Dreams From His Auntie

Barack Obama’s Auntie Zeituni died earlier this month. Michelle Malkin evaluated the legacy of Auntie Zeituni in a good April 11 column. It’s quite a story, told as only Michelle can tell it.

Today’s New York Times gives us Jason Horowitz’s Timesian take on Obama’s relationship with his family. Various half-brothers receive their due and Uncle Onyango makes a cameo appearance: “With an election on the horizon, the White House seemed to want nothing to do with the uncle, who also had an outstanding deportation order. White House officials said they had no record of any meeting between the president and his uncle, but in court last December, Omar Obama said his nephew had stayed with him for weeks in Cambridge before starting Harvard Law School in 1988.” Obama’s reputation for honesty will not be improved by Horowitz’s profile.

Back to Aunt Zeituni. Horowitz reports on Obama’s absence from Aunt Zeituni’s funeral near the top of the article:

After Zeituni Onyango, the woman President Obama once called Auntie, died in a South Boston nursing home this month, her closest relatives gathered her belongings at her nearby apartment. There, framed photographs of her with the president covered the wall.

Weeping before a polished wood coffin at her wake this past Saturday, they described Ms. Onyango, the half sister of the president’s father, as “the spirit of the Obama family” and talked about raising money to send her body back to Kenya. Mr. Obama helped pay funeral expenses and sent a condolence note, Ms. Onyango’s family members said, but the president did not attend, as he was golfing.

If it weren’t for that previously scheduled golf date, Obama would surely have made the funeral. Given that this is Obama we’re talking about, and it is the Times that is doing the talking, Horowitz ventures only this discreet judgment with an allusion to Tolstoy:

Every complicated family is complicated in its own way. The Obamas, in that sense, are ordinary. But the natural drift that has occurred within the family — already separated by oceans and languages — is exacerbated by politics.

The intelligent reader will have to render his own judgment, though we can be grateful for Horowitz’s report and his dry note on the conflict that precluded the president’s paying his respects.


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