Barry Obama. And he told us that his father was an Indonesian king and that he was a prince, and after he finished school he was going to go back, and he would be a ruler in Indonesia. And I absolutely believed him. I understand that he told his fifth-grade class that he was Kenyan royalty, but I never heard that story until years later. My sister and I remember very clearly that he was an Indonesian prince and that he would be going back there.
Now kids make up all sorts of stories. I used to tell my fifth-grade class that I was a blogger even though blogging didn’t exist back then. But it’s interesting that Obama really didn’t identify with his adopted country, but saw himself as a foreigner. A foreigner with delusions of grandeur.
Obama’s stepfather wasn’t a king, but he was a colonel in a country where being in the military meant a whole other level of political power. And once in America, his stepson identified with that sense of power and with an undemocratic power structure. Obama never did become king of Indonesia, but he aspired and eventually became the monarch of his mother’s land.
The child is father to the man and the ways in which we think as children never entirely leave us. Obama saw himself as a prince in exile, destined to one day return to his true homeland. He may not think that way today, but the underlying emotional sense of disconnection from the United States and the sense that he had been taken away from a place where he belonged in Indonesia has doubtlessly played its part in his decisions and his policies.