President Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father becomes a nightmarish tale of a father’s irresponsibility in the new book, The Other Barack: the Bold and Reckless Life of President Barack Obama’s Father.
Boston Globe reporter Sally Jacobs’ debut book portrays Obama’s father as a user and abuser of women. Barack Obama Sr. married four times and treated Barack Jr.’s mother with disdain. That union was spotty at best, as they were married but rarely lived together, according to the author.
The handsome, charismatic Kenyan found a meaningful relationship with his sponsor, Elizabeth Mooney, who initially hired him as a secretary in 1958. Mooney later played a pivotal role in Obama Sr.’s life by funding his college education in the United States.
Obama Sr. had a brilliant mind, considered both a blessing and a curse. Author Sally Jacobs notes that Obama Sr. was “a man of brilliance, one whose probing intellect enabled him to soar above his peers in the scrubby tropical bush in which he was raised.”
Jacobs describes how Barack Obama Sr. enjoyed drinking in this excerpt:
“Even in Nairobi’s hard-drinking culture of the time, Obama was at the head of the pack in his alcoholic intake. By the count of some of his bar mates, Obama could down four ‘double-doubles’ —or sixteen shots—at a sitting and still walk out of the bar.”
Sadly, the book asserts that the senior Barack, busted with one wife in Kenya, and a new wife, Barack’s mother in Hawaii, told officials that his new wife would give the future president up for adoption, so their marriage didn’t really count:
“’Subject got his USC wife ‘Hapai’ [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away,’ according to a memo describing the conversation with Obama Sr. written by Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu office of what was then called the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.”
The portrayal is both riveting and tragic right down to the sudden, albeit suspicious, death of Barack Obama Sr. by an automobile accident.
The Other Barack is timed to either enlighten the general public about the enigmatic No. 44 or to embarrass the hell out of him during election 2012.
If this book’s aim is to embarrass the president, give the devil his due. It does air the dirty laundry. Yet, just like the dual nature of the subject, this book is also a blessing.
This book, that is poised to torpedo President Barack Obama’s reelection, actually gives him the street credibility to speak to the issues of the broken family, the substance abuser, the deadbeat father, the struggling, single mother, domestic violence and the abandoned child.
So, when President Obama speaks of “change and hope,” his voice is real. His message has weight and his platform is secure. In President Obama, broken American families in so many corners of the country witness an in-your-face example that a man is not doomed to repeat the mistakes of his father.
To wit, No. 44 is a man who married his sweetheart, is involved with his children and who encourages other black men to step up to the plate and do the same.
What a blessing it is for fatherless black boys to see this side of President Barack Obama — that, yes, he is his father’s son, and, in so many ways, he is not.
What a blessing it is for black critics who charge that the president is far removed from “the black experience” to read how far he has come. President Barack Obama is not an eccentric who doesn’t comprehend what it means to struggle as a man or what it takes to swim upstream. He gets it: Life is a series of choices, big and small, and you can either choose to copy behavior that you know is wrong, or you can strive to do and be better.
Thus, every page that desecrates “the other Barack” unfurls a new appreciation of the president’s historical, magnificent, journey to his status as the most powerful leader in the free world.
Go figure. The audacity of hope trumps hateration. –zondra hughes