Barack Obama May Also Have Been a Chosen One


So, what if God the Great Storyteller also chose your previous President, Barack Obama?

Look what Paula showed us as we were exploring Donald being a Chosen One…


There is a conceit among some conservative Christians that God is only at work when a person they voted for is elected and that the rest of the time He must be attending to other countries. “God showed up,” said Franklin Graham following Trump’s election. Scripture states that all authority comes from God and that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants.”(Proverbs 21:1)

That means that God also must have “shown up” when Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and every other president was elected. The Almighty does, in fact, have a different agenda than us earthlings and sometimes He puts up leaders to judge people for their wicked behavior.

Are today’s Evangelicals following Jesus or following Trump?, By Cal Thomas, Fox News, April 24, 2017

That made us curious. What if Obama was also a Chosen One?

You see, it caught our attention that story played a key role in the election of Barack Obama…


The American people elected a young president with less governmental experience than any major-party nominee since Wendell Willkie, because—well, because he was the winner on American Idol: The 2008 Election Edition. We all hope and pray that President Obama is far more than that. We should not delude ourselves on this point, however: Narrative, not substance, is what put the forty-fourth president into the White House.

A Campaign of Narratives, by George Weigel, First Things, March 2009

[T]here is no doubt that of all the people who ran for president this year, Obama has run the smartest and most skilled campaign. But of all the things he has done right, none may be more important than the fact that he has told far and away the best story.
……
Your own reaction to that story may be a quickening of the heartbeat, or a disgusted ‘”Give me a break.’” But there is no denying that many, many people are willing to sign on to it. And though he is careful not to say it himself, Obama’s story benefits greatly from how often other people say that he is a Man of Destiny. This is a story we know well, because we have read it and watched it so many times before. When Luke gazes out across the barren desert of Tatooine, the wind rustling in his hair as the twin suns set and the music swells, we know just what it means, even if he doesn’t know it yet. He is The One, he will defeat the forces of evil and save the galaxy. And from the beginning of Obama’s career, people have been saying the same thing about him.

The Triumph of Narrative, by Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, February 19, 2008

Obama and his team clearly understood the power of story…


Obama and his colleagues counted themselves failures if they were seen as visitors. The more they made themselves fixtures in the community, the better their chances of success.

“Narrative is the most powerful thing we have,” Kellman said. “From a spiritual point of view, much of what is important about us can’t be seen. If we don’t know people’s stories we don’t know who they are. If you want to understand them or try to help them, you have to find out their story.”

David Remnick, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

I loved what the teacher said in the video about how it entered into our DNA. That’s what stories do. We’re story-telling animals. That’s what Steven does. That’s what Bruce does — tells a story that stitches up our fates with the fates of others. And that film gave us each a stake in that terrible history, and a stake in ensuring such atrocities never happen again.

….

I have this remarkable title right now — President of the United States — and yet every day when I wake up, and I think about young girls in Nigeria or children caught up in the conflict in Syria — when there are times in which I want to reach out and save those kids — and having to think through what levers, what power do we have at any given moment,I think, “drop by drop by drop,” that we can erode and wear down these forces that are so destructive; that we can tell a different story. …. And as those hearts open, that empowers those of us in positions of power — because even the President can’t do these things alone. Drop by drop by drop. That’s the power of stories.

President Barack Obama, Los Angeles, California, May 7, 2014

So, here is the memo which Shih Tzu wrote about this crazy possibility, after his Uncle showed him Paula’s memo about Donald Trump as a Chosen One…

Intelligence Memorandum

Classified: Top Secret
Mao Tse Tongue!

To: Chow Non Phat

From: Shih Tzu, The Most Loyal Follower of Chairman Mao

Re: Barack Obama and the Presidential Profile From the Book of Daniel the Prophet


Dear Comrade Chow,


You know of course, Chow Baby, that I think your assignment is a monumental waste of our time. I adhere to the official party line and I’m not falling for any of those fairy tales you are exploring. I am committed to historical materialism.

But, fairy tales can be fascinating!

And this presidential profile I’m going to tell you about is a fascinating part of the Jewish/Christian fairy tale.

Let’s begin with the possibility that their God (if he exists) would choose to intervene in the middle of Barack’s story and send him on a completely improbable journey – a journey Barack could not have made on his own.

It would be a Black Swan story he could not have brought to reality by himself.

