 2, 2008


An amusing singing video called "Obama loves me" here

From Brookes News

Barak Hussein Obama: The Lethal Delicacy: It's as if in the midst of the Vietnam war the US elected as its president a guy named John Paul Ho Chi Minh, educated in Hanoi, the son of a party member, who swore he had never been a Communist and became offended when anyone doubted it. Obama's candidacy is a calculated provocation, serving as a gauge to assess the depth of the acquired habit of politically correct self-censorship now infused in the minds of Americans willing to be thrown into the oven to avoid offending the cook

The Man Who Would Be President - Or the Manchurian Candidate?: Everyone seems to be caught up in the Obama cult craze. No one seems to have a clue as to the background of this man or his Muslim upbringing in schools where he was taught strict Shar'ia law until the age of twelve. He attended such schools in Jakarta under the guidance of his step father

Barack Obama Invents Barack Obama

Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995), is Barack's account of his discovery of himself in the midst of his discovery of his American and African heritages. "Discovery" is, however, a misleading term, autobiographically, factually, and interpretively. His racial identity and his racial heritages were not objective facts waiting for discovery, like continents hidden over the horizon waiting for explorers to bump into them or unknown planets and stars waiting for the astronomer's telescope to focus upon their coordinates in the sky. As Dreams From My Father implicitly shows, black identity and black African heritage were choices made by the young man; he could have chosen to be other.

How much did Barack Obama understand that he was inventing himself through decisions and actions? It is some of the charm and literary suspense in the autobiography not to know how self-conscious Barack was as he constructed his self-consciousness. Looking back at the events of which he writes, he brings considerable self-consciousness to understanding his journey, but this self-consciousness is subtly inflected with political self-awareness. The outcome of Barack's story, written before he entered politics, is his realization that he is a messianic savior, nearly in the religious sense, with a message and a mission.

Barack Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii to a white American mother, Ann Dunham, and a black Kenyan student whom she met at the University of Hawaii, Barack Obama, Sr. Both parents had more important personal quests than maintaining a family and raising a child. Barack Sr. was given the opportunity to attend the School for Social Research in New York City on a full fellowship, which would have supported his family in that city, or Harvard University Graduate School, which offered only tuition, which would not pay to bring his family to Massachusetts. Barack Sr. chose Harvard, leaving his family behind. Ann divorced Barack Sr.

After obtaining his Ph.D. at Harvard, Barack Sr. returned to Kenya and pursued a career in government. After marrying several wives (in polygamy) and siring additional children, his public career collapsed. He turned to drink. In 1982, he died in an automobile accident, perhaps due to drunk driving. After he left his first marital family, Barack Sr. saw his son, Barack, Jr., only once, during a one-month visit when his son was ten years old.

Barack's mother, Ann married another foreign student in Hawaii, Lolo Soetoro, from Indonesia. Change in government in Indonesia required Lolo to return home. A year or so later, in 1967, Ann followed with Barack, Jr. in tow. They made their home outside Jakarta until he was ten. Lolo and Ann were unable to afford a private school in Indonesia. Barack attended public school (two years a Muslim school and two years a Catholic school), with supplemental home schooling from his mother. Concerned that he was not developing his potential, she sent him back to Hawaii after enrolling him in a private school in Honolulu. A year later, Ann left Lolo and also returned to Hawaii. He lived with her and his sister (by Lolo), until his mother returned to Indonesia to do field research for a Ph.D. in anthropology; then he lived with her parents until he graduated from the preparatory secondary school and went to Occidental College in 1979.

During his years of secondary school, Barack entered adolescence. His coming of age produced an identity crisis. Who and what was he? His mother had made the identification for him. He was black. While in Indonesia, she began a campaign of entreaty and education. The black people were noble. "To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear." (P. 51.) Prior to his mother's education, he had not observed that his father was black and his mother was white. "That my father looked nothing like the people around me--that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk--barely registered in my mind." (P.10.)

There were several problems with his maternally imposed racial identity. First, when he returned to Hawaii, in Hawaii's multiracial and casual society, no one paid much attention to Barack. He was not identified as of any particular race. Second, he had no black parent for a model and guide. His father was not present. Though Barack had some exchange of correspondence with his father, it did not provide the clues he needed to grow up black.

In a word, as a result of his racial amorphousness, Barack felt inauthentic as a black man. The main theme of the autobiography is his effort to find authenticity as a black man. Barack discovers unresolvable conflict in every situation and relationship into which he moves from adolescence to adulthood, from school to career. In the end, he never finds authenticity as a black man. How he deals with this failure and resolves the conflicts in his life creates the Messianic political leader we see running for president this year.

At Occidental College and Columbia University, he gravitated toward other black students. He learned about black nationalism. He was particularly attracted to Malcolm X, though he did not become a member of the Nation of Islam. He became a reluctant radical--reluctant, because he was not sufficiently confident of his own identity to take a strong leadership role. He was continually torn between two worlds, the disadvantaged black community, to which he believed intellectually he should belong, and the white world of business, money, and power. He thought that, if he would be accepted in a black community, his black identity would be established; yet, he was pulled to the white world, because he was bright and academically successful. Schools and businesses called him out, as the nation embraced affirmative action. After college, he worked briefly in a large business corporation in New York City; then he became a community organizer in south Chicago.

