3.17.2007

Obama's Hawaii Youth: Preparation for a World Leader?

In A Search for Self in Obama’s Hawaii Childhood (NYTimes, 3.17.07), Jennifer Steinhauer provides an interesting glimpse of a young Barack Obama through the comments of his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and school pals.

What's clear is that Obama learned early on to value diverse peoples and views. For example, Maya Soetoro-Ng has these things to say about her brother:

There was always a joke between my mom and Barack that he would be the first black president.

He had to pursue those answers actively. People from very far-away places collide here, and cultures collide, and there is a blending and negotiation that is constant.

I think Hawaii gave him a sense that a lot of different voices and textures can sort of live together, however imperfectly, and he would walk in many worlds and feel a level of comfort.
Isn't this the type of person that America needs today?

AP Photo: Barack is 3rd from left in top row