We've all heard President Barack Obama's American journey. Twice. In "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," Obama told his glossy, airbrushed story: son of a black father and single mother with international background but American values, a man who overcame his personal struggle with race to become a great uniter.
Then there are the untold parts of his background that we've heard from other sources: his associations with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. His real estate dealings with corrupt businessman Tony Rezko. His political backstabbing in Chicago.
Finally, there are the parts of his story we never hear about at all: the stories from his childhood and adolescence. The most formative time of our lives are the years between birth and age 21, when we explore who we are and learn from those who surround us. We know virtually nothing about this time in President Obama's life. But we're learning.
Young Barry Obama spent the ages from 6 to 10 attending school in Indonesia after his mother married Lolo Soetoro. During that time, according to Obama's third-grade teacher, the "fat, curly-haired, curious" Barry studied Quran and went to Islamic classes over the protestations of his mother, Ann. Ann apparently showed up at the school demanding to know why the religious teacher had accepted young Barry into class. "But," said Barry's teacher, "he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam. He would also join the other pupils for Muslim prayers."
Even as young Obama reportedly embraced the Quran, his nanny was teaching him about other lifestyles. According to The New York Times, "His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia's relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with a local butcher, longtime residents said." The nanny was part of a transvestite volleyball group who called themselves the Fantastic Dolls.
Perhaps, the most enlightening detail from that Times article came from one of Obama's childhood friends, Slamet Januadi. One time, Januadi related, Obama asked some of his friends whether they'd rather be the president, a businessman or a soldier. The soldier would be armed, the businessman would be rich, and the president would have nothing. The boys gave various answers.
"Then," Januadi recalled, "Barry said he would become president and order the soldier to guard him and the businessman to use his money to build him something. We told him, 'You cheated. You didn't give us those details.'"
As a teenager back in Hawaii, Obama hung out with a neighborhood friend he calls "Frank" in "Dreams From My Father." "Frank" was Frank Marshall Davis, a highly vocal member of the Communist Party, a rancid racist, a pornographer and child rapist. During college, Obama traveled to Pakistan with a college friend. In those years, the country was ruled by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, a radical Islamist who actually established Shariah rule in the country.
What do these seemingly disconnected events tell us about President Obama?
First, they tell us that he always had -- and still has -- a tremendous love for Islam and radical Muslims. Obama famously described the Islamic call to prayer as "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset." Traveling to an Islamist country would scare most people -- for Obama, it was like traveling back to his childhood. It's no wonder that Obama took the opportunity to bash Israel while in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week -- that, too, must have brought back nostalgic memories.
Second, Obama's childhood shows us that he was comfortable with militant homosexuals, black racists and communists/socialists, along with radical Islamists. That's an odd combination for a child, but Obama had an odd childhood. And that conglomeration of interests -- gay rights militants, black racists, socialists and radical Muslims -- now form the core of Obama's idealistic base.
Third, Obama's childhood shows us that he was always a narcissist concerned with his own power. Not only did he want to be president, he thought the presidency was all about him. Soldiers were there for defending him; businessmen were there for supporting him. Presidents were kings. That's why he wanted to be president.
Obama's perspective on the presidency hasn't changed. Soldiers are "photo ops." The media is there to praise him. Businessmen are there to be taxed, so he can name bridges and schools after himself and take credit for a phantom recovery.
People don't change. Obama hasn't since childhood. And the more we learn about President Obama's childhood, the scarier he becomes.