Posted by: ckckred | November 13, 2016

Obama and Me

57th Inauguration President Barack Obama

Amidst the surprising results from last Tuesday’s election, I’ve been in a state of shock, grief, and anger. I’ve talked to my friends and family about what may happen in the next four years to our country and how it will affect the people we know and love. I’ve thought long and hard about writing about my personal reaction to the electoral results until I decided to divert my energy into scribing something different. So this post isn’t about Hillary Clinton or the President-Elect (who shall go unnamed throughout this editorial). Rather, it is about Barack Obama.

There have been three presidents in my lifetime: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. The Clinton years never made a big impression on me at the time, but Bush’s tenure imprinted a level of cynicism upon myself as it became defined by the failures of Iraq and Katrina. Politics, in my mind, was an ugly business and I felt contempt at those who participated in it.

That changed when I discovered Obama. Like many others I was inspired by his words and charisma as he took center stage of the political world in 2007. Obama’s message of hope and change appealed to my generation, who had been in disarray from the haze of a post-9/11 world. He discussed the importance of multiculturalism in America and the need for inclusivity in society. I remember feeling enthralled after Obama won the Democratic primaries, entranced by the October debates, and completely overjoyed when he won the presidency.

The excitement I felt for Obama is what I’d imagine the baby boomers had experienced for Kennedy. Obama was the first politician I had sensed who had understood what I was going through. Like Obama, I’m biracial and grew up in a mostly white society. While I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid racism and discrimination throughout my life, a part of me has always felt secluded from others. Yet Obama’s presidency taught me that I was not alone and that it is important to have faith in others. And over the past eight years, I feel I have discovered my own identity and grew more open with society. I’ve become a better and more confident person and I’ve always had Obama as a role model to help teach me about myself.

Obama is course not a perfect president. I’ve heard complaints from fellow liberals asserting that he never managed to deliver his initial promises while conservatives argued that he went too far. But I’ve always been proud that Obama was my president and that he was the man who represented our country overseas. Nothing has or will ever change that opinion. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the horizon any more than what Paul Krugman, Carl Bernstein, or John Oliver do, but I can tell you that I am and always will be an Obama optimist.

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Responses

  1. Hear, hear. 🙂

    • I honestly have no clue what’s going to happen in the next four years. But I know already that I’m going to miss Obama.

      • I’m already missing him.

  2. Interesting read mate, and really well written. Being in Aus obviously means Obama had less of an influence on me, but its awesome to read that he helped you build self confidence – such an important part of life. He certainly was a nice change from the Clinton and the Bushes.

    My only criticisms, apart from not delivering on his promises, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to politics anyway, is the increased drone strikes and the increased vile aimed at whistle-blowers. But how much involvement he had in those decisions I don’t think anyone truthfully knows.

    As for President Douche (or is it turd sandwich?), I honestly feel sympathy for you guys. Who the hell knows what will happen. Hopefully nothing too disastrous, but the guy is so unpredictable its hard to say.

    What has me a little concerned is that he considers us the USA’s closest ally, and after every pol here dismissed him as a lunatic (my favourite quote (the guy is barking mad), after he won, they are allllll changing their tune and are kissing his arse like there is no tomorrow.

    Anyway, enough about that. I think it is awesome that a politician inspired you so much. That has got to be a rare phenomenon, and I agree it must have been how people felt about Kennedy back in the day. I really admire how he has handled himself throughout the years, though it is sad that his repeated attempts to close Gitmo just fell on deaf ears

    • Yeah, my main criticisms for Obama would probably be the continued usage of drones as well as the Libyan invasion, the latter of which exhibited the neoconservatism he fought against in 2008. As for Gitmo, Obama’s been trying to get that shut down since he first entered office, but there’s so much red tape that entered in the Bush era that I’m not sure if it’ll ever close. Still, I do think he has been a great president and I will am going to miss him in the next four years.

      I do though really like Bill Clinton’s presidency more than many of my fellow liberals. Although I disagreed with some main components of his administration (repealing Glass-Steagall, keeping Greenspan in the Fed, mass incarceration) and obviously how he handled the Lewinsky scandal, he was a very effective diplomat who doesn’t get enough credit as much as he should, especially how he managed foreign policy. I actually met him a couple of years ago and he was very friendly in person, Plus Gingrich was as bad in the Clinton years as Boehner and McConnell were in the Obama era. As for Dubya, the less said the better.

      What’s happening right now is absolutely terrifying. We know that Russia was actively trying to get Trump elected, plus the new cabinet appointees include guys like Tillerson from Exxon-Mobil for Secretary of State, Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Ben Carson as the Secretary of Housing, and Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy (he couldn’t even remember that department in a debate). I’m not sure if anyone could handpick such a terrible array of bureaucrats for the new administration. Add to the fact that Trump has been blowing off security briefings and going on a ridiculous victory tour shows how little he knows about the responsibilities of the presidency. He’s already costing New York a half a million per day by staying in Manhattan, not that we needed another reason to hate Trump.

      I can’t say I know much about Australian politics but I’d recommend to stay away from Trump as far as possible. Those politicians sound a lot like most Republicans officials here, who accused Trump of being a racist nationalist during the primaries, then spent the main electoral cycle supporting his behavior.

      I’m hoping the Democratic party whips itself into shape and takes back the Senate and House in 2018 and hopefully the presidency in 2020. We got Obama from Bush, so hopefully we can get someone great out of Trump.


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