For instance, consider an interesting tidbit from the world famous British atheist Christopher Hitchens (who has reached the end of his story and no longer exists):


Everything broke Obama’s way: he was faced at election times either by extreme black nutcases of left and right, or by white Republicans who were effectively caught selling their wives on eBay.

It’s one thing to be lucky: it’s another thing to admit that luck has been yours. Obama has never been hubristic on that score. The closest he came to a flameout was by way of his hitherto-fortunate association with the black pulpit, this time in the form of the big-mouth and phoney the Rev Jeremiah Wright, preacher of paranoia and conspiracy. Yet it was the manner in which he dug himself out of that hole, with his Philadelphia speech on the race question, that convinced a cadre of experienced Chicago Democrats such as David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel that Obama was the one. From then on, the Clintons and the Republicans guaranteed the continuance of the charmed life: the former by pandering to racism in a fashion that still hasn’t been sufficiently condemned and the latter by – well, take your pick.

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick, Book review by Christopher Hitchens, The Guardian, May 1, 2010

I don’t know if you remember, Comrade Chow, because of your limited abilities, but one time in a staff meeting you asserted that “if Christianity is the story we are in, then Jesus, the hero in the protagonist’s quest, is a Black Swan figure.”

And that planted a seed in the mind of one of my ‘team within a team’ members, who, right in the middle of a meeting, suddenly stood up and announced, “Obama is a Black Swan!”

Our team member was right. Barack Obama is a Black Swan!

And when we finally came to realize this, it made us look at each other in wonder. Is this another sign that there is more going on with Obama than we ever realized?

And just to keep in front of your fog-filled eyes what a Black Swan is, here is a description of the concept from none other than the seer who popularized the concept, Nassim Taleb:


Black Swans (capitalized) are large- scale unpredictable and irregular events of massive consequence — unpredicted by a certain observer, and such unpredictor is generally called the “turkey” when he is both surprised and harmed by these events. I have made the claim that most of history comes from Black Swan events, while we worry about fine-tuning our understanding of the ordinary, and hence develop models, theories, or representations that cannot possibly track them or measure the possibility of these shocks. Black Swans hijack our brains, making us feel we “sort of” or “almost” predicted them, because they are retrospectively explainable. We don’t realize the role of these Swans in life because of this illusion of predictability. Life is more, a lot more, labyrinthine than shown in our memory— our minds are in the business of turning history into something smooth and linear, which makes us underestimate randomness.

Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

Taleb can really see!

But can you, Comrade Chow? Or are you still a narrow-minded Hollywood wimp?

You loser.

So, the more my team learned about Obama’s story, the more we saw how highly improbable it was he would become President of the United States. His rise to power was a Black Swan.

For instance, as we learned about his fight with Hillary Clinton for the nomination of the Democratic Party, we also saw how initially improbable people in both political parties thought Obama’s chances were.

Hillary Clinton describing the moment when the heavens opened and she understood the Black Swan nature of what she was up against when she ran against Barack Obama in 2008.

And yet, many people recognized the 2008 campaign was full of Black Swans. For instance, the American columnist Peggy Noonan noticed this:


What, really, is Mrs. Clinton doing? She is having the worst case of cognitive dissonance in the history of modern politics. She cannot come up with a credible, realistic path to the nomination. She can’t trace the line from “this moment’s difficulties” to “my triumphant end.” But she cannot admit to herself that she can lose. Because Clintons don’t lose. She can’t figure out how to win, and she can’t accept the idea of not winning. She cannot accept that this nobody from nowhere could have beaten her, quietly and silently, every day. (She cannot accept that she still doesn’t know how he did it!)

Getting Mrs. Clinton, by Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2008

And the fabulously fun and famously phat Father Michael Pfleger, whom Obama called “a dear friend” in a 2004 interview, picked up on this Black Swan theme in a notorious campaign sermon he delivered at Trinity United Church of Christ:


When Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on, I really don’t believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought, ‘this is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white, and this is mine. I just gotta get up and step into the plate.’

Then out of nowhere, ‘I’m Barack Obama!’

‘Ah, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!’


Reporters saw the element of improbability:


Obama’s ascent from rookie senator to presidential contender is one of the more startling and sudden acts in recent political history. Those around him aren’t quite sure what has happened, and neither, for that matter, is the senator himself.

