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Summer 2008 online edition
August 25, 2008

The Myth of Barack Obama's Early Life

by Michael Patrick Leahy

Excerpted from the book What Does Barack Obama Believe? to be published by Harpeth River Press in September 2008

Barack Obama

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Beginning with the publication of his memoir, Dreams from My Father, in 1995, Barack Obama has promoted a myth of his early life, one that is familiar to every American who pays attention to the political process. His African father, Barack Obama Senior, abandoned his white American mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1963 when he was two years old, leaving them in Hawaii while he went off to study for a Phd. in Economics at Harvard. Barack Obama Senior was the recipient of a scholarship that offered enough money to support him, but not his young wife and son. His life story, on which he has so famously expounded, is one of a young man trying to make sense of that abandonment.

The evidence suggests a different and far more complex truth, one that as the writer of his own life story, Barack Obama had a duty to explore more fully. While we can't fault Barack Obama for believing the fictional account his mother told him about his father's role in his early life, we can fault him for failing to undertake even the most rudimentary investigation of the truth behind this fictional account as an adult, and subsequently perpetuating that fiction publicly for over thirteen years

This willing acceptance of a created fictional account of his parents' relationship demonstrates a pattern of behavior that continues to this day. It is echoed in the way he has ignored American History and created his own fictional "nightmare vision" of America, a vision which he wants us to believe that only he has the power to correct.

More ominously, it is echoed in his unique political theology, a blend of myth, fiction, Saul Alinsky inspired social activism httpbestbuykamagra.com, and his own heretical version of Christian faith. We see it in a set of political policies that, if implemented, will be the beginning of a form of government that can best be described as a new age theocracy.

Ronald Reagan knew that America is a shining city on a hill.

Barack Obama has imagined a "nightmare vision" (1) of America in which "the majority of blacks continue to suffer second-class citizenship," (2) and "ignorant bigots" (3) who "cling to their guns and religion" (4) can only be shown the error of their ways by the power of his personality.

It is a highly selective vision, one which emphasizes every historic instance of oppression, and ignores any element of the story that does not support the theme of this narrative. It is a vision based as much on the fictional works of writers like Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Frank Marshall Davis, and Ralph Ellison as it is on the facts of American History. It is a fictional creation of the mind of a man whose entire remembered experience of America until the age of thirty four was limited to Indonesia, Hawaii, the campuses of Occidental College in Los Angeles, Columbia University in New York City, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachussets, and the South Side of Chicago.

The process by which he arrived at this "nightmare vision" began with the myth he was taught about his early life, a myth he has apparently accepted without undertaking even a minimal level of inquiry.

Based on the evidence, it appears that Barack Obama's statement in his memoir concerning the separation of his parents is not accurate:

At the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me, both more and less than a man. He had left Hawaii back in 1963, when I was only two years old, so that as a child I knew him only through the stories that my mother and grandparents told. (5)

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Copyright 2008 by Michael Patrick Leahy

Michael Patrick Leahy is the author of Letter to an Atheist, and Managing Editor of Christian Faith and Reason Magazine.

Comments are welcome. All comments will be read, not all comments will be posted. We may invite authors of the best comments to respond in full articles, to be published in our November edition.

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