What Barack Obama Learned from His Father
There is a picture of Obama and his father in the Honolulu airport on that .. He had a complex relationship with his own father, who once beat. Barack Obama's father was more abusive and violent than the president was aware of, according to his half-brother, who has written a memoir. A photograph of Barack Obama's father hangs on the wall of his grandmother Sarah "This relationship picked up speed pretty quickly.
Rush's campaign stressed his experience and questioned Obama's support base among wealthier white voters in the city, and Obama was solidly defeated in the primary, winning just 30 percent of the vote. Enters Senate race A few years later, Obama decided to run for a seat in the U. Senate when Illinois Republican Peter G. Fitzgerald — announced he would retire. Some of Obama's supporters thought he was aiming too high, but this time he beat out six other Democratic challengers in the primary with 53 percent of the vote.
Suddenly, state and even national Democratic Party leaders began taking him and his Senate campaign seriously. In the primary, he had managed to do what few African American politicians had ever done: In his Senate race, Obama faced a tough Republican challenger, however: Ryan was blessed with television-actor good looks and had even once been married to Boston Public star Jeri Ryan —. But Jack Ryan was, like one of Obama's earlier primary opponents, derailed by allegations about his personal life.
Chicago news outlets publicized Ryan's divorce documents fromwhich revealed one or two incidents that seemed distinctly at odds with a Republican "family values" platform.
Ryan dropped out of the race, but the Republican National Party quickly brought in talk-show host Alan Keyes —who changed his home address from Maryland to Illinois to run against Obama. Keyes was a conservative black Republican who twice had made a bid for the White House, but he worried some voters with his strong statements against homosexuality. Obama, by contrast, was winning public-opinion polls among every demographic group that pollsters asked.
He was even greeted with rock-star type cheers in rural Illinois farm towns. Many of these small-town voters recognized that the manufacturing operations of many U. The result was a dramatic decline in U. Obama's campaign pledged to stop the outsourcing of such jobs to overseas facilities. But Obama suddenly found himself in the national spotlight, when John Kerry —expected to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention in Julyasked Obama to deliver the convention's keynote address.
The keynote speech is expected to set the tone of the political campaign, and those chosen to give face tremendous expectations. His speech, which he wrote himself and titled "The Audacity of Hope," was stirring and eloquent, and quickly dubbed by political analysts to be one of the best convention keynote addresses of the modern era. He earned several standing ovations during it, and Obama's confident, assured tone was broadcast to the rest of the nation.
Cameras occasionally scanned the crowd to show tears on the faces of delegates. Obama praised Kerry's values and experience, and he reminded delegates and the national television audience that the country's strength came from unity, not division—that Americans had created a thriving nation out of many diverse ethnic groups and ideologies in its year history. Economic policies aimed at providing a better life for everyone, not just a privileged few, was the American way, he said. It's that fundamental belief—I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper—that makes this country work.
Obama, asserted Time 's Amanda Ripley, "described a country that America wants very badly to be: Some newspaper and magazine editorial writers predicted that the rising star from Illinois would emerge a strong leader in the Democratic Party over the next few years, and could even run for president in or Obama won his bid for the Senate a few months later by a large margin, taking 70 percent of the Illinois vote against just 27 percent for Keyes.
At just forty-three years old, he became one of the youngest members of the U. Its goal was increase the maximum amount that the federal government provides each student who receives need-based financial aid for college.
In the s and s, Pell grants often covered nearly the entire tuition cost— excluding room, board, and books—at some state universities. But because they had failed to keep pace with risingtuition costs by they covered, on average, just 23 percent of the tuition at state schools.
Obama and his wife have two young daughters, Malia and Sasha. Instead of moving to Washington, Michelle Robinson Obama remained in Chicago indefinitely with the children and kept her job as a hospital executive. Television personality Oprah Winfrey — interviewed Obama not long after the Democratic National Convention and asked him how he became such an eloquent public speaker. He replied that he knew from an early age that he had a career in the persuasive arts—be they legal or political—ahead of him.
I knew I could get my grandparents and mom frustrated! Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Three Rivers Press, Web Sites Barack Obama, U.