“The Radical Roots of Barack Obama, Ben Wallace-Wells, Rolling Stone, February 22, 2007

In fact, the whole campaign was filled with Black Swans. Look at what former Bush adviser Karl Rove wrote about the Black Swannish nature of the 2008 presidential campaign:


Almost everything we think we know right now will be revised and even overturned during the next six months. This has been a race in which conventional wisdom has often been proven wrong. The improbable or thought-to-be impossible has happened with regularity. It has created a boom market for punditry and opinion offering, and one of the grandest possible spectacles for political junkies in decades. Hold on to your hat. It’s going to be one heck of a ride through Nov. 4.

It’s Obama, Warts and All, By Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2008

He was right about that!

And Obama himself was aware of his black swan rise. After he won the Wisconsin primary in February 2008, he made the following comments:


But, you know, there’s something deeper in this argument we’ve been hearing about inspiration. It really has to do with the meaning of hope. Some of you know I talk about hope a lot. And it’s not surprising, because, if you think about it, the odds of me standing here are very slim.

You know, I was born to a teenage mother. My father left when I was 2. So I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. And they didn’t have money, and they didn’t have fame.

Barack Obama’s Remarks on Victory in Wisconsin Primary, Washington Post, February 19, 2008

Not only is Obama aware of the Black Swan nature of his rise, but it looks as though it may have been Jeremiah Wright who introduced Obama to the concept in Christianity. Wright was already predisposed towards Black Swans:


In the African-American church tradition, pastors rely frequently on the stories of the Old Testament “stories of liberation and struggle” to reach their people. “The Audacity to Hope,” the Wright sermon that so inspired Obama, is a discussion of the Biblical character Hannah, who, though she was barren, prayed for a child. Wright uses Hannah as a metaphor for the black people who pray for deliverance even though it seems unattainable.

Miller: Trying Times for Trinity, by Andrew Romano, Newsweek, March 17, 2008

And after Obama’s election, other Christians in America reflected this same disposition towards Black Swans:


Carter said many people look for a sign from God when times are turbulent. And, he said, there are many elements to Obama’s win in which Christians can find spiritual significance.

“It is powerful and significant on a spiritual level that there is the emergence of Barack Obama 40 years after the passing of Dr. King,” said Carter. “No one saw him coming, and Christians believe God comes at us from strange angles and places we don’t expect, like Jesus being born in a manger.”

Some see God’s will in Obama win, By Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2008

If it were not happening, you might think it impossible. The odds are all against it, but here we are.  …. I have to tell you that even though I am a Christian preacher, I have always been cautious about attributing such things to God. But this sounds like a story that God might write in the pages of human history.  …. Our God is a God of improbable stories, and it seems that we have one here.

“On The Border of the Impossible,” by Gardner C. Taylor, The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama, Edited by Marvin A. McMickle

Obama understands the improbability of his rise, Chowster. And no one doubts the massive impact. But do you get it, you idiot?

As for explanations after the fact, historians will be busy for years concocting explanations which will make Obama’s rise to power “appear less random, and more predictable, than it was.”

By the way, as sort of an add on to all this, one of my team members — who is far smarter than yours! — came across the following recollection of Obama at a party of the New York media elite in 2003:


Standing by myself I noticed, on the periphery of the party, a man looking as awkward and out-of-place as I felt. I approached him and introduced myself. He was an Illinois state senator who was running for the U.S. Senate. He was African American, one of a few black people in attendance. We spoke at length about his campaign. He was charismatic in a quiet, solemn way…. But what I will always remember is as I was leaving that party in 2003, I was approached by another guest, an established author. He asked about the man I had been talking to. Sheepishly he told me he didn’t know that Obama was a guest at the party, and had asked him to fetch him a drink. In less than six years, Obama has gone from being mistaken for a waiter among the New York media elite, to the president-elect.

Katherine Rosman, Quoted in Before He Was President, Mistaken for a Waiter: a 2003 Obama Meeting, Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2008

So what’s going on here? Pure chance or divine intervention? This is where it gets fascinating. You see, there is a kind of presidential profile right out of the Old Testament book of Daniel which it appears Obama fits it to a tee!

Sound strange? Look at this verse we foud in the Bible, from Daniel chapter 4:


“The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.”

Daniel 4:17


See that? The lowliest of men. That sounds just like you, Chow!

But that’s also Obama’s story, and there are some clear identity markers which show it.

