Dreams And His Father

A reader writes:

As a practicing psychologist, I am struck that from what I have heard and read, none of the commentators or political pundits have speculated on the role of Obama's fatherless upbringing on the strength of his attachment to Rev. Wright.  It is not uncommon for male children with absent fathers to develop strong, idealized relationships with male figures whom they perceive as being both powerful and caring.  I suspect this phenomenon transcends racial and ethnic categories.  Perhaps those who are critical of Obama's commitment to his relationship with Wright would view it with more understanding and compassion from this perspective.  Oftentimes, the idealizer has blind spots about the idealized individual's limitations and personality flaws.  Optimally, these blind spots need to be addressed and resolved.  Obama's speech suggests that he has come to see Rev. Wright in more realistic terms - as an imperfect but emotionally significant figure in his life.  From a professional perspective as a therapist, that would represent a fairly successful resolution of the developmental circumstances which created the need for an idealized male figure.