While I seem to be on a roll on this subject of Barack Obama, let me take up something I received in one of those circulated emails recently: the whole business about his education in Indonesia, and his school registration record. I’ll reproduce this below and then make some comments
- He’s listed as “Barry Sotero,” using the name of his mother Ann Dunham’s second (Indonesian) husband. That’s probably a bureaucratic artifice to avoid explaining the fact that he was a step-son and not a son. There’s probably a legal or social reason for this, his obviously un-Indonesian appearance notwithstanding. Americans find it hard to fathom how people in other places put things down that aren’t square with the facts but which make life easier.
- Listing his religion as “Islam” probably gets him out of religious instruction. The school he attended was Roman Catholic (yes, boys and girls, there are Roman Catholics in Indonesia, as you can see here.) It also is more consistent with declaring that her second husband is Barry’s father.
- Listing his nationality as Indonesian probably goes along with (1).
I think the main purpose here is to produce a story for the school that, if not true, is at least internally consistent.
But, you say, declaring him as something other than an American is…well, un-American. It sure is. That goes back to something that I quoted in the first piece I wrote on the subject of Barack Obama’s relationship with his country:
Barack Obama is a clever fellow who imbibed hatred of America with his mother’s milk, but worked his way up the elite ladder of education and career. He shares the resentment of Muslims against the encroachment of American culture, although not their religion. He has the empathetic skill set of an anthropologist who lives with his subjects, learns their language, and elicits their hopes and fears while remaining at emotional distance. That is, he is the political equivalent of a sociopath. The difference is that he is practicing not on a primitive tribe but on the population of the United States.
I do think that Obama picked up on his mother’s deep seated anti-American feeling, one cultivated by years of watching American culture steamroll others around the world. That’s not only significant for what it is; it’s significant because his mother was born and raised in the USA and still ended up with that kind of attitude. And she’s not alone.
But that’s the point, and it’s one I’ll keep harping on: conservatives are barking up the wrong tree when they go on and on about where he was born (which is a significant legal issue, but in reality a done deal,) his race (some admittedly do,) etc. What they need to get through their heads is that there are many people who count this country as their native land whose idea is diametrically opposed to what brought this country to be the great place that it is, and who basically don’t like it the way it has been. It’s not about birth and it’s not about race, it’s about a way of thinking and the premises from which that thinking comes.
Conservatives need to face this and not be shamed by it. I say “not be shamed” because many of these left-wing people are in high places in our society, even when they’re not in the White House. Americans in general and conservatives in particular are focused on upward social mobility, and the thought that people who basically hate the country be in positions of influence shames conservatives who can’t (or won’t) get there. As a Christian, the idea that the people who are of the world already have their reward makes sense, but for those who are Americans first and Christians (maybe) second, it’s indigestible.
Let me turn to one other subject: the idea that Barack Obama is a Muslim. I went on record (vs. a Church of God minister) that he is not, and have stuck with that. There’s no question that a) Spengler’s contention that he shares Muslim resentment of American cultural encroachment is true and b) he was influenced by his years in a Muslim country (would one expect differently?) but that doesn’t make a Shehada-declaring Muslim. Although his attitude towards Israel reflects that fact, it’s not the only place it comes out. His current uneasy relationship with the LGBT community is doubtless reflective of this background, and that’s something no one wants to talk about.
Getting back to the subject of appearances, frequently trailing the first image is a family portrait from the years in Indonesia.
Some people have noted that Barack Obama is always smiling in childhood pictures. That’s sometimes noted as a defense mechanism of a kid who bounced around from relative to relative and country to country. But then again they used to call me “Smiley” in prep school, so there…