The search for authenticity in the midst of conflicting choices led Obama to see the world, almost in a Platonic sense, as dual. There is the false world of shadows and the real world behind them. The shadow world includes black nationalism and black power. In college, radical black politics is simply so much play-acting that affects nothing real--is even amusing to those persons with real power. Out in the working world, trying to organize black communities to better themselves, he came to include mainstream politics, which he experiences in the Chicago mayoralty of Harold Washington, as play-acting. When black politicians get into power, they do not change anything fundamental about the distribution of power, capital, and opportunity. The lives of poor blacks, in the communities he tries to organize, are just as impoverished and desperate under a black mayor as under white mayors. Needless to say, Barack Obama was discouraged.

Unable to find his black identity in America, Barack traveled to Kenya, seeking to learn more about his deceased father and his black African heritage. Though he has met several of his half-siblings, it is only in Kenya that he encounters the full, sprawling, genealogical and family disorder that his father created through polygamy. He met his father's widows, several of whom are white. He meets many relatives. He meets his father's sister and one of his grandparents. From these relatives, he was able to construct a family narrative from his African grandfather's life in the British colony, through the second world war, to Barack Sr.'s colorful and dramatic life.

Though he enjoyed being in a black society, where his blackness was normal, his discovery of his family led only to further conflict. He discovered that in Kenya, black racial identity was less important than tribal identity. And he discovered that his family, so called, was an indefinite network of relatives.
"What is a family? Is it just a genetic chain, parents and offspring, people like me? Or is it a social construct, an economic unit, optimal for child rearing and divisions of labor? Or is it something else entirely: a store of shared memories, say? An ambit of love? A reach across the void?

I could list the various possibilities. But I'd never arrived at a definite answer, aware early on that, given my circumstances, such an effort was bound to fail. Instead, I drew a series of circles around myself, with borders that shifted as time passed and faces changed but that nevertheless offered the illusion of control. An inner circle, where love as constant and claims unquestioned. Then a second circle, a realm of negotiated love, commitments freely chosen. And then a circle for colleagues, acquaintances ... Until the circle finally widened to embrace a nation or race, or a particular moral course, and the commitments were no longer tied to a face or a name but were actually commitments I'd made to myself.

In Africa, this astronomy of mine almost immediately collapsed. For family seemed to be everywhere..." (Pp. 327-328.)

"If everyone was family, then no one is family.... I'd come to Kenya thinking that I could somehow force my many worlds into a single, harmonious whole. Instead, the divisions seemed only to have become more multiplied, popping up in the midst of even the simplest chores." (P. 347.)

Faced with failure to establish an authentic identity, unable to resolve successfully the contrary pulls of apparently conflicting worlds, several paths opened for Barack Obama to follow. One path he explored early in his youth--alcohol and drugs. He was able to pull himself off this path, apparently during college. Another path disclosed itself furtively and slowly. He could transcend the conflicting worlds as a political leader. On several occasions, he glimpsed himself as an inspired messianic leader. At Occidental, he helped organize a divestiture rally. He was a lead speaker. He took the stage in a "trancelike state". (P. 106.) He had prepared notes for his brief talk; but in talking, he connected with the audience. He felt his words take hold of them and draw him on. When, years later, he decides to take up community organizing, he thought of organizing as "redemption." (P. 135.) As an organizer, he found his voice to inspire, encourage, persuade, and empower the black community to take control of its destiny and work on its own betterment.

At the close of the autobiography, Obama reveals his discovery of the formula that would enable a people, a city, a nation, to overcome the divisions that split it. Many of the divisions were based in hate. The black community harbored a heritage of hatred toward whites. Blacks also wounded themselves with self-hatred. And the black community was divided between the middle-class black families who left the poor communities for better homes in better suburbs, and the poor blacks, who could not leave and lived, discouraged, under municipal regimes of both black and white. This hatred had to be transcended. Obama found the solution when he joined Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church on Ninety-fifth Street, Chicago. Reverend Wright preached a sermon on "The Audacity of Hope," that reached Barack. Everyone had to give themselves to someone larger than themselves, who would "put a floor on despair" and enable them to hope. Listening to Reverend Wright's sermon and then the choir sing of how Jesus had carried them so far, Obama finally established his black identity and found his emotional home. He was not raised a Christian--his mother was a secular humanist. Christianity was the final and necessary ingredient of his identity. Faith in hope would transcend despair and hate. Hope would enable everyone to rise above the polarities, contradictions, divisions, and conflicts of American society. Barack Obama had found his voice and his message. His mission awaited him.

Source. Further biographicasl commentary here


1 comment:

Interno said...

It depends. Remember: broken love is hate. His past was bad. Yup. The basis of popular religion in the USA? Your past is forgiven, if you learned something from it.

"The outcome of Reagan's story, written before he entered politics, is his realization that he is a messianic savior, nearly in the religious sense, with a message and a mission."

Have you noticed that conservative voices are much more worried about Obama's uncriticized "carbon emissions" policy than anything at *all* about his "race"?

"He discovered that in Kenya, black racial identity was less important than tribal identity."

Indeed, people who are TOO similar hate each other most. Psychology 101. Rockets don't make burnt-out-tree-trunk-canoe people violently envious. But a chainsaw does.

"If everyone was family, then no one is family...":
Throw-away feel-good statement by the Dali Lama, with a twist.

Three religions under his belt, and can achieve an erection too. Ivy League educated man of the world?

We could do worse, eh?