The first identity marker is the fact he came from a broken home. As the American writer Maggie Gallagher points out, this is a major disadvantage right from the start:


Mountains of research tell us that children reared outside of intact marriages are much more likely than other kids to slip into poverty, become victims of child abuse, fail at school and drop out, use illegal drugs, launch into premature sexual activity, become unwed teen mothers, divorce, commit suicide and experience other signs of mental illness, become physically ill, and commit crimes and go to jail.

Why Marriage Is Good For You, Maggie Gallagher, City Journal Autumn 2000

The American political scientist James Q. Wilson echoed those themes in his book The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families:


In one nation, a child, raised by two parents, acquires an education, a job, a spouse, and a home kept separate from crime and disorder by distance, fences, or guards. In the other nation, a child is raised by an unwed girl, lives in a neighborhood filled with many sexual men but few committed fathers, and finds gang life to be necessary for self-protection and valuable for self-advancement. In the first nation, children look to the future and believe that they control what place they will occupy in it; in the second, they live for the moment and think that fate, not plans, will shape their lives. In both nations, harms occur, but in the second they proliferate — child abuse and drug abuse, gang violence and personal criminality, economic dependency and continued illegitimacy.

The facts about children raised in the second world — the world without fathers, without safety, without a decent life or reasonable prospects for the future — are well known to everybody.

The Marriage Problem, James Q. Wilson

Obama himself has acknowledged the difficulties of growing up without a father. Notice his comments after he won the Wisconsin primary in February 2008:


But, you know, there’s something deeper in this argument we’ve been hearing about inspiration. It really has to do with the meaning of hope. Some of you know I talk about hope a lot. And it’s not surprising, because, if you think about it, the odds of me standing here are very slim.

You know, I was born to a teenage mother. My father left when I was 2. So I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. And they didn’t have money, and they didn’t have fame.

Barack Obama’s Remarks on Victory in Wisconsin Primary, Washington Post, February 19, 2008

Like millions of Americans, Barack Obama was abandoned and rejected by his father. 

So, if Christianity is the story we are in, like this stupid assignment is forcing you to consider, Barack Obama was rejected and abandoned by the very person in whose image he was made.

Look at his fairy tale passage we found in the very first book in the Bible:


This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

Genesis 5:1-3


How utterly shattering that must have been for Obama! Just like it was for you, Chowbaby!

And if you read his biographies, you find it did have an impact. Here are two illustrations. The first is from David Mendell, who wrote the earliest significant biography of Obama:


In an interview with Jarrett, I asked her if she thought his father’s abandonment of Obama as a child contributed to his desire to seek public attention. “Absolutely,” she said. “Having a parent who leaves you makes you particularly energized for approval. I think that’s a real part of it. Rejection is a tough thing for a kid to accept. That’s a hard thing and you spend your life trying to get approval.”

David Mendell, Obama: From Promise to Power

The second comes from Obama’s unofficial campaign biographer in 2008, Richard Wolffe:


“Someone once said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes,” he wrote, “and I suppose that may explain my particular malady as well as anything else.” Yet Obama is rarely casual enough to suppose anything about his own identity, or his relationship with a father who abandoned him when he was just two years old. His entire memoir revolves around his search for a father and an identity that was absent.

Richard Wolffe, Renegade: The Making of a President

My – MY team — did some exploring, and that search for the father stuff really is powerful. There’s an American writer named Judith Wallerstein who has written extensively about the experience of ‘children of divorce.’ Notice in the following quote how she connects it to identity:


The key phrase they all use is, “I am a child of divorce.” I hear it repeatedly when I talk to people in their thirties, forties, or even sixties. What exactly does it mean? Divorce in childhood creates an enduring identity. Because it typically occurs when a child is young and impressionable and the effects last throughout her growing up years, divorce leaves a permanent stamp. That identity is made up of the childhood fears that you can’t shake despite all the successes and achievements you’ve made as an adult.

Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce

And look what the American writer Shelby Steele wrote about it in relation to Obama:


If there is a single archetypal theme that animates Barack Obama’s early life, it would have to be “the search for the father.” ……  Barack Obama’s first book, Dreams from My Father, chronicles his search for his father, and it is especially poignant because his father left the family when Barack was only two and, except for one brief visit when Barack was ten, never returned. Superficial logic might suggest than an absent father would spare the child all the illusions involved in the search-for-the-father. But of course, the opposite is true. When the father is not there, he usually becomes larger than life, an image assembled out of longing and imagination. He often becomes the idealized father that everyone wants and no one gets. As such, he necessarily becomes an obsession in ways that real and present fathers never do. But there will also be an ongoing sense of injustice, of being cheated, because the father’s absence is also a denial of birthright. Worse, it is a kind of rejection. So one longs for him and resents him at the same time.

