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Dreams from My Father - Ch. 5, 6, 7 & 8 
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Post Dreams from My Father - Ch. 5, 6, 7 & 8
Dreams from My Father - Ch. 5, 6, 7 & 8



Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:03 pm
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First off I'd like to appologize for letting this book slide for a few days. I got a little busy with RL stuff and didn't have time to adequately sit down and think about the book.

This series of chapters covers Obama as a troubled young man and up to when he gets his first taste community organizing in Chicago. I think the pace moves quite quickly and alot of things happen so there's alot fo ground to cover.

Regina, a brown-skinned girl, is assumed to be black. She says she is multi-racial and asks why should she choose? She goes further to say that white people aren't the ones making her choose. Why do bi- or multi-racial feel pressured to choose? What is threatened by someone not taking a definitive side?

At this point what is Obama's attitude toward all-white culture? Blame? Acceptence? Resignation? Or something else?

On page 114, there is a letter Obama recieves from his father. "... the important thing is that you know your people, and also that you know where you belong." My first reaction was oh that's rich coming from him. Was it an honest attempt to have a relationship with his son if in a round-about way? Do you think his father might have had regrets?

What do you guys think about his first attempt at community organizing with the religious leaders, particularly Reverend Smalls? Is he just a cynical polititian in a collar or does he have a point?



Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:11 pm
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It is natural to feel threatened to choose. Of course you can mix cultural values and mores but there are somethings that you just cannot mix and have to adopt either one, or the other. So on those things that she has to choose then she feels like she is trapped.

Also, with regards to the reverand, I definitely do think that he is a cynical politician, but as long as some good comes out of Obama's relationship with the reverand, then that is all that matters. Saul Alinsky once wrote in his "Rules for Radicals" that it is better to spread good, even if it stems from cynical intentions, than not to spread good at all. This reverand-Obama relationship is one of those Good-cynical relationships.



Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:37 am
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bobby408 wrote:
It is natural to feel threatened to choose. Of course you can mix cultural values and mores but there are somethings that you just cannot mix and have to adopt either one, or the other. So on those things that she has to choose then she feels like she is trapped.

So do you think Obama's delving into black culture is more based on his appearance or that other people indentify him as black or is it that he never really knew his African father?

bobby408 wrote:
Also, with regards to the reverand, I definitely do think that he is a cynical politician, but as long as some good comes out of Obama's relationship with the reverand, then that is all that matters. Saul Alinsky once wrote in his "Rules for Radicals" that it is better to spread good, even if it stems from cynical intentions, than not to spread good at all. This reverand-Obama relationship is one of those Good-cynical relationships.

Actually they seemed to have met only once but it was like a kick in the gut. I don't think Obama expected black church leaders to not be gung-ho about his plans. Actually Obama encounters many black people who are resistant any boat rocking fearing it will bring on more problems and disappointment. People who when they attain some level of power, respect, influence and wealth seem to jealously guard their perks and small greeds.



Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:46 am
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Hi Trish,

Thanks for your reply. I will tell you exactly what Obama's reasons are for delving into the black culture. Other people do identify him as black. This fact goes all the way to our nation's law and its vice of slavery. If you had even one drop of African American blood (e.g. if you're 1% black and the rest of you is white), you were considered as an African American and, thus, the constitution did not apply to you because of your race. But, I know Obama very well. Not to be haughty, but I predicted to my family and friends that he was our next president 3 1/2 years ago. He is an extremely smart man and intelligent to the point of near genius. He is also of the Napoleonic type that is well-motivated and will stop at nothing to reach his goals. He wanted to be president years ago. Also, before writing his book his goal was senator. He's been shaping his circle of contacts ever since his days in Columbia but especially at Harvard. He is part of the elite. He considers himself part of this elite (if you want to know more about this elite, refer to CW Mills extraordinary book "The Power Elite"). He is an extremely prideful man and ever since he put the goal of the senator and, later, the presidency in-front of him he HAD to delve into black culture for political purposes AND to gain African American voting ('cause without them it is impossible to win), especially in Illinois. His true culture and being is that of the elite. If the public REALLY knew that then they would not vote for him. He has done a great job in working with the media AND their owners (the multinational corporations who now have extremely high percentages in media market share) and they have made him appeal to blacks, democrats, and, most importantly, the fed-up w/ the bush regime Republican voters. So be careful what you read in books. Obama had in mind ALLLLL the voters and that he would run for president BEFORE writing this book. Always be careful what you hear in the media and what you read, especially a politicians book like Obama's.



Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:42 pm
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Well that's what we're here to do, examine the book. With every memoir you have to take it with a grain of salt. No one could write a book with as many detailed events an expect the reader to believe that's objectively how things occured. But the reader can make comparisons between known facts and how the author wrote about it which I think gives insight into the author's psychology.

But I'm curious when you say you "know Obama." As in personally? Are you an Illinois native and familiar with the local politics?

I disagree with you when you say the public would not vote for him if they knew how "elite" he was. I think they voted for him precisely because he's so elite. I'm sorry, but if you're going to get up one morning and say "I'm the best person to lead the country" you've got to have a major ego. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. If I have to have a brain tumor removed, I don't want the surgeon who thinks he can do it. I want the arrogant son-of-a-bitch that knows he can do it. I just refuse to accept "elite" as a put down. So what if he aspired to be president and manuevered himself to make that happen? What presidential hopeful doesn't? I honestly hope more little boys and girls of every color do the same thing. It takes me back to when I was in school and I saw other Latino or African-American kids get accused of "acting white" when they raised their hands cause they knew the correct answer. You think most of them dared to raise their hands anymore? No they didn't because of other people's ignorance and dysfunctional sense of cultural loyalty. That's just sad, sad. sad. I will agree though that the media's worship of Obama is ridiculous. As President, he might have to make compromises I will not like. I disagree with him strongly on his stance on gay marriage (which I attribute to having a strong African-American church-going female base), but I do not doubt I voted for the wrong guy.



Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:54 pm
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Thanks for your frank reply Trish. I do agree with you about the seeming overreactance one him being elite. I don't think that's a bad thing. Hoenestly, I'm the same way. So his self-confidence and ego-inflation is absolutely no problem with me. My problem is not really his being elite, because as long as he has the interests of the public at large manifest in his policies, everybody wins. I just have yet to see that he really does have the public's interest in mind. However, I will give him the benefit of the doubt until then.



Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:29 am
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bobby408,

I am curious what you mean by 'elite'. I know you gave a reference for a book regarding the definition, but what did you mean in the post? Did you mean it simply as a pesonality trait or is there more significance to the meaning based on his particular set of experiences?

To be president, is feeling somewhat elite or superior a prerequisite? Is it possible to feel this way and still have the sincere desire to help others? I hope so. Maybe it is not so much of feeling superior than it is to recognize you have abilities other do not posses and that you are obligated to use these for the greater good. Just some musings.



Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:14 pm
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Post Hi Jan!
Hi Jan!

Obama has grown up with people of the higher circles and he has many friends from that circle. He meticulously crafted his people network from this "elitist" class ever since he began Harvard. He was extremely ambitious ever since he was a very young man. He mixed with this crowd on purpose because he knew how helpful they could be to him. So far, this is not a bad thing at ALL. Obama did all he could to increase his powers and get himself in a position to do great things. Good for him. But the ultimate test and cracker is what he will do now that he is in office.

Now, to answer your question about my definition of "elite." When I described Obama in my last reply to this thread ws even if that news runs counter to their interests.

Besides just his attitude, he has already shown much willingness to help his class. He is willing to keep on fueling the bail-outs to banks and protect wall street as MUCH as he could. Citigroup was just bailed out a THIRD time by the government, two of these times by Obama! Remember in "Bad Money" how the author talks about the September '07 crash. This was a few months before the primaries and the #1 concern was for Obama to raise money to beat his other 3 opponents. Therefore he NEEDED the support of the media and of corporations. Basically, he need the support of his interest class. Just like how he needed his elitist friends from Harvard to help him get elected Senator, so he needed them to complete his rise to the presidency.

Point is, so far Obama has done nothing to prove that he will not be a puppet for the upper class. I hate that this is so, but it is so, whether I like it or not. The thing is, Obama thinks he could help his own people AND help the rest of American citizens. He is not God. The sad part is that the interests of these two classes, the upper class and the rest of society, have diverged a LONG time ago. What is good for one class is very bad for the other. So Obama still has a chance to redeem and prove himself because he will be OBLIGED to choose sides. I hope he chooses the right side. However, I doubt he will do so, and I doubt he even has much power to go against the elitist establishment anyways. So god help us all....



Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:34 am
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bobby408 wrote:

Point is, so far Obama has done nothing to prove that he will not be a puppet for the upper class. I hate that this is so, but it is so, whether I like it or not.

Hello Bobby. The above is just one of the interesting things you've had to say about Obama as a member of the elite. This will be interesting to explore. Do you think that the public may be once again appreciative of having someone "elite" in the presidency because of the past eight years with a president who--despite an elitist background--did all he could to banish this impression from the public's mind? We're all fed up with folksy.