Blanhard Abellard Feb 21, Let me tell you a little story about my life: My name is Barack-Blanchard Abellard. When I was in high school I did not want friends to call me that name and make fun of me, I have taken it a way, I let people call me only Blanchard, Why? I was born in Haiti, one day I asked my dad why did he call me Barack-Blanchard? He replied, it is god name in Affrica to fight for slaves and he always stands against unjustice. Because of that name, you'll do your life the way you want it, whenever you open your mouth, you will be able to manipulate others.
I tried it, and it has been done. For the truth, I have been a practice criminal lawyer in my country, when I had come to United States in ,I wanted to have pursued my goal to go to school to learn English and also to continue college,today I graduated Law school again in United States, and I am about to take the Bar in State of Louisiana in July to practice U. My dad taught me; when you say some one is a Barack in the Haitian cultureit is meant you will be always above upon every activities that you're doing.
My high school classmates called me "Barack in the Negative ways" It was meant I was too powerfull person, and I was in every thing that I was doing in High school.
The First day I've heard that name from news to your candidature as U. President, I said to my parents and friends you will be a winner, and here you are today. I believe it, I have done it as my dad told me, I never give up, and I always succeed in every thing that I have done, no matter how difficult is it. Though,no matter what, you will be the winner. Remember, I told you, it is a "god Fighter" name by Affrican Culture. I don't know what you believe in, but you will be a winner, no one can stop you from winning your position.
I am praying on it, it will be done " you will be the first Affrican-American President of United States of merica". No matter what's going on! I am awating on you to celebrate that name " Barack"in November to open my champaign after the great presidential elections. Good luck, May God bless your campaign, and you will be the winner as I am in my activity.
God bless you again!!! Dorothy Deans Feb 27, There seems to be a whispering campaign going on with hints that Obama is an agent of the Muslim religion because of his father and stepfather's roots.
Even more unfair is the implication that Obama is a "separatist"--whatever that meansbecause the minister from his church awarded Louis Farrakan recognition for his work in the black community. The bigots in our country will have little dirt to dig up on this exemplary candidate so they make weak connections. We will be seeing lots of smear by inuendo. Hopefully the electorate is more sophisticated this year. Christina White Feb 27, I Finally get to vote for this years election.
Oabma has a very good chance in winning. However I am concerned of his well being.
Barack Obama Sr. - Wikipedia
Cause I do believe in heart that America is not ready for an African American to take office. I dont think Hilary has a chance either. Cause again, I dont think America is Ready for a Woman to take office either. Also the irony of his name. Barack Obama is to similar to the islamic country and their culture.
I really do wish him the best. He has my vote. Brinaj Mar 5, We make accusation about religion as though it's a negative. Obama has stated, and I believe, that he is not Muslim. In the name of Chrisitanity, abortion clinics were bombed, and history records many autrocities in the name of Christianity. This superior attitude that most Christians have about themselves began with the Pilgrims journey and continues into our modern politics and foreign policies.
I am a Christian also, but I know the history of our European-Christian values. He never saw his father again. Deprived of a father's love, Obama chose to build his own universe, an invisible center where the failings and flightiness of others could do him the least harm. Obama himself acknowledges the centrality of the question. Without a father, he was forced to arm himself and to make his own way into the worlds he chose to join and to master.
This is not to say that he did not love and respect his mother and grandparents, and appreciate their care. It is, rather, that, through no fault of their own, their care was simply not commensurate with his needs.
He grew up in a milieu of unspoken truths, unacknowledged complexities and hidden histories. Obama was left with two alternatives: He chose steeliness over surrender. The story of the Barack Obama who will become the Democratic nominee at the age of 47 is thus one of survival and defense, for of all the advice he was ever offered, the most significant, and the one perhaps most relevant to his rise and to his fate, was Soetoro's: Obama cherishes his life story as a unique saga, but the drama of a fatherless child's rise to temporal power, driven by ambition, a hunger for control and an appetite for the approval of others, is a familiar one in American politics.
Presidents, and presidential candidates, tend to come from one of two kinds of distinct families. There is either a powerful, prominent father at the center of the clan the Adamses, the Kennedys, the Bushes, the McCains or, more often than you might think, there is either a weak father or no father at all.