Shelby Steele, A Bound Man

There were some pretty major obstacles in Obama’s way, Chow. And he experienced the trauma of a home breaking up not once, but twice.

Another Black Swan marker our team saw is that despite the hype of the campaign, many people who understood his past or knew him previous to his fame would not necessarily have marked him out for greatness:


Eric Moore says he had no contact with Obama for about 15 years. Then on a visit to Chicago, Moore was walking through a park when he saw a fund-raising table with an OBAMA placard. He walked up to the woman behind the table and asked if she was promoting “Barack Obama.” She said yes, and he left his card with her in hopes she’d pass it along to his old friend. The two reconnected after that. “He was so genuine and unchanged,” Moore says. “That’s what he is every time I see him, except that now he doesn’t wear the flip-flops.” Moore says that he’s amazed that his friend is on the possible verge of becoming president. “It’s not like he came from a family like the Kennedys or the Bushes,” Moore says. “He’s a self-made man.”

When Barry Became Barack, by Richard Wolffe, Jessica Ramirez and Jeffrey Bartholet, Newsweek, March 22, 2008

His actual policy positions are little more than Democratic Party boilerplate and hardly a tick different from Hillary’s positions. He espouses no galvanizing political idea. He is unable to say what he means by “change” or “hope” or “the future.” And he has failed to say how he would actually be a “unifier.” By the evidence of his slight political record (130 “present” votes in the Illinois state legislature, little achievement in the U.S. Senate) Barack Obama stacks up as something of a mediocrity. None of this matters much.

The Obama Bargain, By Shelby Steele, The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2008

His critics say Mr. Obama could have accomplished much more if he had been in less of a hurry to leave the Statehouse behind. Steven J. Rauschenberger, a longtime Republican senator who stepped down this year, said: “He is a very bright but very ambitious person who has always had his eyes on the prize, and it wasn’t Springfield. If he deserves to be president, it is not because he was a great legislator.”

In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd, By Janny Scott, New York Times, July 30, 2007

But we shouldn’t be surprised such a person would become president, Chow Baby. It puts him on a list which includes American presidents such as Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Warren Harding, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. 

They all came from improbable backgrounds.

And look what else one of our team members came across:


Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday that none of his friends thought he would be president one day.

In an interview with C-SPAN Wednesday, former first lady Laura Bush asked her husband how many of his college friends thought he would be president, and he replied: “None. Not one.”

George W. Bush: ‘Not One’ of My Friends Thought I Would Be President One Day, by Melanie Hunter, CNSNews.com, April 13, 2013

By the way, while we’re at it, you might find the following example from our part of the world to be pertinent:


The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the president of free Korea, Kim Dae Jung, prompted me to pull out a little list I’ve carried around for years.

It contains the names of a few of the people I’ve interviewed when they were in prison, or defeat, or exile and whose prospects at the time seemed improbable, at best, but who returned in triumph. …. And then there was Benigno Aquino of the Philippines, who was in exile at Harvard when a few friends and I took him to dinner at an Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston. At one point he leaned over and asked, “What would you say if I threw in with the violent factions?”

Before I could stutter a reply, he was interrupted by his diminutive wife, Corazon, who slapped the table and said, “Ninoy, don’t even think about it.” Who could have imagined that Mrs. Aquino would be swept to power in a democratic revolution in the wake of her husband’s assassination on his return?

Comeback Kim, by Seth Lipsky, Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2000

It’s just like Dr. Seuss prophesied in One fish two fish red fish blue fish:


From there to here,

From here to there,

funny things

are everywhere.


And here’s another thing, Chow Baby, which caught my attention.

If God chose Obama as one of the lowliest of men whom he was going to elevate to a position of great power, did he possibly also allow or install within Obama a deep sense of destiny? 

It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?

