Erstellt am: 13. 1. 2017 - 16:01 Uhr
The Audacity of Obama
When I first saw him give a speech, I thought, "There's NO WAY this guy will be elected President of the United States."
I'm not talking about Donald Trump, I mean Barack Obama.
He just seemed TOO perfect. What he said and how he said it - I thought the audacity of hope that the Senator from Illinois kept mentioning was something far too idealistic, far too utopian to mobilize a majority of American people to vote for the then 47 year-old.
Plus, he was half-black and half-white.
His birthfather was Kenyan who he only saw once in his life when he was ten. His mother was a white woman from Kansas who raised Barack alone and then with the help of her parents in Hawaii until she married a Muslim Indonesian. Young Barack went to live in Indonesia for a while and to add to the many half-siblings he has thanks to his Kenyan father's many marriages, he also became the big brother of a half-Asian sister.
This type of back-story I could identify with. Being a person of mixed religious and cultural backgrounds and having to constantly explain the origin of my name everywhere I've ever lived, well, I thought Barack was in a way a bit like me and no one who is like me has ever ever been elected President of the United States.
I was wrong.
So, it's eight years later, Obama is about to do the final mic-drop on his two-term presidency and the utopia thing didn't really happen.
I know Barack Obama has by no means been a perfect president. He promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay - that hasn't happened. His drone warfare and targeted killings have cost thousands of civilian lives and thousands of innocents will live with injuries from Obama's drone counter-terrorism policies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
Syria, refugee policies, Iraq - I can't give a thumbs up on Obama's legacy here.
Race relations in the US, well, all I need to say about that is Black Lives Matter. It seems that under Obama's watch the notion that a person of colour holding the nation's highest office was possible in the United States, didn't automatically mean racism was over. In fact, the backlash and the seemingly majorly increased bigotry and instances of hate crime are reflected in who Americans have permitted to become Obama's successor.
The gun laws didn't get changed either, not even after all those seven year-olds were massacred at a school called Sandy Hook, after all those partiers were killed in that LGBT club in Orlando, after all those murdered in churches, at army bases, at high schools, at shopping malls.
There are more mass shootings in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.
Obama didn't fix that but not because he didn't try.
Obama was up against a hostile opposition, a league of Good Ol' Boys who let Obama know that his audacity to change the way things have always been done in Washington would not be tolerated.
One even had the nerve to call the president a liar. Another Good Ol' Boy kept insisting Obama wasn't even American, you know - the guy who hasn't released his tax returns and likes to grab pussies and is going to be in the White House come next week.
Obama was up against a lot. We, non-insiders, will never know the full scope of the type of resistance Obama faced.
One thing we do know, what his public face and behaviour has demonstrated, Obama kept his cool. He's affectionately called 'No-Drama Obama' by the Washington Press Corps. He's had fewer scandals in the last eight years than Trump has had in the last two weeks.
His speeches - legendary. His use of pop-culture references and willingness to dance, do comedy, sing -- - smart. His sense of humour - pretty much always intact. His charm and genuine likeability - seemingly endless.
I liked it best when he was interacting with children. Crawling on the Oval Office floor with babies, letting a little black boy touch his hair to assure him, yes - we're the same! Holding his hands up and pretending he'd been hit by a little kid in a Spiderman costume aiming his imaginary spider web-hands at the President.
Plus gay marriage was accomplished.
I'm going to miss President Barack Obama.
And don't even get me started on Michelle.
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