An unusual number of presidents have been the sons of absent or weak fathers. Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton lost their fathers before they were born; Gerald Ford did not meet his biological father until he was 17 years old. I asked Obama why he thought powerful politicians had either a strong father, or no father at all. But also because, again in my case, the stories I heard about my father painted him as larger than life, which also meant that I felt I had something to live up to.
Our alcoholic father beat me, says Barack Obama's half brother, Mark
You could argue that if you're too well adjusted, you don't end up running for president. To those who follow politics closely, and to the legions of book buyers who have purchased Obama's two memoirs, his biography seems familiar now, but it still bears repeating; many Americans are still rather fuzzy about the details. Born inObama is the son of a white mother from Kansas; his father was a black man from Kenya.
The parents met at the University of Hawaii, and married; Obama was born; the father, who, it turned out, already had one family in Africa, left for Harvard and never came back.
His mother, who had a daughter, Maya, with Soetoro, separated from Soetoro and also moved back to Hawaii. Obama went to college at Occidental, in Los Angeles, for two years before moving east to Columbia University. He worked in Chicago as a community organizer before applying to Harvard Law School—echoes of his father's earlier journey—and rising to become president of the Harvard Law Review.
If you are really into armchair psychology, consider that the son returns to the scene of his betrayal by his father and outperforms the old man.
It is sort of "One L" meets "Oedipus. Already interested in politics—an arena in which success brings attention, authority and accomplishment, all things the fatherless tend to crave—he returned to Chicago, married a woman with a strong father, and was soon seeking office.
Where did his drive come from? Tall, loud, charismatic, opinionated, he had arrived as part of a scholarship program to educate the new generation of African leaders as countries such as Kenya were emerging from colonial rule.
Neil Abercrombie quickly befriended Obama, who was studying economics. Obama seemed the embodiment of a new world, a smart set of modern thinkers who would remake the planet. Obama and his friends were obsessed with world politics, with freedom movements internationally: For Obama, those tribal concerns were not abstract.
The Obama family is of the minority Luo tribe, but the emerging leader Kenyatta was of the majority Kikuyu tribe. The rivalries worsened soon after independence, in the late s, and remain in force today.Fleischer on George W. Bush's relationship with his father
But Obama was determined to return to Kenya. His decisions to go to Harvard and then to Africa led to the failure of his short marriage to Ann. A smart, young student with a passion for the emerging civil- rights movement, she had been a teenager when she met Obama in a Russian class. They fell in love, but Obama's ambition quickly broke up the family. She was an observer and a quiet participant.
I think she concluded after little Barry was born that when Barack had an opportunity to go to the mainland, that his ambitions and her ambitions weren't going to work out. He came out of the s in Africa and was affected by the patriarchal culture, as well as his own sense of destiny to participate in this movement. In the end, he went to Harvard because it was the top of the heap. There were letters from father to son, and replies, but the younger Obama recalls nothing particularly heartfelt.
His grandfather, Stanley, was the most constant male presence in his life. Abercrombie often saw young Barry with Stanley in Hawaii, walking the neighborhood together or going to the beach. He took him everywhere. He grew up in El Dorado, Kans. He was himself abandoned by his own father, and his mother committed suicide. The 8-year-old Stanley discovered her body. Like Obama, Dunham was raised by his grandparents. But in spite of—or perhaps because of—their devout Baptist faith, Dunham was something of a rebel and a drifter.
He was kicked out of high school for punching the principal, and spent the next three years riding rail cars. He was a charmer and a dreamer who courted his Wichita girlfriend Madelyn Obama calls her "Toot" even though her parents—Methodists and more middle class—disapproved.
The young couple eloped just before Pearl Harbor. Stanley enlisted in the Army while Madelyn worked on a bomber-assembly line. After the war, he found work as a salesman in a furniture store first in El Dorado, then moved from small-town Texas to Seattle, finally settling in Hawaii.
Stanley styled himself as a freethinker and apparently raised no objections to his daughter's marriage to Obama, and he cherished his grandson. Soon Ann met and fell for another foreign student—Soetoro, a geologist from Indonesia.
The new stepfather liked tennis, played chess with Stanley and playfully wrestled with Obama. He returned to Jakarta first, with Ann and Obama joining him later. Toot, forever practical, telephoned the State Department to check on Indonesia's stability and insisted on packing trunks of food.