It’s clear Obama wanted to be president for a very long time. That desire is no urban legend. One of his closest advisers told the world about it way back in 2007:


“He’s always wanted to be President,” Valerie Jarrett, who has been a family friend for years, ever since she hired Michelle Obama to work in Mayor Daley’s office, says. ….“He didn’t always admit it, but oh, absolutely. The first time he said it to me, he said, ‘I just think I have some special qualities and wouldn’t it be a shame to waste them.’ I think it was during the early part of his U.S. senatorial campaign. He said, ‘You know, I just think I have something.’ ”

The Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama coming from? by Larissa MacFarquhar, The New Yorker, May 7, 2007

But his desire to be president was active long before his senatorial campaign. While at Harvard Law School in his early thirties, he was already considering the possibility and sharing the secret with his future brother-in-law, Craig Robinson. And we get a sense of how improbable people thought it was from the response of Michelle’s brother:


“Barack was like, ‘Well, I wanna be a politician. You know, maybe I can be president of the United States.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, okay, come over and meet my Aunt Gracie – and don’t tell anybody that!’”

David Mendell, Obama: From Promise to Power

And yet his ambition can be traced back still further, to his very childhood:


“There was always a joke between my mom and Barack that he would be the first black president,” his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, said in an interview over tea. “So there were intimations of all this early on. He has always been restless. There was always somewhere else he needed to go.”

Charisma and a Search for Self in Obama’s Hawaii Childhood, By Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times, March 17, 2007

But apparently his mother wasn’t joking, Chowster. She was planting:


It turns out Barack Obama was dreaming big right from an early age – at just nine-years-old he announced he was going to be the prime minister of Indonesia.

The episode from a new biography of the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, reveals the roots of a hunger for power which has driven Mr. Obama’s heady rise from an eccentric upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia to the White House.


……


The book continues: ‘Samardal Manan, who taught with Ann in Jakarta, remembered Ann saying something similar – that Barry could be, or perhaps wanted to be, the first black president.’

His mother’s ambition was clearly not lost on the future U.S. president.

‘Any nation will do’: New book reveals Barack Obama wanted to be prime minister of Indonesia at tender age of 9, By David Gardner, Mail Online, April 21, 2011

Thanks mom! The transference clearly worked. Obama became an ambitious guy. Very ambitious. Look at this:


He is an extraordinarily ambitious, competitive man with persuasive charm and a career reach that seems to have no bounds. He is, in fact, a man of raw ambition so powerful that even he is still coming to terms with its full force.

David Mendell, Obama: From Promise to Power

We think it’s pure coincidence, Chowzie, but notice the striking parallel between Mendell’s description of Obama’s ambition and another offered by G. Edward White concerning Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who, prior to Obama, was the most famous alumnus of Harvard Law School:


When one seeks to sum up Holmes’s central personal characteristics, the quality that first comes to mind is his vast and driving ambition…. Ambition…fostered Holmes’ singular competitiveness, his extreme sensitivity to criticism, his thirst for recognition, even the perverse glumness with which he accepted praise and his insatiable desire for an even higher level of accomplishment.

Edward White, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self, 467 (Oxford Univ Press, 1993), quoted in Albert W. Alschuler, Law Without Values: The Life, Work, and Legacy of Justice Holmes

We have a special place in our heart for Holmes because of his adherence to our view of foundational human identity:


I see no reason for attributing to a man a significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboon or to a grain of sand.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., quoted in A Century of Skepticism, by Albert W. Alschuler, First Things (February 2002)

Baboons, grain of sand! That’s us. But at least we’re conscious grains of sand!

Of course, as one of my – not yours — team members pointed out, the description of Holmes in the previous quote -– “his extreme sensitivity to criticism, his thirst for recognition, even the perverse glumness with which he accepted praise and his insatiable desire for an even higher level of accomplishment”  -– are all reflections of a deep desire for meaning, purpose, value, and significance here in the middle of the story!

And this means when you pair it together with his view of human beings, he’s one of those “Freaks in the Narrative Kings”, which you talk about, Chowline!

Wow, what a character. But back to Barack and his ambitious nature.

That American Congressman named Bobby Rush, who beat back a challenge from Obama for his congressional seat in 2000, also concurred on the question of ambition:


“He was blinded by his ambition,” Mr. Rush said. “Obama has never suffered from a lack of believing that he can accomplish whatever it is he decides to try. Obama believes in Obama. And, frankly, that has its good side but it also has its negative side.”

