Barack Obama, Hawaii Ohana, Malamalama, Obama’s Mama

@postaday 116; #postaday2011

Fortunately for me, my free-lance writing has taken me into worlds I would otherwise miss. Not that all of them were great. Twice I’ve had to talk to fresh widows still sorting through their hours’ old losses. When I did a series on deadbeat dads while at The Honolulu Advertiser, I got all kinds of calls from both sides of the coin. I never felt bad about those stories. I felt like I was doing a service for the children in Hawaii whose parents didn’t man up to their responsibilities.

Free-lance writing kept me connected to Hawaii’s journalism community. I had some assignments from Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, but mostly I wrote small: Little giveaways at the grocery store, advertorial sections at The Honolulu Advertiser’s Custom Publications, and the University of Hawaii’s magazine, Malamalama.

In the late summer of 2008, while Barack Obama was running for president, Malamalama Editor Cheryl Ernst asked me to write a story about Obama’s mother and fellow UH alumnus, Stanley Ann Dunham. The focus was on her graduate work in Indonesia and her push to help establish microfinancing of the crafts produced there. I was thrilled to be able to get in touch with Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who helped me flesh out the story.

Here’s my previous blog entry link about the story.

Here’s the story and the 55 comments that followed.

Once it was published, I received lots of kudos from Obama supporters, friends of his family, fellow UH alumni, and the generally positive population that is the Hawaii Ohana. But I also heard from tea partiers, Obama detractors, and people who tried to pull a fast one on me by telling me they were doing research about the president and his mother. I deflected them to my editor Cheryl. I’m sure she was thrilled about that.

I’m digging it up again today because the White House released the long form Hawaii birth certificate of President Obama. Even in Hawaii we have birthers, some are even in the state Legislature. Ugh.

PEOPLE! There are issues to resolve, bills to pay, futures of generations at stake. It’s comical, it’s carnival, it’s silly to distract ourselves with crap like this as a way to avoid tackling real issues. Back to work everyone. Move on, move on. Nothing to see here…

Taking a breather from our loss of Ryan Suenaga, who is forever in our thoughts. This issue would make his blood boil, too!