In the 1960s, when this writer took part in some civil rights marches in the South, the African-American organizers would sometimes check on my white “world view” by asking: “Where are you coming from?” My “world view” was simply that all U.S. “citizens”— except felons — should be allowed to vote.
Everyone is entitled to their “world view.” Our current president is no exception and if you can see the world based on where and how he was raised and his subsequent life experiences, his policies and actions in the Oval Office become readily understandable, albeit not acceptable to those with an entirely different enculturation.
We know the current president is a person of the Left. But why? Well, he grew up thinking his father was a Kenyan. If you grow up thinking about the British colonization of Kenya and hearing tales of oppressive British rule, you would likely develop a negative view of Great Britain.
If you spend any time at growing up in Hawaii, you soon learn that five white families once owned almost all the sugar and pineapples plantations of the Hawaiian Islands and are still considered by many Hawaiians of color as exploitive oppressors rather than as enlightened Christian missionaries.
If you spend your most formative years (age 6 to 10) in Indonesia which is 86.1-percent Muslim, you would learn about the brutal and oppressive colonization of Indonesia by the Protestant Christian Dutch.
If you spend the years from birth to age 18 before setting foot on the American mainland, you would have little opportunity to be imprinted with what mainlanders think of as: Traditional American Values. In many ways, mainland America would be a foreign land compared with actually living in Indonesia, living in Hawaii, or even with dreams of living in Kenya.
Plus, if you attend a south Chicago church for 20 years where the pastor calls on the Almighty to curse America for being — in the pastor’s words — a white, racist, cut-throat, capitalist, heartless, homophobic, misogynistic, redneck, xenophobic, militaristic, imperialist nation, that might tend to reinforce what you may have already established as your own world view.
The central tenet of Leftism is that our actions are determined by our genes and by our environment. There is no free will. So, if you read Mr. Obama’s two autobiographies — in which he freely discusses the environments in which he was raised — his political path is both understandable and predictable.
Finally, never judge someone until you have walked at least mile in his moccasins. Not only will the walking increase your understanding of that person, you will be at least a mile away and you’ll have his moccasins.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.