Barack Obama, the Aloha Zen President: How a Son of the 50th State May Revitalize America Based on 12 Multicultural Principles

Barack Obama, the Aloha Zen President: How a Son of the 50th State May Revitalize America Based on 12 Multicultural Principles

Barack Obama, the Aloha Zen President: How a Son of the 50th State May Revitalize America Based on 12 Multicultural Principles

Barack Obama, the Aloha Zen President: How a Son of the 50th State May Revitalize America Based on 12 Multicultural Principles

Synopsis

With a foreword written by former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, this book portrays President Barack Obama as a true child of Hawai‘i and explains why he believes that America can achieve even more greatness by learning from the multicultural customs of the 50th state.

Obama's aspiration to transform the United States using Hawai‘i as his model has been a conspicuous theme in his books and speeches over the years. In them, he extols Hawai‘i's multicultural ethos, describing how a normative, problem-solving mindset predicated on mutual respect and harmonious interchange is inculcated in the culture, politics, and society of the Islands. Indeed, this "Aloha Spirit" is imbued in Barack Obama, is part of what made him irresistibly charismatic as a candidate, and explains why voters in 2010 were baffled at his demeanor after he became the 44th President of the United States.

This unique book examines Obama's decisions as an adult and as president and exposes how they are directly linked to the culture of Hawai‘i and Obama's multicultural life as a child. The author and contributors also describe the ways in which native Hawaiians were dispossessed of their sovereignty and their land, how they steadfastly sought justice, and how their quest served as a model for Obama's mobilization of support for his candidacy.

Excerpt

To understand the revitalization that Obama desires for America and how he attracts such enthusiastic support from millions in the United States and the world, a central fact is that Barack Obama is America’s first multicultural president. With relatives on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America) and the mid-Pacific, he embodies globalization as no president before. Rather than a simple-minded, monocultural outlook, the 6' 2" man from Honolulu brings to the White House a multiplicity of cultural sensitivities and the ability to speak at least four languages (English, Hawai'i Creole, Indonesian, Luo). Indeed, Obama likens his family reunions to a meeting of the United Nations. While journalists trumpet him as “the first African American president,” and he has affirmed the same for many years (Fletcher 2009a), he brings to the presidency far more diversity. He is much more than a biracial or even bicultural president (cf. Arcanya 2008). He is the first intellectual, multilingual president who has lived for a time outside the United States since Thomas Jefferson.

Obama’s self-described journey has been that of a joyful wanderer. The complexities he experienced during the first 18 years of his life, mostly outside the United States Mainland, were challenges. So were his later years until he settled down, making Chicago his home and Michelle Robinson his wife. It is the task of this chapter to reveal that quest by first presenting facts of his diversity, the meaning of multiculturalism in the land of Aloha, and the enduring values to which he was exposed in the process of self-discovery.

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