Read Obama, in other words, and you realize outsiderness isn’t so much a phenomenon of geography as of character, sensibility, state of mind.
At a quick stop outside Palestine, a woman grabs Obama by both arms. “We need you to run for president. You must. You must. Are you running?”
Obama demurs. “I can’t make news.”
“Obama for president,” her husband repeats. “That’s the answer.”
He thanks them both, moves on—and then another couple tells him the same thing about six seconds later.
So much hope and so much fuss. All over a man whose father was from Kenya and whose mother might have been a distant relation of Jefferson Davis. Whose meals in Indonesia were served, for a time, by a male servant who sometimes liked to wear a dress. Whose first and last names inconveniently rhyme with “Iraq Osama.” And whose middle name, taken from his Muslim grandfather, is, of all things, Hussein.
Where else but here, though, right?