The Long Run: In 2000, a Streetwise Veteran Schooled a Bold Young Obama, By Janny Scott, New York Times, September 9, 2007

Obama was driven. And to overcome the obstacles and become President usually requires a deep level of ambition. The competition is, after all, rather fierce!

So did Obama have that kind of ambition? As one of his mentors remarked, “You don’t go from being a community organizer to running for president in 15 years unless you have a lot of ambition.”

Barack Obama: Calm in the Swirl of History,” by Michael Powell, New York Times, June 4, 2008

Interestingly, Obama filled the world in on the vast extent of his ambitions in his first inaugural address:


We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

First Inaugural Address By President Barack Hussein Obama

America certainly found those grand plans to be very stimulating!

Of course, you know we don’t have any problem with ambition.

After all, our ambition is to figure out a way to use his ambition to help us overtake and pass America!

So it’s time for you, Comrade Chow, to stop ignoring Chairman Mao:


The enemy will not perish of himself. Neither will the Chinese reactionaries nor the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism in China step down from the stage of history of their own accord.

Chairman Mao



I hate Shih Tzu. But, if Christianity is the story we are in, then Obama really may have been a chosen one. And one of the possible reasons he was chosen may have to do with shining a spotlight on your love crisis as you migrated into the minimalist corner.

You see, Paula discovered that Obama embraced what our team is calling ‘the Destiny Doctrine’…


For you remind us that in the end, human destiny is not determined by forces beyond our control. You remind us that our future is not shaped by mere chance or circumstance. Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man and woman. It has always been up to us.

Remarks By the President At D-Day 65th Anniversary Ceremony, June 5, 2009

And so these challenges weren’t caused overnight; they’re not going to be solved overnight.  But as John F. Kennedy once said, “Our problems are manmade, therefore they can be solved by man.”

In the United States, we control our own destiny.

Remarks by the President at University of Maryland Town Hall, July 22, 2011

Whether it’s the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bioterror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create twenty-first century jobs—today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation.


When Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament on November 27, 1895, it’s not entirely clear that he could have foreseen the impact that his prizes would have. But he did know this truth: that our destinies are what we make of them….

Toast Remarks by the President at the 2009 Nobel Banquet, December 10, 2009

Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny. That is what we do. That is who we are. That is what makes us the United States of America.

Remarks by the President and Vice President at Signing of the Health Insurance Reform Bill, March 23, 2010

In the United States of America, it is still a necessary faith that our destiny is written by us, not for us. Our future is what we make it. Our future is what we make it.

Remarks by the President on Health Insurance Reform, University of Iowa Field House, Iowa City, Iowa, March 25, 2010

That is what makes us who we are. A dream of brighter days ahead, a faith in things not seen, a belief that here, in this country, we are the authors of our own destiny.

Remarks by the President at Hampton University Commencement, May 09, 2010

But I came to Masterman to tell all of you what I think you’re hearing from your principal and your superintendent, and from your parents and your teachers: Nobody gets to write your destiny but you. Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing — absolutely nothing — is beyond your reach, so long as you’re willing to dream big, so long as you’re willing to work hard. So long as you’re willing to stay focused on your education, there is not a single thing that any of you cannot accomplish, not a single thing. I believe that.

The President’s Back to School Speech: “We Not Only Reach For Our Own Dreams, We Help Others Do the Same”, September 14, 2010

No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands — you cannot forget that. That’s what we have to teach all of our children. No excuses. (Applause.) No excuses.

Remarks by the President to the NAACP Centennial Convention 07/16/2009

The Cold War is over, but its history holds lessons for us today. In the face of cynicism and stifled opportunity, the world saw daring individuals who held fast to the idea that the world can change and walls could come down. Their courageous struggles and ultimate success and the enduring conviction of all who keep the light of freedom alive remind us that human destiny will be what we make of it.

Presidential Proclamation–Captive Nations Week, July 16, 2010

I have no doubt that your legacy will be an America that has emerged stronger, and a world that is more just, because we are Americans, and our destiny is never written for us, it is written by us, and we are ready to lead once more.

Remarks by the President at United States Military Academy at West Point Commencement, May 22, 2010

The Destiny Doctrine is a minimalist corner approach to life which pushes your God away.

And so, as you continue to occupy that minimalist corner, do you meditate much on this, from your prophet Jeremiah?


Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;


it is not for them to direct their steps.

Jeremiah 10:23


And do you think Donald Trump is thinking much about how your God is the Active Protagonist in the story?


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