In the years since Sukarno had created a new regime in the aftermath of centuries of colonialism, Indonesia had been tense. Ronny Amir, a neighbor of Obama's who went to school with him, remembers stories about kidnappings, about disappearances, about communists chopping people's heads off. It was tense inside Obama's house, too. Ann and Obama both thought Soetoro different, more distant, than he had been in Hawaii.
Some nights Soetoro would be "wandering through the house with a bottle of imported whiskey, nursing his secrets. Other students had been imprisoned or had disappeared.
Little wonder, then, that he wanted his stepson to know how to fight. Barry liked being in charge. Every day before class, kids lined up outside the classroom. In first grade, his first year at the school, Barry commanded the front of the line, calling out baris "make a line" —the kids would line up; siap grak "get ready" —the kids would straighten the line; tegap "stand straight"and then, once he was convinced the lines were straight, he would let them into the classroom.
His third-grade teacher had to encourage him to take turns. Psychologically, he wants to be in charge," she says. Still, he acknowledges a bossy streak. As a young man, he recalled, he was tough on his sister and mother: And so Obama returned to Hawaii and to the care of his grandparents.
Their world was his world for crucial years. Stanley had moved out of furniture sales and into life insurance; Madelyn, meanwhile, became a successful executive at the Bank of Hawaii. Obama's life with them was as conventionally American middle class as his life with his mother in Indonesia had been foreign.
Obama bought comics from the local newsstand, spent hours watching television he had to go to bed when Johnny Carson came onfell asleep to top 40 on the radio. Obama seems never to have heard a word said against the man who, from year to year and move to move, was not there. There were stories, always stories, about his father: Then, at Christmastimecame word that both Obama Sr. Who was the man at last making the journey to see his son?
Over the years, Obama was to discover the more complicated truth about the father so often spoken of as larger than life. He was a womanizer. He did not treat his children well. The local school at the time was several miles away, but he happily made the trip every day, on foot. Afterward, he would return home and boast and brag and confide to his mother, Sarah, about his academic accomplishments and whatever he had learned that day.
It seemed to her that her son, from a very early age, was intent to do great things, to rise from the rutted roads. He was proud of himself, and she was proud of him. He soaked up knowledge as if he depended on it for survival—which, in a way, he did. He had a complex relationship with his own father, who once beat Barack Sr.
The father was bent on his son's behaving "responsibly," Sarah later told the grandson, and he thought it irresponsible when Barack Sr. When he graduated from Harvard, Barack Sr. It is black-and-white, a by portrait in which he wears a suit and tie, and the horn-rimmed glasses that were fashionable at the time. He is gazing off into the middle distance, looking both relaxed and serious. After he graduated, he brought the picture home to his mother and told her to hang it on the wall. He went to work at the Ministry of Planning and National Development.
By all accounts, he was exceedingly frustrated much of the time, not just with the almost nonexistent pace of change, but also with people he often considered to be his intellectual inferiors. He'd spare you no time. Yet the particular pride he felt for this son—not even his oldest, and not of full Luo blood since his mother was an American—was apparent.
Senior would talk about him as intelligent, like himself. Senior had a photo of Barry that he kept with him in his wallet, a black-and-white school picture, and he would show it to brothers, sisters, cousins, anyone who would look, anyone who showed an interest, anyone who wanted to know about the American son of the brilliant economist. It is a reassuring story: But that snapshot—a kind of photographic trophy—was of a real boy, thousands of miles away, who was forced to live with an idealized image of his distant father.
Then, as it so often does, reality intruded. The occasion was the Christmas visit. Mabel Hefty had a special morning planned for her fifth-grade homeroom class at Castle Hall on the campus of the elite Punahou School in Honolulu.
Miss Hefty was something of an internationalist—she had taught in Kenya for a time—and had invited a guest speaker: It was a grand enough occasion that a neighboring homeroom teacher, Pal Eldredge, whom the young Obama recalled as a "big, no-nonsense Hawaiian," brought his students in for the program, too. As Eldredge, now retired, recalls the morning, Barry could not have been more delighted.
The son, Eldredge says, introduced the father to the classroom, which was filled with 54 students. Eldredge recalls the young Barack's warm reaction to the performance: Obama was not delighted by the visit. He had boasted that he came from African royalty, and that his father was a prince. So that makes my father a prince.