As I write and report on news about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I cannot help but wax nostalgic over President Obama.
I have never loved a public figure as much as I love this man. It’s true love, meaning that no matter how reasonable I try to be, to see his faults, which of course, are there…or his failures, which again, are there…all that my heart allows is this gratitude and love for a man with such passion, heart, dignity, intelligence, class, such a sense of duty, justice, honor and yet still pragmatic and cunning enough to actually be effective in politics, a man who actually genuinely loves his country and its people at a time when it is seen as either unfashionable or aligned with stupidity to do so, a man who believes in our future as a people, despite our flaws and failures.
He believes in us, and I believe in him. I don’t want to see him go. I’ve read enough history books over the last 20 years to understand that not one single president was a bastion of moral perfection, untouched by awful compromises and terrible truths, but that we weigh the measure of a man or woman by the measure of humanity: a measure that does not preclude even great moral failures or blind spots, but that looks at all one has accomplished, what was intended, what was fought for and what was given in the battle.
I honor what President Obama has given us, what he has fought for and what we have achieved with his leadership, even as I understand that certainly he has failed terribly in some important way.
In just a half-minute I can think of a string of life-changing social policies and laws that have completely altered our country, put in place by President Obama. He has worked to protect and vocalize for women’s rights, gay rights (he’s come a long way, i.e., the man can change, and in a genuine way, not turning on a dime, but turning when compelled by intellect and heart to do so) healthcare rights (I would not have insurance if it weren’t for Obama) environmental rights and human rights.
Obama took a beaten to the bone economy and raised us back up, he took America’s shattered worldwide reputation and gave us a face of dignity and intellect and subtleties again in foreign politics. He’s spoken out for black people, Hispanic people, women, middle class, the poor, visited a mosque, visited a prison, freed prisoners who were caged for drug offenses.
I don’t say any of this thinking I could possibly change the mind of someone who doesn’t like our President. But I wanted to say it.