I think of a couple of things off the bat with regard to elitism. Obama's upbringing exposed him to a wide variety of people. I think he knows intimately of people in many different circumstances. His mother and grandparents were ambitious FOR him, I think, so they sent him to the relatively prestigious school in Honolulu. But his early years among people in somewhat straitened circumstances had to have made a lasting impression on him and still today be an important part of his make-up.

I think I recall reading in Phillips' book that Obama received the most money of any candidate from the finance industry, a point in line with your thesis. However, what about the cornerstone of his plan to increase tax revenue by upping the tax on earners making more than $250,000? Obama seems to me a hybrid of a very unusual sort, with a foot in each of two worlds. I agree that he will have a difficult time maintaining this stance. Political forces will be trying to move him to one side or the other.

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Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:25 am
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Hi Everyone!

I will go into the subject in more detail when I come from work tonight but here is the "corrected" thread. The last reply by myself was incorrect and incomplete. For some reason, this thread did not let me post my entire reply which was really long. So the next two replies are my correct replies split into two. I would LOVE your thoughts on these replies and any criticism is definitely welcome. But please make your thoughts honest.

By the way Dwill, thanks for your reply and I will answer yor questions in more detail tonight. Do keep in mind about what I said about Obama wanting to be hybrid and wanting to help both the majority AND his class. But anyways I am late for work! I appreciate everyone listening to me and I will go into more depth later. Thanks!!!



Last edited by bobby408 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:46 pm
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Post 2nd reply
Moreover, today's elites are the most powerful in history. these elites can do MUCH more than the elites of, say, the Roman empire, or even the British empire. My point is that this class is so powerful. It is so strong and has many ways of molding the government and public life to work for their interests. One key tool is the media, which they use at will to destroy enemies and raise up the people they like. Remember that the market share of media companies owned by corporations that want to protect their power and increase it, rather than impartially relaying the news even if that news runs counter to their interests.

Besides just his attitude, he has already shown much willingness to help his class. He is willing to keep on fueling the bail-outs to banks and protect wall street as MUCH as he could. Citigroup was just bailed out a THIRD time by the government, two of these times by Obama! Remember in "Bad Money" how the author talks about the September '07 crash. This was a few months before the primaries and the #1 concern was for Obama to raise money to beat his other 3 opponents. Therefore he NEEDED the support of the media and of corporations. Basically, he need the support of his interest class. Just like how he needed his elitist friends from Harvard to help him get elected Senator, so he needed them to complete his rise to the presidency.

Point is, so far Obama has done nothing to prove that he will not be a puppet for the upper class. I hate that this is so, but it is so, whether I like it or not. The thing is, Obama thinks he could help his own people AND help the rest of American citizens. He is not God. The sad part is that the interests of these two classes, the upper class and the rest of society, have diverged a LONG time ago. What is good for one class is very bad for the other. So Obama still has a chance to redeem and prove himself because he will be OBLIGED to choose sides. I hope he chooses the right side. However, I doubt he will do so, and I doubt he even has much power to go against the elitist establishment anyways. So god help us all....



Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm
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I have been thinking about how Obama describes his starting out in the community and what he has achieved. Maybe I just need to read further but reading these few chapters its hard to understand how he turned it around so quickly. He is such a young man (the first pres younger than me...errrgggh). I hope you are wrong, bobby408, about his being a puppet. Maybe its my lower middle class roots but I would like to see things easier for those who struggle daily, and now that I have found my way into the upper middle class, I don't mind paying more to see this happen.



Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:54 pm
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Hi Bobby 408!

I just went back and read your full post to my queries. I guess I should pick up Bad Money. No, I have not read it. It is true about the divergence of upper and lower classes. Maybe the current economy is driving them closer again!

I must say, I never really knew there was such a thing as a community organizer. I guess I always thought of these activities as volunteer by someone who was perhaps motivated by a personal interest. It seems odd to me that someone would be employed to do this in such an unstructured way.



Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:16 am
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Hi Jan,

Thanks for your reply. I hope you will read "Bad Money." It is an eye-popping book. I suggest you take your time with it to make sure you understand all the obscurities and nuances that naturally come with finance and economics, which are very abstract sciences. Also, I am interested in what you had to say about Obama's community Organizing work. Was this what you were talking about when you mention that you "never really knew there was such a thing as a community organizer." I have not read "Dreams of my father" yet, although I am about to begin as I have just finished "Bad Money." What exactly was it that seemed odd to you that "someone would be employed to do this in such an unstructured way." Community organizing sounds interesting and exploring this facet of the book may be interesting...



Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:15 am
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